Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Golden Age" for space robots

The destruction of a shuttle "Challenger" 20 years ago has put a hard blow on piloted astronautics and simultaneously was the beginning of "Golden Age" for space robots.

On the last Saturday NASA honor the memory of victims in 1986 of astronauts. Later 20 years after destruction of a shuttle contrast between piloted space missions and expeditions of automatic space vehicles become more and more appreciable, informs Physorg.
In the past the automatic space station "Cassini" has transmitted to year to the Earth pictures of Saturn, and a probe "Guegiens" has landed into the Titanium. Probe Stardust has collected substance of comet Wild and has delivered to the Earth a capsule with invaluable freight. Two mars rovers NASA - Spirit and Opportunity - research the Red planet. They are helped by automatic stations in an orbit of Mars. To Venus and Pluto space expeditions are sent, and the european space vehicle "Resette" makes dispositions for appointment to comet Churumova-Gerasimenko in 2014.

While robots and automatic vehicles bravely research space, astronauts remain on space "boondocks" from reasons of safety. " After destruction we have understood " Challenger ", space technologies are how much difficult and our dreams of an outer space exploration " are how much impudent, - doctor Roger Launius, managing faculty of history of space in Smitson institute speaks.

The future of the most arrogant piloted project - the International space station (MCS) - while is not clear. Manufacture of shuttles - transport shuttles on which its activity depends, - has not the best times. It is supposed, that the MCS becomes orbital shield mankinds and a scientific space platform. Its construction will manage approximately in $100 billion However quite it can appear, that the MCS so never and will not complete, and onboard it "not will lodge" anybody, except for members of the main crew.

The design of the space shuttles designed 30 years ago, has set of the lacks, to 14 astronauts cost to destruction on 114 expeditions. Shuttles for a long time have transformed to "kings of hangars ", where the army of engineers carefully studies their each detail before to take out the spacecraft on launch pad of space port. "Originally advertised as cheap vehicles of reusable use, shuttles manage NASA in $145 billion or approximately in $1,3 billion on flight ", - doctor Roger Pielke, director of the center of a science, technology and researches at university of Colorado makes comments. For the comparison, two mars rovers cost NASA approximately $900 million Calculated on activity within only 90 days, they here 2 years send pictures of a martian surface.

The problems connected with operation of shuttles, are so serious, that NASA is going to refuse completely by 2010 their use, having replaced on modern and more capacious version of module Apollo with the accelerating unit of the previous models of shuttles. After loss of "Colombia" in 2003 in a formation there were only 3 space shuttles, and for completion of construction of the MCS it is necessary to make 18 more starts. If shuttles will cease to deliver on a regular basis freights to the MCS, NASA will be compelled to suspend, and, probably, and to stop installation of scientific modules on the MCS made in the Europe and Japan, total cost from above $1.3 billion

Besides construction of the MCS, one more important event in piloted astronautics - start of the Chinese spacecraft "Chenjou-5" in 2003. Thus, China became the third power which has sent the person in space.

However all these projects cannot be considered innovative in any way and the investment of huge means demand. The Chinese project "Chengjou" - the renovated version of Soviet "Soyuz" - more likely a step back for 40 years.

The scientific results received during realization of piloted missions, are not comparable to expenses and risk. The european space agency (ESA), for example, allocates only the one eighth budget for piloted astronautics and is not going to build the piloted spacecraft, preferring to use Russian or American. The Lion's share of budget ESA leaves on creation and operation of launchers, rockets-carriers, scientific satellites or the space probes, making good profit. As Japan acts also.

Now NASA tries to restore the lost reputation in this area of an outer space exploration and actively advances projects of piloted flights. Negotiations with foreign partners on creation of base on moon by 2018 and under the project of landing of people to Mars are carried on. However because of growing problems in activity above the project of the MCS the future of these missions also while remains uncertain.

"Expedition to moon, certainly, represents for us large interest, but for the Europe travel to Mars more attractively from the scientific point of view ", - Mr. Jean-Jacque Fave, the geologist and the former astronaut managing a strategic department in the National center of space researches of France (CNES) makes comments.

But even in this case the success of martian piloted mission in the core will depend on the high-speed rockets, allowing to reduce time of overfly, and from robots which will help the person to carry out scientific researches.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The space port for UFO receives crowds of newcomers from the Earth

"I cannot tell precisely when they will arrive, but I know, that it happens ", - the 39-years teacher of elementary school Reynaldo Rios, the inhabitant tiny small Puerto Rico town "Lajas" speaks. Having received blessing of local authorities, Rios has devoted itself to construction of a landing strip for UFO.

