Posts tagged nasa


Climbing Legs for Robonaut 2 Headed to International Space Station






NASA has built and is sending a set of high-tech legs up to the International Space Station for Robonaut 2 (R2), the station’s robotic crewmember. The new legs are scheduled to launch on the SpaceX-3 commercial cargo flight to the International Space Station, scheduled to launch Monday, April 14 at 4:58 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
These new legs, funded by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations and Space Technology mission directorates, will provide R2 the mobility it needs to help with regular and repetitive tasks inside and outside the space station. The goal is to free up the crew for more critical work, including scientific research.
Once the legs are attached to the R2 torso, the robot will have a fully extended leg span of nine feet, giving it great flexibility for movement around the space station. Each leg has seven joints and a device on what would be the foot, called an “end effector,” which allows the robot to take advantage of handrails and sockets inside and outside the station. A vision system for the end effectors also will be used to verify and eventually automate each limb’s approach and grasp.
Climbing Legs for Robonaut 2 Headed to International Space Station

NASA has built and is sending a set of high-tech legs up to the International Space Station for Robonaut 2 (R2), the station’s robotic crewmember. The new legs are scheduled to launch on the SpaceX-3 commercial cargo flight to the International Space Station, scheduled to launch Monday, April 14 at 4:58 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

These new legs, funded by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations and Space Technology mission directorates, will provide R2 the mobility it needs to help with regular and repetitive tasks inside and outside the space station. The goal is to free up the crew for more critical work, including scientific research.

Once the legs are attached to the R2 torso, the robot will have a fully extended leg span of nine feet, giving it great flexibility for movement around the space station. Each leg has seven joints and a device on what would be the foot, called an “end effector,” which allows the robot to take advantage of handrails and sockets inside and outside the station. A vision system for the end effectors also will be used to verify and eventually automate each limb’s approach and grasp.

Photo: Soyuz launch pad.
The sun rises behind the Soyuz launch pad shortly before the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft is rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Sunday, March, 23, 2014. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for March 26 (5:17 p.m. U.S. EDT on March 25) and will send Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Steven Swanson of NASA, and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

Photo: Soyuz launch pad.

The sun rises behind the Soyuz launch pad shortly before the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft is rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Sunday, March, 23, 2014. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for March 26 (5:17 p.m. U.S. EDT on March 25) and will send Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Steven Swanson of NASA, and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.


NASA Releases First Interactive Mosaic of Lunar North Pole.






Scientists, using cameras aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have created the largest high resolution mosaic of our moon’s north polar region. The six-and-a-half feet (two-meters)-per-pixel images cover an area equal to more than one-quarter of the United States.
The images making up the mosaic were taken by the two LRO Narrow Angle Cameras, which are part of the instrument suite known as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC). The cameras can record a tremendous dynamic range of lit and shadowed areas.
Web viewers can zoom in and out, and pan around an area. Constructed from 10,581 pictures, the mosaic provides enough detail to see textures and subtle shading of the lunar terrain. Consistent lighting throughout the images makes it easy to compare different regions.
To view the image with zoom and pan capability, visit: http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/gigapan.
NASA Releases First Interactive Mosaic of Lunar North Pole.

Scientists, using cameras aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have created the largest high resolution mosaic of our moon’s north polar region. The six-and-a-half feet (two-meters)-per-pixel images cover an area equal to more than one-quarter of the United States.

The images making up the mosaic were taken by the two LRO Narrow Angle Cameras, which are part of the instrument suite known as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC). The cameras can record a tremendous dynamic range of lit and shadowed areas.

Web viewers can zoom in and out, and pan around an area. Constructed from 10,581 pictures, the mosaic provides enough detail to see textures and subtle shading of the lunar terrain. Consistent lighting throughout the images makes it easy to compare different regions.

To view the image with zoom and pan capability, visit: http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/gigapan.

Image: Solar flare shown in five different wavelengths of light.
On Feb. 24, 2014, the sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:49 p.m. EST. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which keeps a constant watch on the sun, captured images of the event. These SDO images from 7:25 p.m. EST on Feb. 24 show the first moments of this X-class flare in different wavelengths of light — seen as the bright spot that appears on the left limb of the sun. Hot solar material can be seen hovering above the active region in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.

Image: Solar flare shown in five different wavelengths of light.

On Feb. 24, 2014, the sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:49 p.m. EST. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which keeps a constant watch on the sun, captured images of the event. These SDO images from 7:25 p.m. EST on Feb. 24 show the first moments of this X-class flare in different wavelengths of light — seen as the bright spot that appears on the left limb of the sun. Hot solar material can be seen hovering above the active region in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.

