Pasadena, CA – NASA says steam locomotion may sound like an antiquated way to get around, but it might be getting a science fiction makeover as we expand our reach into the solar system.
A novel robotic concept being investigated at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California would use steam propulsion to hop across the sort of icy terrains found on Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Both are thought to host vast subsurface oceans of salty water under a thick ice crust.
Pasadena, CA – The newest edition of NASA’s small, foldable robots recently practiced their scouting skills and successfully traversed rugged terrain in the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
JPL developed the Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER) to scout regions on the Moon and gain intel about locations that may be difficult for astronauts to investigate on foot, like hard-to-reach craters and narrow caves.
Pasadena, CA -NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers in Pasadena, California, have designed a four-limbed robot named LEMUR (Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot) can scale rock walls, gripping with hundreds of tiny fishhooks in each of its 16 fingers and using artificial intelligence (AI) to find its way around obstacles.
In its last field test in Death Valley, California, in early 2019, LEMUR chose a route up a cliff while scanning the rock for ancient fossils from the sea that once filled the area.
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) is expanding its coding camps this summer to include elementary and middle school students after a successful 2018.
And the new campers will get a bonus: They’ll program and work with a robot.
Written by Andrew Good
Pasadena, CA – How do you get a robot to recognize a surprise?
That’s a question artificial intelligence researchers are mulling, especially as A.I. begins to change space research.
A new article in the journal Science: Robotics offers an overview of how A.I. has been used to make discoveries on space missions. The article, co-authored by Steve Chien and Kiri Wagstaff of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, suggests that autonomy will be a key technology for the future exploration of our solar system, where robotic spacecraft will often be out of communication with their human controllers.
In a sense, space scientists are doing field research virtually, with the help of robotic spacecraft.
Written by Andrew Good
Pasadena, CA – If you think operating a robot in space is hard, try doing it in the ocean.
Saltwater can corrode your robot and block its radio signals.
Kelp forests can tangle it up, and you might not get it back.
Sharks will even try to take bites out of its wings.
The ocean is basically a big obstacle course of robot death. Despite this, robotic submersibles have become critical tools for ocean research. While satellites can study the ocean surface, their signals can’t penetrate the water. A better way to study what’s below is to look beneath yourself — or send a robot in your place.
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – A piece of tape can only be used a few times before the adhesion wears off and it can no longer hold two surfaces together. But researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are working on the ultimate system of stickiness, inspired by geckos.
Thanks to tiny hairs on the bottom of geckos’ feet, these lizards can cling to walls with ease, and their stickiness doesn’t wear off with repeated usage. JPL engineer Aaron Parness and colleagues used that concept to create a material with synthetic hairs that are much thinner than a human hair. When a force is applied to make the tiny hairs bend, that makes the material stick to a desired surface.
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – Showing off its robustness and versatility, the ape-like RoboSimian robot, developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, took fifth place in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals, held June 5th through 6th in Pomona, California.
RoboSimian squared off against 22 other robots in the international robotics competition, which promoted the development of robots that could respond to disaster scenarios too dangerous for humans.
Clarksville, TN – As technology advances and becomes more a part of our daily lives, the opportunities available to aspiring techies continues to grow.
One Austin Peay State University student was recently recognized for his efforts in bringing the fantastic to life, using everyday items to create a low-cost, entry-level robotics platform.
Written by Maria Alberty
Moffett Field, CA – Inspired by science fiction, three bowling ball-size free-flying Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) have been flying inside the International Space Station since 2006.
These satellites provide a test bed for development and research, each having its own power, propulsion, computer, navigation equipment, and physical and electrical connections for hardware and sensors for various experiments.
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