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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 8

Satellites likely captured image of MH17 hit by missile over Ukraine

President Barack Obama confirmed Malaysia Airlines MH17 was likely shot down over eastern Ukraine by Russian-supported separatists using a surface-to-air missile. Obama and military experts speaking to mainstream media aren't discussing much reasoning behind how they know - but it's plausible a Department of Defense military satellite saw a heat signature when the missile hit.

 

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The U.S. government uses space-based technology to defend against intercontinental ballistic missiles, serving as an early warning system. Newer satellites ushered in the Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) network that can identify missiles quicker so they can be intercepted.

 

Federal governments won't provide detailed images of the crash site, which spans several square miles, but commercial satellite owners could release further details. Some Earth-watching satellites have started to take a closer look at the airspace above eastern Ukraine. However, cloudy weather has hampered such efforts, but it could still be possible to identify how much the scene has been tampered with by rebels.

UAE wants to send unmanned spacecraft to Mars

The United Arab Emirates is a wealthy nation that makes most of its money off its vast oil reserves. The country is well known for building some very interesting attractions, such as the world's largest tower, and it is now putting its eyes on the heavens.

 

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The UAE wants to send the first Arab spacecraft to Mars in 2021. Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, says that the Arab mission to Mars will prove that the country can deliver scientific contributions to humanity.

 

"Our region is a region of civilization. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilize," said Al Maktoum, who is also UAE's vice president, in a statement. The UAE has wanted Arab nations to create a space agency similar to the ESA. The goal of the UAE is to send an unmanned probe to the red planet.

Largest four-winged dinosaur ever discovered in China

Scientists have discovered a new type of dinosaur in China that is said to be the largest four-winged dinosaur ever discovered. The fossil was discovered in northeastern China and shows a creature with tail feathers that were a foot long. The next longest tail feathers ever discovered on a dinosaur were 9-inches long.

 

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The newly discovered fossil shows that the dinosaur had feathers on its wings and hind legs making it one of only a few four-winged dinosaurs ever discovered. Large, sharp teeth tell the scientists that the dinosaur was carnivorous and it had sharp claws.

 

The newly discovered dinosaur has been called Changyuraptor yangi, the first part of that name means long-feathered raptor and the latter part is to honor the financial supporter of the expedition. Overall, the dinosaur measured four feet long and weighed nine pounds.

BAE Systems debuts Striker II night vision helmet-mounted display

Defense contractor BAE Systems has unveiled the Striker II helmet-mounted display system, giving fighter pilots enhanced tracking and night vision capabilities while in the cockpit. The fully digital system is able to project target data and coordinates directly to the pilot, along with providing night vision directly inside of the helmet.

 

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The new technology has been designed to keep pilots safe, and provides operational information quickly within the pilot's field of vision.

 

"As the industry transitions from analogue to digital display solutions, Striker II brings a superior, fully digital capability to multiple platform types," said Joseph Senftle, BAE Systems' VP and GM of Communications and Control Solutions, in a press statement. "Designed to address evolving mission requirements with advanced digital night vision technology, our new HMD was built to be 'future proof' and seamlessly adaptable to technology advancements in the years ahead."

Continue reading 'BAE Systems debuts Striker II night vision helmet-mounted display' (full post)

Mars geological maps contains 30 years worth of data

One of the most studied and definitely, the most visited planets in our solar system, other than Earth, is Mars. Humans have been studying Mars for centuries and only in the last several decades have we really begun to understand the red planet and what its surface looks like.

 

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An awesome new geological map has been published that shows what the surface of Mars looks like and the map contains 30 years of data collected about the red planet. The map, pictured here, comes from the US Geological Survey. All the colors you see on the map represent parts of the crust of the planet formed at different times.

 

The green areas are believed to be lowland plains that are covered in sediment leftover for lakes and rivers that scientist believe covered the planet billions of years ago. All of the bright yellow dots are impact craters.

ESA Rosetta probe target identified as a binary comet

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched a probe to study the surface of a comet and the comet that probe is targeting is known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. An unexpected discovery was made recently that could affect the mission that Rosetta is on, its target comet isn't a single body as previously believed.

