Reminder: Heat Advisory Today — A Heat Advisory will be in effect from noon to 8 p.m. today (Wednesday) with heat index values ranging from 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The National Weather Service advices drinking water, staying inside as much as possible, and checking on neighbors with the extreme heat and humidity bringing the risk of heat-related illnesses. [NWS]
Falls Church Gateway Development Approved — “In a series of unanimous 7-0 votes Monday night, the Falls Church City Council gave final decisive approvals to special exceptions and the site plan for the biggest project in the City’s history, a 9.75-acre mixed use development at the site of the now-demolished old George Mason High School property. The project…now awaits a groundbreaking set for early next year.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Northrop Grumman Celebrates Space Launch — The Falls Church-based company launched its 16th mission to resupply the International Space Station at 6:01 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Named NG-16, this is the fifth mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract with Northrop Grumman. The contract was first awarded in 2008 and covers a minimum of of eight missions to the ISS through 2024. [Office of the Governor]
Meet the New Thoreau MS Principal — “Teresa Khuluki spent the last nine years as principal of Wolftrap Elementary School just north of the town of Vienna. On June 30, she traveled a few miles south to become principal at Thoreau Middle School. Serving as Thoreau Middle’s principal will let her get back to her enthusiasm for working with older, secondary-level students, Khuluki said.” [Sun Gazette]
County Commits to Carbon Neutrality by 2040 — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors pledged yesterday (Tuesday) to make county government operations carbon-neutral by 2040 as part of a newly adopted Operational Energy Strategy. The move follows up on a recommendation issued by the county’s Joint Environmental Task Force last fall. [Fairfax County Government]
Virginia Named Best State for Business — CNBC named Virginia the number-one state for business in the U.S. for the fifth time, making it the only one to ever top consecutive rankings. CNBC, which didn’t release rankings last year due to the pandemic, highlighted the Commonwealth for its ability to recruit and retain talent. [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]
Northrop Grumman to Test Moon Outpost — “NASA has finalized a $935 million contract with Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrop Grumman for a moon outpost living quarters for astronauts as part of its Artemis program, which will eventually return humans to the surface of the moon…NASA is currently targeting November 2024 to launch the spacecraft on a SpaceX rocket.” [WTOP]
Park Street in Vienna Closed for Utility Work — “Park Street SE will be closed to SE-bound traffic between the traffic circle and Cherry Street SE for water utility work tomorrow, July 14, from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Thursday, July 15. One-directional NW-bound traffic on Park Street SE will be open.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
A 13-year-old Great Falls resident’s science experiment about recharging electric vehicles while they’re in motion won him statewide honors.
Kriesh Tivare earned the State Merit Award for Virginia in the national “3M Young Scientist Challenge” last month for an experiment that examined how to make contactless charging a reality using coils in a roadway to power a toy car.
“It basically charges the car as it drives over,” Kriesh said.
A partnership between the engineering company 3M and Discovery Education, the Young Scientist Challenge takes place annually and is open to students in fifth through eighth grade. Competitors submit short videos explaining the science behind a possible solution to a problem they see in their community.
A panel of judges selected a merit winner from each state as well as 10 finalists, who will compete in a final event at 3M’s headquarters in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in October. The overall winner will receive $25,000 and the opportunity to get a mentorship from the company.
In his prize-winning experiment, Kriesh explains how switches on a road could be pressed by a tire to close a circuit and use electromagnetic induction to power a vehicle, rather than having stationary charging stations restoring power.
Kriesh got the idea when his family would go on trips and have to hunt for and spend time at charging stations for their Tesla Model 3, which they normally charge every day. During one family trip in 2019 to Boston, range anxiety was evident as they had to break every five to six hours, taking 45 minutes to an hour to recharge.
“At the mall, there’s this one spot that’s dedicated to…charging, and a lot of the charging stations are already being utilized,” he said, contrasting the amount of charging stations to gas stations.
Kriesh created his own materials using a fishing rod to wrap coils hundreds of times around small PVC piping.
He used a frequency generator to power coils on a roadway model and an oscilloscope to measure how much power was induced, experimenting with different coils and frequencies to maximize efficiency.
Heading into eighth grade at Cooper Middle School in McLean, Kriesh enjoys history and math classes and could see himself as an astronomical engineer, discovering a planet or looking for life in space.
Contactless charging — the term Kriesh used for his contest entry — is becoming a reality. For example, the company ElectReon Wireless Ltd. has deployed its technology on public roadways in Israel and Sweden for buses and trucks.
