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9-Year-Old Applies For The ‘Planetary Protection Officer’ Of Earth Position At NASA

9-Year-Old Applies For The 'Planetary Protection Officer' Of Earth Position At NASA

NASA personally responds to 9-year-old’s application for planetary protection job

Recently, we had reported NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) had posted a job description on its website for its next “Planetary Protection Officer” (PPO) role. The candidates applying for this job require to have advanced degrees and experience working on interplanetary missions.

However, this requirement did not stop a 9-year-old boy from New Jersey from applying for the post of PPO. In a hand-written letter to NASA, Jack Davis, a fourth grader, proclaimed himself as a “Guardian of the Galaxy” and asked the space agency if he could apply.

I may be nine but I think I would be fit for the job. One of the reasons is my sister says I am an alien. Also, I have seen almost all the space movies and alien movies I can see,” Jack said in his letter, which was shared by NASA in a tweet last Friday.

I have also seen the show Marvel Agents of Shield and hope to see the movie Men in Black,” he explained, adding that he’s great at video games and a quick learner. “I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien.”

Responding to Jack’s letter personally, Dr. James L Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, wrote, “I hear you are a ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’ and interested in being a Planetary Protection Officer. That’s great! Our Planetary Protection Officer position is really cool and is very important work. It’s about protecting earth from tiny microbes when we bring back samples from the Moon, asteroids and Mars.”

He also added, “We are always looking for bright future scientists and engineers to help us, so I hope you will study hard and do well in school. We hope to see you here at NASA one of these days.”

Even, NASA’s Planetary Research Director, Jonathan Rall at NASA Headquarters in Washington, called Jack to congratulate him on his interest in the position.

“Although the Planetary Protection Officer position may not be in real-life what the title conjures up, it does play an important role in promoting the responsible exploration of our solar system by preventing microbial contamination of other planets and our own,” NASA added.

For those uninitiated, the job role requires the PPO to defend the Earth from alien contamination and also ensure that Earth does not contaminate planets, moons, and other objects during their space exploration. It also requires the selected PPO to help prevent possible alien microbes from spreading on Earth. The job also requires “broad engineering expertise,” “advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection,” and a willingness to travel. Candidates should also have a degree in physical science, engineering or mathematics. The position pays $124,000 to $187,000 per year.

All those applicants interested in applying for the job of PPO should be U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals only and have until August 14, 2017 to do so.

Source: CBS New York

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NASA is offering a six-figure salary to defend Earth from alien microbes

NASA is offering a six-figure salary for someone to defend Earth from aliens

NASA has a job with a six-figure salary that requires one to protect Earth from aliens

If you are on the lookout for a six-figure salary, then the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has something interesting to offer.

Currently, the U.S. space agency NASA is on the hunt for its next “Planetary Protection Officer” (PPO) with an annual pay check between $124,406 and $187,000, plus benefits. The job title requires the PPO to defend the Earth from alien contamination and also ensure that Earth does not contaminate planets, moons, and other objects during their space exploration. It also requires the selected PPO to help prevent possible alien microbes from spreading on Earth.

The job description reads: “Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration.”

“Nasa maintains policies for planetary protection applicable to all space flight missions that may intentionally or unintentionally carry Earth organisms and organic constituents to the planets or other solar system bodies, and any mission employing spacecraft, which are intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration.”

The position of PPO came into existence after the U.S. government signed the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 to protect planets and other celestial bodies from contamination by explorers – human and otherwise.

The post has become available because Catherine Conley, who is currently serving as NASA’s PPO, will be vacating the post.

This new job ad is a result of relocating the position I currently hold to the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, which is an independent technical authority within NASA,” Conley told Business Insider.

Even though most space missions only have less than one-in-10,000 chance of contaminating an alien world, Conley said the job still demands a keen eye for detail.

It’s a moderate level,” Conley described the difficulty of the job. “It’s not extremely careful, but it’s not extremely lax.”

The role is open to those with “broad engineering experience”, willingness to travel and to be drug tested. However, applicants who are interested in applying for the job need to meet a few requirements listed by NASA.

