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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 39

$25 Raspberry Pi Model A launches in Europe, coming soon to rest of the world

When the Raspberry Pi was first announced, there were many skeptics that thought a $35 fully functional Linux computer was just a pipedream. Then the launch of the Raspberry Pi model B took the world by storm, selling out in mere hours globally.


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This morning the long awaited and much anticipated Raspberry Pi Model A was released in Europe for $25. For less than the cost of dinner for two, you can get a fully functional Raspberry Pi, that is missing the Ethernet jack, one USB port, and only contains 256MB RAM. On the Model A network connectivity is achieved by a USB WiFi adapter that is supplied by the end-user.



For now the Raspberry Pi Model A is only available in Europe at the moment. I do have it on good authority from my sources within Element14, that we will be seeing the Model A state side very shortly. For now US customers can purchase the Model A from UK distributors, but the Raspberry Pi Foundation warns of a slight delay.

Scientists experiment with moving data in 3D through magnetic spin

Until now, shifting around data in 3D has been but a pipe dream, but the University of Cambridge have broken outside of that dream and began experimenting with a chip that is capable of much, much more.


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The team at Cambridge have put a layer of ruthenium atoms between cobalt and platinum, where the researchers have found they can move data bo th up and down, in an otherwise silicon-based design through spintronics. This method uses the magnetic field manipulation to send information across the ruthenium to its destination.


This layering is perfect enough to create a "staircase" that has the data take one step at a time, incredible stuff! Unfortunately there's no ETA on whether this would take the step (pun intended) to real-world circuitry, but with all steps - it will eventually happen.

SpaceTT: NASA will launch largest solar sail ever in 2014

Sunjammer, NASA's codename for the largest solar sail ever constructed, should leave the launch pad in 2014 and head into space to demonstrate "propellant-less propulsion."


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The giant solar sail measures about 124 feet per side and boast a whopping total surface area of nearly 13,000 square feet. The project is being contracted by L'Garde Inc., and is being supervised under NASA's Space Technology Program within the agency's Office of the Chief Technologist.


Sunjammer will launch into space on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will be testing several of the technologies features in the following months. These include successful deployment of the sails, vector control of the sail-tipped vanes, navigational accuracy, and ease of maintenance at a gravitationally stable orbit location of Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1, which lies about 200,000 miles from the Earth's surface.

Nokia receives $1.35 billion grant, will use the funds to develop the "strongest material ever tested"

Finnish smartphone maker Nokia have received a tidy $1.35 billion grant which will see them attempt to develop the strongest material ever constructed - how incredibly exciting! Currently, graphene is a class 2D structure measuring just a single atom thick.


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This is an incredible feat, and it is currently the strongest material ever produced. Graphene is 300 times tougher than steel and is also one of the lightest conductors available. Nokia is leading the pack of the Graphene Flagship Consortium, which includes 73 other companies and academic institutions from a number of mediums.


Nokia's grant will see them research and develop graphene for practical applications, where the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) the ones behind the $1.35 billion grant. Research Leader at Nokia Research Center, Jani Kivioja, says:


Not only does creating a graphene research consortium open up new research possibilities, it will also create work and jobs across all of Europe. This kind of research is also an investment to the people that live within the EU, from an economy perspective. When we talk about graphene, we've reached a tipping point. We're now looking at the beginning of a graphene revolution. Before this point in time, we figured out a way to manufacture cheap iron that led to the Industrial Revolution. Then there was silicon. Now, it's time for graphene.

Continue reading 'Nokia receives $1.35 billion grant, will use the funds to develop the "strongest material ever tested"' (full post)

European Space Agency is looking into 3D-printed moon bases

We've previous reported about entire 3D-printed buildings, but now we're looking at taking one small step for man, one giant leap for 3D printing with the idea of 3D-printed moon bases. Yes, that's not an error - 3D-printed moon bases.


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The European Space Agency and partners from London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners are currently scribbling down some ideas on how they would get 3D-printed moon bases onto the surface of our moon. Lunar dust creates a difficult a problem in terms of building materials, which has forced those involved to think outside of the box, big time.


Simulated moon dust has been combined with magnesium oxide and a "binding salt", which helps to mixture stick together, with the entire process capable of working within the vacuum of space thanks to a new approach to extruding liquids on the moon. The first concept designs from Foster + Partners used a large weight-bearing dome with a "cellular structured wall" in order to keep the people who would be inside of these structures safe from ambient radiation and micrometeroid strikes.

