Tag Archives: Technology

Views from the Solar System (204)


Grand Canyon Geology Lessons on View

NASA – The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station, as well as one of the best-known tourist attractions in the world. The steep walls of the Colorado River canyon and its many side canyons make an intricate landscape that contrasts with the dark green, forested plateau to the north and south.

The Colorado River has done all the erosional work of carving away cubic kilometers of rock in a geologically short period of time. Visible as a darker line snaking along the bottom of the canyon, the river lies at an altitude of 715 meters (2,345 feet), thousands of meters below the North and South Rims. Temperatures are furnace-like on the river banks in the summer. But Grand Canyon Village, the classic outlook point for visitors, enjoys a milder climate at an altitude of 2,100 meters (6,890 feet).

The Grand Canyon has become a geologic icon—a place where you can almost sense the invisible tectonic forces within the Earth. The North and South Rims are part of the Kaibab Plateau, a gentle tectonic swell in the landscape. The uplift of the plateau had two pronounced effects on the landscape that show up in this image. First, in drier parts of the world, forests usually indicate higher places; higher altitudes are cooler and wetter, conditions that allow trees to grow. The other geologic lesson on view is the canyon itself. Geologists now know that a river can cut a canyon only if the Earth surface rises vertically. If such uplift is not rapid, a river can maintain its course by eroding huge quantities of rock and forming a canyon.

This astronaut photograph (ISS039-E-5258) was taken on March 25, 2014 by the Expedition 39 crew, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 180 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed.

> View annotated image

Image Credit: NASA
Caption: M. Justin Wilkinson, Jacobs at NASA-JSC

NASA technology (94)


Climbing Legs for Robonaut 2 Headed to International Space Station

NASA – NASA has built and is sending a set of high-tech legs up to the International Space Station for Robonaut 2 (R2), the station’s robotic crewmember. The new legs are scheduled to launch on the SpaceX-3 commercial cargo flight to the International Space Station, scheduled to launch Monday, April 14 at 4:58 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

These new legs, funded by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations and Space Technology mission directorates, will provide R2 the mobility it needs to help with regular and repetitive tasks inside and outside the space station. The goal is to free up the crew for more critical work, including scientific research.

Once the legs are attached to the R2 torso, the robot will have a fully extended leg span of nine feet, giving it great flexibility for movement around the space station. Each leg has seven joints and a device on what would be the foot, called an “end effector,” which allows the robot to take advantage of handrails and sockets inside and outside the station. A vision system for the end effectors also will be used to verify and eventually automate each limb’s approach and grasp.

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How GE Plans to Act Like a Startup


By Liz Stinson – Last year, the aviation engineers at General Electric found themselves with a jet engine bracket problem.

GE turned to GrabCAD, an online community of more than a million engineers and designers, and presented a challenge: Whoever could redesign a bracket that reduced the most weight while still supporting the engine would win $7,000.

More than 1,000 entries came in, with the winning design by M Arie Kurniawan a young Indonesian engineer who reduced the weight by a whopping 84 percent, to .72 pounds. more> http://tinyurl.com/nm7kyb8

Noses, made in Britain: UK touts lab-grown organs


R&D – In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in a bold attempt to make body parts in the laboratory.

“It’s like making a cake,” said Alexander Seifalian at University College London, the scientist leading the effort. “We just use a different kind of oven.” more> http://tinyurl.com/ovrb7m2

NASA technology (93)


‘Veggie’ Experiment Launching to Station Aboard SpaceX Cargo Craft

NASA – The International Space Station’s Vegetable Production System (“Veggie”) experiment is on display in the News Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Veggie is a new investigation with “edible results” heading to the space station. Veggie is a deployable plant growth unit capable of producing salad-type crops to provide the crew with appetizing, nutritious and safe fresh food and support crew relaxation and recreation. It will serve as a new space station facility as well and will provide a venue for future plant growth research.

To the right of the Veggie experiment is a model of the Space Launch System (SLS), the nation’s next heavy-lift launch vehicle. NASA is developing the SLS and Orion spacecraft to provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, with the flexibility to launch spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, including to an asteroid and Mars.

The Veggie experiment is aboard SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft, scheduled to launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. at 4:58 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 14, 2014. The SpaceX-3 mission is carrying almost 2.5 tons of supplies, technology and science experiments and is the third of 12 flights contracted by NASA to resupply the orbiting laboratory.

Read more about cargo launching to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX-3:

> SpaceX’s Dragon Headed to Space Station to Create Astronaut Farmers

> CASIS-Sponsored Research Heads to Space Station Aboard SpaceX-3

> International Space Station to Beam Video via Laser Back to Earth

> NASA’s Latest Smartphone Satellite Ready for Launch

Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett