UpFront

NASA’s Space Station Fix-It for Satellites

NASA’s fix-it investigation on the International Space Station (ISS), the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), has moved one step closer to its 2.0 update with the delivery of new RRM hardware. The RRM module, affixed to an exterior ISS platform since 2011, now awaits the robotic transfer of two new task boards and a borescope inspection tool that will equip RRM for a new round of satellite-servicing demonstrations.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

The Power of Salt

Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to mechanical engineers at MIT. They evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy. In principle, a PRO system would take in river water and seawater on either side of a semi-permeable membrane. Through osmosis, water from the less-salty stream would cross the membrane to a pre-pressurized saltier side, creating a flow that can be sent through a turbine to recover power.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

The Next Mars Journey

The next rover NASA will send to Mars in 2020 will carry seven instruments to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the Red Planet. The instruments were selected recently from 58 proposals from researchers and engineers worldwide. The Mars 2020 mission will be based on the design of the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

Plant Pillows Keep Veggies Growing on Space Station

A plant growth chamber on the International Space Station could help expand in-orbit food production capabilities, and offer astronauts something they don’t take for granted: fresh food.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

Inspection Robots Keep Buildings Safe

Buildings, industrial plants, and bridges have to bear heavy loads and are exposed to wind and weather. Many buildings in Germany were built in the postwar years and now show damage due to aging. To inspect their condition and prevent hazards to people, much effort still has to be devoted to buildings that are difficult to access.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

May the Force (Shoes) Be With You

Maintaining astronaut bone and muscle health in microgravity is an ongoing concern for NASA. Last month, the ForceShoe, designed by XSENS, was flown to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will help NASA collect data for studying the force placed on crewmembers’ bodies during exercise on the ISS Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED).

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

Bioplastic Made from Shrimp Shells Breaks Down in Compost

Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have introduced a new bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells. It’s made from chitosan, a form of chitin — the second-most abundant organic material on Earth. Chitin, a tough polysaccharide, is the main ingredient in the hardy shells of crustaceans, the armorlike cuticles of insects, and even the flexible wings of butterflies.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>