The word “sustainable” is seemingly everywhere. It gets a lot of use by corporations to make their products seem more Earth-friendly than they really are, leaving consumers with a somewhat fuzzy idea of what the word means; is it really better for the environment or simply an attempt to jump on the green bandwagon? For the University of Saskatchewan's Office of Sustainability, the former seems to be the case. The U of S has been increasing commitments to making the campus more environmentally friendly, and the Office of Sustainability plays a large role in that.
The year was 2010 at the second annual Japan Space Elevator Technology and Engineering Competition. The University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team had sent a team of people there to compete. Their goal? To build and operate a robotic “climber” that can climb up and then back down 300 metres of cable faster than any other team. It was no small task, to say the least, and the first attempt ended with the climber crashing back to Earth. But thanks to the ingenuity of the team, they got it repaired and won the competition; their final speed was four times faster than the next team, at a cool 57 kilometres an hour.
Some time around midnight eastern time on Sept. 23, a decommissioned NASA satellite fell out of the sky — but nobody knows where. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, was launched in 1991. According to NASA, it was “the first multi-instrumented satellite to observe numerous chemical components of the atmosphere for better understanding of photochemistry.”