A plucky Japanese probe burned up in a spectacular fireworks display Sunday, celebrating the end of a mission that found success despite being plagued with problems.
The Hayabusa probe overcame several obstacles to fly 3 billion miles to and from a tiny asteroid, land on its surface and (hopefully) collect samples. The spacecraft broke up in the upper atmosphere upon returning home, but not before it released a 15-inch capsule that might contain samples from the asteroid Itokawa. If it does, the sample will be the first material ever returned to Earth from a celestial body other than the moon.
By Alessandra CalderinPosted 06.14.2010 at 10:24 am 11 Comments
It’s a logical question. After all, it would be handy if every time the Hubble Space Telescope went on the fritz, an astronaut could reach out the window of the space station and give it a whack. Unfortunately, not only is that setup nearly impossible, being docked to the ISS would impair Hubble’s performance.
After a year of tests, a hyperspectral spy satellite is being called into service this weekend as a military reconnaissance tool, the Air Force says.
The Tactical Satellite-3, or TacSat-3, uses hyperspectral imaging to identify objects of interest in the ground and supply coordinates for them. Within 10 minutes of passing overhead, laptop-sized ground terminals can mark points of interest for combat troops, as the Register reports.
Everyone's got World Cup Fever this weekend, and for a lucky few that means getting the chance to break in their brand-spankin'-new 3-D TVs as the matches are broadcast from South Africa. For those who haven't taken the 3-D plunge yet -- be it because of prohibitive pricing or not wanting to deal with the dorky glasses -- Microsoft's Applied Sciences group has shared a new glasses-less 3-D display that could herald the adoption of the sets at long last.
Call it job creation: this week a handful of sea lions and dolphins trained to locate undersea mines earned their jobs back, jobs that were supposed to be turned over to undersea mine-sweeping robots. And why were these seafaring mammals brought back into service? To find the very robots that were supposed to replace them, four of which have gone AWOL somewhere off the coast of Virginia. You can't make this stuff up.
Here are PopSci's very first looks at technologies, like the telephone and the Internet, that went on to be rather successful
By Alessandra CalderinPosted 06.10.2010 at 1:57 pm 1 Comment
In PopSci's 138 years of publishing, we've seen some things. For instance, we were around in 1877, when Professor Alexander Graham Bell successfully used his telephone on wires between Boston and Salem. We were there when movies first started to talk. We've been here throughout the audio evolution, from LPs to cassettes to CDs to MP3s. We witnessed the birth of the Internet. We've seen a lot.
For this gallery, we've hit the archive and assembled a few of our often-breathless first looks at these now-ubiquitous, then-revolutionary technologies that went on to reshape our modern lives.
Another rocket launch on the Korean peninsula ended in failure today as South Korea’s second attempt to put a satellite into orbit exploded 137 seconds after takeoff. Footage of the launch shows the rocket successfully clearing the launch pad and heading for the upper atmosphere, but a bright flash captured by a camera-mounted rocket was among the last transmissions the rocket sent back to Earth before launch handlers lost contact with the rocket completely.
Further validating the increasing role that unmanned aerial systems (UAS) play in 21st-century defense, the United States Air Force announced yesterday that it will institutionalize the remotely piloted aircraft pilot service field, establishing undergraduate RPA training that will make UAV pilot less a specialization and more a full-fledged operational career.
It’s sink or sail time for Japan’s IKAROS spacecraft, and according to initial reports from JAXA the unfurling of the first solar sail deployed for actual deep space travel went off without a hitch.
But the successful sail deployment isn’t a guarantee of success. IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) still has to get moving, and mission handlers say in their blog posts today that it will be a few weeks before we know if the sail is really working the way it is supposed to.