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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 38

US Navy now launches drones from submerged submarines

The US Navy is now capable of launching drones from submarines, using their torpedo tubes, while under the water - incredible, isn't it? The US Naval Research Laboratory announced the news, stating it can now launch a drone into the air from a submerged submarine.

 

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The drone itself will fly around for around an hour, which isn't too bad for reconnaissance missions. Obviously this is just the beginning, and this technology will continue to improve as time goes on. The future of this technology will be exciting for military applications, which I'm sure the military is getting a big grin on their face about right about now.

Comet ISON is no more, new images show that it has fizzled out

Back when I first reported on Comet ISON, the entire astronomical community was convinced that if given the chance, ISON would bloom into the brightest comet in recorded history. ISON was deemed something special because this visit was its first into the inner solar system, and no one knew how it might react to the suns immense heat.

 

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As ISON passed earth and headed towards the sun, it brightened a great bit and it looked as though we might get the spectacular once in a lifetime show that had been promised, but on Thanksgiving day that all changed. As the comet approached perihelion it seemed to take a quite sharp turn into the sun and hours passed without any sign of the ball of ice and rock. Shortly after many had declared ISON dead, a glimmer of hope appeared in the form of a bright v shaped cloud of dust that was heading away from the sun.

 

Many though that a fraction of ISON may have survived and that just a rocky nucleus was all that was left. If true, ISON could have flared back up to naked eye visibility once it was far enough away from the sun to not be out-shown by the suns glare. Unfortunately what we though was a solid intact nucleus turned out to be fragments of the comet that were rapidly disintegrating, and new images have shown that the bright dust trail left by ISON's remains have began to fade into obscurity. As of today, the official word appears to be that ISON has met its fate and was mostly vaporized upon its entry into the Suns coronasphere.

Continue reading 'Comet ISON is no more, new images show that it has fizzled out' (full post)

China to launch its first moon rover on Monday

While most Americans will be hitting up those Cyber Monday sales, China will be launching a rover to the moon. 3:30am on Sunday morning, a rocket carrying "Jade Rabbit" will take off, headed to the moon.

 

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State broadcaster CCTV, took to Twitter, saying: "The Chang'e 3 is set to be launched for its moon mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 2." If the mission is successful, it will be a massive win for China, which hopes to have a permanent space station by 2020, and will eventually send a man to the moon.

 

All eyes are on China as we shift into the new week.

Comet ISON partially survives its close encounter with the sun

Over the last year, I have been reporting on Comet ISON, and its impending extremely close encounter with the sun. Yesterday, while many of us were sitting down to dinner tables, and enjoying a nice meal with friends and family, ISON skirted through the very upper region of the sun.

 

 

ISON reached perihelion, its closest point to the sun, around 1:30pm EDT yesterday afternoon. Initial reports were that the icy traveler had succumbed to the intense heat and gravity that is present just 750,000 miles from the sun. In fact, all of the images coming out of NASA's SOHO observatory indicated that ISON took a sharp turn into the sun just before perihelion and vaporized.

 

Fortunately this morning new data has been released that shows that ISON's nucleus or partial chunk of its nucleus managed to survive. In the video above, you can see what appears to be a jet of debris getting flung away from the Sun just a few degrees above the comets entry point. It is still unclear whether or not any of this debris will become visible to the naked eye from earths surface in the next few weeks, but all is not lost. The data that ISON has provided the scientific community is simply massive and will allow scientist to study not only comets, but the suns magnetosphere for decades to come.

Continue reading 'Comet ISON partially survives its close encounter with the sun' (full post)

Fly into space using Bitcoins thanks to Virgin Galactic

It seems that as every day passes, Bitcoins grow more popular with the mainstream, and today is no exception. This morning, Virgin Galactic announced that it has began accepting Bitcoin as payment for round trip flights into space. The announcement came from Virgin Galactic founder, Richard Branson in a blog post.

 

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"Virgin Galactic is one of the universe's most exciting, futuristic companies. Bitcoin, the virtual currency, has really captured the imagination recently as one of the world's most innovative businesses looking to the future. So we think it is about time Virgin Galactic customers can choose to pay with bitcoins." said Branson in the blog post.

 

Branson went on to say that he has invested in Bitcoins himself, and that he finds it fascinating how a global currency has been created so quickly. "For people who can afford to invest a little in bitcoins, it's worth looking into." he said.

Chinese scientists use water to create metal, can print it, too

Yeah, science, b****. You all know the show, but science really is a magical thing, isn't it? Well, three Chinese scientists have found a new way to create metal, from liquid at room temperatures.

