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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 48

A real life Wall-E tugs at your heartstrings

Thanks to a dedicated robot fanatic, Wall-E, that crazy cute robot from a Disney movie, has been brought to life. The entire project started back in 2010 after Mike Senna finished his replica R2-D2 robot. His idea for Wall-E came from seeing how kids reacted to his R2-D2 robot at City of Hope hospital in California.

 

 

This build is no easy task. As a case modder myself, I understand how difficult it is to fabricate parts and how frustrating it can be if a detail part isn't exactly right. Adding the motion seen in the video above makes the build that much more complicated. There are no plans, no kits, no pre-built parts--everything had to be scratch built using the movie as the plans.

 

The project was almost scrapped after 18 months as the workload was so massive for this build. However, Senna persevered and some 3,800 hours of work later, the project was finished. The final result and Senna's return to the City of Hope hospital makes the entire project worth all of the work and love and blood and sweat that went into the project.

Continue reading 'A real life Wall-E tugs at your heartstrings' (full post)

NASA would like you to make infographics about space

NASA has spent a lot of time looking upwards at the night sky. So much time that they have loads of pictures and data, so much that they can't really handle it all. This is where you come in. Yes, you, the person reading this. NASA would like you to take the data and pictures and turn them into pretty infographics.

 

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Infographics, the Internet's favorite way of learning information anymore, are images that contain data and graphics, charts, and other visual aids in order to help present complex ideas or numbers in ways that most people can understand. Since space is quite massive and quite complex, an infographic is the perfect way to share the data NASA has collected.

 

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has put together a new initiative imaginatively called JPL Infographics. Once you register for an account at JPL's website, all the data and images are freely available for use. This includes pictures and graphs that can be used to build your infographic. Once done, they can be uploaded and viewed by JPL staff who will vote on accuracy and ability to inform.

China to land exploratory craft on the Moon in 2013

China are set to settle for infinity now, and not beyond, with plans to land an exploratory craft on one and only naturally orbiting satellite, the Moon, for the first time. China's third lunar probe, Chang'e-3, is set for take off in the second half of next year, the state Xinhua news agency reported late yesterday. Chang'e-3 is named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon.

 

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Other reports have stated that it would land, and transmit back a survey of the Moon's surface. If China are successful in landing the craft on the Moon, it will mark a very large milestone for its space development. Xinhua have said it is part of a project to orbit, land and return from the Moon. China have said on its last white paper on space that they are working toward landing a man on the Moon, but no time frame has been given.

 

Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space program as a symbol of its rising global importance, growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the one poverty-stricken nation. If China are successful, it will be quite the media event for 2013.

 

The one downside to all of this? The United States used to be at the bleeding edge of this type of space exploration, considering all the technological advances we've seen in the past 50 years, it's quite sad to see that China are now looking to land on the Moon for a look around.

Man designs and builds trashcan which moves to catch flying trash

A cool science project has brought something that every person on earth has been waiting for. Think back to all those Sci-Fi movies. What do they all have in common? If you said moving trashcans that adjust their position to catch the trash you have just thrown towards it, you'd be correct.

 

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And one would think with all of the technology we have some researcher would have been able to build this some time ago. Well, it turns out that people who are too lazy to get up and place trash in the can are too lazy to work on inventing a trashcan like this. However, an inventor by the name of FRP has managed to design and build one for himself.

 

FRP built everything from scratch from the wheeled base to the circuit boards and programming. He used a Kinect sensor that monitors the entire room and watches for trash to become airborne. It then tracks the trash and directs the trashcan to move to where it is likely to land. The video makes it look pretty darn accurate, but FRP admits the accuracy wouldn't win an MVP award quite yet.

 

If he manages to improve the accuracy, it's likely this invention will one day make him a very rich man.

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Scientists at CERN discovers the "God particle", or Higgs boson

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have done it, after more than 30 years of experimentation, and billions upon billions of dollars in research and the use and construction of the Large Hadron Collider, have found the Higgs boson, or "God particle".

 

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Some might dismiss this as nothing, but this is considered an absolutely mind-blowing achievement for all scientists, researchers and everyone in between. The Higgs boson is a subatomic particle which is thought to give everything in our universe, mass. Mass is a physical property which gives matter its weight here on Earth, and other bodies which exert gravity.

 

But, you don't just stumble upon this, and when you do, you require some serious confirmation before you make these types of claims. Scientists are 99.99999999999-percent certain, and this is about as close as one can get. The scientists were able to calculate that the new particle is very near the "five-sigma" level of significance, meaning that there is less than a one in a million chance that their results are a statistical fluke.

