astronaut


Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin will enlist aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin to build lunar lander

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Blue Origin said it will no longer go-it-alone on the development of a lander designed to bring humans back to the lunar surface. In a press conference from the Jeff Bezos-owned aerospace company, Brent Sherwood, vice president of advanced development programs, said Blue Origin will team up with legacy defense and aerospace contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Draper to bring its lander, called Blue Moon, to fruition. It's partnership with those companies will help expedite the Blue Moon's production and also increase the odds that Blue Origin meets an ambitious 2024 deadline to return to the moon set by NASA. 'This is the kind of thing that is so ambitious, it needs to be done with partners,' said Bezos, who owns e-taling stalwart Amazon, at the 70th International Astronautical Congress held this week in Washington. 'This is the only way to get back to the Moon fast.'


American pair make first women-only spacewalk

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir on Friday became the first female pairing to carry out a spacewalk -- a historic milestone as NASA prepares to send the first woman to the moon. "It symbolizes exploration by all that dare to dream and work hard to achieve that dream," Meir said after the seven-hour and 17-minute spacewalk to replace a power controller on the International Space Station. The mission was originally planned for earlier this year but had to be aborted due to a lack of properly fitting spacesuits, leading to allegations of sexism. Koch and Meir began the walk with standard safety checks on their suits and tethers, before making their way to the repair site on the station's port side as the sunlit Earth came into view. In a call to reporters just a few minutes before, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine emphasized the symbolic significance of the day.


NASA's next-generation space suits will give astronauts going to the moon more freedom and ability

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The astronauts set for the Artemis mission to the moon will put on suits that may look like today's gear, but will be redesigned with new technology to accomplish more complex tasks. The new space suits are set to allow for better mobility, allowing them to lift their arms and objects over their head and flexibility at the hips and knees, for smoother travel over the lunar surface. NASA also plans to take full-body, 3D scans of each astronaut to provide them with the most comfort and broadest range of motion. A famous video of Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, floating around the web that shows the American astronaut bunny hopping across the lunar surface – and this is one of the issues NASA hopes to eliminate with the new design. The new space hear is set to have interchangeable parts that can be used for spacewalks in microgravity or on a planetary surface.


DLR – CIMON back on Earth after 14 months on the ISS

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The Crew Interactive Mobile CompaniON (CIMON) mobile astronaut assistant, which is equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), returned to Earth on 27 August 2019. The SpaceX CRS-18 Dragon spacecraft carrying CIMON was undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at 16:59 CEST; the capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean approximately 480 kilometres southwest of Los Angeles and was recovered at 22:21 CEST. "We expect CIMON to return to Germany at the end of October," reports Christian Karrasch, CIMON Project Manager at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Space Administration. He looks back on the past few months: "CIMON is a technology demonstration that has completely met our expectations. During its initial operation in space – a 90-minute mission with the German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst on the ISS in November 2018 – it showed that it functions well in microgravity conditions and can interact successfully with astronauts. We are very proud to have been the first to use AI on the Space Station and have been working for several months on an improved successor model. With CIMON, we were able to lay the foundations for human assistance systems in space to support astronauts in their tasks and perhaps, in the future, to take over some of their work."


Artificial Intelligence: Powering Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars

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Over the past decade, the NASA Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) project has developed and demonstrated numerous autonomy enabling technologies employing AI techniques. Our work has employed AI in three distinct ways to enable autonomous mission operations capabilities. Crew Autonomy gives astronauts tools to assist in the performance of each of these mission operations functions. Vehicle System Management uses AI techniques to turn the astronaut's spacecraft into a robot, allowing it to operate when astronauts are not present, or to reduce astronaut workload. AI technology also enables Autonomous Robots as crew assistants or proxies when the crew are not present.


Astronauts and citizens team up against light pollution

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For an astronaut looking out of the International Space Station windows, city lights are brighter than the stars. To tackle light pollution citizen scientists are urged to help map out the problem on their smartphones by identifying images of cities taken from space. Astronaut pictures are the highest-resolution, colour images of night available from orbit. "The International Space Station is the best observation point humankind has for monitoring Earth at night," says Kevin Gaston, project leader of the Lost at Night project that raises awareness of light pollution. There are half a million high-resolution pictures of Earth at night in NASA's Astronaut Photography of Earth archives.


Brad Pitt's space epic 'Ad Astra' sets 'new standard' for science fiction films, ex-NASA engineer says

FOX News

Jim Bridenstine says you have to go to the moon to get to Mars. The Brad Pitt-helmed space epic "Ad Astra" sets a new standard for science fiction films, a former NASA engineer who served as a technical consultant for the movie told Fox News. "In my view, it sets a new standard for science fiction films, updating for all to see on the big screen some of the most fantastic imagery we have obtained of our solar system since films like '2001: A Space Odyssey' were released over 50 years ago," said Robert Yowell, who served as an engineer at NASA for 11 years and as a senior mission manager for SpaceX. The new film, set in a future in which humanity has colonized a few far-flung parts of the galaxy but still hasn't reckoned with its own existential torments, is three films rolled cohesively into one: a visually stunning movie about astronauts exploring places like Mars and Jupiter; a poignant father-son tale about coming to grips with abandonment and growing up with a certain kind of dad; and a social commentary on 21st-century concerns over environmental degradation, capitalism and our place in the world. Roy McBride, a man on a mission to the edge of our galaxy that he can't really refuse.


Why is it so hard to land on the Moon?

FOX News

That was the takeaway on Sept. 7, when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with its Vikram lunar lander during an attempt to touch down at the moon's south pole. India was poised to become the fourth nation to ever successfully touch down softly on the lunar regolith, doing so in a place that no other country has previously reached. Though the space agency is still scrambling to revive communication with Vikram -- which has been spotted from lunar orbit -- the unhappy landing sequence seemed like a painful echo of the situation earlier this year, when a private robotic Israeli lander, Beresheet, crashed into our natural satellite. It's all a reminder that, despite the fact that humans landed on the moon many times during the Apollo missions half a century ago, doing so remains a tough business. Of the 30 soft-landing attempts made by space agencies and companies around the world, more than one-third have ended in failure, space journalist Lisa Grossman tweeted.


AILA - A Humanoid Robot By Germany Is Being Trained To Become An Astronaut.

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AILA - A Humanoid Robot Is Being Trained To Become An Astronaut. Create Amazon Business Account: https://amzn.to/2VD9ylX AILA is a humanoid robot used by researchers to study mobile manipulation, robot perception, and AI. She's learning to perform tasks in human environments and training to become an astronaut.


Russia scraps robot Fedor after unsuccessful space odyssey

The Japan Times

MOSCOW – It's mission over for a robot called Fedor that Russia blasted to the International Space Station, the developers said Wednesday, admitting he could not replace astronauts on spacewalks. "He won't fly there any more. There's nothing more for him to do there, he's completed his mission," Yevgeny Dudorov, executive director of robot developers Androidnaya Tekhnika, told RIA Novosti news agency. The silvery anthropomorphic robot cannot fulfill its assigned task to replace human astronauts on long and risky space walks, Dudorov said. Fedor -- short for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research -- was built to assist space station astronauts.