 

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This metal can then be printed onto pretty much anything, as would ordinary ink. It will stick to surfaces such as rubber, paper, t-shirts, or even a leaf. Yes, a leaf, from an actual tree. The biggest thing to take away from this, according to the MIT Technology Review,e is that the alloy of gallium and indium that the scientists discovered.

 

It's printable at room temperature, compared to other circuit inks that require massive temperatures, upwards of 400C/752F. This is an issue when you want to print onto something that much catch fire, or perish, such as paper. The three scientists explain: "Different from the former direct writing technology where large surface tension and poor adhesion between the liquid metal and the substrate often impede the flexible printing process, the liquid metal here no longer needs to be pre-oxidized to guarantee its applicability on target substrates."

 

The best bit? It's cheap. MIT says that the technology involved in this innovation is "cheap and simple," which should hopefully mean we see it commercialized, quick.

NASA set to launch the MAVEN mission to Mars today, watch it live

We know quite a bit about the surface of Mars, and have visited the red planet's surface several times now. One thing we do not know very much about though is the composition of the clouds and the very thin Atmosphere that surrounds Mars. Today NASA will launch a new probe aimed at the 4th planet that will study these things and lend us further insight into what Mars once was, and what it is today.

 

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Today at 1:30pm Eastern, NASA will "Light the candle" otherwise known as an Atlas 5 rocket, and set MAVEN on its way to the Martian atmosphere. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution or "MAVEN" probe will be put into a highly elliptical orbit around Mars and the probe will actually dip deep into the atmosphere to collect and study gasses that are present in clouds and the atmosphere in general. The purpose is to understand how Mars' atmosphere reacts with the Sun and what might have caused it to mostly disappear over the last several hundred million years.

 

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MAVEN will orbit the planet and when its mission is done, the orbiter will be crashed into the surface of the planet. While this may seem like a waste, after several thousand dips deep into the atmosphere of Mars, MAVEN will have become quite weathered and its instruments, surface, solar panels, and other hardware will be near failure. Crashing the probe into the surface is the safest way to decommission the probe at the end of its life. For those who wish to watch the launch take place today at 1:30PM Eastern, NASA is streaming the launch live on NASA TV.

Google will invest $80 million in solar farms in California, Arizona

Google is pumping another $80 million into alternative energy projects, where it will partner up with solar developer, Recurrent Energy, and private equity firm KKR & Co. on the two projects.

 

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The $80 million will be used on six utility-scale solar facilities in California and Arizona, with the sunlight being captured enough to generate power for more than 17,000 homes. Google said on its official blog: "You'd think the thrill might wear off this whole renewable energy investing thing after a while. Nope -- we're still as into it as ever, which is why we're so pleased to announce our 14th investment."

Comet ISON is now bright enough to view with binoculars

Comet ISON may not be putting on the dazzling display we were promised repeatedly over the last year, but the chunk of space ice has made itself visible to the general public as of late. Anyone with binoculars of at least 10x50 power is now able to view ISON as it brightens to a magnitude of 8.

 

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ISON will continue to brighten as it approaches the Sun and comes within 730,000 miles of the solar surface. As it begins to make its way around the sun and back out into the far reaches of our solar system, ISON will become naked eye visible for a brief period in December, and will best be viewed just after sunset, and just before sunrise. Those wishing to see ISON now, can find the icey traveler with binoculars at the "nose" of the constellation of Leo.

Continue reading 'Comet ISON is now bright enough to view with binoculars' (full post)

Russia to open the Commercial Space Station hotel, in space, by 2016

I haven't traveled too much in my life, but if there's one place I'd love to visit it would be space, and it looks like it's becoming more of a reality each day, especially thanks to Russia.

 

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Orbital Technologies, a Russian company, has announced plans to build a hotel... in space. The hotel would be for commercial use, and is officially known as the Commercial Space Station, which will be capable of housing 7 guests throughout 4 cabins. The Commercial Space Station will float about the Earth at 350km, with guests enjoying the zero-gravity feel.

 

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There'll be no flowing water, so if you want to shower, you'll have to use wet wipes. What about going to the bathroom? Well, that will be carried through flowing air, with both water and air being filtered and recycled in the satellite itself, and then reused by the occupants of the hotel. There is a strict no-alcohol law on the space hotel, too.

Continue reading 'Russia to open the Commercial Space Station hotel, in space, by 2016' (full post)

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