SpaceNews: November 18, 2015

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NASA gives MIT a humanoid robot to develop software for future space missions

NASA announced today that MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory(CSAIL) is one of two university research groups nationwide that will receive a 6-foot, 290-pound humanoid robot to test and develop for future space missions to Mars and beyond.

A group led by CSAIL principal investigator Russ Tedrake will develop algorithms for the robot, known as “Valkyrie” or “R5,” as part of NASA’s upcoming Space Robotics Challenge, which aims to create more dexterous autonomous robots that can help or even take the place of humans “extreme space” missions. (NASA’s challenge is divided into a virtual competition using robotic simulations, and a physical competition using the robot.)

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NASA shares roadmap to send human on Red Planet Mars

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Plans to explore planet Mars by NASA are underway, a mission that has led to the posting of stunning imaginary astronauts carrying out the exploration mission. Besides this, the agency is considering to set aside a space station that shall lead the astronauts to the Red Planet. The mission is expected to take place in the 2030’s as outlined in NASA’s 2010 Authorization Act and the U.S. National Space Policy.

But will NASA achieve this all by itself and what strategies has it put in place to accomplish these long awaited missions?

According to Dava Newman, NASA’s deputy administrator, there is a lot of work that needs accomplishment and will lead to the development of the required capabilities for the journey to Mars. Newman further expounded by stating that NASA intends to make full utilization of the International Space Station. This will be achieved by empowering the commercial sector to ensure the induction of cargo from the US and at a later stage, astronauts from America.

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NASA, Russia working together again on a mission to explore Venus

So far NASA has only committed to talking with Russia about its Venera-D mission, which could launch in the 2020s. The space agency has agreed to perform a year-long feasibility study and several meetings during the next year. After that time NASA and Russia’s Space Research Institute, or IKI, will decide whether to continue its partnership, according to a report in Spaceflight Now.

“We made a lot of progress,” said David Senske, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who is the US co-chair of the Venera-D science definition team. “We heard a lot about what they had in mind. We’ve been told this is an IKI/Roscosmos endeavor, so they’re in the driver’s seat.”

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A job opening for a Simulation Engineer, Blue Origin. As part of a small, passionate and very capable team of experts, you will lead and create multi-domain dynamic models of subsystems for aerospace vehicles and associated ground support infrastructure and test apparatus.  This includes helping create the methods, best practices and tools for developing the dynamic models and also for delivering those products with challenging cost, schedule and performance needs. More information


Build up your space industry portfolio by participating in a challenge: try to land a model of the Mars Lander. Which algorithms will you use for this? More information

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4 comments

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