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Wire spring tires win R&D award

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on November 28th, 2010

These super strong wire tires are made of woven wire. There’s no air. Just layers and layers of springs designed to withstand the most extreme environments possible. NASA and Goodyear have teamed up to build these ultimate off-road tires.

They can withstand impacts and survive them much better than your average inflated rubber tire. Since the material is made of springs, it also contours itself according to the terrain, giving you excellent traction. Plus they look neat and shiny.

Robot hand with space glove designed for NASA hits eBay

Posted in Robots by Shane McGlaun on September 27th, 2010

People put some weird stuff on eBay and some of the stranger items are fake. If you are a loaded geek that likes space and robots, you need to head over to eBay and bid on an authentic robot hand developed for NASA.

The hand was made on a contract for NASA along with another prototype, it and the one on auction are the only two ever made. The hand was built by Mark Rosheim in the 90′s and wears a custom-made glove constructed by the firm that makes space suits for NASA.

Robonaut 2 gets packed up for mission to ISS

Posted in NASA by Shane McGlaun on August 16th, 2010

I have talked before about Robonaut 2 or R2 as it is known. R2 is a robot built by NASA and GM to work in space with humans. R2 is one of the most capable robots ever built and can handle a wide variety of tools thanks to complex articulating hands.

The mission that will take R2 to the ISS this fall is coming close to launch. NASA has been looking at how to pack up R2 safely for the trip aboard the space shuttle while still making it easy for astronauts to unpack R2.

James Cameron, king of 3D, helps NASA design camera

Posted in 3D by Shane McGlaun on April 30th, 2010

James Cameron is the king of 3D thanks to Avatar. Avatar has made so much money around the world that Cameron should be able to buy himself an Oscar. Cameron is now working with NASA on a 3D camera design.

NASA had reportedly decided not to include a 3D camera on the Mars Curiosity rover due to budget concerns. Cameron then talked NASA into including the 3D camera on the rover though.

Robonaut2: NASA’s humanoid robot astronaut

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on February 4th, 2010

We’ve sent robots into space before, but nothing humanoid like this guy. If monkeys can get shot into space, then why not? That way astronauts can get creeped out by robots just like we do down on Earth. Should make them feel more at home.

Robonaut2 was developed by NASA and GM. It’s basically a trainable, expendable crew member who can be sent out to do dangerous stuff that astronauts don’t want to risk their lives doing. Robonaut2 is ambidextrous and can use the same tools as human astronauts, while able to lift up to 20lbs.

“Alien skull” spotted on Mars

Posted in Humor by Conner Flynn on May 4th, 2009

"Alien skull" spotted on Mars NASA beamed back home some satellite images from mars. One of those images features an oddly shaped space boulder which appears to have eye sockets and a nose. So people are saying it’s a Martial skull. Further speculation shows that the skull is 15 cms with binocular eyes 5 cm apart. Also, the cranial capacity is estimated to be at 1400 cc.

There also appears to be a narrow pointed small mouth leading one to believe that this creature could be carnivorous also. We did some investigation of our own. Our findings are below.

Botropolis: This week in robots

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on April 3rd, 2009

Botropolis: This week in robotsIt’s been a busy week in robotics and we’ve been busy documenting humanity’s eventual downfall over at Botropolis. The road to Judgment day is not just paved with cold steel hands clutching human hearts. They will ingratiate themselves into our lives with cute Pixar movies, geeky robot toys and medical advancements that only advance their own agenda. Here’s just some of what we covered this week:

Doctor Who: Robot sighting on set.

Girl-On-Droid Action: Chicks dig Astromech droids.

Robots and Golf: i-SOBOT becomes a Golf Celebrity Spokesperson.

Flying over Mars: NASA’s Ares UAV.

NASA and Microsoft offer space images to public

Posted in Microsoft by Shane McGlaun on March 25th, 2009

wwtelescope-sbI have spent many summer nights in the back yard looking at the stars with my kids. They particularly like to look through the telescope and see the moon and other planets up close. If you don’t have a telescope or live in a city where there is too much light, Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope is a great alternative.

Microsoft and NASA have announced that the two firms will be working together to provide NASA images and data to the public under the Space Act Agreement. The firms will work together to develop the technology and infrastructure needed to offer the most interesting NASA content via Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope.

