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SpaceX has been ferrying supplies and other items to and from the ISS successfully for a long while now. The company has a commercial resupply contract with NASA. SpaceX also has plans to eventually send astronauts into space aboard a new version of the Dragon capsule dubbed the Dragon V2.
The Dragon V2 capsule was unveiled this week showing the SpaceX capsule that is designed to carry seven astronauts into space. The capsule will be able to bring humans to the ISS and return them to Earth. Once approved for use the Dragon V2 will eliminate the need for US astronauts to hitch a ride to the ISS on Russian Soyuz capsules.
Thanks to the joint efforts of MIT and NASA, the moon has now been equipped with an enviable 19mbps internet connection.
Yes, that moon. A satellite orbiting the extraterrestrial space rock is able to pick up a laser and then refocus it into optical fiber, before being converting this back into data. Four telescopes in New Mexico shone infrared light to the moon, but an engineering problem emerged in sending the signals uninterrupted by the Earth's atmosphere.
"Communicating at high data rates from Earth to the moon with laser beams is challenging because of the 400,000-kilometre distance spreading out the light beam," MIT Lincoln's Mark Stevens said. "It's doubly difficult going through the atmosphere, because turbulence can bend light-causing rapid fading or dropouts of the signal at the receiver."
The result is an internet connection that somehow manages to trounce the average here on Earth - including in countries like Britain, according to the Mirror.
Robotics is a growing industry both for science and research and for hobbyists who want to build a robot in their own home. Intel has announced a 3D printed robotics kit that will be on the market by the end of the year. The consumer version of the kit will sell for $1600.
Those who want to build their bot from the ground up will also be able to get their hands-on the hardware reference designs allowing them to 3D print the basic parts and assemble the kit on their own. A kit with the parts for the bot that can't be 3D printed will go on sale at 21stCenturyRobot.com.
Until the US has its own spacecraft that is certified for carrying passengers, American astronauts heading to the ISS continue to hitch a ride with Russia. Recently a Soyuz spacecraft docked with the ISS after a perfect launch from its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The spacecraft had three crewmembers on board with one Russian, one German, and one American. US and Russian space agencies have continued to work together despite tensions over Russia actions in Ukraine.
Items that traveled into space during the early NASA space missions can bring big money at auction. Recently a number of items from some of the Apollo moon missions were auctioned off. One of the items that raised the most money was a hand controller from the Apollo 15 Lunar module called Falcon.
It raised the most money in the auction with the winning bidder paying $610,063 for the controller. Commander Dave Scott used that hand controller to land on the surface of the moon along with pilot James Irwin on July 30, 1971.
A group of researchers has created a new remote controlled robot that is called the OutRunner. The robot gets its name from the fact that it can run very quickly with a top speed of 20 miles per hour. The team behind the bot says that it could be one of the fastest all terrain robots in the world.
The robot is able to run on a single charge for up to two hours. Dimensions for the robot are under 2-feet tall and it weighs about three pounds. It has three legs on each side of the central motor and has its own processing unit.
Researchers around the world are working on drone aircraft. When most of us think of drones, we think of large aircraft that are used for surveillance. Not all drones are large though, some are as small as insects. A group of researchers has created a tiny drone that looks like a bug.
Fourteen different research teams have been working on solutions for small drones that have mechanisms adapted from nature and use mechanisms found in birds, bats, insects, and snakes. One of those drones is a small unit that is designed to investigate in hard to reach areas. The small flying robot is about the size of a penny and can take off, land, and hover for sustained periods. Teams are continuing to study insects to determine how they stay aloft in windy conditions.
NASA and a group of amateur astronomers are working together to put an old satellite back on task. When the little satellite, known as ISEE-3, flies back by the Earth next month, scientists will have a short window to attempt to communicate with the old satellite and get it back to work on its original mission. The problem for NASA with getting the satellite back on task was that it didn't have the resources to take on the project due to a tight budget.
Amateur scientists stepped up and took up the challenge of communicating with the satellite. NASA has endorsed the group, known as ISEE-3 Reboot Project. The original mission for the satellite was created in the Carter Administration. ISEE-3 stands for International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 and was launched in 1978.
NASA and many other organizations are searching the universe for evidence that life exists on other planets. while the near term search is focusing on looking on and under the surface of Mars and other planets in our solar system, other researchers are looking much further away.
One of the planets being closely looked at for signs of possible life is called Kepler-186f. This is the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. That means it is the right distance from the sun for liquid water to pool on the surface.
For more than 100 years now, astronomers have gazed into space and attempted to figure out what fuels the massive hurricane-like storm that orbits just below Jupiter's equator. During the 1800's the storm was estimated to measure more than 25,000 miles across, and recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope show that it is just a mere 10,250 miles across today. To put that into perspective, back in 1890, three Earth's could fit inside the storm, and today only one would could squeeze in.
At the moment, scientist have no conclusive theory on why the storm is shrinking, it has been able to figure out that the storm is shrinking faster as they years go by, and that it is currently losing about 580 miles in diameter per year. One early theory suggest that Jupiter's atmosphere is losing some of its volatility and bleeding off energy, which in turn is causing the storm to slowly die down.