Rolls Royce and Harvard University are exploring how tiny swarm robots could someday crawl through an airplane engine for mechanical check-ups and maintenance.
Each robot measures around 10mm in diameter which would be deposited in the centre of an engine via a ‘snake’ robot and would then perform a visual inspection of hard to reach areas by crawling through the engine. These robots would carry small cameras that provide a live video feed back to the operator allowing them to complete a rapid visual inspection of the engine without having to remove it from the aircraft.
"SWARM Robots" (Rolls Royce via Uncrate)
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Servicemembers willing to undergo dangerous test pilot duties are remarkably brave. The military is now conducting tests on different body sizes to ensure women serving as pilots get the same safety benefits. Read the rest
Lockheed Martin just made the largest 3D printed part they've ever ever built for space. The titanium domes used to take a couple of years to make from scratch, but this was completed in about three months. Read the rest
A very skilled pilot takes a Saab Gripen fighter jet through its paces, and his audio from the recording indicates just how physically and mentally taxing this kind of flying is. Read the rest
Autonomous weapon bans (previously) are currently being debated, but in the meantime, the US Department of Defense continues work with its Perdix Micro-Drone project. Ostensibly for surveillance, it's clear these could easily be modded with lethal weaponry. Read the rest
There are more than 500,000 pieces of dangerous space junk orbiting the Earth, not including paint flecks and other tiny bits flying around at 17,500 miles per hour that put spacecraft at risk. The Brane Craft, in the conceptual phase at Aerospace Corporation, is a bulletproof "blanket," one yard across and thinner than a human hair, that the company thinks could wrap around space junk and pull it into the atmosphere where it will safely burn up. The project just received another grant from NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program that funds radical concepts that may never work but would have great impact if they do. From Space.com:
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The thin spacecraft is not only lightweight, which reduces fuel consumption, but is easy to stack in a launcher and deploy in a swarm of dozens of bots, each on a track to a different rogue piece of debris. Brane Crafts will be powered by ultrathin solar cells as well as a little bit of propellant. The company plans to launch the craft frequently, with many Branes deployed at the same time, helping to reduce costs...
The NIAC grant provides two years of funding for laboratory demonstrations of the thin film. The investigators plan to outline how to develop the technology and which fabrication technologies hold the most promise.
"We're also looking at how we can get government or other companies interested in this to take this to the next level," (Aerospace Corporation principal investigator Siegfried) Janson said, pointing out that readiness for space would likely take a few million dollars.
This lovely short subject documentary gives some cool insights into the awe-inspiring experience of space travel, as told by several women who have had the honor of doing so. Imagine shedding a tear at the beauty, then laughing as it floats away. Read the rest
Bill Nye and The Planetary Society released a direct appeal to the Trump administration, asking that the government continue to focus on Mars and support commercial space industry. Trump proposed a reduction in the NASA budget. Read the rest
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) just launched an amazing 104 satellites in one mission, setting a new record. Read the rest
Boeing revealed its new sleek and chic spacesuit designed for astronauts aboard the Boeing/Bigelow CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. Launched on Atlas V rockets the Starliner capsule will shuttle commercial crew members to and from the International Space Station and other low-Earth orbit locales. From Boeing:
The Starliner spacesuit provides greater pressurized mobility and is about 40 percent lighter than previous suits. Its innovative layers will keep astronauts cooler as well. The touchscreen-friendly gloves allow astronauts to interact with the capsule’s tablets while the boots are breathable and slip resistant. Zippers in the torso area will make it easier for astronauts to comfortably transition from sitting to standing. In addition to protecting astronauts during launch and the return to Earth, the suit also helps connect astronauts to ground and space crews through the communications headset within the helmet. The suit’s hood-like soft helmet sports a wide polycarbonate visor to give Starliner passengers better peripheral vision throughout their ride to and from space.
Video from Boeing:
Photo from Boeing:
Photo from NASA/Cory Huston:
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The legendary underground lair of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was so secretive that few photos have been published. Russ Kick at Memory Hole was good enough to locate one of 27 libraries in the world with an obscure book titled NORAD Command Post: The City Inside Cheyenne Mountain. The photos he shared will make you want to watch Dr. Strangelove again. Read the rest
Three strange metal spheres fell from the sky in Vietnam's Tuyen Quang province. They range in size and weight, with the smallest at 250 grams and the largest at 45 kilograms. According to the Ministry of Defense, they are likely compressed air tanks from an aircraft or rocket. That said, Nguyen Khoa Son of the National Research Program on Space Science and Technology suggests that they could be debris from a failed satellite launch. Apparently the balls were made in Russia.
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Federal safety officials say the builder of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is at fault for not anticipating the copilot error that caused the spaceship's disintegration during a test flight nine months ago.
It may be 'shopped, and we can tell by the pixels, but it's just the most beautiful image of Pluto mankind has ever seen.
Here's a sexy, aspirational trailer, just released by Los Angeles-based aircraft firm ICON for the A5, an amphibious light sport aircraft beginning customer deliveries this Summer. Read the rest
Cassini will get as close as 321 miles (516 kilometers) of Dione's surface if all goes as planned.