Sci/Tech

Darpa-funded Inflatable Robotics Helps Spark Idea For Silver Screen Star

on Thursday, 13 November 2014. Posted in Gadgets, Sci/Tech

Make-believe soft robot in Disney’s newest movie has roots in real-world robotics research.

Darpa-funded Inflatable Robotics Helps Spark Idea For Silver Screen Star

The giant, balloon-like inflatable robot named Baymax in Disney’s Big Hero 6 has its roots in real-world research conducted by iRobot Corporation, Carnegie Mellon University and Otherlab under DARPA’s Maximum Mobility Manipulation (M3) program. The film’s co-director, Don Hall, has said he was inspired to cast Baymax as an air-filled, soft robot after he saw an inflatable robotic arm on a visit to Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. Carnegie Mellon’s work in soft robotics has been supported by DARPA and the National Science Foundation.

Two Technologies Pursued for Orbital Servicing and Asteroid Close Approach

on Tuesday, 04 November 2014. Posted in Space, Sci/Tech

Tony Yu: "A need exists for long-to-short range, low-cost, reliable multifunctional imaging lidars, not only for asteroid rendezvous and planetary rovers, but also for satellite servicing."

Two Technologies Pursued for Orbital Servicing and Asteroid Close Approach

Building, fixing, and refueling space-based assets or rendezvousing with a comet or asteroid will require a robotic vehicle and a super-precise, high-resolution 3-D imaging lidar that will generate real-time images needed to guide the vehicle to a target traveling at thousands of miles per hour.

NASA’s Long-Lived Mars Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record

on Tuesday, 29 July 2014. Posted in Space, Sci/Tech

John Callas: "But what is really important is not how many miles the rover has racked up, but how much exploration and discovery we have accomplished over that distance."

NASA’s Long-Lived Mars Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record

NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, which landed on the Red Planet in 2004, now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving. The previous record was held by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover.

Watershed Rehabilitation Funding to Repair Dams in 26 States

on Monday, 21 July 2014. Posted in Environment, Sci/Tech

Jason Weller: "Families, businesses and our agriculture economy depend on responsible management of dams and watersheds, and we are continuing to provide that support to these communities."

Watershed Rehabilitation Funding to Repair Dams in 26 States

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today[July 18, 2014] announced that communities across the nation will benefit from a $262 million investment to rehabilitate dams that provide critical infrastructure and protect public health and safety. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller and Representative Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, were in Oklahoma to recognize the importance of this announcement to agriculture and communities nationwide.

NASA Honors Historic First Moon Landing, Eyes First Mars Mission

on Tuesday, 15 July 2014. Posted in Space, Sci/Tech

NASA marks the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing this month while it takes the steps needed for America's next giant leap to send astronauts to Mars.

NASA Honors Historic First Moon Landing, Eyes First Mars Mission

NASA marks the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing this month while it takes the steps needed for America's next giant leap to send astronauts to Mars.

NASA Aeronautics Makes Strides to Bring Back Supersonic Passenger Travel

on Wednesday, 18 June 2014. Posted in Aerospace, Sci/Tech

Peter Coen: "Lessening sonic booms -- shock waves caused by an aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound -- is the most significant hurdle to reintroducing commercial supersonic flight."

NASA Aeronautics Makes Strides to Bring Back Supersonic Passenger Travel

The return of supersonic passenger travel may be coming closer to reality thanks to NASA’s efforts to define a new standard for low sonic booms.

DARPA Z-Man Program Demonstrates Human Climbing Like Geckos

on Tuesday, 10 June 2014. Posted in Gadgets, Sci/Tech

Dr. Matt Goodman: "The challenge to our performer team was to understand the biology and physics in play when geckos climb and then reverse-engineer those dynamics into an artificial system for use by humans."

DARPA Z-Man Program Demonstrates Human Climbing Like Geckos

DARPA’s Z-Man program has demonstrated the first known human climbing of a glass wall using climbing devices inspired by geckos. The historic ascent involved a 218-pound climber ascending and descending 25 feet of glass, while also carrying an additional 50-pound load in one trial, with no climbing equipment other than a pair of hand-held, gecko-inspired paddles. The novel polymer microstructure technology used in those paddles was developed for DARPA by Draper Laboratory of Cambridge, Mass.

