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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 29

Get ready for the commercial drone market boom around the corner

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently creating new guidelines so unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are able to commercially fly in U.S. airspace.

 

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Unlike many other countries, the U.S. has very crowded airspace, and the potential for safety issues in commercial drone crashes, will need to be properly addressed.

 

"Aerial robotics will be a significant market, assuming the FAA doesn't put huge restrictions on it," said Michael Blades, Frost & Sullivan analyst, when interviewed by the San Jose Mercury News.

 

Drones are still typically thought of in a traditional sense: something used to shoot GPS and laser-guided missiles at targets, but civilian companies express great interest in using drones for day-to-day tasks.

Continue reading 'Get ready for the commercial drone market boom around the corner' (full post)

President Obama teases that the US is 'building Iron Man'

During a recent speech, US President Barack Obama announced that the US government is "building Iron Man". You can watch the announcement below, which feels very similar to the ending of the original Iron Man, where Tony Stark announces "I am Iron Man".

 

 

President Obama had a moment of fun with the speech, teasing that even if the US government was working on a super-suit, that it would be classified. He does well with his comedic timing during the speech, where he he corrects himself after stating that the US government is working on an Iron Man-like suit by saying "Not really. Maybe. It's classified".

Continue reading 'President Obama teases that the US is 'building Iron Man'' (full post)

Expert claims global warming will cause more murder, rape

A recent study from Michael Ranson, a Senior Associate with Abt Associates, has quite the claim about global warming. His study claims that global warming will lead to more violent crimes, including rape and murder.

 

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Ranson claims that climate change will lead to an additional "1.2 million aggravated, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft in the United States". The study is called "Crime, Weather and Climate Change", and you can take a look at it here.

 

Ranson states that the analysis he provided is from a "30-year panel of monthly crime and weather data for 2997 US counties. I identify the effect of weather on monthly crime by using a semi-parametric bin estimator and controlling for state-by-month and county-by-year fixed effects".

Continue reading 'Expert claims global warming will cause more murder, rape' (full post)

K5 security robot set to begin protecting Silicon Valley campus

Science Fiction has long imagined a world where robot sentries patrol the streets, office buildings, and college campuses, and today those fictions became reality. A company called Knightscope has unveiled a new 5-foot tall robot dubbed K5 that is loaded with sensors, cameras, and connectivity to make it the best security robot ever to roam the hallways of silicon valley.

 

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The K5 was launched today in San Francisco, and has the ability to see, feel, hear and smell, and can issue warnings of biochemical attacks, leaks, or even notify officials of high levels of radiation. The robot uses complex algorithms to scan images it captures with its cameras to detect human threats such as a gun wielding criminal, at which point it automatically notifies authorities. K5 is also capable of scanning license plates on-the-fly to verify cars parked in parking lots belong to employees or authorized visitors.

Continue reading 'K5 security robot set to begin protecting Silicon Valley campus' (full post)

Flock of drones flying autonomously over the skies might be coming

A research team from Hungary is working on a project to see if 10 drones can fly autonomously with the ability to self-organize in-flight.

 

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If there is an issue for flying space, some drones will hover and wait until they are able to continue on their route, according to researchers. Most current drone technology is focused on allowing someone in a remote location to fly the drones, though there is growing interest in autonomous drone technology.

 

"Drones are most commonly associated with war, terrorism, and cyberattacks, but drones can be used in more peaceful civil applications as well," said Gabor Vasarhelyi, leader of the robotics research phase. "With a flock of drones, you can create a self-organized monitoring system from the air, or you can even deliver food or mail."

 

Researchers plan to demonstrate the technology during the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems later this year. There has been a significant amount of research, with a few different attempts to create 3D flying drone flocks, and collective motion could make these drones plausible.

Continue reading 'Flock of drones flying autonomously over the skies might be coming' (full post)

Physicist wants 1,000 feet high walls to block tornadoes in the US

Central America is home to some of the most ferocious tornadoes on the planet, but one scientist wants to see mother nature stopped, through the use of gigantic walls built across Tornado Alley.

 

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Rongjia Tao, a physicist with Temple University, says: "If we build three east-west great walls in the American Midwest .... one in North Dakota, one along the border between Kansas and Oklahoma to the east, and the third one in south Texas and Louisiana, we will diminish the tornado threats in the Tornado Alley forever".

