Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 2
Reports surfaced on September 27 that a key gas pipeline between Russia and Germany had sprung a leak resulting in methane gas spilling into the Baltic Sea.
The two pipelines in question are called Nord Stream 1, and Nord Stream 2, and both run underwater in the Baltic Sea, providing gas to Germany from Russia. Sweden and Denmark have reported that a new major leak has been found, bringing the total number of identified leaks to four as of September 29. European leaders have accused Russia of sabotaging its own gas pipeline in an attempt to use gas resources as a weapon against the West.
BBC reports that European leaders have come together to agree that if any deliberate attack was discovered on either of the gas pipelines, it would be met with the "strongest possible response". San Francisco company Planet operates approximately two-hundred Dove satellites, which are small shoebox-sized Earth-facing satellites used to capture images of the Earth's surface. One of the Dove satellites captured the above image showcasing methane gas spilling into the Baltic Sea from the breached pipelines.
NASA has pulled off a world's first by successfully colliding a man-made spacecraft into a distant asteroid with the goal of altering its orbit.
NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) recently struck the binary asteroid system Didymos-Dimorphos, located approximately seven million miles from Earth. The DART spacecraft impacted the smaller of the two asteroids, Dimorphos, which orbits its larger companion asteroid, Didymos. NASA's goal was to prove that a spacecraft approximately the size of a vending machine, when traveling at extremely high speeds, is capable of changing the orbit of an asteroid - the world's first planetary defense demonstration.
Astronomers on Earth gazed up at the asteroid system on the day of the impact, looking for any changes in the asteroid. Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi live-streamed his observations via the Virtual Telescope project, which showcased Dimorphos gaining in brightness following the impact of the DART spacecraft. The above GIF showcases the increasing brightness, which, according to Masi, completely exceeded his expectations for the event.
Researchers from Oregon State University want to find out if robots can improve the mental and physical wellbeing of veterans. The university is working with the Edward C. Allworth Veterans' Home in Oregon on a project with federal funding from the National Science Foundation's National Robotics Initiative.
During the initial phase of research, OSU engineers want to analyze physical therapy programs and cognitive exercise for veterans, which can be led by robots. Assuming the robot is streamlined and easy to operate, they tend to be extremely more immersive than something on a laptop, tablet, or a virtual reality system.
Robots have a certain appeal both in the home and in a veterans' home, where it can be used in group sessions - and alleviate nurse and worker burnout. The staff and residents of the veterans' home will be interviewed to figure out what specific needs they have which can be assisted by OSU researchers and their robotic research.
Amazon, the biggest online retailer and No. 2 US private sector employer, continues to expand interest in robots as part of its warehouse automation.
Tasks such as searching the cabinet for the right plate or glass, grabbing it, and successfully retrieving it might not be a big deal for humans - but it's still extremely difficult for robots to complete. However, Amazon researchers are working on robotic pinch grasp, an important aspect of item-specific manipulation.
Here is what Aaron Parness, senior manager for applied science at Amazon Robotics AI, said in a press statement:
"In robotics, we don't have the mechanical ability of a five-finger dexterous hand. But we are starting to get some of the ability to reason and think about how to grasp. We're starting to catch up. Where pinch-grasping is really interesting is taking something mechanically simple and making it highly functional."
Global logistics company DHL has expanded its partnership with Locus Robotics, a company specializing in manufacturing autonomous mobile robots used in warehouses. Wider adoption of AMR technology from Locus will ensure DHL fulfillment centers are able to meet increasing volume - including seasonal shopping demands - as we quickly approach the Christmas holiday shopping season.
The DHL Supply Chain has worked to develop and adopt digitization as the supply chain and logistics industry has undergone continued change. Besides growing orders among shoppers, there is increased pressure for same-day and next-day delivery, which opens the door to logistical headaches. The AMR devices can be deployed based on demand changes or potential staff shortages at each fulfillment location.
DHL announced last year it would bring 2,000 Locus robots to its warehouses throughout 2022 - the autonomous resources help improve employee productivity, reduce employee walking time, and improve worker ergonomics. This relationship initially began in 2017, when Locus Robotics strengthened DHL's piece picking order fulfillment behavior inside of warehouses.
A study on the flooding of Mars titled "Layered subsurface in Utopia Basin of Mars revealed by Zhurong rover radar" has been published in the journal Nature.
