UpFront

App of the Month: Rocket Science 101

With NASA’s Rocket Science 101, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to launch a spacecraft. NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) is turning over the virtual selection, construction, and launch of a mission to players who will decide the best rocket to assemble to launch a spacecraft. Rocket Science 101 is available for iPad users via iTunes at http://bit.ly/Mn1xLr.

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Curiosity Update

After driving more than a football field’s length since landing, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity spent several days preparing for full use of the tools on its arm. Curiosity extended its robotic arm on September 5 in the first of 6-10 consecutive days of planned activities to test the 7-foot arm and the tools it manipulates.

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Good Diet, Proper Exercise Protect Astronauts’ Bones

Eating right and exercising hard in space helps protect International Space Station astronauts’ bones, a finding that may help solve one of the key problems facing future explorers heading beyond low Earth orbit.

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App of the Month: NASA Science - A Journey of Discovery

This app brings you the latest information from NASA’s Science Missions, including the spacecraft, their instruments, the data, and what we are learning. Find out more about planet Earth, our Sun and solar system, and the universe. Download the free iPad app at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nasa-science-journeydiscovery/tid541482963?mt=8.

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Curiosity Update

NASA’s rover Curiosity touched a Martian rock with its robotic arm for the first time on September 22, assessing what chemical elements are in the rock called “Jake Matijevic.” Curiosity put its Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument in contact with the rock during the rover’s 46th Martian day. Watch Tech Briefs TV for the latest videos of the mission at www.techbriefs.com/tv/mars. Keep up with Curiosity at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

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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.

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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.

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