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Tag : NASA

by   -   October 29, 2014
Orbital Science corp. Antares orb-3, pre-launch (photo: NASA)
Orbital Science corp. Antares orb-3, pre-launch (photo: NASA)

A very unfortunate incident for NASA and the commercial orbital transportation services program took place yesterday. The Antares rocket that was about to send the Cygnus spacecraft on the ISS exploded a few seconds after its launch from NASA’s Wallops flight facilities. No casualties or even small injuries were reported, although the area is being contained and treated with caution. It is a major incident for US spaceflight that breaks a trouble-free period and could have important implications for the private spaceflight sector.

by ,   -   June 26, 2014

To help celebrate Curiosity's achievements during its first Martian year, we've compiled a brief list of links, articles and videos that show just how far the Mars mission has come.

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

Mars_Curiosity_Rover

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

cube_sat_deployment_NASA

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 7, 2013

NASA_Curiosity_Rover

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Why aren’t there more intelligent mobile robots in real world applications? It’s a good question, and one I’m often asked. The answer I give most often is that it’s because we’re still looking for that game changing killer app - the robotics equivalent of the spreadsheet for PCs. Sometimes I place the blame on a not-quite-yet-solved technical deficit – like poor sensing, or sensor fusion, or embedded AI; in other words, our intelligent robots are not yet smart enough. Or I might cite a not-fully-developed-capability, like robots not able to cope with unpredictable (i.e. human) environments, or we can’t yet assure that our robots are safe, and dependable.

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   -   July 1, 2013

Over the past two decades, robotic planetary exploration has generated an incredible wealth of knowledge about our neighbors in the Solar System. We now realize that celestial bodies within our reach can provide resources such as water, minerals, and metals, essential for sustaining and supporting robotic and human exploration of the Solar System. It is only matter of time before “living off the land” exploration enabled by in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) becomes a reality.  The Solar System offers almost unlimited resources, but the difficult part is accessing them. Thus, if the cost of mining and processing can be reduced, some of the minerals that are in high demand on Earth could in fact be brought back and sold for commercial gain.

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.