Slowly but surely, the Mars 2020 rover takes shape at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Engineers attached part of the rover a lot of cameras, his wheelsand now it's time to test his robotic arm. This arm will have to lift heavy objects on the red planet, so NASA asks him to make biceps curls on Earth. He is actually studying how the rover will maneuver his heavy sensor turret, but the action looks a lot like the ron that pumps the iron.
The March 2020 rover will have a robotic arm of 2.1 meters (7 feet) similar to that of Curiosity. It features five electric motors and five joints: the azimuth of the shoulder, the elevation of the shoulder, the elbow, the wrist and the turret. NASA must make sure everything works perfectly well before the launch because the arm is not just there to pump the iron.
At the end of the rover arm, engineers installed many important tools and sensors, such as SHERLOC and planetary instruments for X-ray lithochemistry (PIXL). The arm also houses the WATSON camera, which will provide us selfies from March 2020 to Curiosity. We certainly can not have this failure.
The bundle of instruments at the end of the arm weighs 40 kilograms here on Earth. The new test, which you can see in the video form below, was the first opportunity for JPL to see how the arm behaved with all connected components. The arm is well moved between a deployed and tidy configuration. The arm will weigh about a third more than Mars, but the team is still making sure it is rugged enough to work under Earth's gravity. Much of the science of Mars 2020 will depend on this arm that will touch the red planet with its sensors and percussion drill.
NASA still has a lot of work ahead of it before the rover can leave in search of adventure. If everything goes as planned. March 2020 will be launched from the Earth in July 2020 during an advantageous alignment between Earth and Mars. He will reach Mars in February 2021 to begin his one – year mission (687 Earth days). If Mars 2020 looks like Curiosity on which it is based, this mobile will survive the duration of the initial mission.
Humanity is far from being able to colonize with a single star, not to mention the galaxy of the Milky Way. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has launched an exciting challenge for scientists around the world as part of the 10th Global Trajectory Optimization Competition (GTOC X). The teams had to develop a process to colonize the galaxy in the most efficient way possible. It could take a few million yearsbut the simulations show how we could do it.
The contest, by its very nature, is based on many assumptions. Although we have detected thousands of exoplanets, most of them are too big, too hot or too cold for life. We do not have the technology to locate most Earth-like planets. So there is no world we know how to colonize. Therefore, the contest used a collection of 100,000 hypothetical habitable star systems spread around the Milky Way, all of which are identified by their location and trajectory (called ephemeris) in the contest rules. JPL judged the bids based on the number of stars chosen by the team and the energy expended to do so.
All teams must adhere to the same rules. The contest begins in 10,000 years in what JPL calls "zero year". From that moment, teams have 10 million years simulated to launch their colonization efforts from Earth. Everyone must also use the same initial colonization fleet. They start with three motherships, each with 10 colonization modules able to colonize the star systems as the ship passes. The mothership can also make only three course changes at a total speed of 500 kilometers per second. The Earth can also launch two "fast ships" that travel three times faster but can only colonize one star. Each established star can launch up to three decollating ships with an intermediate speed and the ability to colonize another star.
There is no hyper-advanced chain drive technology here. They are generational ships that can take thousands of years to reach their destination. Most bids used fast ships to launch missions to the edge of the galaxy and work inside colonizing ships. Meanwhile, the mother ships headed for the denser stars near the Earth to release all their pods.
The winning solution came from the Chinese National Defense Technology University and the Xi & # 39; s Satellite Control Center. Second place went to Tsinghua Chinese University, and ESA's team of advanced designers (ACT) ranked third. ACT has also posted a video of its solution on YouTube (see above).