 

Tao says that the walls would need to be 1,000 feet high, and around 150 feet wide. But at an estimated cost of $60 billion per 100 miles, and the engineering challenges, "it wouldn't work", according to tornado researcher Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. Brooks said that "If his hypothesis was true, we'd already have the thing he wants to build naturally. This is essentially a case of a physicist, who may be very good in his sub-discipline, talking about a subject about which he is abysmally ignorant".

Continue reading 'Physicist wants 1,000 feet high walls to block tornadoes in the US' (full post)

Drone ships may change the face of cargo shipping in the next decade

Odds are that many of the products that you buy spent some time on a ship crossing the ocean at one time. About 90% of the world's trade goods are shipped by boat. The shipping industry is gigantic and is worth about $375 billion annually.

 

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Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc has announced a new plan for ships that it thinks could revolutionize shipping and save shippers lots of money while reducing pollution. The plan is to make drone ships that are controlled from a virtual bridge on dry land and have no human crew.

 

The ships would use redundant systems like aircraft and an array of sensors to see what is in the water in front of them. The crew is one of the highest cost centers for a shipping company with crew costs consuming about 44% of the entire operating expenses for a ship.

Continue reading 'Drone ships may change the face of cargo shipping in the next decade' (full post)

The biggest ever meteor to hit the Moon rammed it at 37,900 mph

A gigantic 400kg meteor smashed into the Moon on September 11 last year, hitting the lunar surface at 37,900 mph. The meteor itself was ten times larger than the previously recorded hit, which left a 131-foot-wide crater.

 

 

Jose Madiedo of the MIDAS project said he "couldn't imagine" such a collision before seeing it himself on the day, where he added: "This is the largest, brightest impact we have ever observed on the Moon". Scientists at MIDAS had been studying lunar collisions since 2009, said that the crash was quite explosive, releasing the equivalent energy of 15 tons of TNT.

 

The meteor hit the dark side of the Moon, which is unfortunate as the blast was big enough that it would've been visible with the naked eye here on Earth. Madiedo said: "Usually lunar impacts have a very short duration - just a fraction of a second. But the impact we detected lasted over eight seconds. It was almost as bright as the Pole Star, which makes it the brightest impact event that we have recorded from Earth".

Continue reading 'The biggest ever meteor to hit the Moon rammed it at 37,900 mph' (full post)

Oldest piece of Earth ever has been found, 4.375 billion years old

For quite some time now, scientist have known that the earth is over 4 billion years old, but just how old exactly has been a mystery with little evidence to back up claims and theories. Today scientist announced that the oldest fragment of the Earth that has ever been found has been discovered in the Jack Hills mountain range in Western Australia.

 

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The Gem is a fragment of Zircon that formed just 100 million years after the meteor impact that caused part of the earth to be ejected into space and formed the moon. This means that the zircon fragment pictured above is a mere 4.375 billion years old, making it the oldest piece of the earth ever uncovered. The age conformation came from the University of Wisconsin, Madison where John Valley and other researchers used atom-probe technology to count the individual lead atoms within the sample. This method allows scientist to accurately date geological samples with absolute confidence in the results.

 

Previously, a method involving counting lead isotopes was used to date the samples, but proved to be inaccurate as lead can migrate from part of the crystal to another over hundreds of millions of years causing the originating source to have an apparent older age than it actually is. The new atom-probe method is much more accurate and researchers say that it proves the chemical records inside these zircons are trustworthy.

Elon Musk unveils landing legs for SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket via Twitter

Today Elon Musk unveiled the new landing leg attachments that have been fitted to Space X's Falcon 9 rocket. The legs are intended to make recovery of the rocket's lift stages easier and more efficient. Currently Space X glides the first stage of the rocket into the Atlantic Ocean several hundred miles from the launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida. As you would expect, this form of recovery is expensive, and time consuming.

 

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With the addition of the new landing legs, Space X hopes to eventually fly the rocket's first stage back to a landing site near the launch pad, and have it land itself vertically, making recovery and reuse much easier and far cheaper than current methods. The new landing legs are built out of a carbon fiber outer skin with a honeycomb inner layer comprised from high-alloy aluminum. The legs are planned to play on the Falcon 9's mission to the International Space Station on March 16th, but the first stage will be guided to the Atlantic for this first flight as Space X needs to test how the legs handle take off before attempting a vertical landing.

Continue reading 'Elon Musk unveils landing legs for SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket via Twitter' (full post)

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