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savuporo (658486) writes "As a leftover from cancelled Constellation program, NASA kept building a vacuum rocket test stand called A-3, that was originally intended to test upper stage engines. The work on the tower was finished this summer, which ended with the project being about three times more expensive than original estimate, and 3 and a half years late. By now, NASA does not have a use for it, so the facility was immediately mothballed and it will cost about $700 000 a year in upkeep. For reference, the cost of designing, building, launching and operating Spirit and Opportunity through their initial mission was about $820 million." Link to Original Source top
savuporo (658486) writes "AutoBlogGreen reports: The $10,000 prize for successfully hacking a Tesla Model S has been claimed. A team from Zhejiang University in China claimed victory at the Symposium on Security for Asia Network (SyScan360) event in Beijing by exploiting a "flow design flaw," whatever that means, to gain access to vital systems including the door locks, horn and window controls, while the vehicle was moving.
savuporo (658486) writes "The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense. Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Among the works were, for example, a paper published as a proceeding from the 2013 International Conference on Quality, Reliability, Risk, Maintenance, and Safety Engineering, held in Chengdu, China. The authors of the paper, entitled ‘TIC: a methodology for the construction of e-commerce’, write in the abstract that they “concentrate our efforts on disproving that spreadsheets can be made knowledge-based, empathic, and compact”. Sokal has opened a completely new avenue for science." Link to Original Source top
savuporo (658486) writes "The Pentagon’s research arm unveiled a new drone built with secure software that "prevents the control and navigation of the aircraft from being hacked." “The software is designed to make sure a hacker cannot take over control of a UAS. The software is mathematically proven to be invulnerable to large classes of attack,” Fisher said. This is currently being demoed on a quad-copter platform. It would be interesting to know the CPU architecture, chipset, programming language and the suite of communication protol this thing uses.." Link to Original Source top
DARPA DRC final results, Japanese SCHAFT takes the gold
savuporo (658486) writes "The two days of DARPA humanoid robotics challenge are now over. 16 teams entered in three categories — custom built humanoid, DARPA supplied Atlas platform and a non-humanoid form and competed in 8 different tasks. All Japanese SCHAFT team scored 27 out of 32 maximum points, folowed by IHMC Robotics and Tartan rescue following with 20 and 18 points. The tasks included challenges like driving a vehicle, climing ladders and walls, using handheld tools to cut through walls etc. All robots had a mix of autonomy with teleoperated controls to accomplish the tasks. Full details on scores can be found here The 8 teams that scored highest will get continued funding from DARPA to compete in the final challenge in 2014. Two NASA teams also entered, and JPL build non-humanoid RoboSimian placed 5th, whereas JSC built and touted "Valkyire" came out of competition with zero points. Team Shaft and Boston Dynamics building the Atlas platform were recently acquired by Google." Link to Original Source top
Chang'e-3 lunar rover landing tomorrow at 13:40 UTC
savuporo (658486) writes "The Chinese Chang'e-3 probe will be landing on the moon tomorrow, 13:40 UTC. CCTV is likely to carry the event life as they did for initial launch. According to technical overview of the mission scenario and instruments the landing will be fully autonomous with active landing hazard avoidance, which is the first time this has been attempted on any planetary landing. More real-time updates can be found on Twitter with ChangE3 hash tag and NASASpaceFlight forums live event section." Link to Original Source top
Chinese Chang'e-3 lunar rover is on its way to the moon after successful launch
savuporo (658486) writes "The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, which includes the Yutu or Jade Rabbit buggy, blasted off on board an enhanced Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 1:30 a.m. (12.30 p.m. EDT). Landing is expected on December 14, at a landing site called Sinus Iridium (the Bay of Rainbows), a relic of a huge crater 258 km in diameter. Coverage of the launch was carried live on CCTV, with youtube copies available." Link to Original Source top
Chang'e-3 lunar lander launching tomorrow, 37 years after last lunar landing
savuporo (658486) writes "China will launch the Chang'e-3 lunar probe at 1:30 a.m. Monday ( China time, or December 1 Sunday at 17:30 UTC ) from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on a CZ-3B carrier rocket. It is planned to enter lunar orbit on Dec 6th and surface landing on Dec 14th if all goes according to the plan. Webcast may become available on the CCTV mission site. The last time a spacecraft soft landed on the lunar surface was a Soviet Luna-24 sample return mission in 1976. The other currently developed lunar landers are from Google Lunar X-Prize contestants, with none planning to launch before 2015 at the earliest, given funding. CNSA is collaborating with ESA for spacecraft tracking operations, and has been collaborating with Russian partners in for building its radioisotope heater unit ( RHU ). NASA is blocked from collaborating with CNSA on this mission. Change'-3 predecessor orbiter mission Chang'e-2 has been very successful and was flown on an extended mission leaving lunar orbit into deep space. A BBC article talks about future lunar exploration plans, with Chang'e-4 that is built as a backup craft for Chang'e-3 and will be likely launched in 2015, followed by Change-6 and 7 that are designed as sample return missions." Link to Original Source top
NHTSA and DOT want your car to be able to disable your cellphone functions
savuporo (658486) writes "National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Department of Transportation are considering technological solutions for people to stop using their cellphones while driving. Proximity detectors or requiring physical link with the car are the solutions under the scope. FTA: NHTSA wants automakers to make it impossible to enter text for messaging and internet browsing while the car is in motion, disable any kind of video functionality and prevent text-based information such as social media content or text messages from being displayed..
