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Tag : NASA

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by   -   March 12, 2014

Astronauts all know how important it is to stay healthy in space. Weightlessness alone can cause a number of physiological changes including muscle atrophy, loss of blood volume and bone loss. Most astronauts complete medical training, which equips them with the skills to perform procedures such as first aid and basic surgery. But what happens if there’s an emergency and no medical expert to assist?

by   -   January 6, 2014


Curiosity Heading for Mount Sharp, during the 329th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (July 9, 2013).  The turret of tools at the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm is in the foreground, with the rover’s rock-sampling drill in the lower left corner of the image. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 10:30AM – 12PM Eastern Time:  NASA and the Smithsonian team up to facilitate two panel discussions on Mars robotic and human missions. Held in NASM’s Moving Beyond Earth gallery, participants will discuss the MER program and its scientific successes. Participants also will provide updates on the agency’s activities to advance a human mission to Mars in the 2030s.

by   -   December 6, 2013


Three Cubesats were deployed November 19, 2013 from a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD) attached to the Kibo laboratory’s robotic arm. Image Credit: NASA.

Four more student-built CubeSat research satellites were launched into space early this morning as part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, which provides opportunities for small satellite payloads to fly on rockets planned for upcoming launches. Created by NASA to attract and retain students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines, the initiative reaches students by introducing educational spaceflight in high schools and colleges across the United States. 

by   -   October 2, 2013

US_Congress_ShutdownWe had hoped to be sharing highlights with you this week from NASA’s Asteroid Initiative Idea Synthesis Workshop, which was scheduled to run this September 30 to October 2 at the Lunar Planetary Institute, in Houston, Texas. But that’s not the case anymore.

Most of NASA was shut down when the US Congress failed to fund its federal government beyond the end of the current fiscal year at midnight this past Monday (Sept. 30). Some programs, like the ISS, are exempt from the shutdown in order to ensure the safety of human and physical resources. However, while ISS astronauts and mission crew back on earth will continue to clock in, 97% of NASA employees are at home today. According to the Planetary Society, other independently operated programs under contract to NASA, such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (operated by Caltech) and the Applied Physics Laboratory (operated by John Hopkins University) will continue to operate for the time being.

by   -   July 2, 2013

On June 17, 2013, Astronaut Chris Cassidy successfully drove a K10 rover on earth, via remote connection from the Surface Telerobotics Workbench on the International Space Station, showing that robots deployed to explore Mars or the far side of the moon could be remotely controlled by astronauts in space during future deep-space missions. Telerobotics, which involves human operators remotely controlling robotic arms, rovers and other devices in space, is one means of reducing risk in dull, dangerous or dirty tasks as humans explore space. 

NASA has a long history of playing for high stakes; think of the 7 minutes of terror Curiosity descent to Mars, Spirit & Opportunity, and indeed, the entire space race. Yet when human lives and millions of dollars in technology are invested, it’s critical to keep risk at a minimum. As part of our series on ‘High-Risk / High-Reward’ robotics, we asked Dr. Terry Fong of the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group, to describe how NASA’s telerobotics initiatives help mitigate risk in space missions. – Robohub Editors

by   -   April 3, 2013

NASA and and the community developer platform TopCoder are launching a series of coding competitions to help Robonaut 2 learn how to interact with the types of input devices used by human astronauts on the International Space Station. Robonaut 2 was developed by NASA to perform tasks in space that are too dangerous or mundane for astronauts.

by   -   January 9, 2013

On Monday, I had the opportunity and pleasure to have a discussion with NASA’s Program Executive for Solar System Exploration, Dave Lavery. During the course of the conversation, Dave answered my questions on where robotic exploration stands within NASA, the mission objectives and future of the Mars rovers, his role in robotic education and more.

by   -   November 10, 2012

Researchers from the METERON space project have for the first time ever successfully controlled a LEGO robot at ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, from the International Space Station (ISS) using Nasa’s Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol.

On October 23, American astronaut Sunita Williams had ~1.5 hrs to set up the ESA METERON (Multi-purpose End-To-End Robotic Operations Network) payload and conduct an initial Operations & Communications Test Part 1 (OPSCOM-1) of the Rover Control Software, time-sequenced with an actual LEGO rover on the ground in Germany (constrained to a 2.5-hr battery life).

METERON is an ESA led international space project for advanced telerobotics technology demonstration involving the International Space Station. METERON is targeted at validating autonomous and real-time telerobotic operations from space to ground.

METERON is being carried out in partnership with DLR (Institute of Robotics & Mechatronics), NASA (Johnson Space Centre, AMES Research Centre, Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and Roscosmos with Russian partners (RTC Institute St. Petersburg, Energia).

Check out the video trailer below.

by   -   November 3, 2012

NASA’s X1 robotic exoskeleton is a mechanical suit designed to help astronauts exercise while in space, and here on Earth it can help paraplegics walk. In space, the joints would be configured to resist movement. Astronauts would have to exert force and work their muscles in order to move around, which would help them retain muscle mass during long stays in zero gravity. This configuration can be reversed, allowing the system to assist movement for people with limited mobility. The 57-pound suit was derived from the technology used for Robonaut 2 with the help of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and of Oceaneering Space Systems, the world’s largest Work Class ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) operator and the leading provider of ROVs to the oil and gas industry.

The X1 is still in development, and NASA hopes to make it more useful by adding more joints in the future.

by   -   October 12, 2012

With NASA’s X1 Robotic Exoskeleton in the news today, it’s timely to look at the increasing range of exoskeletons in development or use today.



Built in conjunction with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), the X1 Robotic Exoskeleton weighs 57-pounds and has ten joints, four of which are motorized. However, while the X1 can work to augment the wearer’s movements, it can also be set to work against them. While X1 is still in the research and development stage, it is more likely to join other exoskeletons in use on Earth, like those from Ekso, Rex, Raytheon, Cyberdyne, Honda, MIT, and DARPA projects, than it is to assist humans in space. [Release 12-239 NASA]

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