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New reality show to be based on Mars, $6 billion cost to establish permanent colony by 2023, Snooki will be too old by then

Ever wished there were a reality show that wasn't based on this planet? Well, just wait another decade and your wish might just come true. A Dutch company is determined to establish a permanent colony on Mars, and is looking to spend $6 billion doing so.

 

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The plans for a reality show is grandiose, with the project dubbed 'Mars One', and will drop four astronauts on Mars in April 2023, with none of them ever returning to Earth. In order to pony up $6 billion for this venture, the project is set to stage a media spectacle like the world has never, ever seen previously. An interplanetary reality show, along the lines of Big Brother.

 

Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft, an ambassador for Mars One, has said in an introductory video posted on the company's website:

 

This project seems to be the only way to fulfill humanity's dream to explore outer space. It is going to be an exciting experiment. Let's get started.

Continue reading 'New reality show to be based on Mars, $6 billion cost to establish permanent colony by 2023, Snooki will be too old by then' (full post)

Japan, Russia looking to set up bases on the Moon

If you've ever imagined being a fly on the wall in an important meeting between companies, or corporations, this might be it. The heads of the space agencies for Europe, Canada, and Russia as well as senior representatives from the space agencies of India and Japan, were all together in a hotel in Washington, DC, where they were talking about the benefits of international collaboration at the Global Space Exploration Conference.

 

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The leader of the space agency who's HQ is just a few blocks away, was not on the stage. NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, was in Florida where he was watching the attempt by SpaceX to launch a capsule to the International Space Station. But, it's not strange for NASA to not be involved with these talks, as the agency has had a hard time working with others in joint ventures, and Europe in particular has had to turn elsewhere for partners.

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SpaceX launch aborted at T-minus 0.5 seconds, should launch next Tuesday

SpaceX, the space transport company out of California founded by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk, were ready to launch their first private spacecraft on its voyage to the International Space Station on Saturday, but at T-minus 0.5 seconds, it was aborted.

 

 

Technicians pegged it on a faulty engine valve, which was responsible for aborting the first launch attempt within just half of a second remaining on the countdown, after all nine first-stage engines had ignited. Computers had detected high pressure in one engine's combustion chamber, triggering an automatic shutdown.

 

The countdown reached zero, but SpaceX holds its rockets on the launch pad for a few seconds after ignition in order to ensure everything is functioning. In this case, it could've been a very, very good thing that the lift-off was halted, and SpaceX's delayed launch for a few seconds definitely helped.

Continue reading 'SpaceX launch aborted at T-minus 0.5 seconds, should launch next Tuesday' (full post)

Chinese researchers teleport photons over 60 miles

The Chinese have beamed up Scotty. Starting in 1997, researchers have been able to quantum teleport photons, where a record was set by researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai.

 

Two years ago, this team successfully transported a photon over 16km. This same team has just released some new findings, where they've claimed to have teleported photons nearly 100km, or over 60 miles. Incredible!

 

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How the process works is when a photon is teleported, they aren't physically transporting the proton, but instead the information that is contained in it through quantum entanglement. The second photon at the end of the teleport then becomes the first one, or the identical qubit of information. This means that information is exchanged, all without any physical movement.

 

This would be perfect for information, instead of it travelling through cables or satellites, information would stay in a single place, shoot across the other side of the planet (or solar system?) and recreate itself in its intended position. This is because quantum teleportation has to be done in free space. Fiberoptics just don't work because once you go over a distance of around 1km, the fiber absorbs so much light that the information is lost.

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Any Futurama fans? High speed tube transport concept similar to the show could go NY to Hollywood in 45 minutes

The future has once again been predicted by a TV show. A new concept vehicle that is strikingly similar to that in the TV cartoon Futurama could make trips around the world in only 6 hours. New York to Hollywood could be completed in a mere 45 minutes. All of this is thanks to magnetic levitation.

 

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This new concept is called Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) and works by moving at incredibly high speeds. Each tube vehicle car thing (honestly, I'm not sure what to call them!) seats 6 people and has a baggage compartment. The passenger capsule is then put into a vacuum tube where it is levitated leaving it frictionless and air drag free.

 

Without friction or drag, the system is efficient and can attain a top speed of approximately 4,000 miles per hour. No typo there, folks. This speed allows it to do the incredible feats described above. Even with that speed, passengers would experience no more G-force than a typical car ride down the freeway.

 

Better yet, the people behind the technology say that it could be available in the next 10 years. "Just like trains, initial ETT use will be for cargo, and along high use routes of travel," ET3 says in a statement on its official site. "Since the system is efficient in energy and materials used, high-speed travel will be low-cost, and sustainable. Eventually, everyone in the world may use the system."

Continue reading 'Any Futurama fans? High speed tube transport concept similar to the show could go NY to Hollywood in 45 minutes' (full post)

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