  • Advanced degree in physical science, engineering or mathematics
  • At least one year of experience as a top-level civilian government employee
  • Advanced knowledge of planetary protection
  • Demonstrated experience planning, executing or overseeing elements of space programs of national significance
  • Demonstrated diplomatic skills

The role would be offered initially for a 3-year work term which may extend for another two years. It could also probably require involvement in NASA’s upcoming missions, which may include a planned trip to Jupiter’s moon Europa in the 2020s.

The post is open to US citizens or U.S. nationals only.

You can read the full job description here. If interested, you have until August 14, 2017 to apply.

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NASA successfully tests a 3D printed rocket engine

NASA successfully tested a 3D printed rocket engine – Technology advancing beyond limits

Thanks to NASA, we will all be able to travel in outer space in 3D printed rocket engine

NASA might have found a way to develop rocket engine without using too many valuable resources in the process. The organization was able to make this possible through the extensive use of 3D printing, which is a bit more complex than what everybody is being led to believe. Most individuals are under the impression that 3D printing is nothing more than custom designed shapes that are rendered on a computer and is physically made on a 3D printer. However, the fact of the matter is that 3D printing is definitely looking to be the future of manufacturing for those who are serious are about how the world will shift in the foreseeable future.

One reason why it is being actively pursued by so many manufacturers is because of its cost saving benefits and before you ask, this will also include rocket engines. Despite the fact that 3D printing a rocket engine can be extremely complex, 3D printing has helped to remove the variables of welds and joints and have allowed to pave the way to being more aerodynamically designed. The latest example is Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which recently performed the historical landing of its Falcon 9 rocket and managed to use a few 3D printed rocket parts, which are present in its Merlin rocket engines.

Coming back to NASA, the organization has managed to complete several successful test runs of its 3D printed rocket engine; which is being referred to as breadboard engine. Breadboard comprises up of various components of a fully working rocket engine that has been strung together in a rig that looks nothing close to a real rocket engine. According to the latest report, approximately 75 percent of the rocket engine’s parts were 3D printed and according to the video, it was working completely fine.

In short, the more research is being conducted concerning 3D printing, the more advancements it will create in the near future, not just for rockets, but for other applications as well. Check out the video below and tell us what you thought about NASA’s latest venture.

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NASA plans to redirect asteroid into moon’s orbit so astronauts can explore it

NASA plans to redirect asteroid into moon's orbit so astronauts can explore it

NASA is seriously considering redirecting an asteroid to orbit around the moon so astronauts can explore it in the 2020’s with Asteroid Redirect Mission.

When you talk about asteroids, Bruce Willis starrer Armageddon comes to mind. In the movie, a rogue asteroid is hurtling towards earth and could cause mass human extinction. However Willis and his team of oil rig drillers embark on a mission to travel to the asteroid and drill a hole in the center of the asteroid to plant a nuke device. Willis and his team successfully drill the same and Willis dies while detonating the nuke.

This scenario though hypothetical, is possible in future. That is why NASA wants to study asteroids up close. What better way than to have your own asteroid in your backyard to take samples and conduct experiments. Thus, NASA plans to redirect an asteroid into our moon’s orbit by 2020.

NASA plans include visit a large near-Earth asteroid by developing the first ever robot for this mission, which would gather a multi-ton boulder from its surface, and pass it on into a stable orbit around the moon. Once passed on, astronauts will explore it and return with samples in the 2020s. As a part of NASA’s plan to advance the new technologies and spaceflight experience, this Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is required for a human mission to the Martian system in the 2030s.

Multiple candidate asteroids have been recognized by NASA. However, its search for the one that could be redirected to near the moon in the 2020s continues. More than 1,000 new near-Earth asteroids discovered by various search teams have been catalogued by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observation Program from the time the Asteroid Initiative was announced in 2013. Four candidates have been found out to be good for ARM so far. Over the next few years, many more are expected to be discovered by the scientists. Before deciding on the target asteroid for the ARM mission, NASA will study their velocity, orbit, size and spin.

The ARM is one part of NASA’s Asteroid Initiative. An Asteroid Grand Challenge is also included in the initiative, which is created to speed up NASA’s efforts to discover potentially dangerous asteroids through non-traditional collaborations and partnerships. The challenge could also help recognize viable candidates for ARM.

