Are we alone in the universe?
In 1994, Australia will help NASA in the largest search ever made for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilisations. The Parkes Radio Telescope, NSW, still relatively free of interference from man-made signals, has been identified as an ideal site for the search.
Driving right into the pool
Car pools are a good means of increasing transport efficiency and reducing fuel consumption. The idea is widely recognised, but the practice has not caught on. In Melbourne a project is underway to establish the viability of a privately run, 'convenience' car pool.
Grasslands: a forgotten resource?
Australia's grasslands, worth more than five billion dollars a year to farmers and graziers, are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases. An integrated approach to managing these pests and diseases is vital to ensure survival of the grasslands.
Bettongs burrow-in on the mainland
Before European settlement the burrowing bettong, Bettongia lesueur was common over most of arid and semi-arid Australia, But fox and cat predation (and probably competition from rabbits) caused its range to contract rapidly and by 1942, the species was extinct on the mainland. A small colony of burrowing bettongs, taken in 1992 from Western Australian islands to re-establish a mainland population are in good condition and are breeding, providing hope that this and other endangered island species can be returned from near-extinction.
Rare Earth's revolutionise electric motors
The use of rare-earth magnets in electric motors is set to revolutionise electric motors. It is expected that a 15 per cent increase in electric motor efficiency is possible. The development will enable cheaper, lighter, more durable motors that cut the running costs of appliances, industrial equipment and electric vehicles.
Repairing Australia's rivers
Australia's rivers have changed dramatically in the past two centuries. They've been disrupted by damming, draining and land clearing, invaded by exotic plants and animals and polluted with agricultural, industrial and urban waste. But with a national strategy, supported by the community, our rivers can be repaired.
Community involvement is needed to help improve the management of stormwater in Australia's towns and cities. Methods of preventing flood damage, reducing pollution and recycling stormwater for non-drinking uses are essential to ecologically sustainable development. These problems are being addressed in a variety of ways, with a contribution from the CSIRO Division of Mathematics and Statistics in the form of NESSIE, a computer model that allows engineers to design artificial lakes for pollution control and stormwater management.
Foam flotation: an efficient liquid-waste treatment
Foam flotation technology, originally developed to concentrate metallic ores in the mineral industry, is being adapted to treat a range of liquid wastes. The innovation basically uses air bubbles to remove unwanted contaminants in the waste-water discharged by potentially water-polluting industrial processes. The process is cheaper and more versatile than existing methods, and allows more water to be recycled.