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Editor’s Choice: January 2014

This month’s Editor’s Choice is a charging station for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), which are becoming increasingly important in military surveillance, mine detection, and other applications. Today, most AUVs are powered by batteries that limit travel distance. The Submerged AUV Charging Station would let an AUV travel, stop and charge, and travel again. Read the full article on page 36.

Posted in: UpFront

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App of the Month: Moon Tours

Moon Tours is the mobile version of the NASA’s Lunar Mapping and Modeling Portal (LMMP), a repository for over 600 geospatial lunar data products and imagery. These include digital elevation maps, slope maps, rock and hazard maps, mineralogy maps, and imagery from the Apollo missions to the latest data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Users can calculate the distance between two locations on the Moon, search for the names of features such as craters and hills, and view lunar terrain data rendered in real-time 3D. Free for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moon-tours/id696977262?mt=8

Posted in: UpFront

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On-the-Fly Disaster Relief Apps

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Qatar Computing Research Institute have developed new tools that allow people with minimal programming skill to rapidly build cellphone applications that can help with disaster relief. The tools are an extension of the App Inventor open-source software that enables nonprogrammers to create applications for devices running Google’s Android operating system by snapping together color-coded graphical components.

Posted in: UpFront

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If They Can Make it There...

A custom 3D printer made by Mountain View, CA-based company Made in Space is the first off-Earth manufacturing device scheduled for arrival at the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014. The 3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment will validate the capability of additive manufacturing in zero gravity.

Posted in: UpFront

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NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission: A Step to Mars

NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission will robotically capture and then redirect a small asteroid into a stable lunar orbit, where astronauts can safely visit and study it. The asteroid could remain in place for several decades, allowing NASA and its partners to conduct scientific investigations and develop capabilities for deep-space exploration.

Posted in: Features, UpFront

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App of the Month: Earth as Art

In 1960, the United States put its first Earth-observing environmental satellite into orbit around the planet. This app celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere. Download the free app for iPad from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nasa-earth-as-art/id577527077?mt=8.

Posted in: Features, UpFront

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Robot Prize Competition Opens

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA has teamed with NASA on the $1.5 million 2014 Sample Return Robot prize competition. Planned for June 2014 at WPI, teams will compete to demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologic samples from varied terrains without human controls. Teams that meet all competition requirements will be eligible to compete for the NASA-funded $1.5 million prize.

Posted in: Features, UpFront

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