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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 47

NASA might have big news from the red planet but won't talk about it just yet

NPR ran a story this morning after talking with scientists at NASA. It seems as though the Curiosity rover has found something incredible on the surface of Mars while analyzing soil. The SAM instrument, which is a miniature chemistry lab, is capable of figuring out what a sample is made of.


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Data from SAM is currently coming back to NASA and it "looks really interesting." Of course, the scientists don't want to jump the gun announcing something that later turns out to be false. They almost had this happen back when the rover detected methane. It turned out the methane had come from air Curiosity had brought from Florida.


John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the rover mission: "We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting. The science team is busily chewing away on it as it comes down." He adds: "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good."


We won't know the details of what Curiosity has potentially discovered until a few weeks have passed. Until then, look forward to some potentially big news coming out of NASA. Let's hope the discovery is enough to get congress to increase funding for the space group.

Man films UFO over Denver, tells CNN who are skeptical, check it out themselves and film the same UFOs on camera

News outlet CNN were notified by a Denver Metro area man of a UFO he recorded on his digital camera. He stood on the hilltop of Federal Heights, Denver and pointed his camera south toward downtown Denver capturing caught footage of an unidentified flying object. The man caught the UFOs flying at between noon and 1pm. The UFOs are flying too fast to see with the naked eye, and can only be spotted when played back on video.



Steve Cowell, Aviation Expert, former commercial pilot, instructor and FAA accident prevention counsellor. "That is not an aeroplane, that is not a helicopter, those are not birds, uhhh, I can't identify it". Cowell told CNN that he knows of no aircraft that can fly that fast. Cowell did state that there was one other possibility, "perhaps there's some sort of debris, that is being raised up by some of the atmospheric winds".


But in his professional opinion, he tells CNN "it is an unidentified flying object". The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) monitors all air traffic across the entire of the United States, and sent the CNN a statement saying:


We've checked with Air TrafficControl and no one has had any reports of the activity you described. Nor have any of our employees observed any of this nature either visually or on their radar displays.

Continue reading 'Man films UFO over Denver, tells CNN who are skeptical, check it out themselves and film the same UFOs on camera' (full post)

Panasonic is live streaming a solar eclipse today, check it out

Panasonic is on uStream live streaming a video of a solar eclipse taking place in Australia. This is the first Australian solar eclipse since 2002, and will be the last until 2028. Even though solar eclipses are a common occurrence, most of the occurrences happen over water, so they aren't easily observed.


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Numerous people are planning on getting married under the full solar eclipse, a common occurrence. It's a bit cloudy, so the viewing is perfect, but it should still make for a spectacular sight. It's just about 30 minutes away from the total eclipse, so I recommend you tune into the Live Stream now.


UPDATE - there is a clearer view at this link of their second feed.

NASA & ESA test "interplanetary Internet" connection, controlled a Lego robot in Germany from the ISS

NASA and the European Space Agency have just gone where no man has ever gone before, by testing out an "interplanetary Internet" connection. It wasn't quite Mars to Earth, but involved an astronaut on the International Space Station controlling a small robot here on Earth.


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NASA is trying to respark the imagination of Americans, and with this latest mission showing off a new communications protocol, it is definitely on the right path. A new communications protocol capable of transmitting data between planets and spaceships - just typing this feels odd, but quite exciting at the same time.


The new protocol is known as Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN), and is capable of allowing for many disconnections and errors that would occur when a signal travels long distances through space. NASA deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation, Badri Younes, said in a statement:


The demonstration showed the feasibility of using a new communications infrastructure to send commands to a surface robot from an orbiting spacecraft and receive images and data back from the robot. The experimental DTN we've tested from the space station may one day be used by humans on a spacecraft in orbit around Mars to operate robots on the surface, or from Earth using orbiting satellites as relay stations.

Continue reading 'NASA & ESA test "interplanetary Internet" connection, controlled a Lego robot in Germany from the ISS' (full post)

China to launch manned mission spaceship in June 2013

It looks like China is taking off to the stars next year, with a new manned space mission locked in for June 2013. A senior official in charge of the manned space programme has said that the three-person crew would consist of two men and one woman, reports the BBC.


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China is the third country to independently send a person into space, second only after Russia and the United States. The new plan follows the flight of the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, which returned to Earth in late-June. The Shenzhou 9 was part of China's first manual space docking mission, which was a huge milestone in China's ambitious space programme.


