Earlier this month we mentioned that the ISS had a failure in one of its cooling systems that might require a spacewalk to fix. NASA has now ordered that spacewalk to happen to fix the broken cooling line. The repair job is a serious undertaking and could last all the way through Christmas Day.
A coolant failure has left the International Space Station in an "urgent situation", NASA has confirmed, potentially requiring astronauts aboard to perform a space walk to fix the issue. The problem, short of an "emergency" according to the US space agency, has seen one of the two cooling loops used to regulate station temperature fail, though the six-strong crew onboard is safe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.