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Jupiter, Source: NASA

Washington, Dec 1, 2016: NASA scientists are developing artificial intelligence for underwater drones that could be used to understand Earth’s marine environments as well as track signs of life below the surface of icy oceans believed to exist on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

While satellites can study the ocean surface, their signals cannot penetrate the water and therefore robotic submersibles have become critical tools for ocean research.


“Autonomous drones are important for ocean research, but today’s drones don’t make decisions on the fly,” said Steve Chien, who leads the Artificial Intelligence Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

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“In order to study unpredictable ocean phenomena, we need to develop submersibles that can navigate and make decisions on their own, and in real-time. Doing so would help us understand our own oceans — and maybe those on other planets,” Chien said in a NASA statement.

If confirmed, the oceans on moons like Europa are thought to be some of the most likely places to host life in the outer solar system.

If successful, this project could lead to submersibles that can plot their own course as they go, based on what they detect in the water around them.

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That could change how scientists collect data, while also developing the kind of autonomy needed for planetary exploration, said Andrew Thompson, Assistant Professor at California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

“Our goal is to remove the human effort from the day-to-day piloting of these robots and focus that time on analysing the data collected,” Thompson said.

“We want to give these submersibles the freedom and ability to collect useful information without putting a hand in to correct them,” Thompson noted.

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As part of this research, a team of scientists from NASA and other institutions recently used a fleet of six coordinated drones to study Monterey Bay, California.

The fleet roved for miles seeking out changes in temperature and salinity. To plot their routes, forecasts of these ocean features were sent to the drones from shore.

The drones also sensed how the ocean actively changed around them. (IANS)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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