#jpl

#nasa
Tour a bit of Mars in this Panoramic Video of NASA's Curiosity Rover Exploring Mount SharpNASA's Curiosity Mars Rover landed on the Red Planet nine years ago and has beamed back a tremendous trove of images and data, to the delight of scientists and space geeks alike.Last week, NASA released a new panoramic video that shows the rover's exploration as it climbs Mount Sharp, a 5-mile-tall (8 km) mountain in the 86-mile wide (154 km) basin of the Martian Gale Crater.Curiosity Mars Rover's current location may hold the key in finding out how the  area around Gale Crater dried up over time. "The rocks here will begin to tell us how this once-wet planet changed into the dry Mars of today, and how long habitable environments persisted even after that happened," said Abigail Fraeman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS#NASA #Mars #CuriosityRover #GaleCrater #JPL #panoramicvideo
#3dprinting
Chainmail-Inspired 3D Printed Material Transforms From Flexible to Rigid on CommandIn the 2005 movie Batman Begins, Batman's cape is flexible but can be made into a rigid glider. Now, engineers at Caltech and JPL have developed a material that can transform from flexible to rigid on command."We wanted to make materials that can change stiffness on command," said Chiara Daraio of Caltech, "We'd like to create a fabric that goes from soft and foldable to rigid and load-bearing in a controllable way."A material that can transform from flexible to rigid isn't as unusual as one would think. In fact, Daraio added, many people have something that works like that in their pantries: a bag of vacuum-sealed coffee. When coffee grounds are packed, they are solid as the individual particles are jammed against each other. But when the package is opened, then the coffee grounds are no longer jammed and can pour out as if they were liquid.To create a new material that has both flexible and rigid properties, Daraio and colleagues designed various configurations of linked particles, including linking rings, linking cubes and finally linking octahedrons (which look like two pyramids connected at the base).The linked octahedron material is then 3D printed out of plastic polymers and even metal, resulting in a chainmail-like fabric."Granular materials are a beautiful example of complex systems, where simple interactions at a grain scale can lead to complex behavior structurally. In this chain mail application, the ability to carry tensile loads at the grain scale is game changer. It's like having a string that can carry compressive loads. The ability to simulate such complex behavior opens the door to extraordinary structural design and performance," said José E. Andrade of Caltech.When it is compressed, the chainmail material is able to support more than 50 times the fabric's weight."These fabrics have potential applications in smart wearable equipment: when unjammed, they are lightweight, compliant, and comfortable to wear; after the jamming transition, they become a supportive and protective layer on the wearer's body," said the study's co-lead author Yifan Wang now at Nanyang University.Images: Caltech and Nanyang University#chainmail #materialscience #engineering #octahedron #3Dprinting #Caltech #JPL
#nasa
Spot Robots Autonomously Explore Martian-Like CavernOne day, hopefully we’ll explore underground caves on Mars which may harbor preserved remains or even living microbial life but for now, NASA scientists are preparing by training the dog-like Spot robots in caves here on Earth.NASA’s BRAILLE (Biologic and Resource Analog Investigations in Low Light Environments) collaborated with Boston Dynamics and JPL’s robotic team CoSTAR to explore the Valentine Cave in the Lava Beds National Monument in California.Initial demonstrations with a team of the quadruped Spot robots show the advantages of legged robots in exploring the uneven cavern terrains autonomously, with each robot being able to carry special instruments to detect, collect, and analyze scientifically interesting samples.#SpotRobot #robot #Mars #NASA #JPL #BostonDynamics #cave #lavatube #LavaBedsNationalMonument #ValentineCave
#nasa
So How Did NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover Take Selfies Anyhow?For you and I, taking a selfie is quick and simple - just point the cell phone's camera our way and snap the pic. But how did NASA's Mars rovers like Perseverance and Curiosity do it? It took about a dozen experts, a week to plot the commands, and 62 images for the rover to make it happen.From NASA:Like the Curiosity rover (this black-and-white video from March 2020 show how it takes a selfie), Perseverance has a rotating turret at the end of its robotic arm. Along with other science instruments, the turret includes the WATSON camera, which stays focused on the rover during selfies while being angled to capture a part of the scene. The arm acts like a selfie stick, remaining just out of frame in the final product.Commanding Perseverance to film its selfie stick in action is much more challenging than with Curiosity. Where Curiosity’s turret measures 22 inches (55 centimeters) across, Perseverance’s turret is much bigger, measuring 30 inches (75 centimeters) across. That’s like waving something the diameter of a road bike wheel just centimeters in front of Perseverance’s mast, the “head” of the rover.JPL created software to ensure the arm doesn’t collide with the rover. Each time a collision is detected in simulations on Earth, the engineering team adjusts the arm trajectory; the process repeats dozens of times to confirm the arm motion is safe. The final command sequence gets the robotic arm “as close as we could get to the rover’s body without touching it,” Verma said.#NASA #MarsRover #PerseveranceRover #Mars #selfie #JPL
#nasa
The Surface of Venus Moves Like a Pack of Ice on a Frozen LakeVenus was long thought to have an immobile solid outer shell like Mars or the Moon, but it turns out that the plant is actually more like Earth: it has large tectonic blocks that move like a broken pack of ice on a frozen lake."We've identified a previously unrecognized pattern of tectonic deformation on Venus, one that is driven by interior motion just like on Earth," said North Carolina State University professor Paul Byrne. "Although different from the tectonics we currently see on Earth, it is still evidence of interior motion being expressed at the planet's surface."This suggests that Venus is still geologically active:"We know that much of Venus has been volcanically resurfaced over time, so some parts of the planet might be really young, geologically speaking," Byrne says. "But several of the jostling blocks have formed in and deformed these young lava plains, which means that the lithosphere fragmented after those plains were laid down. This gives us reason to think that some of these blocks may have moved geologically very recently - perhaps even up to today."The researchers are optimistic that Venus' newly recognized "pack ice" pattern could offer clues to understanding tectonic deformation on planets outside of our solar system, as well as on a much younger Earth."The thickness of a planet's lithosphere depends mainly upon how hot it is, both in the interior and on the surface," Byrne says. "Heat flow from the young Earth's interior was up to three times greater than it is now, so its lithosphere may have been similar to what we see on Venus today: not thick enough to form plates that subduct, but thick enough to have fragmented into blocks that pushed, pulled, and jostled."Image: NC State University, based upon original NASA/JPL imagery#venus #geology #NASA #JPL #volcano