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New gen robots to refuel and repair friendly satellites

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New gen robots to refuel and repair friendly satellites
New gen robots to refuel and repair friendly satellites. pixabay
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New York, Jan 1, 2018: US government body Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) and NASA have teamed up to build robotic technology that can refuel and repair friendly satellites.

“Service stations in orbit” — name given to these robotic satellites — would not only refuel satellites but also drastically improve their longevity and lifespan.

According to a report in Futurism, the robots could fix minor maintenance issues, keeping up with current orbiters as they age and sustain damage.

The agencies also hope to keep the orbit clear of debris called space pollution which is caused by broken satellites abandoned in the space.

In 2015, there were about 25,000 human-made objects larger than a human fist and roughly half a million larger than a dime orbiting Earth.

Additionally, these satellites could also face off against mechanical foes in orbit meaning it could sabotage enemy satellites in the event of war, apparently by dismantling opponents or forcing them to crash.

They could also play defence, monitoring for tampering, the report highlighted. (IANS)

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NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars

It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home

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NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars
NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars. Pixabay

After a mechanical problem took NASA Mars rover Curiosity’s drill offline in December 2016, it has now successfully tested a new drilling method on the Red Planet, making a 50-millimetre deep hole in a target called “Duluth”, NASA has said.

Engineers working with the Curiosity Mars rover have been hard at work testing a new way for the rover to drill rocks and extract powder from them.

On May 20, that effort produced the first drilled sample on Mars in more than a year, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday.

The new technique, called Feed Extended Drilling, keeps the drill’s bit extended out past two stabiliser posts that were originally used to steady the drill against Martian rocks.

It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home.

“The team used tremendous ingenuity to devise a new drilling technique and implement it on another planet,” said Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Steve Lee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Those are two vital inches of innovation from 60 million miles away. We’re thrilled that the result was so successful,” Lee said.

Drilling is a vitally important part of Curiosity’s capabilities to study Mars.

Inside the rover are two laboratories that are able to conduct chemical and mineralogical analyses of rock and soil samples.

The samples are acquired from Gale Crater, which the rover has been exploring since 2012.

“We’ve been developing this new drilling technique for over a year, but our job isn’t done once a sample has been collected on Mars,” said JPL’s Tom Green, a systems engineer who helped develop and test Curiosity’s new drilling method.

Also Read: NASA Probe to ‘Touch’ the Sun Will Carry 1.1 mn Names

“With each new test, we closely examine the data to look for improvements we can make and then head back to our test bed to iterate on the process.”

There’s also the next step to work on — delivering the rock sample from the drill bit to the two laboratories inside the rover.

As soon as this Friday, the Curiosity team will test a new process for delivering samples into the rover’s laboratories, NASA said. (IANS)

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