News

NASA Satellite Marks First Space Use of 3D-Printed Part

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will carry an electrostatically dissipative Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), or “strand-based,” 3D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), a material that has never been used in 3D manufacturing, let alone flown in space.

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Manufacturing Optical Chips with Multiple Purposes

Researchers are at the forefront of a revolution in microwave photonics, developing the first all-purpose programmable optical chips. Optical chips or processors are used in everything from biomedical devices to telecommunications networks. As it stands, each chip has to be custom designed and manufactured for each new task, which keeps productions costs high and the sector fragmented.

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Should we establish a colony on the moon?

This week's Question: NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay recently edited a special issue in the journal New Space, publishing papers that came out of a 2014 meeting with scientists and space business professionals. The goal of the 2014 meeting was to explore and develop low-cost options for building a human settlement on the moon. Establishing a colony on the moon could open up opportunities for research and deep space travel to Mars. The bigger question, however, is cost and whether the project could still be done in addition to the Mars exploration missions. The New Space papers concluded that a small lunar base could be constructed for $10 billion or less, and could be done by 2022. Many of the proposed technologies that could be used to lower the costs of a moon base include virtual reality for planning efforts; 3D printing to replace components; and flexible living modules that fit into a rocket's cargo bay.   What do you think? Should we establish a colony on the moon? 

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Researchers Create Super-Thin Lens

Scientists at Australian National University have created a lens that measures one two-thousandth the thickness of human hair. The technology will support the development of flexible computer displays and miniature cameras.

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Light-Up Skin Stretches Robotic Boundaries

Cornell University researchers have developed an electroluminescent skin capable of stretching to nearly six times its original size while still emitting light.

Posted in: News, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Self-Test Kit Warns Soldiers of Biological Exposure

The U.S. Army’s newly developed biological self-test kit can quickly identify the presence of a pathogen of concern such as ricin, anthrax, or plague, and automatically send the result to a soldier and his commander. Known as SmartCAR, the device uses a colorimetric assay, much like a home pregnancy test strip.

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NASA Tests Life-Detection Drill in Earth’s Driest Place

The Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drilling Studies (ARADS) project completed its first deployment after one month of field work in the hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert in Chile, the “driest place on Earth.” More than 20 scientists from the United States, Chile, Spain, and France camped together miles from civilization and worked in extremely dry, 100+ degree heat with high winds during the first ARADS field deployment.

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