Posts under Tag: nasa
NASA’s New Space Suit Looks Like Something Right Out of a Scifi Film

nasa-z2-space-suit

NASA recently held a contest and asked the public to choose the new look of the next official space suit to be used by NASA and after a couple hundred thousand votes and three base designs to choose from, the people have spoken. Finally, the new space suit, the Z-2, looks like something right out of a sci-fi film as we would expect. In fact it very closely resembles the suit of the ever so hilarious dwarf servant and friend of Doctor Who, the friend who is always eager to go into a raging battle and blow things up. The new suit will sport very flexible and movable shoulder and hip joints for better articulation of movement for the astronauts, while still being strong enough to protect them from harsh and unforgiving planetary environments like that of mars. As if that wasn’t enough, the suit gets even cooler…it is sure to dazzle many a space traveller as it will include luminescent wiring, both at the front and back of the suit – Rest assured, Doctor Who and other space travellers will see us coming in the dark black void of space :-) Below are a few highlights about the suit for the suit designers – The Z-2 was voted Time magazine’s invention of the year in 2012 -

  • First surface-specific planetary mobility suit to be tested in full vacuum
  • First use of 3D human laser scans and 3D-printed hardware for suit development and sizing
  • Most advanced use of impact resistant composite structures on a suit upper and lower torso system
  • First integration of the suit-port concept with a hard upper torso suit structure
  • Most conformal and re-sizeable hard upper torso suit built to date
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Standford Researchers Create Spiked Bowling Ball Sized Probes to Phobos

Remember when Captain Picard and crew would come upon a strange new planet and use their every so clever and also very sophisticated sensor probes to go and give the place a once over and sending back all kinds of cool and fascinating information before they beamed down for a little shore leave, well it appears that some very clever folks over at Stanford have created a set of probes called hedgehogs to do the same thing. These hedgehogs as they are called, are about a half meter wide and have spikes to dig into the terrain of the Martian moon Phobos. The hedgehog probes will be dropped from a mothership called the Surveyor that will stay in orbit of the Mars moon powered by two very large solar panels on either side of the satellite . Using location and telemetry data from multiple hedghogs dropped in different locations on the moon’s surface, the Surveyor will be able to map out the terrain and send that information back to Earth. Mapping out the terrain will take several months and the flight to the Mars moon itself will take roughly 2 years, but the prototype has been built so a mission to Phobos looks to be in our future :-)

Surveyor hedgehog probes explore phobos

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NASA Begins Tests for Real Warp Drive

NASA Warp DriveLadies and gentlemen, going through the journey of everyday life gives way to some pretty incredible moments and experiences, but every once and a while if we are lucky, we get to be part of something that is truly awesome, like landing on the moon in the sixties. Well one of those awesome times may soon be at hand yet again. NASA is now doing experiments on faster than light travel for a spaceship or warp drive as we have come to know it from Star Trek. The team at NASA, lead by Harold White, has been able to move forward because of a mathematical breakthrough by Mr. White which had its origins in a paper from physicist Miguel Alcubierre. In his 1994 paper titled, “The Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel Within General Relativity,” Alcubierre suggested a mechanism by which space-time could be “warped” both in front of and behind a spacecraft. Before White’s breakthrough, it was long though that it would take a mass 317 times as large as the mass of Earth to generate enough energy to actually create a warp bubble around a starship and travel through space, thankfully this is no longer the case. By changing the shape of the warp bubble, White has determined that we could possibly have sustainable warp with a mere 1,600 pounds of mass energy. That amount of energy is much smaller and brings the possibility of a warp engine into reality for humans.

For even more details on warp drive and how it could work, check out this article on io9

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Star Trek Style Space Suite in Testing (NASA’s Z1)

Well ladies and gentlemen it appears that once again real life science is aligning itself with Star Trek technology and sci-fi fantasy, at least in the realm of wearable human space suites. With the last human space suit being developed in the early nineties, the NASA astronauts wearable space gear is long over due for a refit. Using materials, new pressure systems and air scrubbers of today’s latest technologies, NASA has created a new human astronaut space suit for the first time in roughly 20 years. As you will see in the video below, NASA’s new Z1 space suit is pretty sporting, both in its looks and function. The new suit has some really neat features, the best of which are the super flexible movement joints and the suit evacuation hatch at the back of the suit. The hatch at the rear of the Z1 space suit allows the astronaut to both enter and exit the suit by simply docking the suit’s hatch to an airlock on a rover or space station, pressurizing the suit to match the pressure of the rover or space station, and climbing out of the suite through the suit’s rear hatch. Captain Kirk watch out! Check the video below for more…

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NASA Turns Spy Telescopes into Dark Energy Detectors

Acording to a source in a post from newsgroup rec.arts.sf.science – NASA will be getting two military grade spy telescopes that they think can be adapted to study dark energy in deep space, something NASA has been wanting to do for a long time now. One of the astronomers credited with discovery of dark energy says the telescope’s optics are “perfect” to study dark energy in space. The telescope’s mirror is the same size as the famed and awesome Hubble telescope, but its focal length is shorter giving it a whopping four times the light collecting power of the Hubble and we all know how awesome the Hubble images turned out to be, well after the telescope gurus cleared up her eyeball :-) The re-purposing of these military telescopes will save the U.S. 250 million dollars on their future mission to explore and unwrap the mystery of dark energy, a mission that they were going to have to push back all the way to 2024 due to the cost. The original purpose and origins of these telescope’s design was not disclosed by the military, they only stated that they would be happy to see this become a NASA project now. In short, NASA and the planet can now thank 007 spys for bringing us one step closer to grasping the wonders of the final
frontier.

See full article here.

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