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Sonntag, 29. Juni 2014 - 10:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Eine helfende Hand für Astronauten durch Robotertechnik

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Demonstration of RoboGlove providing assistance with a grasping task.
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Humans doing difficult, repetitive tasks or those who need assistance with movement may soon get a helping hand – literally – thanks to robotic technology developed to serve astronauts in space.
Robonaut, a human-like robot designed by NASA and General Motors (GM), has been on the International Space Station since February 2011. Researchers have been testing the robot’s ability to perform certain tasks to free up human crew time and energy.
“The idea is to help astronauts with dull, dangerous, or dirty tasks,” said Ron Diftler, Ph.D., Robonaut project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The ultimate goal is for the robot to perform tasks outside the station, saving the human crew the time and risk of some extravehicular activity, commonly known as spacewalks.
During its development, this astronaut helper sparked ideas for other uses of its technology. These additional uses weren’t apparent when Robonaut was first envisioned but came about through various partnerships and observations along the way.
One inspiration generated the X1, an exoskeleton that could help astronauts remain healthy in space. On Earth, it could restore limb motion for those affected by paraplegia or stroke. To create X1, NASA partnered with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), which had already developed a lower-extremity exoskeleton to assist those with paraplegia.
“We combined IHMC’s expertise in walking algorithms related to gait pathology with the NASA robotics team’s expertise in actuation and hardware and created a more compact, more capable exoskeleton,” said Christopher Beck, robotics engineer, Oceaneering Space Systems.
One of two prototypes produced is at Johnson; the other is at IHMC. The device, worn over the legs with a harness over the back and around the shoulders, has motorized joints at the hips and the knees and passive joints for sidestepping, turning and pointing, and foot flexing. Someone in a wheelchair can easily put on the device, and its sensor technology provides useful data on its function.
In addition to assisting movement, the exoskeleton can also inhibit it, creating the potential for using it as a resistance exercise device for astronauts on long missions. Astronauts exercise, on average, two hours a day on the station to counter effects of microgravity on the human body, which include decreased bone density and muscular atrophy. Although existing exercise equipment has done an excellent job of maintaining crew health aboard the station, X1’s smaller size and mass will be more suitable on deeper space missions.
X1 can also function as a dynamometer, a device that measures force or torque to quantify changes in muscle strength. Currently, an off-the-shelf dynamometer measures an astronaut’s strength pre- and post-flight. The exoskeleton could be used for these assessments as well as to take measurements during a mission, allowing crew to immediately adapt exercise protocols in response to changes.
Testing of the device as a dynamometer for the knee and ankle has shown promising results. Next steps will likely involve further ground testing and, at some point, a technology demonstration flight experiment on the station. 
Another Robonaut spin-off is RoboGlove, a glove with flexible tendons, a tendon drive system, and sensors that measure the grasping force applied by the wearer. The glove can also either assist or resist movement.
A major application of its assistive function could be for spacewalks. “One of the big issues is that extravehicular activity work requires enormous hand strength,” said Lyndon Bridgwater, senior robotics engineer at Johnson. “Due to pressurization of the suit, it’s like squeezing a balloon every time you move your hand. That causes extreme fatigue and even injury. We’re looking at putting the hardware and actuator in the glove itself to provide muscle augmentation for the hand.” Ground testing of this application is scheduled for next year.  
Similar applications could help people who have loss or restriction in use of a hand through injury or stroke, and those who do difficult, repetitive tasks at work. For example, installation of car windows is a highly dexterous, fine motor task yet requires high hand strength to hold the heavy glass. Four copies of the glove in multiple sizes are currently in evaluation for these various uses. NASA and GM are looking for commercial partners to cost-effectively mass-produce the glove.
A third spin-off applies the technology to telemedicine. In tests with the Methodist Hospital in Houston, operators guided by a physician were able to use Robonaut to conduct ultrasound-guided venous access, or insertion of a needle into a vein. Someday, it may be possible to use the robot to conduct medical procedures on the space station under remote supervision of a doctor.
“The robot could stabilize an injured individual or do nursing level work, even on Earth,” Diftler said. “That essentially transports a doctor’s skill and presence to somewhere the doctor can’t go or, in an emergency situation, where it would be dangerous for a person to go.”
With all of these uses, the overarching idea is to design robots to assist people, not replace them, the researchers stress. In other words, to provide a helping hand for the human mission, in space or on Earth. 
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The RoboGlove has flexible tendons, a tendon drive system, and sensors that measure the grasping force applied by the wearer, as well as the ability to assist or resist movement.
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The RoboGlove’s grasp assist components.
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The version of Robonaut currently on the station.
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Project engineer Roger Rovekamp demonstrates the X1 Robotic Exoskeleton for resistive exercise.
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Quelle: NASA

