Technology Today Fall 1998 cover image

This image of the Minos Linea region on Jupiter's moon Europa, taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft on June 28, 1996, clearly shows the presence of ice, a strong indicator that there could be life on Europa. False color has been used to enhance the visibility of certain features. The icy plains are shown in bluish hues. Triple bands, lineae, and mottled terrain appear in brown and reddish hues, indicating the presence of contaminants in the ice. Scientists speculate that an ocean could lie beneath the icy crust of Europa.

Technology Today® Fall 1998

Icon of Minos Linea region on Europa

What's Under Europa's Icy Crust?

Despite its distance from the Sun, tidal forces from nearby Jupiter may create enough internal heat to keep water liquid beneath Europa's icy surface. Studies by the Galileo spacecraft may provide some answers for scientists who wonder whether Europa may be the solar system's best hope for extraterrestrial life.

Icon of material displacements overlayed on a micrograph of the crack tip region

Cracking the Fatigue Mystery

An SwRI-developed machine enables engineers to use a scanning electron microscope to study the formation and behavior of tiny cracks that occur when metal is stressed repeatedly over thousands of service cycles, such as may occur in power plants or turbine engines.

Icon of fault behavior modeling

Two SwRI Projects Win Research Awards

SwRI-developed 3DStress™ software that predicts the behavior of geologic faults, plus new magnetostrictive sensors that find flaws in pipelines, were chosen among the year's top 100 internal research projects.

Getting Near the Core

A Japanese-built robot and SwRI-developed ultrasonic transducers allow nuclear power plant inspectors to detect flaws in steel pressure vessels safely from the inside, despite radiocactivity and tight spaces.

Icon of microstructural tissue level strains in bone level

Smart Skeletons

Imagine a material with the ability to sense varying loads, adapt its architecture to maintain reliability in response to those loads, repair itself when damaged, and survive tens of millions of load cycles. We walk around with this material every day -- and we can't survive without it.


Technical Staff Activities

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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.