NASA looking to give away Space Shuttles

Posted in Science by Darrin Olson on December 19th, 2008

NASA looking to possibly give away Space ShuttlesNASA has announced that they are looking for ideas on what to do with the two space shuttle orbiters and main engine display kits by issuing a Request For Information (RFI) to the public. If you can convince them that you can appropriately display the shuttle to the public along with having enough money to transport and store them then you may have a good chance and scoring your own space shuttle from NASA.

Watches made from spare space parts

Posted in Watches by Conner Flynn on November 16th, 2008

Watches made from spare space partsSwiss watchmaker Romain Jerome has released something new and amazingly awesome in the “Moon Dust-DNA” collection. It’s a collection of 1969 timepieces that includes watches made from such things as moon dust, parts of the Apollo 11 rocket and even pieces actual spacesuits. Why 1969 timepieces? That was the year of the first moon landing.

The dials feature tiny craters with dust in them from moon rocks, the cases include bits of steel from the Apollo 11 space shuttle and the strap gets the same treatment, containing fibers from a spacesuit worn during the ISS mission. So if you want to get yourself several pieces of things that have actually been in space, this is a good way to do it. Pricing for the Moon Dust-DNA watches is also out of this world, starting at $15,000 and goes as high as $500,000.

The Linux Space Cube, apple-sized computer

Posted in Computers by Conner Flynn on August 28th, 2008

The Linux Space Cube, apple-sized computerThis thing looks like it’s alien in origin, but it’s made right here on Earth. It’s the future people! It’s the size of a small apple. And they crammed a lot inside. A 300 MHz processor, 16MB of onboard flash memory, 64MB of SDRAM, and a 1GB CompactFlash card loaded with Red Hat Linux. On the outside, it’s got a single USB port, VGA, Ethernet port, RS232 port, and mic and speaker plugs.

The entire deal is powered by a 5V plug. But that’s not all. It’s also got a “Space Wire” port, which is a proprietary interface used by people like the ESA, NASA and JAXA, for when the Cube actually goes into space. Get it? Space cube. But it’s not just for space, you can get your own soon, “once a few technical issues have been ironed out”. They will retail for as much as $2,769.

NASA concept car spins 360 degrees

Posted in Concepts by Conner Flynn on August 18th, 2008

NASA concept car spins 360 degrees
This concept car called NASA sports an ultra cool look, but the really interesting thing about it is the car’s ability to spin a full 360 degrees on the spot. It can also drive sideways. The design comes from Czech industrial design students Marek Kedzierski and Michal Vlèek and it’s a finalist in the Škoda Auto, competition.

It gets even more interesting. NASA has no doors, the whole canopy lifts up revealing in-line seating for two. Once the passengers are inside, the cockpit closes over the passengers, fitting them snuggly around the neck and head restraint. The only problem I see is that this car capable of going in any direction keeps the driver faced in one direction. Well, that and the fact that it looks like you could be easily decapitated in a car accident.

XP Inflatable Cars, the future of clown commuting

Posted in Automotive by Conner Flynn on June 3rd, 2008

XP Inflatable Cars, the future of clown commuting
Let’s say you’re a circus clown and you’re tired of that age old bit regarding too many clowns in a small vehicle. It might be time to upgrade that act. XP Vehicles could hold the key to your future success at kids parties and the circus alike. They have a strange idea of selling inflatable cars to everyone. They’ll be powered by batteries or fuel cells. Forget balloon animals Krusty. You can ride in one.

Don’t worry about punctures, the XP Vehicles will be using the same material that NASA uses in their airbags when things crash into Mars. Sharp objects on the road won’t slow you down. With the weight being lighter then normal vehicles, it apparently can travel for up to 2,500 miles on a single charge. Assembly will take about 2 hours and the cost is £2,500. Man, you are gonna be one cool clown. Just a few more kids parties and the dream is yours.

Phoenix Mars spacecraft makes safe Mars landing

Posted in Science by Darrin Olson on May 25th, 2008

NASA’s Phoenix Mars confirms safe landing on MarsAfter over three years of direct planning and ten months of traveling through space, NASA’s Phoenix Mars spacecraft today sent back signals that it has made a safe landing on the surface of Mars. The Phoenix spacecraft appears to have hit the intended target in the icy area of Mars’ arctic circle.

Signals sent from Phoenix were delayed by 15 minutes as they were routed through the Odyssey satellite currently orbiting Mars and back to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Earth which caused the celebrations of steps of the landings to take place shortly after they actually happened on Mars.