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Half a year after it sent its first satellite into space, Skybox has been bought by Google. In a statement, Google said the company's satellites will circle the earth and keep its Maps service accurate with up to date imagery. Google hopes that some day it will also be able to use Skybox's satellites to improve internet access, particularly in disaster relief areas.
Google splashed 500 million dollars on the company, which was founded in California in 2009. Skybox hopes to specialize in providing commercial, high resolution satellite imagery around the world and on demand. As is typical with such deals, it's subject to the usual closing conditions.
Earlier this year, Skybox managed to snap some breathtaking, high definition video footage of our planet - from space.
Scientists have been studying the unique properties of gecko feet that allow the small lizard-like creatures to scale vertical surfaces for a long time. A product has resulted from some of that study and the US Department of Defense has been testing it out. The product is a handheld set of paddles that allowed a tester to scale a vertical glass wall using nothing but the paddles.
In the image, the tester is seen with a safety belt in place. That belt wasn't needed according to reports and was there for the safety of the climber during the test. The paddles were able to support a man weighing 218 pounds and carrying a pack weighing another 50 pounds as he climbed a 25-foot tall glass wall.
NASA's Curiosity rover is a workhorse that is still cruising around on the surface of Mars on its scientific quest to learn more about the red planet. While it's main mission is to learn about the possibility of life on Mars today or in the past, the rover is also doing other things for NASA too.
One of those other things was watching Mercury transit the sun. Mercury transiting the sun could only be seen from the surface of Mars, so NASA took the chance and watched the event. This marks the first time that any planet has been seen transiting the sun from another world.
One of the theories about how the Earth gained the moon is that a planet collided with Earth in the distant past and broke part of Earth off to mix with its own remnants to create the moon. Researchers have been studying moon rocks returned to Earth in the Apollo era and have made an interesting discovery.
The team has found evidence to support the theory that the moon was created with the help of two planets. Scientists have analyzed two different oxygen isotopes found in the lunar rocks. The measurements reveal equal traces of the moon and the colliding planet.
Some robots are creepy and for many, Pepper, the new humanoid robot from Softbank will fall firmly in that creepy category. The bot seeks to make itself a bit less creepy by wisecracking its way into your heart. This isn't some one of a kind concept robot either. Softbank wants to offer this robot for sale next year for around the price of a high-end PC.
That is rather vague since high-end is subjective when it comes to a PC. Pepper is made in cooperation with Aldebaran Robotics France and Foxconn. The bot has an assortment of visual and tactile sensors. Pepper is 120cm tall and weighs 28kg.
There are many challenges that space travelers on future manned missions to other planets will have to endure. One of those challenges is how exactly to get enough food on board the spacecraft to feed the crew and how to shelter the explorers from harm on the surface of another world.
NASA is currently performing experiments aboard the ISS that have to do with growing vegetables in zero gravity. Perhaps the cooler experiment that will be performed on the ISS comes in the form of an inflatable housing module that will be tested.
The European Commission has claimed it's launched the world's largest ever civilian research and innovation programme in robotics.
Teaming with 180 companies and research groups under the umbrella of euRobotics, today saw the official announcement of the EU initiative - which will cover manufacturing, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and households. The initiative is called SPARC and aims to build and strengthen Europe's position in the worldwide robotics market.
In an official statement, the European Commission's VP Neelie Kroes said that Europe must "be a producer and not merely a consumer of robots."
A teensy supernova-of-sorts (not pictured) has been created in lab conditions on a small island on planet Earth.
Three laser beams were focused on a carbon rod target about the size of a strand of hair in a low density, gas-filled chamber. The heat generated by this laser, at over a few million degrees Celsius, made the rod explode and then create a blast that expanded through the low density gas.
The purpose of the experiment was to gain greater understanding of the Cassiopeia A, roughly 11,000 light years away from Earth.
NASA has announced that the Kepler spacecraft has discovered a new Earth-like planet orbiting a star much like our sun about 560 light years away from us. The new planet has been dubbed a mega-Earth by scientists studying it. That name comes from the fact that the scientists believe the planet is about 17 times heavier than the Earth.
The team originally expected the massive planet to be a gas giant rather than a rocky world. The planet orbits its star every 45 days. The official name for the planet is Kepler-10c. To determine the weight of the planet, the team used special instruments to measure its density and found it was much heavier than Earth.
If you have ever watched the slick show on TV called Cosmos that is hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, or seen the memes online that feature his visage, you are familiar with the astrophysicist. Tyson has said that alien contact is the next frontier, but that contact may have already come and gone.
Tyson says that his greatest fear is that we have already been visited by extraterrestrials, but they chose to not make contact with us. He says that his fear is that they decided there is no intelligent life on Earth.