Science & technology

NASA's robot army of 'swarmies' could explore other planets

Engineers from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida developed software that directs the swarmies to fan out in different directions and search for a specific, predetermined material, like ice-water on Mars. Once one of the rovers finds something interesting, it can use radio communication to call its robotic brethren over to help collect samples.

Google’s Project Wing could lift US drone industry

Part of Google’s Project X initiative to develop new technologies, Project Wing uses “self-flying vehicles” to deliver goods, according to the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech giant. The company’s Project Wing team has recently been testing the technology in Australia, using the drone in delivery flights to farmers. Deliveries to the two farmers in the Australian state of Queensland included candy bars, dog treats, cattle vaccines, water, and radios.

Undersea Astronaut Crew Will Test Deep Space Communications, Robotics Strategies

Simulated spacewalks, communications delays and robotics will play featured roles as U.S., European and Canadian astronauts descend to the Aquarius undersea laboratory off the Atlantic coast of Key Largo, Fla., for a second time this summer to address some of the obstacles human explorers can expect to face as they venture into deep space.

Sparks Fly as NASA Pushes the Limits of 3-D Printing Technology

NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Locklear: Navy tech, legacy fleet must 'bend' to meet future threats

Scientific innovators will need to “bend” elements of the Navy’s current technology to meet the force’s future needs, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command told a group of international scientists and defense engineers meeting Tuesday in Honolulu.

NASA's Spitzer Telescope Witnesses Asteroid Smashup

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets.

Is the FAA limiting drone innovation?

“Manufacturers are starting to get anxious about migrating a lot of this technology into the commercial sector,” says Ben Gielow, a lobbyist at Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) -- a Washington D.C. based drone advocacy group. “The commercial market is expected to outstrip the military demand within the next decade.”

New Obama plan calls for implanted computer chips to help U.S. troops heal

Obama did not reference the new program directly in his speech Tuesday at the American Legion national convention in Charlotte, N.C.  In a joint fact sheet released by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs, however, the agencies said DARPA will start a new $78.9 million, five-year research program “to develop new, minimally invasive neurotechnologies that will increase the ability of the body and brain to induce healing.”

NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars

NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars -- and approved the program's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.

NASA Telescopes Uncover Early Construction of Giant Galaxy

Astronomers have for the first time caught a glimpse of the earliest stages of massive galaxy construction. The building site, dubbed “Sparky,” is a dense galactic core blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate.

Avegant Glyph Named Among 2015 Technology Pioneers

The Michigan-based start-up is one of 24 honored by the World Economic Forum on Tuesday as a 2015 Technology Pioneer. Avegant and fellow winners will be honored at an event next month in China. Glyph is a "mobile personal theater" that uses a Virtual Retinal Display.

Science’s Big Data Problem

Modern science seems to have data coming out of its ears. From genome sequencing machines capable of reading a human’s chromosomal DNA (about 1.5 gigabytes of data) in half an hour to particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (which generates close to 100 terabytes of data a day), researchers are awash with information. Yet in this age of big data, science has a big problem: it is not doing nearly enough to encourage and enable the sharing, analysis and interpretation of the vast swatches of data that researchers are collecting.

Jupiter's icy moon Europa: Best bet for alien life?

Jupiter's moon Europa doesn't look like a particularly inviting place for life to thrive; the icy satellite is nearly 500 million miles from the sun, on average. But beneath its icy crust lies a liquid ocean with more water than Earth contains. This ocean is shielded from harmful radiation, making Europa one of the solar system's best bets to host alien life.

Todd Park To Step Down as U.S. Chief Technology Officer

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, who spearheaded several federal health IT initiatives, reportedly will step down from his position by the end of the year. The White House has yet to confirm Park's departure.

Robotic brain 'learns' skills from the internet

The project is the result of a collaboration between the US universities of Cornell, Brown, Stanford and California, and has support from companies including Google and Microsoft. Robo Brain began digesting information from the internet last month. The researchers say it is sifting through about a billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals.

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