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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 52

You can now watch a livestream broadcast of the Earth from the ISS

On April 18, 2014, the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment was launched. HDEV was launched in the "trunk" of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft that has been setup outside of the International Space Station (ISS).

 

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There are four commercial HD video cameras on-board, which were installed on the External Payload Facility of the ESA Columbus module a few days ago. The cameras and electronics require a pressurized box in order to protect them from the dark beyond that is space. Anyone can connect to this and watch a livestream of Earth from UStream, something you can do here.

 

There will be moments of blackness when the ISS is in orbital night, which happens every 90 minutes, and lasts for around 40 minutes. Downtime is something that happens too, but this could be due to early problems of the new setup. The biggest point here is that it is all part of a student project, and not the government or NASA doing this - many years ago.

NASA shows off Buzz Lightyear-like Z-2 spacesuit

NASA has been working on the spacesuit of the future in an effort to design a suit that is easier for astronauts to work with in the harsh environment of space. NASA recently announced the winner of its space suit design challenge and an external layer called "Technology" will be added to the Z-2 space suit in the future.

 

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That "Technology" layer uses some cool tech with glow in the dark patterns and electroluminescent wiring. That spacesuit tech took the top spot in the competition grabbing about 63% of all votes cast, or about 147,000 votes.

Continue reading 'NASA shows off Buzz Lightyear-like Z-2 spacesuit' (full post)

Elon Musk confirms Falcon 9 achieve soft touchdown, but lost to storm

Today, SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk, announced that the company's Falcon 9 rocket's boost stage had successfully achieved a soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean, a major milestone for private spaceflight. This milestone will enable SpaceX to reuse the fuel container as well as some rocket parts which will save the company millions and allow for quicker turnaround times between launches.

 

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Unfortunately, Musk said that while the soft landing was successful, the boost stage was lost to the depths of the Atlantic due to a stormfront that caused very rough seas. Musk said that based on the data that was received during the lading, the Falcon 9's landing legs did infact deploy and the rocket stood vertical in the ocean for several seconds before the storm causing it to sink. SpaceX did confirm that they have video footage of the landing, and will post it on their website once internal analysis and editing have finished.

German scientists have frozen light for a record-breaking 60 seconds

If you had told scientists 100 years ago that we would be freezing light, they would be astounded - how would you have done it? Well, German scientists have done just that: frozen light for a record-breaking 60 seconds.

 

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Why would you want to freeze light? For one, to make sure that it stays in place to ensure that it keeps its quantum coherence properties - to make it possible to build light-based quantum memory. This means that the longer light can be held in place, the better it is for computation. This would pave the way for more secure quantum communications, over longer distances.

 

Holding light is no easy task however, as you can't just call in Mr Freeze and ask him to say "Stick Around". Light is an electromagnetic radiation that moves at an incredible 300 million meters per second. On top of that, over 60 seconds, light can travel around 11 million miles (or 18 million km), or 20 round trips to the Moon.

Continue reading 'German scientists have frozen light for a record-breaking 60 seconds' (full post)

The Pentagon's latest experiment, a Terminator-like rescue robot

The Pentagon has been building itself some robots, with a new Terminator-like rescue robot that would be deployed into disaster situations, where it would search for survivors.

 

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The 6-foot 2-inch robot named Atlas is one of the entrants in a contest that is designed to build a robotic hero, thanks to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The competition sees entrants' robots capable of finding their way through rough terrain and entering buildings. The competition was created after the magnitude-9 earthquake in Japan which crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant and sent a tsunami into the country.

 

DARPA is The Pentagon's go-to research department, which has just shown off its Atlas robot - featuring LED lighting, but was switched off and simply in a "static" display for the competition. Head of DARPA's Tactical Technology Office, Brad Tousley, told US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Hollywood has portrayed an unrealistic expectation in peoples' minds about what robots are capable of - at least at this point in time.

Continue reading 'The Pentagon's latest experiment, a Terminator-like rescue robot' (full post)

Obama must explain drone strikes against US citizens overseas

The U.S. Department of Justice must hand over information that justified the launch of drone attacks, including at least two cases in which U.S. citizens were killed abroad. Of note, there has been significant concern over the legality of killing U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike while hiding in Yemen in 2011.

 

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"Whatever protection the legal analysis might once have had has been lost by virtue of public statements of public officials at the highest levels and official disclosure of the DOJ White Paper," wrote New York Circuit Judge Jon Newman.

