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The Sky’s the Limit

To set your sights on visionary changes that could transform space exploration, look no further than NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC). In early August, NASA’s NIAC announced 18 new NIAC Phase I awards, and 10 new Phase II awards based on earlier Phase I studies. The objective is to help transform the space agency’s future space missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter current approaches to launching, building, and operating space systems.

Posted in: Features, UpFront

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Creating the Future

The Sensordrone Tricorder Platform for Consumers and Mobile Device Developers has the potential to dramatically extend the sensing capability of smartphones and tablets. The keyfob- sized device has been awarded the Grand Prize of $20,000 in the 2012 Create the Future Design Contest, sponsored by COMSOL, Nordson EFD, and Tech Briefs Media Group.

Posted in: Features, Articles, UpFront

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App of the Month: NetworKing

NASA has released a new mobile application that challenges gamers to take on the role of a space communications network manager, and puts them in charge of building a communications network to support scientific missions. NetworKing provides an interactive, 3D experience with an insider’s perspective into how mission controllers and scientists communicate with spacecraft and satellites. NetworKing is available free on the NASA 3D Resources Web site at http://go.nasa.gov/OFkcot.

Posted in: Features, UpFront

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Curiosity Update

Instruments aboard the Curiosity rover have ingested and analyzed samples of the Martian atmosphere collected near the “Rocknest” site in Gale Crater where the rover is stopped for research. Findings from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments suggest that loss of a fraction of the atmosphere has been a significant factor in the evolution of the planet.

Posted in: UpFront

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Major Step Forward in Wave Energy

One of the first public wave energy testing systems in the United States has begun operation off the Oregon coast, and will allow private industry or academic researchers to test new technology that may help advance this promising form of sustainable energy. The Ocean Sentinel is a device developed by Oregon State University. It’s a major step forward for the future of wave energy.

Posted in: Features, UpFront

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Ultrasound Can Monitor the Health of Your Car Engine

A system that uses ultrasound technology to look inside car engines could lead to more efficient engines. Ultrasound scans have been used in healthcare for many years, but they have never been put to use in testing the health of a modern combustion engine. Researchers at the UK’s University of Sheffield have devised a method of using ultrasound to measure how efficiently an engine’s pistons are moving up and down inside their cylinders.

Posted in: UpFront

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NASA Uses Futuristic Technology to Build New Rockets

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama is using selective laser melting (SLM) to create intricate metal parts for the next heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).

Posted in: Features, UpFront

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