Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 4
Hundreds of 24-ton bricks set to solve a major problem with renewable energy
The recent surge in awareness around renewable energy through the abundant climate change concerns has led a startup company to put forward a very simple, yet nonetheless impressive, solution to one of renewable energy's biggest problems.
A new report from CNET has highlighted Switzerland-based startup Energy Vault and the two facilities its constructing. Above is an image of Energy Vault's very first large-scale building that's located in Rudong, China, just north of Shanghai. So, what are these buildings? Below is an image of a 24-ton brick that is made of compressed dirt. That block is then brought to the top of the building by an elevator powered by solar panels or wind turbines.
The heavy dirt brick will be approximately 300 feet up the side of the building, where it will then be slowly lowered by an automated system. As the brick is returning back down to the surface, it's spinning electrical power generators. Now picture this process on repeat with hundreds of 24-ton bricks, each generating an entire megawatt every six feet it's lowered. Essentially, Energy Vault has created a building that contains gravity batteries that are able to store 100 megawatt-hours of electricity, or at least the building near Shanghai can.
Continue reading: Hundreds of 24-ton bricks set to solve a major problem with renewable energy (full post)
NASA selects who will live in a Mars surface simulation for 1 year
NASA is continuing on its long road of getting humans on the surface of Mars, and a part of that development journey is figuring out what it will be like for humans to live on the surface of the Red Planet - without actually stepping foot on it.
Mars already presents numerous challenges for human exploration, but one of NASA's biggest concerns is how humans will survive the long stays on the Red Planet once we manage to get there. In an effort to understand more about the surface of Mars and how humans will react to their restrictive living quarters, NASA has set up Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, or CHAPEA, which is a ground-based mission that is expected to begin in June at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The upcoming mission is just one of three planned Mars simulation missions and will include numerous challenges for the participants. NASA writes in its blog that participants will be faced with many real-world problems, such as limited resources, equipment failures, communication delays, environmental stressors, and more.
Continue reading: NASA selects who will live in a Mars surface simulation for 1 year (full post)
NASA confirms 660-pound satellite has crashed into Earth after 21 years in orbit
NASA has confirmed via its blog that a decommissioned satellite reentered Earth's atmosphere on April 19, 2023, almost 21 years after it was first launched.
The retired NASA satellite is called the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or RHESSI for short. According to the space agency, RHESSI was decommissioned in 2018, and throughout its operational time, it assisted scientists in their pursuit to understand the physics behind solar flares. NASA writes that the Department of Defense confirmed the reentry of the 660-pound satellite was over the Sahara Desert region, near the Sudan-Egypt border.
Astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell took to Twitter to post an image of where the satellite, or at least parts of it, would have landed. Officials anticipated that most of the dead satellite would burn up on reentry and only a few components would make it to the surface. RHESSI was launched in 2002 aboard the Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus XL rocket and went on to conduct ground-breaking science with its imaging spectrometer.
Continue reading: NASA confirms 660-pound satellite has crashed into Earth after 21 years in orbit (full post)
Elon Musk congratulates SpaceX after Starship was deliberately blown up
SpaceX launched the rocket slated to be the transportation method that the first astronauts will use to walk on the surface of Mars.
It was only a few days ago I reported that Musk was planning on launching SpaceX's Starship this week, and that launch could have occurred on April 20 (4/20), a celebrated holiday by cannabis users and Elon Musk. The launch happened to land on the comical holiday, and Starship lifted off from its launch pad at SpaceX's seaside Starbase facility at Boca Chica Beach, South Texas, at 9:33 a.m EDT.
The 394-foot-tall rocket, the largest and most powerful ever built, was a sight to behold as it climbed in altitude thanks to its powerful 33 first-stage Raptor engines. However, only three minutes after liftoff Starship failed to separate from its Super Heavy booster, the first stage of the rocket. Since both parts of the vehicle were still attached, Starship began to tumble mid-flight, and approximately four minutes after takeoff, the 394-foot-tall rocket exploded, or as SpaceX likes to describe it, a "rapid unscheduled disassembly".
Continue reading: Elon Musk congratulates SpaceX after Starship was deliberately blown up (full post)
Gamer uses a brain signal controller to beat Elden Ring boss Melania
If you thought Elden Ring was hard on a standard controller, imagine trying to beat the game using a device that scans your brain signals and converts them to inputs.
Twitch streamer and psychology graduate Perrikaryal has attempted that very challenge, announcing that she was going to try and beat Elden Ring using nothing electroencephalogram (EEG), which monitors brain activity through sensor pads attached to her head. These sensor pads monitor her brain's electrical activity, and the device was trained to recognize specific states that were then bound to in-game inputs, such as the character's attack input.
Perrikaryal further explained how the device works and said the device can recognize what her brain activity looks like normally, when she is speaking to her viewers on stream, and when she is visualizing attacking or moving forward. For example, to move her character forward, Perrikaryal says she imagines pushing an object forward. The imaginary object doesn't need to be the same every time, but when the pushing motion is imagined, the in-game character responds within seconds, moving forward and then attacking an enemy.