Continue reading 'European Space Agency is looking into 3D-printed moon bases' (full post)

South Korea builds their own rocket and satellite, successfully sends it into space

South Korea have just become the 11th country in the world to successfully build their own rocket and satellite and wave goodbye as it flies into space. South Korea have launched their self-developed, two-stage Naro rocket, as well as putting the vehicle's Science and Technology Satellite-2C into orbit.


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South Korea's great achievement arrives after two unfortunate failures in 2009 and 2010, but the fun stops here as there's no short-term plans to send anything else into space. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute is working with contractors to build their own in-house rocket stages in 2016, where they hope to reach 300 tons of thrust by 2018.

DARPA working on dissolvable, biodegradable electronics for the military

DARPA have some interesting projects they're working on, with probably only a few percent of them known to the public but this latest one is just so amazing, you have to know about it.



DARPA have been working on dissolvable, biodegradable electronics for a while now, where they showed them off last September - where their main focus was for medical applications. We all know DARPA wouldn't just be playing around with this technology for the medical community, and this is where the technology ramps up to be put into the military.


The defense research group are thinking of how this technology can help out in the military, where they hope to develop "transient electronics" and systems that are "capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, triggerable manner" that work similar to how "commercial-off-the-shelf" systems work.

Continue reading 'DARPA working on dissolvable, biodegradable electronics for the military' (full post)

Iran reportedly sends Monkey into space, returns safely back to Earth

Iranian media outlets are reporting that Iran has successfully sent a monkey into space. Reports from the AFP state that the monkey made it to an altitude of 75 miles before returning back home safely inside a space capsule.


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"Iran successfully launched a capsule, codenamed Pishgam (Pioneer), containing a monkey and recovered the shipment on the ground intact," the defense ministry's aerospace department said in a statement. This is a major leap forward for Iran's space program and paves the way for its plans to send a manned mission to the moon.


This is not the first time Iran has sent living creatures into space; the country has previously launched a ten-foot research rocket carrying a mouse, two turtles and some worms. Today's news adds credence to its ongoing mission to send a human to space by 2020, and to have an astronaut on the moon by 2025.

NASA becomes a suspicious observer, discovers how our Sun stores and releases energy

NASA scientists are reporting that they've discovered the first clear evidence of energy transfer from our Sun's magnetic field to the solar atmosphere, or corona, a scientific theory that now has substantial backing.


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The new findings come courtesy of NASA's suborbital telescope, the High Resolution Coronal Imager, which has captured the highest ever resolution images of the solar corona to date, sporting five times the amount of detail than previous tools used to study our closest star. The telecope launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico back in July of last year, and has already put smiles on scientists' faces.


The telescope's 10-minute flight had it take 165 images of a large, active region of the Sun's corona. These images showed the evolution of the magnetic field, as well as the releases of energy at temperatures of between a mind-boggling two million and four million degrees. Hi-C principal investigator, Jonathan Cirtain, a heliophysicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, says:


Scientists have tried for decades to understand how the sun's dynamic atmosphere is heated to millions of degrees. Because of the level of solar activity, we were able to clearly focus on an active sunspot, and obtain some remarkable images. Seeing this for the first time is a major advance in understanding how our sun continuously generates the vast amount of energy needed to heat its atmosphere.

Continue reading 'NASA becomes a suspicious observer, discovers how our Sun stores and releases energy' (full post)

Star Trek-like 'tractor beam' has been created by scientists

Scientists have created a real-life 'tractor beam' which uses light to attract objects according to research published by Nature Photonics and led by the University of St Andrews. The researchers' hopes are it could eventually lead to medical applications where it would target and attract individual cells.


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To us mere mortals, a tractor beam is usually thought of along side Star Trek, where the beam was used to move much bigger objects. Back in 2011, researchers out of China and Hong Kong showed how it could've been done with laser beams of a specific shape, and we've also had NASA funding a study which looked into how the technique might be used to manipulate samples in space.


The new study lead researcher, Dr Tomas Cizmar, research fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, said while the technique is new, it has huge potential. He continues:


The practical applications could be very great, very exciting. The tractor beam is very selective in the properties of the particles it acts on, so you could pick up specific particles in a mixture. Eventually this could be used to separate white blood cells, for example.

Continue reading 'Star Trek-like 'tractor beam' has been created by scientists' (full post)

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