NASA plans to launch the ARM robotic spacecraft at the end of this decade. Using a robotic arm, the spacecraft will seize a boulder off of a large asteroid. The spacecraft will then redirect it to a stable orbit around the moon called a “Distant Retrograde Orbit”, after an asteroid mass is collected. Launched from a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, astronauts aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft will explore the asteroid in the mid-2020s.

Asteroids are left-over materials from the solar system’s formation. The return of astronauts to Earth could see far more samples than ever that have been available for study, which could open new scientific discoveries about the beginning of life on Earth and formation of our solar system.

Planetary defense techniques to deflect dangerous asteroids and protect Earth if needed in the future will also be illustrated by the robotic mission. NASA will select an asteroid mass for capture with a size and mass that cannot harm the Earth, because it would burn up in the atmosphere. Further, to make sure that it is a stable orbit, the asteroid mass needs to be redirected to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon that will also ensure that it will not hit Earth.

NASA’s ARM will most importantly advance NASA’s human path to Mars to a great extent, putting to test the capabilities that are required for a crewed mission to the Red Planet in the 2030s.

Resource: NASA

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NASA develops a “chemical laptop” to search for life on Mars

NASA develops a "chemical laptop" to search for life on Mars

NASA has a ‘Chemical Laptop’ to search for signs of life on other planets

Researchers at NASA’s Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California have developed what it calls a “chemical laptop”, which can be used to find signs of life outside Earth. This will be the first battery-powered portable, miniaturized laboratory built to detect both amino and fatty acids on other worlds as well as analyze these samples for materials associated with life.

NASA postdoctoral fellow Jessica Creamer says, “If this instrument was to be sent to space, it would be the most sensitive device of its kind to leave Earth”.

The chemical laptop is roughly the size of a regular laptop, but much thicker to make room for chemical analysis components. But unlike a tricorder, it has to ingest a sample to analyse it, Nasa said.

NASA develops a "chemical laptop" to search for life on Mars

“Our device is a chemical analyser that can be reprogrammed like a laptop to perform different functions,” said Fernanda Mora, one of the JPL technologists involved in developing the instrument. “As on a regular laptop, we have different apps for different analyses.”

The chemical laptop can attach itself to either amino or fatty acids, as it applies a fluorescent dye to its samples. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins, while fatty acids are key components of cell membranes. Both of these acids can be found in living as well as non-living sources. Amino acids which comes in two types, left-handed and right-handed are mirror images of each other but contain the same components.

Some scientists hypothesise that life on Earth evolved to use just left-handed amino acids because that standard was adopted early in life’s history. It is likely that life on other worlds might use the right-handed kind. “If a test found a 50-50 mixture of lefthanded and right-handed amino acids, we could conclude that the sample was probably not of biological origin,” Creamer said. “But if we were to find an excess of either left or right, that would be the best evidence so far that life exists on other planets,” she said.

However, the device’s final trick is to tell the difference by studying carbon chain lengths. After the amino acids and fatty acids are separated by a microchip, a laser is then used to identify the contents inside the sample.

The NASA team has since then been working to increase the sensitivity and accuracy of the unit, which could likely be used for environmental projects on Earth as well as on other planets. “This was the first time we showed the instrument works outside of the laboratory setting,” says Mora. “This is the first step toward demonstrating a totally portable and automated instrument that can operate in the field.”

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NASA releases stunning images of Pluto resembling to Earths atmosphere with icy mountains

NASA releases stunning images of 'Earth-like' Pluto

New images from NASA reveals Pluto’s mountains, atmospheric haze similar to Earth

NASA on Thursday released more stunning images taken from the New Horizons flyby, showing Pluto’s majestic icy mountains, plains and fog with the sun back-lighting the features of the icy world. The photo also shows a haze in the dwarf planet’s extended nitrogen-rich atmosphere. It showed haunting low-lying hazes and a “strangely familiar, arctic look”.

These latest photographs only represent 5 percent of the total data, meaning the world can look forward to a wealth of spell-binding pictures to come.

New images from NASA reveals Pluto's mountains, atmospheric haze similar to Earth

Traveling at the speed of light, signals take 4.5 hours to travel 3 billion miles to reach Earth, meaning the spacecraft has an enormous undertaking ahead of it. With data downloading at a rate of approximately 1 to 4 kilobits per second, it’s expected the entire abundance of science from the encounter will take one year to be beamed back to Earth.

