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Just minutes from downtown Los Angeles you'll find NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which houses some of the brightest minds in the world. It was this group that recently grabbed the world spotlight by successfully launching and landing the Mars Science Laboratory, which included the Mars Rover Curiosity.

Well, it's not exactly perpetual motion or energy, but it's getting closer than most such attempts. Plus, instead of being backed by some sort of random crackpot scientist, this particular project has the backing of NASA and the U.S. Navy. So, what is it? (Take a deep breath.) The Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal Recharging (SOLO-TREC) autonomous underwater vehicle. Says Jack Jones, a JPL principal engineer and SOLO-TREC co-principal investigator:

NASA recenty released two studies that show Arctic ice shrinking at a more rapid pace than previously thought.