China's Mars rover, Zhurong, has used its radar imager to detect evidence of two major floods that likely shaped the Utopia Planitia region the rover has been exploring since it landed on the Red Planet on May 14th, 2021. Its radar imager can see up to 100 meters (328 feet) below Mars' surface using low-frequency radar waves or between 3 and 10 meters (9.8 to 32.8 feet) below the surface with high-frequency radar waves.
Radar signals reflect off subsurface materials, and the radar data reveals the size and ability of the materials to hold electric charges, with stronger radar signals correlating with larger objects. A layer between 10 and 30 meters below the surface likely contains large boulders near the bottom, with smaller rocks that settled on top, as the reflecting signals were stronger the deeper they went.
A research paper on the emergence of life on Earth-like planets titled "Abiogenesis: the Carter argument reconsidered" has been published in the journal International Journal of Astrobiology.
Daniel Whitmire, a retired astrophysicist and current mathematics teacher at the University of Arkansas, has challenged a long-accepted argument by astrophysicist Brandon Carter. Carter argued that the existence of life on Earth is, at best, of neutral value regarding the possibility of life on similar, Earth-like planets elsewhere. In other words, because our awareness of Earth and the life on it hasn't come about by selecting it at random from the collection of all Earth-like planets, Earth and its life can't be considered typical.
However, Whitmire's new theory suggests this is faulty logic. Whitmire used what he calls the conception analogy to show that abiogenesis, the emergence of life from inorganic matter, is likely quite possible on Earth-like planets. Whitmire explained that "one could argue, like Carter, that I exist regardless of whether my conception was hard or easy, and so nothing can be inferred about whether my conception was hard or easy from my existence alone." In this analogy, hard and easy refer to the use or lack of contraception, and both are assigned values in his calculations.
A study on the underground ocean titled "Hydrous peridotitic fragments of Earth's mantle 660 km discontinuity sampled by a diamond" has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Researchers from the Goethe University in Frankfurt have analyzed a rare diamond that formed 660 kilometers (410.1 miles) below the Earth's surface and was sourced from Botswana, Africa. At this depth is the boundary between the lower mantle and the transition zone, the area between Earth's lower and upper mantle. Diamonds from this depth are extremely rare, and the one they found contained numerous inclusions of ringwoodite, the most common mineral at this depth.
The ringwoodite inclusions have high water content and provide evidence that the planet's water cycle includes the interior of the Earth, as slabs of the mantle shift and allow deep-sea sediments to work their way deeper into the Earth, taking water with them. The mineral content of the transition zone indicates it is capable of absorbing six times the amount of water found in the oceans above, but it wasn't known until now if it did actually store any of that water.
NASA recently announced its successfully collided its DART spacecraft into a target asteroid and right before the collision the spacecraft sent back these images.
NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) has been deemed a success in terms of achieving collision with an asteroid located about seven million miles from Earth with a human-made spacecraft. The DART mission is the world's very first planetary defense mission with the goal of demonstrating that an asteroid can be deflected with a spacecraft using a kinetic technique. Dimorphos, the target asteroid, is actually a moonlet, which is the smaller of the two that make up the binary asteroid system.
Dimorphos orbits a larger asteroid Didymos and NASA's goal with DART was to show that Dimorphos' orbit can be changed. The DART spacecraft was equipped with the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation, or DRACO, which recorded the entire journey to the asteroid, including the final moments before impact. It should be noted that DART was traveling at a ridiculous speed of 14,000 mph when it collided into the surface of Dimorphos, which resulted in the final image seen below failing to fully send back to Earth before the spacecraft was destroyed.
NASA has taken to its social channels to announce that the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope teamed up for a galactic group project.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has posted to its website detailing the group project that has honed in on the spiral galaxy known as IC 5332, which resides approximately 29 million light years away from Earth within the constellation Sculptor. As explained by the ESA, the above image was captured with Webb's Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), showcasing the spiral galaxies' symmetry due to it appearing face-on to Earth.
It should be noted that the MIRI instrument operates only 7 degrees Celsius above absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature, and that MIRI does require this to capture the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. An example of this requirement is Hubble's inability to observe the mid-infrared spectrum as its mirrors aren't cool enough. If researchers attempted to view that spectrum, their observations would be dominated by radiation from the mirrors themselves, hence MIRI's extremely low operating temperature.