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Samstag, 28. Juni 2014 - 12:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von SpaceX Falcon 9 mit OG2 Satelliten

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11.06.2014

SpaceX and ORBCOMM Aiming for June 15 Launch with Next Generation OG2 Satellites

Speculation has been plentiful this past week regarding a new target launch date for the next SpaceX Falcon 9 mission, one which will (hopefully) deliver the first six of seventeen next-generation commercial telecommunications satellites (identified as OG2) to an elliptical 750 x 615 km low-Earth orbit for customer ORBCOMM. Today, ORBCOMM announced the new target launch date and time is now Sunday, June 15 at 8:00 p.m. EDT, with a backup launch opportunity open for June 16.

From ORBCOMM today:

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An OG2 satellite preparing for testing ahead of launch. Photo Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.

“During final integration on one of the OG2 spacecraft, we encountered a minor issue resulting in a few extra days of delay to perform precautionary steps to ensure there are no operational concerns with the satellite. We intend to re-encapsulate the satellites this evening, with static test firing of the rocket scheduled for Thursday or Friday this week.”

The launch, which will take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida, has been delayed several times over the last couple months, for various reasons.

An ORBCOMM prototype satellite which launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 as a secondary payload on October 7, 2012 failed to reach its intended orbit due to a a pre-imposed safety check required by NASA when the rocket’s #1 Merlin engine suddenly lost pressure in flight. An engine shutdown command occurred as a result, preventing the rocket from performing a second burn to properly deliver the satellite. As a result the satellite eventually fell back to Earth.

Neither SpaceX or the 45th Space Wing have confirmed a June 15 launch date, yet.

AmericaSpace will be on-site to provide full coverage of the launch when it occurs. Check back for updates throughout the week.

Quelle: AS

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Update: 14.06.2014

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SpaceX completes Falcon 9 v1.1 Static Fire, delays launch