JPL discovered that it took about 90 million years for teams to occupy large tracts of the Milky Way. The universe is billions of years old, why other species have not already done it? That's what we call the Fermi paradox, and nobody knows the answer. Maybe the universe teems with life, but traveling between the stars is fundamentally unachievable. Alternatively, there may be few or no advanced civilizations in the universe. It is even possible that extraterrestrials have colonized most of the galaxy, but they are moving away from Earth for an unknown reason. Anyway, these simulations are an interesting piece of the puzzle.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) uses some of the most advanced technologies in the world, including Martian rovers and space telescopes. However, it was a relatively simple consumer technology that allowed hackers to enter its network and steal data. According to a report from the Office of the US General Inspector (OIG), someone connected an unauthorized Raspberry Pi JPL, which allows hackers to enter the systems.
The full federal review of JPL systems was created following an incident that occurred in April 2018 when a person at JPL linked the Raspberry Pi to the network there for an unknown purpose. This small computer had an unfiltered connection to the Internet, acting as a beacon for hackers. It was apparently simple for unknown assailants to enter systems connected to the same network as the Raspberry Pi.
While inside the JPL network, hackers allegedly stole about 500 MB of manned flight data. If they were only a few jokers on the Internet, these data would not be very useful. If, however, they represented an adversarial country, the data could be extremely useful. This would be pretty serious, but the BIG review has deepened and revealed other issues related to how JPL manages its networks.
After ransacking the JPL computers, the attackers found a deeper route into the JPL network. They were able to access sensitive systems like the Deep Space Network, a set of radio antennas that NASA uses to communicate with distant spacecraft. The security breach was so serious that Johnson Space Center officials decided to disconnect from the JPL network to protect projects such as the Orion crewed multi-purpose vehicle and the International Space Station. Johnson remained disconnected from the JPL until November 2018, but some connections are still restricted.
The Office of the Inspector General stresses the shared nature of its network. A properly segmented network would have prevented attackers from setting up in other systems and threatening air operations. The system used by JPL to track network hardware is apparently incomplete and poorly maintained. Network administrators even admitted that they did not regularly check the list of new devices.
NASA and JPL are committed to resolving the issues outlined in the report, and the BIG will be back on track to make sure this happens. We can not take risks with major projects like the Artemis program.
The first private landing attempt of a spacecraft on the Moon has ended sadly today, after SpaceIL, a non-profit organization based in Israel, said the Beresheet vessel had failed to land. The last image received from the spacecraft, presented above, comes from an altitude of 22 km above the lunar surface.
Precise details about what was wrong with Beresheet (a Hebrew word that means "Genesis") are still unknown. According to the livestream information, it was reported that a unit of measure of inertia had failed and that the team was not able to reset the component due to repeated loss of communications with the JPL network. The entire spacecraft has been reset to restore communications and control, but this seems to have happened too late. By the time the connectivity was restored, the probe moved too fast to be fully braked before impacting the lunar surface.
– Israel on the moon (@TeamSpaceIL) April 11, 2019
"Well, we did not succeed, but we definitely tried," said Morris Kahn, president of SpaceIL, at New York Times. "And I think the goal is really amazing, I think we can be proud."
It was not Beresheet's first contact with failure, but it was hoped that the spacecraft, which was struggling, would benefit from a gentle descent to the moon. Israel would have become the fourth country to land on the moon, SpaceIL claiming to locate itself in history books. Only seven nations gravitated around the moon, which means that Israel still has a feather for its proverbial hat – but not the one that was wanted. Beresheet had planned to land in the Mare Serenitatis area. Without thermal protection, the undercarriage would only have worked for about two days, but the laser retroreflector would have operated for decades.
Only the United States, China and Russia have successfully landed on the moon. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his condolences for the end of the mission and said: "If NASA regrets the end of the TeamSpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing, we congratulate SpaceIL, Israel Aerospace Industries and the 'State of Israel for the successful sending of the first mission financed by the private sector in lunar orbit'.
The accident recalls that private space missions are not immune to the problems and failures that their counterparts with public funds can accomplish. Venturing into space remains fundamentally risky, as problems can arise at any time.