The mission also saw another milestone: carrying China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang. Next year's mission could happen as early as June, but there are back-up launch windows slotted in for both July and August, according to Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of the manned space programme.

Continue reading 'China to launch manned mission spaceship in June 2013' (full post)

Tokelau islands can now solely rely on solar power

Solar panels are slowing oozing their way across the world, being slapped onto peoples' houses to power their houses. But, some panels don't have enough tech inside to completely power your house from the sunlight captured.


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Well, research and development into new methods of capturing sunlight on solar panels is an ongoing thing, with the New Zealand territory of Tokelau being a great example. Tokelau is a group of three islands in the South Pacific which now has enough solar panel installations to completely meet their electrical needs.


Just recently, the islands relied on importing diesel fuel to power electrical generators, but as the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Murry McCully has said, this has huge economic and environmental costs. The project was funded by the New Zealand government to the tune of $7 million, with a collection of solar panels installed on each of the three islands.

Continue reading 'Tokelau islands can now solely rely on solar power' (full post)

Boeing test out CHAMPS, a microwave missile capable of disabling electricity to multiple targets

Better slap that tin foil hat not only on yourself, but any electrically-powered devices you may own, which would be a lot because Boeing are working on something that could take them all out in a single shot.


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Boeing are working on a newly tested Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) that its missile can slams targets underneath with microwaves that can take down computers, power systems and pretty much anything electrical.


CHAMP can deliver a payload that is invisible, and the prototype is currently capable of targeting multiple individual buildings all without detonating anything, or hurting civilians with it's "blast". Boeing will develop CHAMP in a multi-year program, and currently has no guarantees this will end up as a product for the military's use. Imagine what these things could do if they were reverse-engineered. Worse, imagine what they could do if they were hacked.

Graphene could soon be used for flexible, ultra-thin devices

We all want thinner devices, but how about flexible? It's all an inevitability, but what materials would be used to deliver such devices to the masses? Well, it looks like graphene, a carbon-based material, could be the answer.


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The American Chemical Society, graphene is a "wonder material", which is 100 times stronger than steel and if stretched out thin enough, a single ounce of the material could cover 28 football fields. The ACS have said that the material is currently under development for use in solar panels "that could be used to cover the outside surface of a building, in addition to the roof".


As soon as these solar panels start getting bolted to buildings and houses, the next step would be smart devices. The ACS explains:


Touch screens made with graphene as their conductive element could be printed on thin plastic instead of glass, so they would be light and flexible, which could make cell phones as thin as a piece of paper and foldable enough to slip into a pocket. Because of graphene's incredible strength, these cell phones would be nearly unbreakable.

Physicists could prove that we live in a computer simulation, probably without sunglasses, leather and slow-mo

When The Matrix came out in 1999, so many people walked out thinking "are we living in a computer program?" and it looks like physicists are thinking outside the square when it comes to our origins.


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Nick Bostrom has hypothesized that the existence of our race could end up being nothing more than the algorithmic results of a computer simulation. It may sound a little nuts, but it sounds no less crazy than some theories given to use by not science and religion.


The best bit of this is that researchers have reached the point where they have a way that they can test this thought experiment. A team of scientists out of the University of Bonn in Germany suggest that even the most powerful Universe simulation would be subject to certain limitations of its host Universe.

Continue reading 'Physicists could prove that we live in a computer simulation, probably without sunglasses, leather and slow-mo' (full post)

Felix Baumgartner breaks sound barrier skydiving from space

Felix Baumgartner has become the first skydiver to reach a truly special milestone: skydiving from the edge of our planet toward the ground faster than the speed of sound. Baumgartner reached a top speed of 833.9mph (1342km/h).


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Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, spent two hours travelling up in a balloon to reach dizzying heights of 128,100 feet, (24 miles or 39km). After which he jumped out of his capsule, and spend four minutes in complete freefall, all in a pressurized spacesuit. This gave Baumgartner a world record for the highest ever freefall.


Once he hit the ground, he took a few steps and dropped to his knees, raising his hands in absolute triumph. Baumgartner said to the media just after his record-breaking skydive:


Let me tell you - when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don't think about breaking records anymore, you don't think about gaining scientific data - the only thing that you want is to come back alive.

Continue reading 'Felix Baumgartner breaks sound barrier skydiving from space' (full post)

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