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NASA Selects Two Prime Investigations For Upcoming Moon Mission

The Gateway will orbit near the Moon and will be occupied periodically by astronauts as part of NASA's sustainable lunar exploration plans

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NASA
NASA said additional scientific payloads will be selected to fly aboard the Gateway in the future. These investigations will take advantage of the unique environment in lunar orbit, one that cannot be duplicated on Earth or on the International Space Station. Wikimedia Commons

NASA has selected the first two scientific investigations that will support its upcoming mission to Moon. While one will observe space weather, the other will monitor the Sun’s radiation environment.

The two investigations will fly aboard the Gateway, an orbital outpost which will support “Artemis” lunar operations while demonstrating the technologies necessary to conduct a historic human mission to Mars, NASA said on Thursday.

“Building the Gateway with our commercial and international partners is a critical component of sustainable lunar exploration and the Artemis programme,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Using the Gateway as a platform for robotic and human exploration around the Moon will help inform what we do on the lunar surface as well as prepare us for our next giant leap – human exploration of Mars,” Bridenstine said.

The radiation instrument package, built by the European Space Agency (ESA), will help provide an understanding of how to keep astronauts safe by monitoring the radiation exposure in Gateway’s unique orbit. The space weather instrument suite, built by NASA, will observe solar particles and solar wind created by the Sun. As we move deeper into space, human and robotic explorers face greater challenges from the sometimes violent and unpredictable outbursts of the Sun.

Moon
NASA has selected the first two scientific investigations that will support its upcoming mission to Moon. While one will observe space weather, the other will monitor the Sun’s radiation environment. Pixabay

The space weather instrument suite will gather data and enhance NASA’s ability to forecast events originating from the Sun that could affect our astronauts on and around the Moon as well as on future missions to Mars. NASA said additional scientific payloads will be selected to fly aboard the Gateway in the future. These investigations will take advantage of the unique environment in lunar orbit, one that cannot be duplicated on Earth or on the International Space Station.

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The Gateway will orbit near the Moon and will be occupied periodically by astronauts as part of NASA’s sustainable lunar exploration plans. (IANS)

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Intel to Unveil its Latest and Most Powerful Neuromorphic Research System With Capacity of 100mn Neurons

Intel's neuromorphic systems, such as Pohoiki Springs, are still in the research phase and are not intended to replace conventional computing systems

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Intel
Intel researchers believe the extreme parallelism and asynchronous signalling of neuromorphic systems may provide significant performance gains at dramatically reduced power levels compared with the most advanced conventional computers available today. Wikimedia Commons

Chipmaker Intel has announced the readiness of Pohoiki Springs, its latest and most powerful neuromorphic research system providing the computational capacity of 100 million neurons.

The cloud-based system will be made available to members of the Intel Neuromorphic Research Community (INRC), extending their neuromorphic work to solve larger, more complex problems, the company said on Wednesday.

Intel researchers believe the extreme parallelism and asynchronous signalling of neuromorphic systems may provide significant performance gains at dramatically reduced power levels compared with the most advanced conventional computers available today.

“Pohoiki Springs scales up our Loihi neuromorphic research chip by more than 750 times, while operating at a power level of under 500 watts,” Mike Davies, Director of Intel’s Neuromorphic Computing Lab, said in a statement. “The system enables our research partners to explore ways to accelerate workloads that run slowly today on conventional architectures, including high-performance computing (HPC) systems,” Davies added.

Pohoiki Springs is a data centre rack-mounted system and is Intel’s largest neuromorphic computing system developed to date. It integrates 768 Loihi neuromorphic research chips inside a chassis the size of five standard servers. Loihi processors take inspiration from the human brain. Like the brain, Loihi can process certain demanding workloads up to 1,000 times faster and 10,000 times more efficiently than conventional processors.

Pohoiki Springs is the next step in scaling this architecture to assess its potential to solve not just artificial intelligence (AI) problems, but a wide range of computationally difficult problems. In the natural world even some of the smallest living organisms can solve remarkably hard computational problems. Many insects, for example, can visually track objects and navigate and avoid obstacles in real time, despite having brains with well under one million neurons.

Intel
Chipmaker Intel has announced the readiness of Pohoiki Springs, its latest and most powerful neuromorphic research system providing the computational capacity of 100 million neurons. Wikimedia Commons

With 100 million neurons, Pohoiki Springs increases Loihi’s neural capacity to the size of a small mammal brain, a major step on the path to supporting much larger and more sophisticated neuromorphic workloads. The system lays the foundation for an autonomous, connected future, which will require new approaches to real-time, dynamic data processing.

Intel’s neuromorphic systems, such as Pohoiki Springs, are still in the research phase and are not intended to replace conventional computing systems.

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Instead, they provide a tool for researchers to develop and characterize new neuro-inspired algorithms for real-time processing, problem solving, adaptation and learning. (IANS)