New images from NASA reveals Pluto's mountains, atmospheric haze similar to Earth

“This image really makes you feel you are there, at Pluto, surveying the landscape for yourself,” Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement. “But this image is also a scientific bonanza, revealing new details about Pluto’s atmosphere, mountains, glaciers and plains.”

“Pluto is surprisingly Earth-like in this regard,” added Stern, “and no one predicted it.”

“Just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, New Horizons looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon,” said a NASA spokesman.

The images were taken on July 14 and downlinked to Earth on September 13. NASA released the first images from New Horizons’ Pluto flyby in July. The spacecraft began its yearlong download of new images and other data over the Labor Day weekend.

New images from NASA reveals Pluto's mountains, atmospheric haze similar to Earth

The smooth expanse of the informally named icy plain Sputnik Planum is flanked to the west by rugged mountains up to 11,000 feet high. The New Horizons images capture icy mountain ranges named Norgay Montes and Hillary Montes, which rise 3,500 meters above Pluto’s surface.

The rougher terrain, which is East of Sputnik is cut by what looks like glaciers.

The spokesman added: “The backlighting highlights over a dozen layers of haze in Pluto’s tenuous but distended atmosphere.”

Will Grundy, lead of the New Horizons Composition team from Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona, said: “In addition to being visually stunning, these low-lying hazes hint at the weather changing from day to day on Pluto, just like it does here on Earth.”

New images from NASA reveals Pluto's mountains, atmospheric haze similar to Earth

Alan Howard, team member, University of Virginia in Charlottesville said: “We did not expect to find hints of a nitrogen-based glacial cycle on Pluto operating in the frigid conditions of the outer solar system.”

“Driven by dim sunlight, this would be directly comparable to the hydrological cycle that feeds ice caps on Earth, where water is evaporated from the oceans, falls as snow, and returns to the seas through glacial flow,” he added.

Sputnik Planum, the smooth, light-bulb shaped region, is a “brilliantly white” hilly region that may be coated by nitrogen ice carried through the atmosphere.

The spokesman added: “Bright areas east of the vast icy plain informally named Sputnik Planum appear to have been blanketed by these ices, which may have evaporated from the surface of Sputnik and then been redeposited to the east.”

The new Ralph imager panorama also shows glaciers flowing back into Sputnik Planum from this blanketed region.

“These features are similar to the frozen streams on the margins of ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica.”

Launched in 2006, New Horizons passed by Jupiter in 2007 on its journey to Pluto. The fastest spacecraft ever, the probe traveled at 30,000 mph on its epic trip.

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NASA to launch 4K TV channel that will show ultra-HD space footage

NASA to launch 4K TV channel that will show ultra-HD space footage

NASA will launch a 4K TV channel in the U.S. to showcase ultra-HD NASA space exploits

The U.S. space agency, NASA announced that it has plans to launch a 4K TV channel this fall and has already begun test broadcasts. The channel will stream ultra-high definition (UHD) footage from the International Space Station. According to the NASA, the footage will offer an never before look at what it’s like to live and work aboard the ISS.

“This important new capability will allow researchers to acquire high resolution – high frame rate video to provide new insight into the vast array of experiments taking place every day,” NASA wrote on their YouTube page. “It will also bestow the most breathtaking views of planet Earth and space station activities ever acquired for consumption by those still dreaming of making the trip to outer space.”

NASA is partnering with Harmonic, a worldwide leader in video delivery infrastructure, to launch the new channel, called NASA TV UHD, the first ever non-commercial consumer ultra-high definition (UHD) channel in North America. The partnership is the result of a Space Act Agreement between Harmonic and the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Robert Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Communications at the agency’s headquarters in Washington said “Partnering with Harmonic gives NASA an outlet for its UHD content, which has four times the resolution of HD and is the next iteration of digital television.”

The NASA TV UHD will broadcast 24 hours a day and be available free of commercials, according to a promotional video that is currently being broadcast alongside NASA’s existing channels on the AMC-18 satellite.

Initial programming will be based around eight different video series: Solar System, Earth View, Mars, NASA Classics, Liftoff, ISS Life, Deep Space and Development.

