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Archive for the ‘space’ category

Apr 30, 2016

Tim Peake Controls An Earth Robot From Space — Rover In U.K. Skillfully Driven

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space, transportation

Astronaut Tim Peake controlled a robot from the International Space Station (ISS). However, the robot wasn’t in space, but was located on Earth. The experiment was meant to prepare astronauts and technicians for future human-robotic missions to the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies.

As part of a unique experiment, astronaut Tim Peake successfully maneuvered a robot located on Earth from the ISS. The British astronaut took control from the Earth-based team and steered the robot on a simulated Martian landscape. The experiment took place at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, dubbed “Mars Yard.”

The experiment, titled “Supervisory Control of Mars Yard Rover” or SUPVIS-M for short, was designed to one day allow humans, more specifically astronauts, sitting on board ISS or other deep space vehicles, to reliably control robots or machines over vast distances. The experiment is part of Europe’s METERON (Multipurpose End-To-end Robotics Operations Network) project. The overall idea is develop and optimize tasks and directional control.

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Apr 30, 2016

Cassini discovers that lake on Saturn’s moon is liquid methane

Posted by in category: space

The moon has three large seas and a number of smaller lakes connected by rivers and rivulets located in its northern hemisphere, and one large lake in the south. NASA researchers previously believed the liquid to be ethane, which is produced when “sunlight breaks methane molecules apart”, said Alice Le Gall, a member of the Cassini radar team who led the study into the makeup of the moon’s liquid reservoirs.

Using radar observations of the heat given off by Ligeia Mare, as well as data from a 2013 experiment that bounced radio signals off of the sea, the team determined the compositions of the liquid sea and the sea bed by separating each of their contributions to the sea’s observed temperature.

This image from Cassini shows Ligeia Mare, the second largest known body of liquid on Titan.

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Apr 27, 2016

How the Next Wonders of the World Will Be Built in Space

Posted by in category: space

On April 12th, 1961 Yuri Gagarin launched into space on a Vostok rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, becoming the first person ever to leave the planet.

Here’s the crazy thing: today’s astronauts travel to space on a nearly identical rocket, the Soyuz, which went into operation only five years after Gagarin’s historic flight.

Apr 26, 2016

The Beautiful Complexity of the Cosmic Web

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, space

The longer you gaze at this depiction of the hidden architecture of the universe, the more you can’t help but notice how similar it looks to neurons communicating with each other in the human brain.


3D interactive visualization lets users explore the vast, hidden structure of the universe.

By Amanda Montañez on April 14, 2016.

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Apr 25, 2016

Physicists detect the enigmatic spin momentum of light

Posted by in categories: physics, space

Ever since Kepler’s observation in the 17th century that sunlight is one of the reasons that the tails of comets to always face away from the sun, it has been understood that light exerts pressure in the direction it propagates. Radiation pressure is produced by the momentum carried by light, and it plays a crucial role in a variety of systems, from atomic to astronomical scales.

In a recent theoretical paper, a group from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science in Japan showed that density in non-uniform optical fields has an unusual component, which is orthogonal to the propagation direction of and is proportional to the optical spin, which means the degree of circular polarization. They predicted that this spin momentum would produce a transverse spin-dependent optical force, a few orders of magnitude weaker than the usual .

Now, based on the theoretical work, a group from RIKEN, the University of Bristol, and other institutions have used an extremely precise technique to experimentally verify that light does in fact exert the extraordinary perpendicular force, which is determined by the polarization of the light. The research has been published in Nature Physics.

Apr 25, 2016

DARPA’s Space Innovation

Posted by in categories: space, transportation

Space is hot again.


Bradford Tousley, DARPA’s director of tactical technology, discusses DARPA’s XS-1 Space Plane and Phoenix programs, hypersonics, and more.

Apr 24, 2016

How Do We Terraform Jupiter’s Moons?

Posted by in categories: engineering, environmental, space

Jupiter’s four largest moons — the Galileans — have long been considered as possible sites for human habitation, and even terraforming.

Apr 23, 2016

NASA Invests In Radical Game-Changing Concepts For Exploration

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

Every year, the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program puts out the call to the general public, hoping to find better or entirely new aerospace architectures, systems, or mission ideas. As part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, this program has been in operation since 1998, serving as a high-level entry point to entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers who want to contribute to human space exploration.

This year, thirteen concepts were chosen for Phase I of the NIAC program, ranging from reprogrammed microorganisms for Mars, a two-dimensional spacecraft that could de-orbit space debris, an analog rover for extreme environments, a robot that turn asteroids into spacecraft, and a next-generation exoplanet hunter. These proposals were awarded $100,000 each for a nine month period to assess the feasibility of their concept.

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Apr 23, 2016

Why sailing to the stars has suddenly become a realistic goal

Posted by in categories: innovation, space

It takes a bold person to declare that interstellar travel is now within our grasp. Physicist Stephen Hawking has shown that he is just that, taking part in the Breakthrough Starshot initiative. The project has announced a $100m research programme to investigate the technology of using light to propel spacecraft out of the solar system to explore neighbouring stars.

For the first time in human history, interstellar travel is a realistic and achievable aspiration, and not just the playground of science fiction.

So what has changed that makes interstellar travel achievable? First of all, clear expectations. This is not about a great big spaceship with a colony of astronauts travelling for generations to settle a planet around a distant star. Neither is it about faster-than-light travel, tunnelling through wormholes to arrive at the other side of the universe in an instant of time. This is about technology that already exists, or nearly exists, being applied in new and exciting ways.

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Apr 22, 2016

Moon Express Wants to Commercialize the Moon

Posted by in category: space

Real-life space-mining could be a reality next year.

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