This NASA Ion Thruster Has Been Running Non-Stop For Five Years

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Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we've got reports from NASA, Foreign Policy, and Collectors Weekly.

NASA Thruster Achieves World-Record 5+ Years of OperationNASA

It's weird to link to a press release, but NASA just gets so excited about these things you can feel it in everything.

"The NEXT thruster operated for more than 48,000 hours," said Michael J. Patterson, principal investigator for NEXT at Glenn. "We will voluntarily terminate this test at the end of this month, with the thruster fully operational. Life and performance have exceeded the requirements for any anticipated science mission."


Russia's Mysterious First Stealth Fighter Found on Bing MapsForeign Policy


What's the more surprising fact?

1. Russia just left their probably-copied-by-the-Chinese jet on Bing maps? 2. Someone uses Bing maps?

This might be the easiest ever find of an MIA airplane. You're looking at a Bing Maps image of the Mikoyan (MiG) Project 1.44, Russia's first attempt at building a flyable stealth fighter and the jet that some said was sent to China to help kick-start Beijing's stealth development program. The jet is the larger of the two shown above sitting just outside of Moscow at Zhukovsky airfield (we have no idea what the smaller, darker plane alongside the 1.44 is).


A Filthy History: When New Yorkers Lived Knee-Deep in TrashCollector's Weekly


Can you imagine being a garbage collector before the modern garbage truck?

Then there’s traffic. When you’re working in and out of traffic all day, and you’re working with a piece of equipment that people only acknowledge because they want to get around it. They don’t say to themselves, “Oh, there are human beings connected to that vehicle, therefore I will be more careful now.” A garbage truck inspires something more like, “Oh, it’s a garbage truck. I got to get away from it as fast as possible.”