NASA's Mars exploring Curiosity rover has begun drilling on the Martian surface, with a test run identifying a good spot to take new rock samples. Curiosity had been hunting down a promising location over the weekend, using a variety of tools to dust down and otherwise prepare the location NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab has dubbed "Windjana" after a Western Australian gorge.
NASA has revealed its next prototype spacesuit, the Z-2, a glowing electroluminescent suit that the space agency will use to test technologies for its eventual manned mission to Mars. Rather than the Buzz Lightyear style of the first Z-1 spacesuit, from back in late 2012, the Z-2 version looks almost medievally inspired, thanks to the barrel-chested torso section.
The Asteroid Redirect Mission, which has a fairly self-explanatory name, is part of NASA's mission to develop technologies for redirecting and otherwise neutralizing possible asteroid threats. With the mission comes secondary benefits, as well: the early use of technologies needed to send astronauts to Mars and then bring them back.
One of the best reasons to use Google Maps is to explore areas you may not otherwise visit regularly, if at all. A new project named “Night Walk” offers up a tour of Marseille, as if you were strolling the streets and back alleys on a warm summer evening. Street art and points of interest are highlighted along the way, with an immersive audio guide bring the experience to life.
Two pieces of virtual reality equipment are now supposedly at war - the Oculus Rift DK2 (dev-kit version 2) and Sony’s PlayStation 4-aimed Project Morpheus. Both machines are meant to dive into the virtual reality universe, and both are aimed at gaming first and foremost. But they aren’t going to war with one another.
Sony is working with NASA to turn Project Morpheus, its new virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4, into both a science and an entertainment tool. The collaboration, revealed at GDC 2014, will take the feeling of "presence" to new levels, Sony's Dr Richard Marks of the R&D team working on Project Morpheus, said, kicking off with content beamed back from Mars.
This week the folks at Motorola have revealed their next play for the Moto X, pushing a number of college-themed handsets out for this spring season. Each of this wild variety of Moto X machines will have custom colors by Motorola - combinations of three colors therein - while the logos of the schools will be provided by the company known as Uncommon. Users can choose to work with the clear case or without, sticking with their school’s colors regardless.
As much as some of us (ahem) were hoping the Mars mystery rock turned out to be a long-lost baseball from yet unknown aliens, the cause behind the rock's sudden appearance has been solved with a far less exciting explanation: Opportunity's wheel, as first speculated, kicked the rock up while moving. No alien mushroom to be seen.
Robotic termites capable of building complex structures without requiring human supervision, prior programming, or even intercommunication could change the way construction, emergency services, or even space exploration are managed, borrowing swarm behaviors from nature. The TERMES project, handiwork of the self-organizing systems research group at Harvard University, has taken four years to create a scalable artificial intelligence system made up of simplistic robots that together can create towers, pyramids, and castles, even erecting temporary staircases to allow them to climb higher.