Researchers in California examined the technology in the 1970s and 1980s and eventually tested electric vehicles in motion. A 1992 report investigating the feasibility of electrifying highways noted a roadway inductor would cost a “few million dollars per lane mile,” but equipment costs for vehicles were “considerably more uncertain” at that time.
A research team at Cornell University, led by electrical and computer engineering associate professor Khurram Afridi, has been working on improving road-powered charging technology for electric vehicles, which they say could have uses from electrifying highways to supporting autonomous forklifts and robots in manufacturing warehouses.
Afridi said in a video about the technology that the timing could be right to introduce changes to infrastructure in need of repair.
Kriesh is interested in continuing his experiment by looking at how 5G signals could allow road coils to charge a vehicle without pressure plates, avoiding the need for his model car to drive over switches.
“In the future, the 5G network will replace the switches within the road to activate the coils in the road instantaneously,” Kriesh said in his contest video. “Dynamic charging could be a promising future for smart, driverless vehicles.”
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Monday (Feb. 22)
- Doktor Kaboom! “Look Out! Science is Coming!” (Online) — 4 p.m. — Doktor Kaboom is a comedian with a passion for science. DC Theatre Scene says he’s “better than Bill Nye.” He will be performing a family-friendly show today, including three demonstrations of experiments that viewers can do with him. Go to the McLean Community Center website to register and find the supplies list for the experiments.
Tuesday (Feb. 23)
- Waterfowl at Burke Lake Park — 10-11 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Rd.) — Burke Lake Park is hosting a search for winter waterfowl. Park staff will run a program taking participants around the lake in search of creatures such as loons, lesser scaups and ring-necked ducks. The registration fee for this event is $8 per person.
- Climate Planning Meeting on Energy (Online) — 7 p.m. — Fairfax County will hold a public meeting of presentations and discussion on energy issues related to the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan, or CECAP. Experts from the consulting firm ICF will be facilitating and presenting at this meeting.
Thursday (Feb. 25)
- Online Book Discussion (Online) — 1-2 p.m. — The staff of Patrick Henry Public Library in Vienna will lead an online discussion about the novel “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. Register in advance through the link above to reserve a spot for the event.
- Drawing Animal Eyes — 7-9 p.m. at Annandale District Park (7701 Royce St.) — The Hidden Oaks Nature Center is hosting an event for participants ages 16 and up to learn how to draw animal eyes. Participants will have the option of using pencils, colored pencils and watercolors to create their masterpiece. The cost is $15 per person and masks and social distancing will be required.
Friday (Feb. 26)
- BRAWS Presents: Mardi Bras (Online) — 8-9 p.m. — BRAWS (Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters) is hosting a fundraiser to support women and girls gain access to items such as pads, tampons, and underwear. The Vienna-based nonprofit says the need for these products has tripled over the last year, making funding more critical than ever. The event is free, but advance registration is required too receive a link, and people can support the cause by becoming a sponsor, participating in the silent auction, or purchasing a raffle ticket.
- A Taste of California (Online) — 6:30-7:45 p.m. — A virtual wine tasting hosted by Vienna Vinter’s owner, Victor Mendez, will feature three wines from Mendez’s winery in California. Register by contacting Vienna Vinter at 703- 242-9463 or [email protected] The $75 or $120 fee includes access to the zoom link for the tasting and two or three bottles of wine, and 20% of the proceeds will be donated when customers mention the Shepherd’s Center
- Family Fun Trivia Night (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — The McLean Community Center is hosting a family-friendly, virtual trivia night. Registration is required and the price is $5 per team. There will be prizes for the winning teams.
Saturday (Feb. 27)
- Book Club (Online) — 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. — The McLean Community Center is hosting the first in a series of book club meetings. They will meet monthly and move through multiple genres. The group is free, but interested participants should register on the McLean Community Center website.
Sunday (Feb. 28)
- 1st Look Series (Online) — 2 p.m. — 1st Stage in Tysons will live-stream excerpts of shows that it has commissioned from solo artists in its new “1st Look” series. The first installment will feature work by Jasmin Cardenas and James J. Johnson that explores, respectively, the experiences of low-wage and undocumented factory workers and Black fatherhood. The previews will be followed by discussions with the playwrights. Attendees should register in advance for the free Zoom event.
Photo via Danielle Brigida/Flickr