The agency will use Harmonic’s end-to-end video delivery system to deliver content at 2160p at 60fps, which will allow viewers to enjoy footage on a wide range of television and internet-connected devices.

The new UHD channel is expected to launch on November 1, following preliminary tests. According to the announcement, Harmonic is also in discussions with pay TV companies to bring the channel to consumer via satellite, cable and optical networks. The channel also will stream on the internet, which will require at least 13 Mbps access connectivity to receive the signal and enjoy the UHD experience.

“As NASA reaches new heights and reveals the unknown, the NASA TV UHD channel can bring that journey to life in every home. And as organizations at the forefront of innovation, together we are leading the adoption of this exciting technology,” said Peter Alexander, chief marketing officer at Harmonic. “As the leader in UHD development, Harmonic provides a complete solution for Ultra HD video production and delivery, enabling content and service providers to offer better video quality at a low total cost of ownership.”

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NASA’s Dawn takes close-ups of Ceres’s strange white spots, no explanation yet

NASA’s Dawn takes close-ups of Ceres’s strange white spots, no explanation yet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft takes close-ups of Ceres’s strange white spots but can’t explain them

NASA’s Dawn has taken close-ups of the strange and intriguing white patches seen in the middle of the huge Occator crater on the dwarf planet Ceres.

NASA’s Dawn started orbiting Ceres, an asteroid and a dwarf planet located between Mars and Jupiter, since March 2015 and it was also confirmed by the NASA officials that Dawn would continue orbiting Ceres through June 2016.

Dawn’s first orbiting revealed that Ceres showed more evidence of geological activity on its surface such as landslides.

The first footage from Dawn spacecraft also revealed some strange and intriguing white patches in the middle of a huge and dark crater.

Since then Dawn has completed its second orbiting with a closer look at Ceres and has provided with much more detailed view of the surface of Ceres. However, instead of solving the mystery the images are adding more confusion to these puzzled spots.

Ceres was one of the first asteroid to be discovered in 1801 and though it was originally considered as a dwarf planet it was reclassified as an asteroid in 1850 when researchers discovered many other objects in the asteroid belt lying between Mars and Jupiter.

Even after two centuries of its discovery, Ceres still remains a mystery to the scientists in terms of its origin and geology that is the major reason as to why NASA began their Dawn expedition in 2007. Dawn initially orbited Vesta from July 2011 till September 2012 and now it is orbiting Ceres.

Recently, Dawn spacecraft orbited the surface of Ceres from as low as 1,600 km and was able to capture much detailed images of the Ceres’ surface.
In comparison to the images captured in the last batch the ones captured now are of much higher resolution. According to the officials, though Dawn has captured a detailed view of these white patches and its surroundings, it is not yet able to unfurl the mystery of these white patches!
According to officials these bright spots are are found within a 4 km deep Occator crater on the surface of Ceres. In addition the officials are sure that these spots are not made up of ‘ice rinks’ because the amount of light reflected by these white spots is much lower and does not fit the usual pattern of light reflected by ice on the planet.

You can take a closer look at the Occator crater on Ceres:

NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes close-ups of Ceres’s strange white spots but can't explain them

Dawn’s principal investigator, Chris Russell, from University of California, Los Angeles says: “The science team is continuing to evaluate the data and discuss theories about these bright spots at Occator.  We are now comparing the spots with the reflective properties of salt, but we are still puzzled by their source. We look forward to new, higher-resolution data from the mission’s next orbital phase.”
The mystery of the white patches seems to be continuing with each set of images sent by the spacecraft. Now that scientists are sure it is not ice rinks the next option is that it could be some sort of super-reflective rock layer which has been exposed in the crater, some believe the spots could have originated due to volcanic activity or it could probably be even a geyser.
Presently, scientists are not sure what these patches are and hence they have started an online poll for public to participate and cast their vote on what could be the closest probable explanation for the phenomenon of the bright alien spots on the surface of Ceres. The six options included in the poll are as follows:volcano, geyser, rock, ice, salt or “other”.
A color-coded elevation map of the Ceres’ surface was also captured by Dawn and here the dark blue color represented the low lying areas whereas the brown spots indicated the highest areas on the planet. In a way this map has further confused the NASA scientists.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes close-ups of Ceres’s strange white spots but can't explain them

As per the map there is a four-mile tall ( 6 km) cone shaped mountain on the other side of the planet. Surprisingly, this mountain is pretty dark on one side and on the other it shows presence of bright streaks along the borders of the peak and to add to the confusion the land surrounding the structure is completely flat!