Obviously these regulations would need to go beyond cellphones, as laptop, tablet or any other gadget with a 3G data connection or even on a wifi hotspot made by your phone would be equally distracting." Link to Original Source top
An Open Letter to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt on Drones
savuporo (658486) writes "DC Area Drone User Group has posted an open letter in response to recent comments by Eric Schmidt about banning drones from private use. Closing section: Personally owned flying robots today have the power to change the balance of power between individuals and large bureaucracies in much the same way the Internet did in the past. And just as the military researchers who developed GPS for guiding munitions could never have imagined their technology would be used in the future to help people conduct health surveys in the world’s poorest countries or help people find dates in the world’s richest, there is a whole world of socially positive and banal applications for drones that are yet to be discovered. We should embrace this chance that technology provides instead of strangling these opportunities in their infancy. Our hope is that you and the rest of Google’s leadership will embrace this pro-technology agenda in the future rather than seeking to stifle it. We would welcome the opportunity to speak further with you about this topic." Link to Original Source top
savuporo (658486) writes "Well known ( and spoofed ) Boston Dynamics BigDog prototype now has a bigger brother named "LS3" or Legged Squad Support System. It's intended to carry heavy loads for long treks and have enough autonomy to follow soldiers around, listen to voice commands and navigate autonomously. More at DARPA press release, and the obligatory Youtube clip. It's a tad noisier than a mule." Link to Original Source top
savuporo (658486) writes ""By crossing airships with airplanes, Solar Ship is planning to build a craft that can carry heavy loads long distances with a tiny carbon footprint. Filled with helium, they soak up rays from the sun to provide the energy for forward motion and fulfill its original design challenge – carry 1,000 kilograms (2,205 lbs) of payload 1,000 kilometers (621.4 miles)" The craft is heavier than air, and uses a combination of helium filling its interior and its lifting body delta wing shape to stay airborne. Solar Ship shows plans for a range of different size craft for different duties." Link to Original Source top
savuporo (658486) writes "DefenseTech story "Air Force’s UAV ground control systems (GCS) at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., have been infected by a computer virus. The virus, that’s apparently recording drone operators’ keystrokes, was detected about two weeks ago. While it hasn’t prevented the service from flying UAV missions, it has proven to be difficult to remove — Air Force technicians are having to completely wipe the GCS’ internal hard drives to get rid of the virus. Service officials still aren’t 100 percent sure how it penetrated Creech’s firewalls nor do they know where it came from. It may be a run of the mill computer virus that somehow made its way into the base’s systems or it may be a sophisticated cyber espionage tool specifically targeting the U.S.’ drone program — no one knows yet."
No word on what OS or chipsets these systems were running, but its pretty safe to bet that it is not vxWorks or QNX or the like.." Link to Original Source top
savuporo (658486) writes "With the first battery electric vehicles becoming available on markets worldwide, there is an increased push to establish standards for fast charging plugs. Unfortunately, the story is far from simple. US hopes to establish its own DC fast charging standad by 2012, and Europe cannot come to an agreement about their version. Meanwhile, CHAdeMO fast charge standard developed and widely deployed in Japan, used on both Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi MiEV is gaining momentum with deployments underway both in USandEurope. CHAdeMO is limited to 62Kw charge rate, able to charge smaller battery packs to 80% SoC in 15-30 minutes." Link to Original Source top
savuporo (658486) writes "We see the PV research stories often on./. So here is a story that recaps the actual industry developments of past year, highlighting things like long-awaited mass manufacturing of CIGS thin film-cells, grid parity being reached with some installations, i.e. sub-US$1.0 per watt manufacturing cost." Link to Original Source top
Frankfurt motorshow has cars with plugs, no hydrog
savuporo (658486) writes "According to a chief scientist for the British government, Professor Sir David King, young women can help stop global warming by no longer thinking guys that drive Ferraris are sexy.
Prof King has said: I was asked at a lecture by a young woman about what she could do and I told her to stop admiring young men in Ferraris. His comments were greeted with anger by sports car drivers who insisted that their vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions were tiny compared with those from four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Apparently the news about Tesla Roadster, WrightSpeed X1, The KillaCycle or other electric dragsters doing 8.10 quarter miles havent reached british government yet.
There are lots of other high performance battery-electric vehicles around, which are greener than a Prius when it comes to emissions per mile, even Ferrari itself is promising a hybrid in future. So does this seem to be a case of having our cake and eating it too ?"