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Aug 22, 2016

Iraq Is Preparing an Armed Robot to Fight ISIS

Posted by in categories: business, robotics/AI

Alrobot would not be the first robot to hit the sands of Baghdad, but it might become the first to actually fire a weapon.

Back in 2007, the U.S. Army deployed three armed ground robots called the Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System, or SWORDS, from weapons maker Foster-Miller (now owned by Qinetiq). SWORDS basically consisted of a Foster-Miller TALON robot armed with a machine gun. But the SWORDS were pulled off the battlefield before they were able to take a single shot.

Kevin Fahey, the Army’s program executive officer for ground forces, explained why the following year at a RoboBusiness Conference in Pittsburgh: “The gun started moving when it was not intended to move.”

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Aug 22, 2016

Maker Movement Turns Scientists into Tinkerers

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, electronics

Researchers in growing numbers are starting to enlist do-it-yourself 3D printers, cheap electronics, sensors and more to advance their work

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Aug 22, 2016

China’s Race to Space Domination: To Try to Gain an Edge Here on Earth, China is Pushing Ahead in Space

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, quantum physics, robotics/AI, space

More on China’s race on Space. Last Tuesday, China launched the 1st Quantum Satellite. In 2017, China is planning to be the dominant force in mining of Space. First stop — mining the dark side of the moon. Given China’s own history with environmental pollution plus mining’s damaging effects to the environment when not properly managed; etc. one must ponder how will space and Earth itself be impacted by such mining.

Before this decade is out, humanity will go where it’s never gone before: the far side of the moon. This dark side — forever facing away from us — has long been a mystery. No human-made object has ever touched its surface. The mission will be a marvel of engineering. It will involve a rocket that weighs hundreds of tons (traveling almost 250,000 miles), a robot lander, and an unmanned lunar rover that will use sensors, cameras, and an infrared spectrometer to uncover billion-year-old secrets from the soil. The mission also might scout the moon’s supply of helium-3 — a promising material for fusion energy. And the nation planting its starry flag on this historic trip will be the People’s Republic of China.

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Aug 22, 2016

Venus’ ‘Twin Planet’ Could Still Have Oxygen, Scientists Say

Posted by in categories: alien life, space travel

# Venus # OxygenVenus’ ‘Twin Planet’ Could Still Have Oxygen, Scientists Say : Nine months ago, astronomers announced that they were able to discover a planet that is said to be a twin to Venus. Today, it seems that a new study raises the possibility of the said planet to have oxygen in its atmosphere – don’t mistake it for the next livable planet though – it is said to have hellish temperatures, which automatically rules out the possibility of life.

Dubbed the GJ 1132b, IFL Science noted that it is larger than Earth in size and mass. Temperature-wise, it is considerably hot at 120 to 320 degrees Celsius, but it is still considered cooler than most of the rocky planets previously detected.

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Aug 22, 2016

A lost spacecraft is talking to NASA again after nearly 2 years in the void

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

Wild stuff.

Somewhere on the other side of the sun, almost directly opposite to Earth, a NASA spacecraft has drifted aimlessly through the void since Oct. 1, 2014, unable to establish contact with our planet.

At least that was the depressing situation until Sunday night.

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Aug 22, 2016

New Lightweight Metal Foam Destroys Bullets on Impact (video)

Posted by in category: futurism

A composite metal foam (CMF) has been developed at North Carolina State University that is strong enough to resist bullets, disintegrating them on impact.

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Aug 22, 2016

Ray Kurzweil Explains Why Radical Life Extension Will Be Better Than You Think

Posted by in categories: life extension, Ray Kurzweil

And, a few words from Ray.

According to Ray Kurzweil, we’re approaching a time when humans will begin to radically extend their lifespans. This sounds good on the surface, but will we have enough resources to support everyone? And won’t living indefinitely get boring eventually? Not so much, Kurzweil says.

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Aug 22, 2016

NASA Funds Plan to Turn Used Rocket Fuel Tanks Into Space Habitats

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

The first stage launches the rocket off of the pad and continues firing for about four minutes. Once the first stage is out of fuel, it separates, and if it’s a SpaceX Falcon 9, flies back home to be reused. If it’s anything else, including the Atlas V, the first stage crash lands in the ocean and sinks. Meanwhile, the second stage fires up its own engine (or engines) to boost the payload the rest of the way into orbit. On the Atlas V, the second stage is called Centaur. Once Centaur gets its payload where it needs to go, it separates, and then suicides down into Earth’s atmosphere.

Getting a payload into space is so expensive because you have to build up this huge and complicated rocket, with engines and guidance systems and fuel tanks and stuff, and then you basically use it for like 15 minutes and throw it all away. This is why SpaceX is trying so hard to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9. But what about the second stage? You’ve got a whole bunch of hardware that made it to orbit, and when getting stuff to orbit costs something like $2,500 per kilogram, you then tell it to go it burn itself up in the atmosphere, because otherwise it’s just useless space junk.

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Aug 22, 2016

DARPA to establish satellite-servicing consortium to discuss on-orbit repair standards

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI, satellites

A first step in establishing repair standards on satellite in space; wonder could we eventually see a version of the EPA or in space.

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Defense Research Projects Agency plans to establish a consortium to discuss standards and practices for on-orbit satellite servicing as a corollary to Robotic Servicing of Geostationary Satellites (RSGS), an effort to develop robotic spacecraft to inspect, repair and move other satellites.

“Our fear was that we would create a robotic servicing capability through RSGS and when our industry partner went to Lloyds of London for insurance, someone would say, ‘You have no authority to conduct that mission,’” said Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office.

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Aug 22, 2016

NASA: Sea Ice Settling into ‘New Normal’

Posted by in category: environmental


Arctic melting slowed enough in midsummer that scientists don’t expect this year’s sea ice minimum to set a new record. Yet, the latest sea ice data collected by NASA suggests a dire state of affairs.

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