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Ice Deposits on Moon’s South Pole may have More than One Source: Research

 Scientists Report on the ages of Ice deposits in the area of the Moon's South Pole

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Moon's South Pole
Researchers have shed light on the ages of ice deposits reported in the area of the Moon's south pole. Pixabay

 Researchers have shed light on the ages of ice deposits reported in the area of the Moon’s south pole — information that could help identify the sources of the deposits and help in planning future human exploration.

The study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent.

“The ages of these deposits can potentially tell us something about the origin of the ice, which helps us understand the sources and distribution of water in the inner solar system,” said study lead author Ariel Deutsch from Brown University.

“For exploration purposes, we need to understand the lateral and vertical distributions of these deposits to figure out how best to access them. These distributions evolve with time, so having an idea of the age is important,” Deutsch said.

For the study, Deutsch worked with Professor Jim Head, and Gregory Neumann from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.

moon Surface
The ages of these deposits on Moon’s Surface can potentially tell us something about the origin of the ice. Pixabay

Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009, the researchers looked at the ages of the large craters in which evidence of south pole ice deposits was found.

To date the craters, researchers count the number of smaller craters that have accrued inside the larger ones.

Scientists have an approximate idea of the pace of impacts over time, so counting craters can help establish the ages of terrains.

The majority of the reported ice deposits are found within large craters formed about 3.1 billion years ago or longer, the study found.

The deposits have a patchy distribution across crater floors, which suggests that the ice has been battered by micrometeorite impacts and other debris over a long period of time.

If those reported ice deposits are indeed ancient, that could have significant implications in terms of exploration and potential resource utilisation, the researchers said.

Lunar Surface
The study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits on Moon’s South Pole are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent. Pixabay

While the majority of ice was in the ancient craters, the researchers also found evidence for ice in smaller craters that, judging by their sharp, well-defined features, appear to be quite fresh.

That suggests that some of the deposits on the south pole got there relatively recently.

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The best way to find out for sure is to send spacecraft to get some samples which event appears to be on the horizon. NASA’s Artemis programme aims to put humans on the Moon by 2024, and plans to fly numerous precursor missions with robotic spacecraft in the meantime, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Researchers Develop Artificial Skin for Robots

Scientists Develop a system combining Artificial skin with control algorithms to Create first Autonomous Humanoid Robot

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Robots
Scientists have developed a system combining artificial skin with control algorithms and used it to create the first autonomous humanoid robot. (Representational Image). Pixabay

 Researchers have developed a system combining artificial skin with control algorithms and used it to create the first autonomous humanoid robots with full-body artificial skin.

The artificial skin developed by Professor Gordon Cheng and his team from Technical University of Munich in Germany, consists of hexagonal cells about the size of a two-euro coin (i.e. about one inch in diameter).

According to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the IEEE, each is equipped with a microprocessor and sensors to detect contact, acceleration, proximity and temperature.

Such artificial skin enables robots to perceive their surroundings in much greater detail and with more sensitivity.

Robots
Research has now succeeded in applying artificial skin to a human-size autonomous robot. Pixabay

This not only helps them to move safely. It also makes them safer when operating near people and gives them the ability to anticipate and actively avoid accidents.

According to the study, the biggest obstacle in developing robot skin has always been computing capacity.

Human skin has around five million receptors. Efforts to implement continuous processing of data from sensors in artificial skin soon run up against limits.

Previous systems were quickly overloaded with data from just a few hundred sensors.

To overcome this problem using a neuroengineering approach, researchers do not monitor the skin cells continuously, but rather with an event-based system.

This reduces the processing effort by up to 90 per cent.

With an Event-based approach, research has now succeeded in applying skin to a human-size autonomous robot not dependent on any external computation.

The H-1 robot is equipped with 1,260 cells (with more than 13,000 sensors) on its upper body, arms, legs and even the soles of its feet. This gives it a new “bodily sensation”.

For example, with its sensitive feet, H-1 is able to respond to uneven floor surfaces and even balance on one leg.

Robots
Artificial skin enables Robots to perceive their surroundings in much greater detail and with more sensitivity. Pixabay

With its special skin, the H-1 can even give a person a hug safely. That is less trivial than it sounds – robots can exert forces that would seriously injure a human being. During a hug, two bodies are touching in many different places.

“This might not be as important in industrial applications, but in areas such as nursing care, robots must be designed for very close contact with people,” Cheng explained.

“Our system is designed to work trouble-free and quickly with all kinds of robots,” he said.

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“Now we’re working to create smaller skin cells with the potential to be produced in larger numbers,” he added. (IANS)