Paul Schenk, another Dawn scientist says: “This mountain is among the tallest features we’ve seen on Ceres to date. It’s unusual that it’s not associated with a crater. Why is it sitting in the middle of nowhere? We don’t know yet, but we may find out with closer observations.”

First the mysterious white patches and then these tall mountains, all these are really fascinating the researchers because they believe that unwinding these mysteries would lead them to understand the geological processes that would have led to the formation of Ceres and in a way it could also provide some important clues to understand our Solar System in a much better way.

Marc Rayman, the chief engineer and mission director of Dawn spacecraft said:  “Dawn has transformed what was so recently a few bright dots into a complex and beautiful, gleaming landscape.”

He added:  “Soon, the scientific analysis will reveal the geological and chemical nature of this mysterious and mesmerizing extraterrestrial scenery.”

Dawn will continue orbiting Ceres till June 2016, that means it would get closer to the dwarf planet indicating it would be providing us with much more detailed images in the recent future. In August, Dawn orbited Ceres at 915 mile high orbit and it takes around 19 hours for the spacecraft to complete one lap around the dwarf planet. In the month of October it would be moving in closer orbit and in these two months scientists would be capturing the images of the Ceres’ surface from multiple angles which they will use to build a 3D terrain map and stereo image catalog.

In its final orbit the spacecraft will move pretty close to the surface of Ceres which is about 233 miles (375 kilometers) from surface and scientists believe this would provide them with accurate measurement of the gravitational field and surface composition of the dwarf  planet.

Well, hopefully the future footage would provide some clues to the scientists so as to unwind the mystery of these white bright spots and the pyramids instead of confusing and increasing curiosity!

Whatever it is, stay tuned to this page to get more news regarding the “Ceres World”.

Do take this tour of Weird Ceres along with its unique mysterious bright white spots and the tall pyramid shaped mountains.

 

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NASA partners with hoverboard company Arx Pax to build magnetic ‘tractor beam’

NASA partners with hoverboard company Arx Pax to build magnetic 'tractor beam'

NASA and Arx Pax have entered a Space Act agreement with the aim of building real life hover engines for space.

On Wednesday, a Californian hoverboard company Arx Pax announced that it has entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) which aims to build real life hover engines for space by using the MFA technology.

Arx Pax, LLC, a Silicon Valley start-up firm was in news last year due to the invention and patenting of MFA (Magnetic Field Architecture) technology.

In November, Arx Pax had unveiled their semi-functional Hendo Hoverboard which worked on the MFA technology and it was just a platform used by the company to showcase their novel MFA technology to the world.

MFA technology:

Fiona MacDonald at Science Alert writes: It means “Arx Pax have managed to create magnetic fields that can levitate an object up off a special metallic surface below.”

The basic aim of this NASA-Arx Pax partnership has been explained in the official website Arx Pax: “The purpose of the collaboration is to use Arx Pax’s MFA to create micro-satellite capture devices that can manipulate and couple satellites from a distance. This can be achieved by using a magnetic tether between the objects.”

Hence in a way this partnership will land into building a real-life magnetic ‘tractor beam’.

Maddie Stone at Gizmodo writes: “The Hendo Hoverboard was on some levels a success, but it was no Back to the Future. The thing only worked on a special metallic surface, it made loud, screechy noises, and its battery life was pretty bad,” which not an ideal device.

Arx Pax believes that this novel MFA technology can also find its application in various other fields such as building levitating homes which can withstand earthquake thus protecting people from natural disasters and now the technology would pave its way into space as well.

During a press release it was explained that: “Arx Pax and NASA will work together to design a device with the ability to attract one object to another from a distance. The device will draw as well as repel satellites at the same time, meaning it will hold a satellite at a distance and won’t allow it to move away or toward the capture device. This will enable the capability to capture and possibly manipulate micro-satellites or other objects without making physical contact with them.”

