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Microsoft And NASA Come Together to Make A New Spacecraft

Microsoft said that NASA was using the HoloLens to find the best places on Mars to build bases.

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Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

Engineers at American aerospace company Lockheed Martin are using Microsoft mixed reality smartglass HoloLens to build NASA’s Orion spacecraft designed to transport humans to destinations such as the Moon and eventually Mars, and return them safely back to Earth, the MIT Technology Review reported.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building NASA’s Orion spaceship.

The technicians at the firm use the HoloLens to learn a task or check the directions in 15-minute increments rather than for a constant feed of instructions.

Microsoft
A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

For the team constructing the heat shield skeleton of Orion, the new technology takes the place of a 1,500-page binder full of written work instructions, thereby helping them to perform tasks faster, said the report on Tuesday.

NASA’s partnership with Microsoft on HoloLens is not new.

In 2015, the US space agency announced that it was teaming up with the software giant to develop Sidekick, a new project using commercial technology to empower astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA, Microsoft
NASA charts roadmap for human missions to Moon, Mars. Pixabay

Sidekick uses Microsoft HoloLens to provide virtual aid to astronauts working off the Earth, for the Earth. A pair of the devices was launched to the ISS on December 6, 2015.

Also Read: IAU Names Two Lunar Craters to Honour NASA’s Apollo 8

In 2017, Microsoft said that NASA was using the HoloLens to find the best places on Mars to build bases that would one day house astronauts exploring the planet.

Rather than putting users in a fully computer-generated world, as virtual reality does, HoloLens allows users to place 3D digital models in the room alongside them. (IANS)

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Scientists Analysing Images Taken by NASA of Vikram Moon Lander

Therefore, it could be difficult to identify right now (and it) may be a little longer before we have another opportunity

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Scientists, Images, NASA
But he added, "It is important to remember that the illumination conditions right now where the lander may be are harsh." Pixabay

Scientists are analysing the images taken under harsh light conditions by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera of the area where the Vikram moon lander is likely to have touched down on the moon and it may be a while before they can locate it, project experts told IANS.

LRO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Noah Petro, said on Wednesday that they were now analysing the images taken on Tuesday “and we will make a statement at some point when we can identify the lander.”

But he added, “It is important to remember that the illumination conditions right now where the lander may be are harsh.”

Therefore, it “could be difficult to identify right now (and it) may be a little longer before we have another opportunity to image the landing site next October 14” when the LRO next passes over that area of the moon.

Scientists, Images, NASA
Scientists are analysing the images taken under harsh light conditions by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera of the area. Pixabay

The principal investigator for the LRO camera, Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, said that the last image of the area was acquired on Wednesday and will take time to analyse as there are “lots and lots and lots of pixels” to go through.

A NASA statement carried a note of caution saying that when the LRO flew over the Vikram landing the “local lunar time was near dusk; large shadows covered much of the area.”

The LROC “acquired images around the targeted landing site, but the exact location of the lander was not known so the lander may not be in the camera field of view,” NASA said.

“The LROC team will analyze these new images and compare them to previous images to see if the lander is visible (it may be in shadow or outside the imaged area),” it added.

Also Read- India Grapples with Credit Issues

Vikram lost contact with the Indian Space Research Organisation after it was launched by the Chandraayan 2 moon orbiter to touch down in the area of the moon’s south pole on September 6.

After following the intended trajectory, it deviated in the final moments during the last two kilometres of the descent and went silent.

Vikram carried a rover called Pragyan that was to have conducted experiments on the moon’s surface.

Aviation Week created some confusion on Wednesday with an erroneous headline, “NASA’s LRO fails to spot Chandraayan 2 Lander,” which was picked up by others.

Scientists, Images, NASA
LRO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Noah Petro, said on Wednesday that they were now analysing the images taken on Tuesday “and we will make a statement at some point . Pixabay

Both the scientists IANS spoke to said the headline was wrong.

Robinson said: “They are rather astonishing because we haven’t had the images to look at yet. I don’t know where that came from.”

Petro said, “The headline is wrong. That was actually posted even before we had the data on the ground.”

Also Read- Reliance JIO Won Race For The Most Subscribers; Airtel, VIL Lose

The publication later changed the headline to “NASA’s LRO Begins Search For Silent Chandrayaan-2 Lander.” (IANS)