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NASA

Mars Rover Curiosity is switching brains so it can fix itself

By | Gadgets, jpl, mars rover, NASA, Robotics, Science, Space, TC

When you send something to space, it’s good to have redundancy. Sometimes you want to send two whole duplicate spacecraft just in case — as was the case with Voyager — but sometimes it’s good enough to have two of critical components. Mars Rover Curiosity is no exception, and it is now in the process of switching from one main “brain” to the other so it can do digital surgery on the first.

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launches to ‘touch the sun’

By | Artificial Intelligence, Gadgets, Government, Hardware, NASA, parker solar probe, Science, Space, TC

NASA’s ambitious mission to go closer to the Sun than ever before is set to launch in the small hours between Friday and Saturday — at 3:33 AM Eastern from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to be precise. The Parker Solar Probe, after a handful of gravity assists and preliminary orbits, will enter a stable orbit around the enormous nuclear fireball that gives us all life and sample its radiation from less than 4 million miles away. Believe me, you don’t want to get much closer than that.

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NASA’s Open Source Rover lets you build your own planetary exploration platform

By | DIY, Education, Gadgets, Government, jpl, mars rover, NASA, Robotics, Science, Space

Got some spare time this weekend? Why not build yourself a working rover from plans provided by NASA? The spaceniks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have all the plans, code, and materials for you to peruse and use — just make sure you’ve got $2,500 and a bit of engineering know-how. This thing isn’t made out of Lincoln Logs.

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NASA’s 3D-printed Mars Habitat competition doles out prizes to concept habs

By | 3d printing, Gadgets, Government, Hardware, mars, NASA, Science, Space

A multi-year NASA contest to design a 3D-printable Mars habitat using on-planet materials has just hit another milestone — and a handful of teams have taken home some cold hard cash. This more laid-back phase had contestants designing their proposed habitat using architectural tools, with the five winners set to build scale models next year.

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NASA’s InSight Mars lander will gaze (and drill) into the depths of the Red Planet

By | Gadgets, Hardware, Insight, jpl, mars lander, NASA, Robotics, Science, Space, TC

NASA’s latest mission to Mars, Insight, is set to launch early Saturday morning in pursuit of a number of historic firsts in space travel and planetology. The lander’s instruments will probe the surface of the planet and monitor its seismic activity with unprecedented precision, while a pair of diminutive cubesats riding shotgun will test the viability of tiny spacecraft for interplanetary travel.

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From fungal architecture to shape-shifting robo-swarms, here are NASA’s latest moonshots

By | Gadgets, Government, Hardware, NASA, Robotics, Science, Space

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program is perhaps the best place to get federal funding for an idea that sounds crazy — because the program managers think it might be just crazy enough to work. Researchers making the “Phase I” cut are awarded about $125,000 over 9 months to develop their idea, be it mind-boggling […]

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SpaceX launch will bring science and supplies to ISS and return with a glitchy Robonaut

By | Gadgets, international space station, ISS, NASA, Science, Space, SpaceX

SpaceX is about to launch its 14th resupply mission to the International Space Station, sending up a lightly used Dragon capsule filled with goodies at 1:30 PST. In addition to the delivery, this Dragon will also take back some cargo: the malfunctioning Robonaut 2, which apparently bricked itself sometime during the last few months.

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