 

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67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been discovered recently to be what scientists call a contact binary. This means that the nucleus of the comet is made up of not one, but two bodies. The team believes that the comet came to be configured like this in one of two ways. The first is that a single large nucleus might have fractured at some time in the past creating the contact binary configuration.

 

The second way the comet could have come to this configuration is by the collision of two comets to form one. Rosetta is supposed to actually land on the surface of the comet and with this discovery, the discussion has now turned to which part of the comet would be the best to land on. The sequence of images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko seen here were taken last Friday. Rosetta is set to rendezvous with the comet August 6.

North Korea has conducted more than 100 missile tests so far in 2014

Shortly after firing two more ballistic missiles in its latest tests, North Korea has launched more than 100 artillery shells into the ocean, using multiple rocket launchers. There have been more than 100 missile, rocket and artillery tests conducted by North Korea so far in 2014, with military experts expecting tests to continue.

 

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North Korean President Kim Jong Un will order additional missile tests, in an effort to annoy South Korea and the United States, while developing its controversial ballistic missile capability. It's ironic because North Korea wants to meet with political leaders from the south, but will continue its missile tests regardless of what happens.

 

"The North fired 100 artillery shells between 11:43 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.," according to the South Korean government. "The shells fell 1-8 km north of the NLL [Northern Limit Line] in the East Sea. The artillery pieces are evaluated as having ranges between 3 and 50 km, and there were no shells that fell south of the NLL."

Israel shoots down Hamas-owned drone using a Patriot missile

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) successfully shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as Israel and Hamas continue intense fighting in Gaza. The drone was likely unarmed and was promptly shot down with a Patriot missile, causing a large explosion - but Hamas said other drones were also sent into Israel to conduct "special missions."

 

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Although there is fear of armed UAVs, there are little details about the Hamas drone technology, and security experts say there is little fear of air threats targeting Israeli populations. Hamas reportedly says the group has surveillance drones, armed-missile drones, and some type of craft able to nose-dive into targets - a concern if some type of improvised explosive device (IED) is placed on the kamikaze aircraft.

 

"Drones are probably bigger and more problematic to smuggle into Gaza through tunnels than normal rockets, they are probably more expensive, and they are going to be more vulnerable and easier to shoot down," said Paul Schulte, London's King College senior research fellow of the department of war studies. "Their remote controlling could also be jammed by Israel."

Google, Novartis collaborate for contact lens that tracks blood sugar

Google has partnered with biotech giant Novartis to create "smart" contact lenses that will allow diabetics to track blood glucose levels. The lenses would allow diabetics to measure glucose levels in tear fluid, with the data immediately sent to a smartphone or other mobile device. The contacts should also be able to help the eye better focus if a medical scare occurs.

 

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Novartis wants to "transform eye care" and hopes to commercialize the Google X contact lens technology, as the biotech company looks to utilize technology to help manage human medical diseases and conditions.

 

"We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs," said Joseph Jimenez, Novartis CEO, in a press statement. "This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye."

Continue reading 'Google, Novartis collaborate for contact lens that tracks blood sugar' (full post)

Marine Corps developing amphibious assault vehicle

The United States Marine Corps is developing the Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC), which will be used to replace the Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC). The UHAC could help shuttle Marines, supplies, and vehicles quickly and safely to the shore, including unloading multiple tanks.

 

 

The UHAC has two tracks utilizing foam flaps that allow it to cover rough terrain and still be buoyant while in the water. The current prototype is about 18-feet high, meaning it's not necessarily difficult to see, but developers hope to streamline it a bit smaller before final production. It should also be able to travel up to 25 mph at top speed in the water, though only reaches 5 mph during testing.

 

U.S. military researchers are always investigating how they can develop next-generation technology to improve battlefield efficiency. The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab has a difficult task to create realistic technologies while fighting falling budgets, and hopes its UHAC shows what the department can truly do.

Continue reading 'Marine Corps developing amphibious assault vehicle' (full post)

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