aerospace & defense

Elon Musk shows off prototype of Mars-bound rocket but says SpaceX to shed 10% of workforce

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES - SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has unveiled the first pictures of a retro-looking rocket that may one day carry people to the moon and Mars. Musk posted pictures on Twitter late Thursday of the Starship Hopper prototype, which awaits its first flight test in Texas in the coming weeks. "Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering," he wrote. The prototype built in Boca Chica, along the Gulf Coast of Texas, is 9 yards (8 meters) in diameter but is shorter than the future rocket will be.

China releases first footage of its stealth spy drone

Daily Mail

China has unveiled its first stealth spy drone that is invisible to radar and can fly 40 hours without refuelling. The'Sky Hawk' warplane is capable of taking a clear picture of a car's number plate while flying at the altitude of 3,000 metres (9,800 feet), according to its developer. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been kept as a top secret by Beijing, and this is the first time any footage of it has been released. Footage of China's first stealth spy drone'Sky Hawk' has been released by its manufacturer The video, uploaded on New Year's Day, shows the plane taking off at an unspecified location The'Sky Hawk', or Tianying in Chinese, is the brainchild of Sea Hawke General Aviation Equipment Company Ltd, which was set up in 2012 by state-run China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation to develop and manufacture military drones. The plane is capable of avoiding radar detection and penetrating key enemy targets in a'highly threatening battling environment', says Sea Hawke in a post on Chinese social media on New Year's Day.

China releases first video of a Sky Hawk, its latest stealth drone, in flight

The Japan Times

China has for the first time released video showing its latest stealth drone in flight, state media said Sunday. China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday ran video featuring the "saucer-like" Sky Hawk drone, and state-run Global Times claimed that the new drone's cutting-edge technology will allow it to fly faster, farther and escape detection. The Global Times, quoting the CCTV report, said the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.-developed drone, known as the Sky Hawk, had conducted the flight test at an undisclosed location in the country. Video showed the drone taking off and landing, marking the first time that the aircraft has been publicly seen in flight, according to the reports. The drone reportedly made its maiden flight last February, but no video had been published before Saturday's broadcast.

Artificial Intelligence Could Become Introductory Martian Resident, Indicates Elon Musk Analytics Insight


SpaceX CEO Elon Musk desires to set up a foundation on the Red Planet and also hints that Artificial Intelligence might be the first Martian Resident.

The first colonists of Mars may be artificial intelligence, Musk -


American inventor and billionaire Elon Musk believes that the first colonists of Mars may be artificial intelligence. On Thursday, the CEO of SpaceX said that the probability that the first resident of Mars would be artificial superintelligence. According to the Mask, the probability of this is reached in his calculations 30%. SpaceX is working on an ambitious schedule of sending two spaceships to Mars by 2022, paving the way for four more vehicles in 2024, two of which will be the first people on Mars. Musk said in November that the Mars colony can be formed in the next seven to ten years, which means that it may appear in 2025.

Creating Forest Inventory from High-Resolution Satellite Images


Editor's Note: The DigitalGlobe 2018 Australia Sustainability Hackathon aimed to address Australia's most conflicting issues surrounding mining, agriculture and environmental sustainability using machine learning and satellite imagery. This blog post is written by the winning team from the agriculture category. The forestry industry can benefit from multi-spectral, high-resolution satellite imagery in a number of ways, particularly for inventory components, such as tree stocking assessment, Leaf Area Index (LAI) estimation, volume survey and health analysis at stand and individual tree level. These could be measured in direct way through sampling. However, direct methods are very labour intensive, costly and subject to sampling error.

Machine with sticky feet which can can climb up, down, and all around jet engines

Daily Mail

A robot with sticky feet that can climb up and down vertical walls as well as across the ceiling has been created by scientists. Harvard University engineers and Rolls-Royce partnered to make the robot which they say could inspect complex machines in the future. The device could be used in future to identify and maintain jet engines, scientific instruments and even generators. Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take over a month per engine. Many components are located deep inside the engine and cannot be inspected without taking the machine apart, adding time and costs to maintenance.

A Tensor-based Structural Health Monitoring Approach for Aeroservoelastic Systems Machine Learning

The potential for life-safety and economic benefits has motivated the needs for SHM research, facilitating a shift from time-based to condition-based maintenance [1]. Traditionally, vibration-based techniques have been used extensively in SHM for damage identification [2]. The time-based response of a structure can be measured by sensors such as accelerometers or strain gauges. Traditional SHM approaches adopt a numerical model, and a physical model of the structure and attempts to relate any differences between the measured data and the data generated by the model as damage identification [3]. However, a numerical model is not always available in practice and does not always correctly capture the exact behaviour of the real structure. By using statistical and data-driven approaches it is possible to learn a model with confidence bounds from measured data, leading to a more flexible approach to SHM damage identification [1, 3].

New Approaches to Inverse Structural Modification Theory using Random Projections Machine Learning

In many contexts the modal properties of a structure change, either due to the impact of a changing environment, fatigue, or due to the presence of structural damage. For example during flight, an aircraft's modal properties are known to change with both altitude and velocity. It is thus important to quantify these changes given only a truncated set of modal data, which is usually the case experimentally. This procedure is formally known as the generalised inverse eigenvalue problem. In this paper we experimentally show that first-order gradient-based methods that optimise objective functions defined over a modal are prohibitive due to the required small step sizes. This in turn leads to the justification of using a non-gradient, black box optimiser in the form of particle swarm optimisation. We further show how it is possible to solve such inverse eigenvalue problems in a lower dimensional space by the use of random projections, which in many cases reduces the total dimensionality of the optimisation problem by 80% to 99%. Two example problems are explored involving a ten-dimensional mass-stiffness toy problem, and a one-dimensional finite element mass-stiffness approximation for a Boeing 737-300 aircraft.

NYPD police officers will start using drones


The New York Police Department has launched a new drone program, its first since it ended an unmanned aerial vehicle pilot program in 2011. The department says it will use its collection of drones -- 14 in all -- for search and rescue missions, crime scene documentation, hazmat incidents, large events like concerts and hostage situations. "As the largest municipal police department in the United States, the NYPD must always be willing to leverage the benefits of new and always-improving technology," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said in a statement. "Our new [Unmanned Aircraft System] program is part of this evolution -- it enables our highly-trained cops to be even more responsive to the people we serve, and to carry out the NYPD's critical work in ways that are more effective, efficient and safe for everyone." The NYPD currently has three types of drones.