NASA's Saucer-Shaped Craft Preps for Flight Test

on Wednesday, 04 June 2014. Posted in Space, Sci/Tech

Ian Clark: "Our goal is to get this first-of-its-kind test vehicle to operate correctly at very high speeds and very high altitudes."

NASA's Saucer-Shaped Craft Preps for Flight Test

NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle, has completed final assembly at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

NASA Signs Agreement with Citizen Scientists Attempting to Communicate with Old Spacecraft

on Thursday, 22 May 2014. Posted in Space, Sci/Tech

John Grunsfeld: "We have a chance to engage a new generation of citizen scientists through this creative effort to recapture the ISEE-3 spacecraft as it zips by the Earth this summer."

NASA Signs Agreement with Citizen Scientists Attempting to Communicate with Old Spacecraft

NASA has given a green light to a group of citizen scientists attempting to breathe new scientific life into a more than 35-year old agency spacecraft.

Study on Magnetic Compass Orientation in Birds Builds Case For Bio-Inspired Sensors

on Friday, 09 May 2014. Posted in Biology, Physics, Sci/Tech

Researchers show that migratory birds are unable to use their magnetic compass in the presence of urban electromagnetic noise. The findings open up new areas of study for magnetic sensors.

Study on Magnetic Compass Orientation in Birds Builds Case For Bio-Inspired Sensors

Researchers working on DARPA’s Quantum Effects in Biological Environments (QuBE) program have shown that the electromagnetic noise that permeates modern urban environments can disrupt a bird’s internal magnetic compass. The findings settle a decades-long debate into whether low-level, artificial electric and magnetic fields can affect biological processes in higher vertebrates. For DARPA, the results hint at a new class of bio-inspired sensors at the intersection of biology and quantum physics.

Excessive Regulations Turning Scientists Into Bureaucrats

on Thursday, 01 May 2014. Posted in Education, Sci/Tech

Kelvin Droegemeier: "Escalating compliance requirements and inconsistent audit practices directly impact scientists and the time they have to perform research and train students and staff."

Excessive Regulations Turning Scientists Into Bureaucrats

Excessive regulations are consuming scientists' time and wasting taxpayer dollars, says a report released today by the National Science Board (NSB), the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation and advisor to Congress and the President.

Well-behaved, Young Galaxy Surprises Astronomers

on Wednesday, 30 April 2014. Posted in Space, Sci/Tech

Paul Goldsmith: "This is a truly surprising result that reminds us that we still don't understand many details of the evolution of the universe."

Well-behaved, Young Galaxy Surprises Astronomers

Scientists have discovered a young galaxy acting in unexpectedly mature ways. The galaxy, called S0901, is rotating in a calm manner typical of more developed galaxies like our own spiral Milky Way.

NASA's Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in 'Habitable Zone'

on Thursday, 17 April 2014. Posted in Space, Sci/Tech

Paul Hertz: “The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth.”

NASA's Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in 'Habitable Zone'

Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.

NASA Solicits New Collaborative Partnerships with Commercial Space Industry

on Wednesday, 26 March 2014. Posted in Space, Sci/Tech

Gerstenmaier: "The growing U.S. commercial spaceflight industry is opening low-Earth orbit in ways that will improve lives on Earth, drive economic growth and power 21st century innovations."

NASA Solicits New Collaborative Partnerships with Commercial Space Industry

Building on the success of NASA's commercial spaceflight initiatives, agency officials announced Monday plans to solicit proposals from U.S. private enterprises for unfunded partnerships to collaboratively develop new commercial space capabilities.

VTOL X-Plane Program Takes Off

on Tuesday, 18 March 2014. Posted in Aerospace, Sci/Tech

DARPA tasks four companies with designing new aircraft to revolutionize vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flight capabilities.

VTOL X-Plane Program Takes Off

For generations, new designs for vertical takeoff and landing aircraft have remained unable to increase top speed without sacrificing range, efficiency or the ability to do useful work. DARPA’s VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program seeks to overcome these challenges through innovative cross-pollination between the fixed-wing and rotary-wing worlds, to enable radical improvements in vertical and cruise flight capabilities. In an important step toward that goal, DARPA has awarded prime contracts for Phase 1 of VTOL X-Plane to four companies: 

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