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NASA seeks designs from freelancers for smartwatch app to be used by astronauts

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Washington: The US space agency is seeking designs from freelancers across the world for a smartwatch app that can be used by the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) in space research.

Photo Credit: www.ubergizmo.com
Photo Credit: www.ubergizmo.com

NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) has partnered with Australia-based Freelancer.com – one of the world’s largest freelancing and crowd-sourcing marketplaces – to help design the general user interface for the smart watch application.

The “Astronaut Smartwatch App” will first be used by the robotic crew member “Robonaut 2” currently helping the astronauts on the orbiting laboratory, Freelancer.com said in a statement.

Freelancers can take cues from “Samsung Gear 2” as a hardware reference for the design.

The deliverables are wire-frames highlighting the unique design’s navigation, interaction, layout, look, feel, and other important elements of the design.

The smartwatch app design is part of the “NASA Challenge: Astronaut Smartwatch App Interface Design” contest.

“The US space agency is interested in the emerging world of smartwatch technology and is looking to create a smartwatch app that could be helpful to astronauts,” the statement read.

The app will be used for crew timeline application, caution and warnings application, communication status application, timers’ application and will provide appropriate feedback to various actions.

“NASA is interested in engaging Freelancer’s online community to contribute to the efforts of space exploration,” the statement further read.

The contest is open to Freelancer.com’s 16 million-plus registered users located in over 247 countries.

(IANS)

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NASA Planning Asteroid Impact Exercise Next Week

NASA’s PDCO and other US agencies and space science institutions, along with international partners, will participate in the exercise

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longest spacecraft, women
Part of NASA's study of the effects of long spaceflights on the human body, Koch will spend 328 days in space. Pixabay

Aimed at effective disaster management, NASA and its international partners are planning to participate in an exercise that will play out a realistic — but fictional — scenario of an asteroid on an impact trajectory with Earth.

The scenario begins with the fictional premise that on March 26, astronomers “discovered” a NEO they consider potentially hazardous to Earth.

After a “few months” of tracking, observers predict that this near-Earth object (NEO) – dubbed 2019 PDC – poses a 1 in 100 chance of impact with Earth in 2027 (in real life, the international community has decided that a 1 in 100 chance of impact is the threshold for action).

Participants in this exercise will discuss potential preparations for asteroid reconnaissance and deflection missions and planning for mitigation of a potential impact’s effects, NASA said.

Scientists believe that these exercises can help people in the planetary defence community to understand what those on the disaster management side need to know.

Asteroid
This Nov. 16, 2018, image provide by NASA shows the asteroid Bennu. NASA

“This exercise will help us develop more effective communications with each other and with our governments,” Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defence Officer, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Better communication of the hazards posed by NEOs such as asteroids or comets has been a top priority for international groups, such as NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), the European Space Agency’s Space Situational Awareness-NEO Segment and the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN).

Developed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid impact exercise next week is scheduled to take place at the 2019 Planetary Defense Conference to be held in the US from April 29 to May 3.

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NASA’s PDCO and other US agencies and space science institutions, along with international partners, will participate in the exercise, the US space agency said.

Next week’s exercise events will occur over the five days of the conference, with exercise leaders briefing participants on the status of the scenario at the end of each day and soliciting response ideas and feedback, based on the latest fictional data, NASA said. (IANS)