In Darmstadt, Germany, European Space Agency (ESA) teams are scrambling to confirm contact with the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM), Schiaparelli—the spectre of Philae still haunting the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC). Whether or not ESA ever speak to Schiaparelli again, the risky business of space robotics is once more laid bare.
In this episode, Ron Vanderkley interviews Jürgen “Juxi” Leitner, a researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Robots Vision in the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. Leitner speaks about a system being developed for the Google Lunar XPrize, called LunaRoo.
UPDATE: ESA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The signal confirming the successful touchdown arrived on Earth at 16:03 GMT (17:03 CET), it’s the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved and it’s a great milestone for space exploration and Europe.
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.
In the comments below, tell me, what questions would researchers want answered about Nate’s experiences on Mars? I’ll select the best and make comics out of them (showing how Nate answers) in the next few weeks, and we can find out what kind of trouble Nate gets into . . .
I guess all those other Mars rovers just landed in the wrong spot? I had this idea yesterday to try something a little different. In the comments below, tell me, what questions would researchers want answered about Nate’s experiences on Mars? I’ll select the best and make comics out of them (showing how Nate answers) in the next few weeks, and we can find out what kind of trouble Nate gets into . . .
I want to thank Robonaut for being a great sport and being willing to appear in this week’s comic! When I got done with last week’s comic, for fun I sent a tweet to Robonaut asking him to join Nate for a little “space jam” competition, and he was all in! The problem is, I found out that Robonaut is a little larger than I expected!!! Check out the conversation