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Saturn Transcends Jupiter for Becoming New Moon King

Saturn retains 20 New Moons, Surpasses Jupiter

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Saturn
A team led by Scott S. Sheppard from Carnegie Institute of Science found 20 new moons orbiting Saturn. Pixabay

Saturn now has 82 moons – three more than Jupiter’s 79 moons – and each of the 20 newly-discovered Saturn moons is about five kms in diameter.

A team led by Scott S. Sheppard from Carnegie Institute of Science found 20 new moons orbiting Saturn. Seventeen of them orbit the planet backwards, or in a retrograde direction, meaning their movement is opposite of the planet’s rotation around its axis.

The other three moons orbit in the prograde — the same direction as Saturn rotates.

Two of the prograde moons are closer to the planet and take about two years to travel once around Saturn.

The more-distant retrograde moons and one of the prograde moons each take more than three years to complete an orbit.

“Studying the orbits of these moons can reveal their origins, as well as information about the conditions surrounding Saturn at the time of its formation,” said Sheppard.

Saturn
The new moons for Saturn were discovered using the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Pixabay

The new moons were discovered using the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The observing team included Sheppard, David Jewitt of University of California Los Angeles and Jan Kleyna of the University of Hawaii.

These moons may have once comprised a larger moon that was broken apart in the distant past.

“The fact that these newly discovered moons were able to continue orbiting Saturn after their parent moons broke apart indicates that these collisions occurred after the planet-formation process was mostly complete and the disks were no longer a factor,” Sheppard noted.

Jupiter
Jupiter has 79 Moons, now 3 less than Saturn. Pixabay

The “retrograde” moons have similar inclinations to other previously known retrograde Saturnian moons, indicating that they are also likely fragments from a once-larger parent moon that was broken apart.

“This kind of grouping of outer moons is also seen around Jupiter, indicating violent collisions occurred between moons in the Saturnian system or with outside objects such as passing asteroids or comets,” explained Sheppard.

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Last year, Sheppard discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter and Carnegie hosted an online contest to name five of them.

“This time, the moons must be named after giants from Norse, Gallic, or Inuit mythology,” said Sheppard. (IANS)

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Researchers Develop Artificial Skin for Robots

Scientists Develop a system combining Artificial skin with control algorithms to Create first Autonomous Humanoid Robot

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Robots
Scientists have developed a system combining artificial skin with control algorithms and used it to create the first autonomous humanoid robot. (Representational Image). Pixabay

 Researchers have developed a system combining artificial skin with control algorithms and used it to create the first autonomous humanoid robots with full-body artificial skin.

The artificial skin developed by Professor Gordon Cheng and his team from Technical University of Munich in Germany, consists of hexagonal cells about the size of a two-euro coin (i.e. about one inch in diameter).

According to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the IEEE, each is equipped with a microprocessor and sensors to detect contact, acceleration, proximity and temperature.

Such artificial skin enables robots to perceive their surroundings in much greater detail and with more sensitivity.

Robots
Research has now succeeded in applying artificial skin to a human-size autonomous robot. Pixabay

This not only helps them to move safely. It also makes them safer when operating near people and gives them the ability to anticipate and actively avoid accidents.

According to the study, the biggest obstacle in developing robot skin has always been computing capacity.

Human skin has around five million receptors. Efforts to implement continuous processing of data from sensors in artificial skin soon run up against limits.

Previous systems were quickly overloaded with data from just a few hundred sensors.

To overcome this problem using a neuroengineering approach, researchers do not monitor the skin cells continuously, but rather with an event-based system.

This reduces the processing effort by up to 90 per cent.

With an Event-based approach, research has now succeeded in applying skin to a human-size autonomous robot not dependent on any external computation.

The H-1 robot is equipped with 1,260 cells (with more than 13,000 sensors) on its upper body, arms, legs and even the soles of its feet. This gives it a new “bodily sensation”.

For example, with its sensitive feet, H-1 is able to respond to uneven floor surfaces and even balance on one leg.

Robots
Artificial skin enables Robots to perceive their surroundings in much greater detail and with more sensitivity. Pixabay

With its special skin, the H-1 can even give a person a hug safely. That is less trivial than it sounds – robots can exert forces that would seriously injure a human being. During a hug, two bodies are touching in many different places.

“This might not be as important in industrial applications, but in areas such as nursing care, robots must be designed for very close contact with people,” Cheng explained.

“Our system is designed to work trouble-free and quickly with all kinds of robots,” he said.

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“Now we’re working to create smaller skin cells with the potential to be produced in larger numbers,” he added. (IANS)