Video: CubeSats deployed from the ISS.

One of the three satellites deployed here is the SkyCube, which was launched with funds from a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, which I contributed to.

According to an update, it seems the solar panels have likely deployed and the satellite is working as expected.

SkyCube will take low-resolution pictures of the Earth and broadcast simple messages uploaded by sponsors.  After 90 days, it will use an 8-gram CO2 cartridge to inflate a 10-foot (3-meter) diameter balloon coated with highly reflective titanium dioxide powder.  SkyCube’s balloon will make the satellite as bright as the Hubble Space Telescope or a first-magnitude star.  You’ll be able to see it with your own eyes, sailing across the sky.  But SkyCube’s balloon isn’t just for visibility.  It will - within 3 weeks - bring SkyCube down from orbit due to atmospheric drag, ending the mission cleanly in a fiery “grand finale” that avoids any buildup of space debris.

Image: Runaway star seen by Spitzer space telescope.
Roguish runaway stars can have a big impact on their surroundings as they plunge through the Milky Way galaxy. Their high-speed encounters shock the galaxy, creating arcs, as seen in this newly released image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.
In this case, the speedster star is known as Kappa Cassiopeiae, or HD 2905 to astronomers. It is a massive, hot supergiant moving at around 2.5 million mph relative to its neighbors (1,100 kilometers per second). But what really makes the star stand out in this image is the surrounding, streaky red glow of material in its path. Such structures are called bow shocks, and they can often be seen in front of the fastest, most massive stars in the galaxy.
Bow shocks form where the magnetic fields and wind of particles flowing off a star collide with the diffuse, and usually invisible, gas and dust that fill the space between stars. How these shocks light up tells astronomers about the conditions around the star and in space. Slow-moving stars like our sun have bow shocks that are nearly invisible at all wavelengths of light, but fast stars like Kappa Cassiopeiae create shocks that can be seen by Spitzer’s infrared detectors.

Image: Runaway star seen by Spitzer space telescope.

Roguish runaway stars can have a big impact on their surroundings as they plunge through the Milky Way galaxy. Their high-speed encounters shock the galaxy, creating arcs, as seen in this newly released image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

In this case, the speedster star is known as Kappa Cassiopeiae, or HD 2905 to astronomers. It is a massive, hot supergiant moving at around 2.5 million mph relative to its neighbors (1,100 kilometers per second). But what really makes the star stand out in this image is the surrounding, streaky red glow of material in its path. Such structures are called bow shocks, and they can often be seen in front of the fastest, most massive stars in the galaxy.

Bow shocks form where the magnetic fields and wind of particles flowing off a star collide with the diffuse, and usually invisible, gas and dust that fill the space between stars. How these shocks light up tells astronomers about the conditions around the star and in space. Slow-moving stars like our sun have bow shocks that are nearly invisible at all wavelengths of light, but fast stars like Kappa Cassiopeiae create shocks that can be seen by Spitzer’s infrared detectors.

Opportunity rover seen from orbit.
The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught this view of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on Feb. 14, 2014. The red arrow points to Opportunity at the center of the image. Blue arrows point to tracks left by the rover since it entered the area seen here, in October 2013. The scene covers a patch of ground about one-quarter mile (about 400 meters) wide. North is toward the top. The location is the “Murray Ridge” section of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

Opportunity rover seen from orbit.

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught this view of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on Feb. 14, 2014. The red arrow points to Opportunity at the center of the image. Blue arrows point to tracks left by the rover since it entered the area seen here, in October 2013. The scene covers a patch of ground about one-quarter mile (about 400 meters) wide. North is toward the top. The location is the “Murray Ridge” section of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

Martian rock mystery solved.
Last month NASA’s Opportunity rover team spotted a rock which suddenly appeared next to the Mars rover. The mystery has since been solved, with the finding that it had been kicked there by the rovers tyres.

"Once we moved Opportunity a short distance away… we could see directly uphill an overturned rock that has the same unusual appearance," said mission investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University. “We drove over it. We can see the track. That’s where Pinnacle Island came from.”

Martian rock mystery solved.

Last month NASA’s Opportunity rover team spotted a rock which suddenly appeared next to the Mars rover. The mystery has since been solved, with the finding that it had been kicked there by the rovers tyres.

"Once we moved Opportunity a short distance away… we could see directly uphill an overturned rock that has the same unusual appearance," said mission investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University. “We drove over it. We can see the track. That’s where Pinnacle Island came from.”