At desire aliens can already orient now. On a roadside of a country road, in a southwest from Puerto Rico, for them the sign is installed: on a green board the silhouette of a flying saucer, marked by an inscription " the Extraterrestrial highway " is represented.

Local Lajas residents have apprehended appearance of such invitation differently. One have cheered up, in fact Rios, to all other, confirms, that at 13-years age "communicated" with alien visitors: white lights have rushed into his bedroom, have entered in a body and have jumped out of a wound which the guy has received, playing basketball.

Other townspeople have become angry and began to reproach mayor Marcos Irizarry, supported project Rios, with senseless expenditure of money: " It in general any nonsense, - is irritated 47-years Luis Arocho). - In our country crisis, and politicians instead of creating new workplaces, create imaginations".

At last, the third category of inhabitants Lajas argues, as it seems to them, more sensibly. Traffic signs and similarity of space port they calculate to attract not " green little men ", and usual "pink" humanoids - tourists with thick purses.

Mayor Irizarri insists on the same also. Speaks, that his purpose - to attract people in the small town strongly requiring tourist dollars. The head of municipality explains, that authorities will not finance the project. Instead of it they will help Rios with obtaining corresponding sanctions and the license for construction.

But mayor also is among "Lajas people", thinking, that they observed in this area of UFO: " This very mysterious place, - speaks Irizarri which once saw the red shone object manufactured zigzags above hills. - in our small town many saw such things ".

Naming professor Rejnaldo Rios stands in an atmosphere of with a flying saucer and waits. Whether aliens, whether tourists (photo AP/Brennan Linsley).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The fighting nurse will lift the wounded man arms-claws and legs-caterpillars.

The idea about that from a battlefield robots (to not risk lives of medical staff) should take out wounded men, for a long time soared in air, however, this simple idea - from those technical tasks which in practice to realize very uneasy. And still there is a company which has safely undertaken the decision of the given problem.

To fighting robots this firm has come through medicine. Yes, on computer technologies for medical branch (together with for business) " American company Vecna Technologies has eaten a dog ".

But, in general, such expansion of activity not so is surprising. Heroically take out shooted fighter from under fire - than not the worthy purpose for medical-sister? Only here the nurse (or the nurse) XXI centuries, will be charged similar, soon from a network of 220 volt to drink lethally toxicant methanol, and she will squeeze out from a breast all of 227 kgs.

The current project of robotic units Vecna refers to "the Search and saving robot of a battlefield " (Battlefield Extraction and Retrieval Robot - BEAR). It is not similar to a bear, and looks like characters from of some fantastic films and animated cartoons, type caterpillar "Johnny-5" from "Short circuit".

Highlight BEAR is on what he moves. These are two pairs the caterpillars{tracks} bridged by the hinge on one the extremities in such a manner that the robot can on them how to slide, as if the tank to lift the case above (for example to put a load in a body of the machine), and completely to be straightened and use these caterpillars already as legs - the top caterpillars - as femurs, bottom - as an anticnemion, accordingly.

Such robot-transformer persistently suggests about Japanese anime, however, our history occursin the USA and in a reality.

All top part of the robot is not casually executed in humanoid appearance. So, developers believe, the machine can lift (accurately and reliably) is better and to carry the wounded person. Thus built in arms and a torso hydraulic drives are calculated on a useful load almost in 227 kgs.

Owing to "platform-tumbler toy" with a heap of electronics and the gyroscopes, set up on two big wheels, BEAR already has shown ability long to keep equilibrium and to transport on two arms of "fighter" (in which role, the truth, the dummy equipped in a military way) acted.

India's Mars mission

The Indian space agency plans to send in 2012-2013 pilotless mission to Mars to research a chemical compound of an atmosphere and a ground of a planet. Tasks of this mission will include searches of tracks of a life, newspaper Hindustan Times writes.

"Mars appears on our horizon... Interesting data have allowed to obtain Missions of the USA and the European space agency. Give we shall look, what benefit our mission can bring", - the head of the Indian agency on research of space Madhavan Nair has told.

The nearest two-three years India is going to send the first pilotless vehicle to moon. Probe Chandrayaan-1 will conduct two years in a lunar orbit. For this time it should make new topographical and mineralogical cards of the natural satellite of the Earth.

In space India calculates the first start of the person to execute in 2014. The piloted spacecraft will go into an orbit of the Earth. By 2020 India plans to send piloted mission to moon.