 

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has told the federal government to release a Justice Department memo from 2010 that discussed the legality of drone attacks on U.S. citizens overseas.

Continue reading 'Obama must explain drone strikes against US citizens overseas' (full post)

NASA SpaceX Dragon resupply mission to ISS launched Friday

NASA was set about this time last week to launch a resupply mission to the ISS with lots of supplies and scientific gear onboard. Among that scientific gear was the laser communications platform I mentioned before. Before the rocket carrying the Dragon capsule could launch, a leak was discovered that postponed the launch.

 

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NASA had hoped that the launch would take place last Friday, and it did. NASA has announced that nearly 2.5 tons of science investigations and cargo lifted off from Cap Canaveral Florida at 3:25pm EDT on Friday. The launch of the mission marked the third SpaceX cargo delivery to the ISS on its $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract.

Continue reading 'NASA SpaceX Dragon resupply mission to ISS launched Friday' (full post)

NASA LADEE lunar explorer slams into moon's surface, as expected

NASA slammed the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft into the moon, following a successful 100-day science mission.

 

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Prior to crashing into the moon, as expected, LADEE was seen flying at an altitude of 300 feet, anticipating an impact before the end of the weekend. NASA researchers hope to use the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to photograph the site of impact, along with capturing additional information about the lunar atmosphere.

 

"At the time of impact, LADEE was traveling at a speed of 3,600 miles per hour - about three times the speed of a high-powered rifle bullet," said Rick Elphic, NASA Ames LADEE project scientist, in a press statement. "There's nothing gentle about impact at these speeds - it's just a question of whether LADEE made a localized craterlet on a hillside or scattered debris across a flat area. It will be interesting to see what kind of feature LADEE has created."

China continues to push space program with increased militarization

The Chinese air force has received a request from President Xi Jinping to increase the department's air and space capabilities moving forward, in an effort to develop a "new-type combat force," so they are better able to deal with any type of air and space emergencies.

 

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It's not a big surprise to hear that China wants to help militarize space efforts, for whatever reasons, as western security officials noted a large amount of space budget in China stems from military-based efforts.

 

"The United States has paid considerable attention and resources to the integration of capabilities in both air and space, and other powers have also moved progressively toward space militarization," said Wang Ya'nan, Aerospace Knowledge Magazine, in a statement to Chinese media. "Though China has stated that it sticks to the peaceful use of space, we must make sure that we have the ability to cope with others' operations in space."

Continue reading 'China continues to push space program with increased militarization' (full post)

Wireless power is close, 40 smartphones powered simultaneously at 5m

Wireless power is something I simply can't live without, but I can only charge one or two devices at once. But, over in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, scientists have used something they call the Dipole Coil Resonant System to charge 40 smartphones simultaneously, even if the power source is up to 5m away.

 

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We already know about MIT's Coupled Magnetic Resonance System (CMRS) which was unveiled in 2007, which used a magnetic field in order to charge devices - but it had an envelope of 2.1m. CMRS had some major technical limitations for commercialization, most of which haven't been solved: "a rather complicated coil structure (composed of four coils for input, transmission, reception, and load); bulky-size resonant coils; high frequency (in a range of 10 MHz) required to resonate the transmitter and receiver coils, which results in low transfer efficiency; and a high Q factor of 2,000 that makes the resonant coils very sensitive to surroundings such as temperature, humidity, and human proximity".

 

Chun T. Rim, a Professor of Nuclear & Quantum Engineering at KAIST, along with his team, developed the "Dipole Coil Resonant System" or DCRS. This system is for an extended range of inductive power transfer, at up to 5 meters between transmitter and receiver coils. Professor Rim's solution to CMRS' problems are all but solved with DCRS.

 

The technology is capable of powering "a large LED TV as well as three 40 W-fans can be powered from a 5-meter distance" according to to Professor Rim. He continues: "Our technology proved the possibility of a new remote power delivery mechanism that has never been tried at such a long distance. Although the long-range wireless power transfer is still in an early stage of commercialization and quite costly to implement, we believe that this is the right direction for electric power to be supplied in the future. Just like we see Wi-Fi zones everywhere today, we will eventually have many Wi-Power zones at such places as restaurants and streets that provide electric power wirelessly to electronic devices. We will use all the devices anywhere without tangled wires attached and anytime without worrying about charging their batteries".

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