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Thread: Miscellaneous

  1. #1


    Riding the Booster with enhanced sound

    Published on Mar 15, 2012

    From the upcoming Special Edition Ascent: Commemorating Space Shuttle DVD/BluRay by NASA/Glenn a movie from the point of view of the Solid Rocket Booster with sound mixing and enhancement done by the folks at Skywalker Sound. The sound is all from the camera microphones and not fake or replaced with foley artist sound. The Skywalker sound folks just helped bring it out and make it more audible.

  2. #2

    Jumping Spider, Nefertiti, Onboard the International Space Station

    Published on Oct 23, 2013

    The Phiddipus johnsoni, or red-backed jumping spider, named Nefertiti is shown here walking and preying on flies in her habitat while in orbit on the International Space Station and in her habitat readapting to gravity on Earth. (BioServe Space Technologies)

  3. #3

    Toys in Space

    Published on Nov 25, 2014

  4. #4

    Humans vs. Robots

    Published on Jan 16, 2015

    For decades robots have been exploring Mars' atmosphere and surface, forging space science advances and paving the way for future human missions to Mars. While robots have been highly effective, some say only human space travel can inspire.

    If given the opportunity, would you want to travel to Mars?

  5. #5

    RI Seminar: Kanna Rajan : Advancing Autonomous Operations in the Field From Outer to Inner Space

    Streamed live on Jan 16, 2015

    Kanna Rajan
    Visiting Professor, FEUP, University of Porto

    January 16, 2015

    Ocean Sciences the world over is at a cusp, with a move from the Expeditionary to the Observatory mode of doing science. Recent policy decisions in the United States, are pushing the technology for persistent observation and sampling which hitherto had been either economically unrealistic or unrealizable due to technical constraints. With the advent of ocean observatories, a number of key technologies have however proven to be promising for sustained ocean presence. In this context robots will need to be contextually aware and respond rapidly to evolving phenomenon, especially in coastal waters due to the diversity of atmospheric, oceanographic and land-sea interactions not to mention the societal impact they have on coastal communities. They will need to respond by exhibiting scientific opportunism while being aware of their own limitations in the harsh oceanic environment. Current robotic platforms however have inherent limitations; pre-defined sequences of commands are used to determine what actions the robot will perform and when irrespective of the context. As a consequence not only can the robot not recover from unforeseen failure conditions, but they’re unable to significantly leverage their substantial onboard assets to enable scientific discovery.

    To mitigate such shortcomings, we have designed, built, tested and deployed deliberative techniques to dynamically command low-cost autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and more recently with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with deep roots in work to command and control deep space probes for NASA. Our effort is aimed to use a blend of generative and deliberative Artificial Intelligence Planning and Execution techniques to shed goals, introspectively analyze onboard resources and recover from failures with the goal of providing tools and techniques for observing the evolving conditions in our oceans. With the advanced tool sets for commanding vehicles from the Univ. of Porto and working in collaboration with the Portuguese Navy and with colleagues in biology and ecology from Norway and Spain, we have begun to take critical steps towards such coordinated oceanographic observations using aerial, surface and underwater vehicles towards unstructured exploration of the subsea environments that are a rich trove of problems for autonomous systems. This work is a continuum of efforts from research at NASA to command deep space probes and Mars rovers, the lessons of which we have factored into the oceanic domain. In this talk I will articulate the challenges of working in this hostile underwater domain, lay out the differences and motivate our architecture for goal-driven autonomy on AUV’s and UAVs for dual-use exploration and surveillance.

    Speaker Biography
    Kanna is a Visiting Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Univ. of Porto affiliated with the Underwater Systems Technology Lab. Till recently he was the Principal Researcher in Autonomy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute ( a privately funded non-profit Oceanographic institute which he joined in October 2005. Prior to that he was a Senior Research Scientist for the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Area at NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, California.

    At NASA Ames, he balanced programmatic and technical responsibilities. He was the Principal Investigator of the MAPGEN Mixed-Initiative Planning effort to command and control the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on the surface of the Red Planet. MAPGEN continues to be used to this day, twice daily in the mission-critical uplink process at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Kanna was one of the six principals of the Remote Agent Experiment (RAX) team, which designed, built, tested and flew the first closed-loop AI based control system on a spacecraft. The RA was the co-winner of NASA's 1999 Software of the Year, the agency's highest group technical award ( which included CMU.

  6. #6

    Robots Show Off Skills at Robot Rocket Rally

    Published on Mar 27, 2014

    Kids and adults came face-to-face with cutting-edge robotics at the Robot Rocket Rally, a three-day event hosted by Florida's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. NASA, universities, high schools and private industry demonstrated several exciting robotic technologies to encourage kids to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

  7. #7

    Published on Mar 10, 2014

    In the pilot episode of "Armed with Science", host George Zaidan visits the Naval Research Laboratory's Space Robotics Lab, where scientists are developing robotic technology that can help repair, reposition, or update satellites that are beyond human reach, about 20,000 miles higher than the Hubble Space Telescope. These satellites are critical for Navy and Marine Corps operations, but cannot be repaired in orbit currently.

  8. #8

    Should robots or humans explore space?
    February 27, 2014

    In this short video piece, Universe Today publisher Fraser Cain offers up something rare: his opinion. Should humans or robots be the ones to explore space? Which one makes more sense?

  9. #9

  10. #10

    Scariest & Deadliest Incidents In Space

    Published on Apr 19, 2015

    Scariest & Deadliest Incidents In Space

    The Scariest and Deadliest Moments in Space History

    The Soviet leadership's attitude toward the pioneering cosmonauts and engineers as well as the facilities and the equipment was that everything was expendable in the all out effort to stay ahead of the Americans. As an example, revealed state archives indicate that in October 1960, a huge new booster rocket malfunctioned on the launch pad. Instead of taking safety precautions, the Kremlin ordered the launch director and engineers to fix the problem immediately and get the rocket launched that day.

    The launch director and over 165 men were inspecting the rocket when it suddenly blew up in a huge ball of fire instantly killing everyone nearby. Rumors persist that this was actually an early manned launch attempt with a cosmonaut on board. Amazingly, this historic tragedy was never officially confirmed by the Soviet government.

    The early American effort in space, however, proved disastrous at nearly every turn. As the entire world watched in wonder, the US news media aptly supplied wide coverage to several ruinous missions in sharp contrast to the highly guarded top secret Russian space program of which little or nothing was known.

    At the height of the Cold War, the American space agency, NASA, held a distant and dismal second place to the formidable Russian space program and America seemed destined to remain permanently overshadowed in space by the seemingly superior Russian program. At the height of the Cold War on March 18, 1955, the Soviets launched cosmonauts Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov on a mission that would see the first man exit a spacecraft adding to their already massive list of space records.

    After a flawless 10 minute spacewalk, Leonov ran into severe trouble when he tried to reenter the capsule. The effects of weightlessness in outer space had not been properly taken into account in the design of his spacesuit which ballooned out and made his return back to the spacecraft almost impossible.

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