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NASA unveils Valkyrie robot for DARPA Robotics Challenge

NASA unveils Valkyrie robot for DARPA Robotics Challenge

DARPA has been hosting a Robotics Challenge since last year that challenged some participants to create robots that can be used in the real world. The official name for the Valkyrie robot given to it by NASA is R5. The bot stands 1.9 meters tall and weighs in at 125 kilograms. The robot has 44 degrees of freedom and is powered by batteries.

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NASA Morpheus lander sees first successful test flight

NASA Morpheus lander sees first successful test flight

NASA has successfully tested its Morpheus lander prototype. It launched today over a flame trench at NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility, climbed 50 feet into the air, hovered for 15 seconds, flew 23 feet and landed on the designated pad. Once put into service, the Morpheus model will be used to deliver cargo and fuel to asteroids and other extraterrestrial surfaces, as well as refuel deep-space probes. This is the same model that last year crashed and burst into flames like four Jiffy Pops going supernova.

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NASA’s ISS Robonaut 2 will soon have a pair of legs

NASA’s ISS Robonaut 2 will soon have a pair of legs

Robots might not be at a Terminator level of sophistication, but the technology is growing rapidly, and NASA has revealed what it calls "another milestone" in humanoid space robotics: legs for the Robonaut 2, more commonly called R2. The agency's engineers are presently working on the climbing legs, which will give the robot a new degree of mobile freedom, enabling it to perform more tasks than currently possible.

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NASA PhoneSat 2.4 finally phones home

NASA PhoneSat 2.4 finally phones home

Back in November, NASA launched the latest version of its PhoneSat into orbit. The PhoneSat 2.4 satellite launched at 8:15pm on November 19 hitching a ride into orbit using a Orbital Minotaur I rocket. PhoneSat 2.4 built on the successful flights of other small satellites that used smartphones for their brain.

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NASA Van Allen probes confirm Earth as giant particle accelerator

NASA Van Allen probes confirm Earth as giant particle accelerator

The NASA Van Allen twin probes launched last year have revealed that the Earth is a giant particle accelerator. Recently it was reported that particles in the magnetosphere sometimes accelerate across distances of a few hundred meters. But the newer discovery shows the acceleration can occur across hundreds of thousands of kilometers. The data will be helpful to to scientists helping satellite operators and the International Space Station to predict and prepare for the destructive tendencies of the seemingly random fluctuations that can occur in the magnetosphere.

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NASA wants to grow turnips, flowers and more on the moon by 2015

NASA wants to grow turnips, flowers and more on the moon by 2015

One of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to exploring our solar system and spending time away from Earth is food and water. A spacecraft taking humans to explore the moon and beyond has to be able to carry the crew, air, fuel, water, and food to serve the entire mission. Finding ways to reduce the amount of one of those items that has to be packed in the ship leaves more space for others.

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Comet ISON likely a ball of dust now says NASA

Comet ISON likely a ball of dust now says NASA

Astronomers ranging from the professional level down to the amateur sky watcher are all disappointed with comet ISON. The comet had the potential to be the brightest in hundreds of years and was called the comet of the century by some. Unfortunately, the comet didn't make it around the sun intact. NASA says that the investigation into exactly what happened to ISON and what remains is ongoing.

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Moon Express completes successful free flight test with NASA Mighty Eagle lander

Moon Express completes successful free flight test with NASA Mighty Eagle lander

Moon Express is a company that is working with NASA on private space flights to the moon. Moon Express has a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement signed with NASA and part of that agreement means that NASA provides Moon Express with its robotic Mighty Eagle lander for testing purposes. Moon Express has announced the completion of a successful closed loop free flight test with that robotic lander.

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