Continue reading: Gamer uses a brain signal controller to beat Elden Ring boss Melania (full post)
College students set to beat NASA at landing first robotic US rover on the Moon
College students from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be sending the first US autonomous rover to the Moon.
The small rover called Iris was developed over three years by college students, faculty, and former students from the university. Over the course of NASA's 65 years of lunar exploration, the space agency has yet to land an autonomous rover on the surface of the Moon, but in May, as part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, the 4.4-pound rover with wheels the size of bottle caps will begin its 60-hour-long mission exploring the surface of Moon.
What scientific operations will Iris be conducting on the Moon's surface? According to reports, Iris' mission involves taking a plethora of images of the lunar surface, mostly with the intention of capturing as much geological information as possible throughout its mission. Additionally, the small autonomous rover will be testing out new techniques for relaying its important data and photographs back to Earth. The small rover will launch on the United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket on May 4 alongside multiple lunar projects.
Continue reading: College students set to beat NASA at landing first robotic US rover on the Moon (full post)
NASA telescope photographs a very rare cosmic phenomenon in deep space
Two actively feeding supermassive black holes are on a slow collision course, according to recent observations made by astronomers and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Astronomers detailed the discovery in a new study, and according to the paper, the supermassive black hole collision took place in the early universe when it was just 3 billion years old. According to the Keck Observatory, researchers from the University of Illinois led the study, which has now been published in the scientific journal Nature. According to the study, the two supermassive black holes are embedded in their own galaxies, which are also colliding.
These two merging galaxies are called J0749+2255, and a faint variation in light detected by the Gaia telescope revealed there was much more going on than researchers initially anticipated. To get to the bottom of what was happening, researchers turned to a variety of different telescopes that observe the universe in different ways. The team used telescopes and arrays that observe in X-rays, radio, and optical light.
Continue reading: NASA telescope photographs a very rare cosmic phenomenon in deep space (full post)
New NASA director spotted swearing oath on Carl Sagan book instead of bible
NASA has revealed the next director for its Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and at the swearing-in ceremony, fans noticed something peculiar about the book being used to take the oath.
NASA has taken to its blog to name Dr. Makenzie Lystrup as director of Goddard Space Flight Center. Lystrup will take over from Dave Mitchell effective immediately and will make history by becoming the very first female center director at Goddard. Before joining NASA, Lystrup was vice president and general manager of civil space at Ball Aerospace, where she was responsible for maintaining the company's portfolio of space systems across various scientific fields.
Within this position, Lystrup has made contributions to NASA endeavors such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Landsat 9, the Roman Space Telescope, and the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). Looking at the above image, which was posted on NASA's website, NASA Watch's Keith Cowing spotted an interesting factoid. Lystrup was sworn in by NASA administrator Bill Nelson with her hand on a copy of Carl Sagan's 1994 "Pale Blue Dot" instead of a bible.
Continue reading: New NASA director spotted swearing oath on Carl Sagan book instead of bible (full post)
Elon Musk reveals when SpaceX will launch its rocket headed for Mars
The milestone launch date is near for SpaceX's Starship, and if no new large problem presents itself between now and next week, we will see Starship attempt its very first orbital launch.
SpaceX has been preparing for this moment for quite some time, as development for Starship's first orbital flight test has been a strenuous road paved with many hindering issues. However, that road appears to be coming to an end as the company's CEO Elon Musk announced via his personal Twitter account that, based on development trends, Starship is eyeing its first orbital test for the third week of April - next week.
Musk has been talking about Starship's first orbital launch for months now, and in August 2022, the SpaceX CEO sat down for an interview on the Nelk Podcast, where he explained that Starship is the largest flying object ever made and that there is a real risk of the launch failing in a disappointing, but epic, explosion. Regardless of the possibilities of failure, movements at SpaceX's Starbase facility located in South Texas indicate the company is just about ready to give it their first crack as technicians last week stacked the Ship 24 upper-stage prototype on top of its Booster 7 first stage.
Continue reading: Elon Musk reveals when SpaceX will launch its rocket headed for Mars (full post)
NASA's Webb telescope has changed our understanding of Uranus forever
NASA's Webb space telescope has honed its extremely sensitive instruments on the seventh planet from the Sun, Uranus.
Uranus was deemed a top priority for investigation in the 2023-2033 Planetary Science and Astrobiology decadal survey, which aims at finding the most valuable holes in science and filling in those gaps with proposals for knowledge-gaining missions. NASA has now followed up on the requests of the survey by performing some quick observations on Uranus, revealing features of the planet that haven't been seen in a very long time. NASA has taken to its blog to explain the above image of Uranus that was captured with Webb's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on February 6, 2023.
The image reveals a stunning view of Uranus' rings, with Webb's sensitive instruments managing to capture 11 out of the 13 known rings. Uranus is a unique planet in the solar system as it rotates on a roughly 90-degree angle, which causes the planet to experience extreme seasons as it goes through its long 84-year orbit around the Sun. NASA writes on its blog that because Uranus rotates on its side, one side of the planet's poles goes through years of sunlight while the other side remains in total darkness for an equal number of years.
Continue reading: NASA's Webb telescope has changed our understanding of Uranus forever (full post)