space agency


NASA will try and use InSight Lander's robotic arm to 'push' a troubled probe back into position

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA is running out of options in its mission to get its InSight lander's probe back on track. According to the agency, it will attempt to use a robotic arm attached to its InSight Lander to push down on a probe meant to drill into Martian soil which has struggled to achieve its mission throughout the past year. NASA says the goal is to stop the probe from popping out of its partially dug hole which it has done twice in recent months in addition to almost burying itself. While the act of pushing down on the probe with the arm should be relatively easy, NASA acknowledges that choosing to do so could create problems for the instrument if too much force is applied. The worry is that pushing down with the arm may damage a ribbon-like stretch of wires that attaches to InSight.


Artificial intelligence spotted 11 'potentially hazardous' asteroids that NASA missed

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Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. An asteroid hitting Earth is one of humanity's greatest existential threats, making it imperative that asteroid detection is a vital task for government space agencies around the world. Using advanced artificial intelligence, researchers in the Netherlands have discovered several "potentially hazardous objects" that were not spotted by humans. The research, published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, looked at space objects more than 100 meters in diameter that were likely to come within 4.7 million miles of Earth.


NASA image reveals remains of an ancient lake that stretched across the Sahara 7,000 years ago

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA shared an eerie image of what was once a lake larger than the Caspian Sea in central Africa. Called Mega Chad, this massive body of water stretched 150,000 square miles across the Sahara and would have been the largest on Earth today. Modern Lake Chad is just a fraction of its former size and sits inside the ancient body of water's shoreline that is still etched into the desert landscape. The image highlights the dark lower-elevations of the area, along with sand spits and beach ridges that formed along Lake Mega Chad's northeastern shores. NASA shared an eerie image of what was once a lake larger than the Caspian Sea in central Africa.


Leiden University's computer algorithm spots ELEVEN asteroids that could hit Earth

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A computer algorithm from Leiden University in the Netherlands has spotted eleven asteroids that could eventually hit Earth and cause'unprecedented devastation'. All were missed by NASA software thanks to their chaotic orbits, which are difficult for current techniques to predict and identify as being potentially dangerous. Each are more than 328 feet (100 metres) in diameter and will pass closer to our planet than ten times the distance between the Earth and the moon. For comparison, the Tunguska object which flattened 772 square miles of forest in Siberia had a diameter of around 164–262 feet (50–80 metres). However, these space rocks won't pose a threat in our lifetime, however -- for they will only get worryingly near to Earth between the years 2131 and 2923.


NASA's Mars 2020 rover is fitted with a LASER that vaporizes rock to search for signs of life

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Mars 2020 rover is heading to the Red Planet armed with a high-powered laser to assist in its search for fossils. The technology, called SuperCam, is fitted at the robot's mast and shoots pulses capable of vaporizing rocks from up to 20 feet away. The laser beam heats the target to 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to transform the solid rock into plasma that can be imaged by a camera for further analysis. Using this instrument will help researchers identify minerals that are beyond the reach of the rover's robotic arm or in areas too steep for the rover to go. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Mars 2020 rover is heading to the Red Planet armed with a high-powered laser to assist in its search for fossils.


This Half-Humanoid Robot Is Going to the Moon

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When the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sends its first astronaut into space, it won't have to worry about building her a spacesuit. Vyommitra is a half-humanoid robot that ISRO plans to send to space this December during a bid to successfully land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. In September, the space agency tried--and failed--to touch down on the lunar surface when its Vikram lander experienced a braking problem. If Vikram had landed safely, India would have been the fourth country to land on the moon, following Russia, the U.S., and China. This time around, as part of India's next space mission, Vyommitra will sit in the Gaganyaan spacecraft, which is equipped to fit up to three humans.


AI Will Probably Trick Us Into Thinking We Found Aliens

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Ever since the Dawn spacecraft picked up images of what look to be a vast network of bright spots in the Occator crater on Ceres--a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt--there's been conjecture over whether the whiteish spots are made up of ice, or some kind of volcanic salt deposits. Meanwhile, another controversy has been brewing over them: What exactly are those shapes seen in the bright spots, called Vinalia Faculae? Are they squares or triangles? Because the strange patterns are so strikingly geometric, researchers from the University of Cadiz in Spain have taken a closer look at the bright spots to figure out whether humans and machines look at planetary images differently. The overall goal was to figure out if artificial intelligence can help us discover and make sense of technosignatures, or potentially detectable signals from distant, advanced civilizations, according to NASA.


AI could trick us into thinking we've found aliens, scientists warn

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Artificial intelligence could trick us into thinking we have found potential aliens, researchers have warned. Even computers could be prone to identifying shapes as evidence of extraterrestrial civilisations, a new study has found – and humans could then be deceived into believing they are real. Artificial intelligence is one of the breakthrough technologies in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, being used to sort through huge amounts of image in the hopes of spotting "technosignatures", or indications of alien life. But the new discovery suggests that people could be get excited about potential discoveries spotted by AI, only to find that they are actually meaningless, accidental formations on alien planets. The study used a particular formation on the dwarf planet Ceres, which excited alien-hunters when it was first discovered.


Weekly Top 10 Automation Articles - Latest, Trending Automation News

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The German government is facing a bill of around $887,000 (800,000 euros) for failing to upgrade to Windows 10 ahead of the Windows 7 end of support date last week. German newspaper Handelsblatt reports that the German Federal Ministry is looking to secure at least 33,000 machines still running Windows 7, which involves paying Microsoft a fee per device for a year of extended security protection. Lego is releasing an official International Space Station kit, which includes a scale model of the orbital platform, along with a miniature dockable Space Shuttle, a deployable satellite and two astronaut mini figurines. The kit is made up of 864 pieces, and celebrates the science station's more than 20 years in operation. It was originally suggested through Lego's Ideas platform, which crowdsources ideas from the Lego fan community.


The Final Frontier: Deep Learning in Space

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning, particularly deep learning, is being increasing utilised in space applications, mirroring the groundbreaking success in many earthbound problems. Deploying a space device, e.g. a satellite, is becoming more accessible to small actors due to the development of modular satellites and commercial space launches, which fuels further growth of this area. Deep learning's ability to deliver sophisticated computational intelligence makes it an attractive option to facilitate various tasks on space devices and reduce operational costs. In this work, we identify deep learning in space as one of development directions for mobile and embedded machine learning. We collate various applications of machine learning to space data, such as satellite imaging, and describe how on-device deep learning can meaningfully improve the operation of a spacecraft, such as by reducing communication costs or facilitating navigation. We detail and contextualise compute platform of satellites and draw parallels with embedded systems and current research in deep learning for resource-constrained environments.