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Is space mining viable?

NASA announced this month that its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) will proceed to the next phase of design and development ahead of a planned launch in late 2021. ARM will demonstrate a solar electric propulsion system as a robotic spacecraft travels to a near-Earth asteroid (NEA). After collecting a multi-ton boulder from the asteroid, the spacecraft will redirect and place the rock in orbit around the Moon. NASA’s announcement raises the possibility of mining rare earths and precious metals in space. Miners will be challenged, however, with getting to space, identifying and mining the correct samples, and returning home safely.

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Embedded Vision System

Elma Electronic Inc. (Fremont, CA) now offers a rugged, high performance embedded vision system that incorporates four configurable Camera Link ports and a front-removable, multi-terabyte storage bay with SATA III interface, essential for high speed imaging data offload and transfer. Powered by an Intel Quad Core i7 processor, the new OptiSys-5101 features a high definition image frame grabber ideal for optical inspection and video capture. A miniPCIe expansion site facilitates easy I/O customization. Designed to withstand severe environments, the compact system is ideal for a wide array of industrial, medical and harsh applications requiring high speed image inspection, analysis and measurement.  Click here to learn more

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Imaging Platform

Andor Technology (Belfast, Northern Ireland) has announced the launch of Dragonfly, a high-speed confocal imaging platform supporting multiple high-contrast imaging techniques. Dragonfly integrates Andor’s cameras with patented illumination technologies, and optimized optical design, to deliver outstanding image quality characterised by low noise, wide dynamic range, high resolution and exceptional sensitivity. The Borealis Perfect Illumination Delivery™ system used for confocal and widefield imaging provides exceptional stability, uniformity and spectral range, extending into the NIR region, where autofluorescence can be largely avoided. Click here to learn more

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Laser Drivers

The D200 is the latest in Highland Technology's (San Francisco, CA) line of high-performance compact precision laser drivers. A DC-coupled trigger signal produces fast, 2 nanosecond transitions. Up to 4 amps of regulated drive current supports lasers with forward voltages up to 9 volts. The built-in edge-triggered pulse generator provides up to 1us pulse widths. A pulse-follower mode is also provided, accommodating externally-defined trigger widths up to 100% duty continuous-wave (CW). Power, pulse width, drive current, and differential triggering functions are accessible through a ribbon cable header for embedded OEM applications.  Click here to learn more

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Fiber Inspection Tool

Fiber Optic Center, Inc., (FOC) (New Bedford, MA) has announced the addition of the FiberChek Probe from Viavi to focenter.com.  Meeting all fiber inspection needs with built-in image viewing, auto-focus, pass/fail analysis, storage and recall, the FiberChek probe completely automates inspection workflows to ensure fast and accurate performance. The integrated touch-screen display shows live images and analysis results with easy navigation and testing for desired acceptance criteria, including IEC-61300-3-35 standards or customer-specific requirements. Click here to learn more

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NASA's New AI: A 'Guardian Angel' for Firefighters

New research, developed in part by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, could someday be used to provide first responders and firefighters with real-time temperature, gas, and danger alerts.

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New Microscopy Method ‘Swells’ Cellular Structures

In this rat kangaroo kidney call, bundles of tubulin protein strands (green) snag on to chromosomes (blue) as the cell prepares to divide. (Credit: Joshua Vaughan) Cellular biologists work at a frustratingly small scale. Like their colleagues in particle physics, these scientists investigate fundamental questions about our lives and our world — but at a scale beyond the skill of our primate eyes. Microscopes have helped bring this invisible world into focus — and over the past several centuries since their invention, advances in microscopy have helped scientists visualize many details of life on the cellular level. But these approaches have costs — expensive equipment and complex specimen treatments — that ultimately restrict their widespread use.

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