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One would think that NASA would have some incredible next-gen technology, devices that the normal human being doesn't get to see - but nope - the US space agency has revealed it used an Xbox One sensor and Oculus Rift to control a robot arm in real-time.
NASA used the consumer technology to control the arm by combining positional tracking from the Kinect, mixed with the rotational tracking and first-person perspective provided by the Oculus Rift. It's viewable in the video above, which makes a mere human being into a robot. NASA wants to use the technology in space, so we should see more of this going into the future.
Today NASA confirmed that the Sun has flipped its magnetic field and has began its 25th solar cycle. This means that the Sun has flipped its magnetic field 24 times since we have began keeping record. The magnetic reversal occurs every 11 years and despite what many tin-foil hatters would lead you to believe, this is totally natural.
In the video above NASA has illustrated how the process takes place, and provides a complete timeline of Suns magnetic field since 1997, the end of the 23rd Solar Cycle. Other than some increased Sun Spots, and a few more flairs than normal, NASA says that we should not worry too much about the poles reversal.
Four days ago we reported that NASA had ordered urgent repairs to the International Space Station (ISS), with these repairs now beginning with a 6.5-hour spacewalk.
Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins will begin the repairs, where they will hopefully replace a faulty piece of cooling equipment. This is the first of three spacewalks the astronauts will do, with the last one happening on Christmas Day, just a dew days from now.
NASA has ordered two American astronauts to do some urgent repairs on the International Space Station, a job that could continue right into Christmas for the astronauts, and the space agency.
Station managers decided it needed to send out two astronauts as soon as possible, with the spacewalk to see a pump with a bad valve being replaced. The task will require two to three spacewalks, which will take place on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday - Christmas Day. NASA astronaut, Rick Mastracchio, said: "The next week will be busy with space walks so not much tweeting from here."
With half of the International Space Station's cooling system shut down, this job is a top priority. With the six-man crew on board requiring all non-essential equipment be turned off, including some science experiments. The astronauts themselves are safe, but NASA of course wants the system up and running at 100% once again, especially if another failure is to occur, which could put the lives of the astronauts, and the ISS itself at risk.
This morning Gigastone announced the launch of a new USB On-The-Go drive designed for use with both standard and mobile USB capable devices. On-the-Go drives are growing ever more popular recently with the introduction of Android devices that can utilize their USB port for external storage.
The all new Gigastone On-The-Go drive features a capacity of up to 32GB and allows content from mobile devices, PCs, and Macs to be quickly transferred between each other. The device also functions as an easy to use external storage solution for Android Devices.
"People today face a dilemma of having material stored on their PC or laptop and needing it on their smartphone or tablet," said Sherry Chapman, senior director of marketing at Gigastone. "Our new dual-drive, bi-directional On-The-Go USB/MicroUSB connector is the perfect way for 'on-the-go' individuals to save, backup, or transfer files. And the process is as easy as 1-2-3."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.