Significance of Space Act Agreement:

Greg Henderson, founder and CEO of Arx Pax told Gizmodo that currently they are targeting ‘CubeSats’ which are the tiny satellites that NASA plans to send for exploring distant planets in the near future.

Thus, we can see that the Space Act Agreement will help in better co-ordination and link up of the satellites which in a way will prove beneficial for the monitoring systems at Earth and also assist in better space exploration.

Working of MFA Technology:

Arx Pax’s Magnetic Field Architecture: The Hendo Hoverboard utilizes electromagnetic energy for its working. Here, two downward facing disc shaped ‘hover engines’ are used which induces an opposing magnetic field in the material below it. This ultimately results in repulsion of the magnetic fields which leads to levitation of the source of electromagnetic energy i.e. the ‘hover engine’.

The partnership between NASA and Arx Pax intends to use the same interacting magnetic fields to attract the distant objects in space.

With MFA technology electromagnetic energy can be transmitted in much productive and powerful way.

Hendo hoverboard is similar to maglev train technology with the only difference being a maglev train requires track to stay balances whereas Hendo hoverboard is able to move in multiple directions.

Well, this project seems to be very much promising and it will help researchers to study the climate of other planets as well as even explore the surface of an asteroid because with this technology NASA can get a coordinated team of satellites to work simultaneously on a mission.

If things fall in place, the ‘fans’ of Star Trek and Star Wars, who get excited when they see the tractor beams drawing in enemy spacecrafts might get to see IRL magnetic tractor beams.

But wait! as of now we have meager details of this project and also it seems a long way before the real-life tractor beams becomes a reality.

Henderson wrote in an email that, “The collaboration is evolving and the project is a work in process. We will share more information as we hit specific joint development milestones.”

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NASA creating Terminator like polymer material that can “heal” itself after gunfire

NASA creating Terminator like polymer material that can "heal" itself after gunfire

Inspired by Terminator-1000, NASA scientists create a polymer material that can “heal” itself after gunfire

A polymer material that can sustain damages due to its self healing capabilities has now been created by NASA-supported scientists.

Lovers of movie Terminator: the Judgement Day, might very well recollect the impregnable T-1000 role played by Robert Patrick and the amazing effects which the magic poly-alloy produced on the silver screen. Well, it seems not only common people but even some scientists have actually loved the idea and got tremendous inspiration due to which some of the NASA-supported scientists have actually created a polymer material that can “heal” itself even after gun fire.

“Self healing” Polymer material created by NASA: 

The amazing polymer material comprises of two layers of solid polymer with a liquid material that is sandwiched in between these two layers.

It is this liquid which helps in the “self healing” and recovery process.

Whenever, there is any damage in the polymer, it will lead to breaching of the integrity of the solid layers and the liquid would come in direct contact with oxygen that is present in the surrounding atmosphere and solidify in less than a second.

This solidification aids in building the gap and thus helps in the self healing of the material.

The enclosed footage demonstrates the self recovery of the polymer after it was pierced with a bullet.

It can be seen clearly that when the polymer is pierced with a bullet some liquid oozes out from the small hole and amazingly in less than a second the hole is sealed.

Applications: 

This novel polymer can be used to protect the cars and smartphones to heal itself from potential damages.

Spacecraft always run the risk of getting hit by some space junk, hence the creators of this amazing invention hope to use this ‘self healing’ polymer material as a protecting shield against such unexpected damages.

Self healing polymer discovery by IBM Research in 2014:

Last year, IBM Research had presented a unique polymer that was light in weight, possessed self healing capability, was stronger than bone, 100% recyclable. The material could also be degraded by using chemicals. This polymer was entirely made up of liquid and it had the capability to restore its integrity even after being chopped to pieces.

Usually the materials used in transportation and aerospace industries are exposed to various environmental factors which results in irreparable fracture cracks. Another problem here is that once cured these materials cannot be recycled which virtually leads to environmental pollution. On the contrary these newly discovered experimental polymers discovered by IBM Research are recyclable, lighter, stronger it could be very well used in transportation and aerospace industries thus helping to save a lot of money as well as decrease the overall environmental wastage and pollution.

Below footage gives a brief explanation of the IBM Research Polymer discovery.

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