SpaceX has completed a key pre-launch objective with the Static Fire of their Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket at Cape Canaveral’s SLC-40. However, the vehicle’s mission has been delayed from its Sunday launch to a TBD (To Be Decided) target, after the customer noted they wished to conduct additional testing on their six ORBCOMM satellites.
Falcon 9 v1.1 Static Fire:
Delays for rocket launches are commonplace, with SpaceX not immune from having to reschedule their missions.
Many factors come into play during a pre-launch flow, such as the availability of the Range, weather – even before the launch, such as rollout constraints – along with the requirement to ensure the rocket and payload are in good health.
Everything needs to be right to provide the vehicle and payload the best possible chance of a successful launch, given there are no second chances once the rocket rises off the pad.
One of the primary elements to ensure the rocket is ready to go in a Falcon 9 flow is the Static Fire.
Also known as the Hot Fire test, the effort relates to ensuring that the pad’s fueling systems – and the launch vehicle – function properly in a fully operational environment, with numerous requirements to be successfully proven via such a test, such as the engine ignition and shut down commands, which have to operate as designed, and that the Merlin 1D engines perform properly during start-up.
Tasks also include a full propellant loading sequence, launch countdown operations, engine ignition operations and testing of the pad’s high volume water deluge system.
The Static Fire was set to take place on Thursday. However, the flow was delayed by “weather” surrounding the rocket’s departure from the hanger on to the launch pad - per L2′s coverage of the mission’s flow to launch.
The Static Test provides a dress rehearsal for the actual launch, with controllers first conducting a poll to allow for the loading of Falcon 9′s RP-1 propellant with liquid oxygen oxidizer two hours and thirty five minutes before T-0.
This was followed with fuel and Thrust Vector Control (TVC) bleeding on the second stage, performed at T-1 hour.
At T-13 minutes, a final flight readiness poll was required, with a final hold point at T-11 minutes.
Per the countdown procedures, the tasks then entered the terminal count ten minutes before ignition, followed by the launch vehicle being transferred to internal power at four minutes and forty six seconds before T-0.
The Flight Termination System (FTS), used to destroy the rocket in the event of a problem during an actual launch, was armed three minutes and eleven seconds before launch, and seven seconds later oxidizer topping was concluded.
Pressurization of the propellant tanks followed, and while a Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) – which are no longer required for the Falcon 9 – would have concluded the test at around T-5 seconds, the Static Fire continued the count through to ignition.
A short burst of the Merlin ID engines on the core stage of the F9 then took place – noted per L2 coverage as a few seconds prior to 15:30 local time – which allows for validation data to be gained on the health of the vehicle and pad systems.
With the required engine and vehicle data collected, detanking operations follows for the rest of the day, followed by the lowering on to the Transporter Erector and rollback to the hanger.
Sources note the test was successful, with a smooth flow to ignition – bar some initial weather constraints – with the firing also proving engineers have fixed the problem surrounding the rocket’s helium pressurization system that scrubbed Static Fire last month.
A Launch Readiness Review (LRR) is expected to still take place in the coming days, as much as there is no firm launch date following the decision – taken on Friday – not to press ahead with Sunday’s launch.
While there are Eastern Range considerations, due to a maintenance window that is about to begin, the latest delay was attributed to the payload – six ORBCOMM OG-2 satellites.
“ORBCOMM’s 6 OG2 satellites were re-encapsulated on Wednesday (ahead of) proceeding toward a static test fire of the rocket on Friday, June 13,” noted the customer. Their previous issue with the satellites caused the initial delay of the launch to Sunday.
“All six satellites have completed additional testing and are functioning as expected. In an effort to be as cautious as possible, it was decided to perform further analysis to verify that the issue observed on one satellite during final integration has been fully addressed.
“The additional time to complete this analysis required us to postpone the OG2 Mission 1 Launch. We are working with SpaceX to identify the next available launch opportunity, and we will update the schedule shortly.”
As of the time of the Static Fire, L2 information noted the latest NET (No Earlier Than) launch date is now June 20. However, it is not yet known if that target has received Range approval.
(Images: SpaceX, NASA, Jacques van Oene/Spacepatches.nl and via L2′s Special Sections. L2 SpaceX section now includes thousands of unreleased images from all Dragon ISS missions – including CRS-3)
Quelle: NS

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Update. 17.06.2014

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SpaceX launch set for Friday evening

SpaceX and Orbcomm today confirmed they are now targeting a 6:08 pm ET Friday launch of a Falcon 9 rocket and six commercial satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The launch was delayed from this past Sunday to allow more time to test one of the satellites.
An update posted on Orbcomm's Web site did not specify the mission's entire launch window, but the window for the most recent planned attempt was just under an hour.
Saturday is available as a backup launch date
SpaceX and Orbcomm plan to announce a new date soon for the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket and six commercial satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, possibly late this week.
Orbcomm says its satellites are encapsulated in a payload fairing in "ready-to-launch condition."
It was additional tests on one of the six spacecraft that delayed a planned launch Sunday or today.
"SpaceX is in the process of finalizing the launch schedule with the Range at the Cape, and we expect to announce a new launch date shortly," Orbcomm said in an update posted on its Web site.
SpaceX on Friday briefly fired the Falcon 9 booster's nine Merlin engines, in what a spokeswoman called a "successful" test.
The Air Force's Eastern Range had scheduled a two-week maintenance period to start this week, but that could be rescheduled to allow a launch attempt to proceed.
Quelle: Florida Today

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Update: 20.06.2014 

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Overnight, Falcon 9 went vertical in preparation for today's launch. 

Date
Fri Jun, 20 2014 11:30 PM CEST — Sat Jun, 21 2014 1:00 AM CEST
About
SpaceX is targeted to launch ORBCOMM OG2 Mission 1 on Friday, June 20, 2014. The launch window opens at 6:08pm EDT. Live launch webcast will begin here at about 5:35pm EDT!
0d 7h 10m 33s
Quelle: SpaceX

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Update: 21.55

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Weather has improved to 40% favorability for today's launch. Go Falcon 9!

0d 1h 29m 06s

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Update: 23.10 MESZ 

Live launch webcast will begin here in 30 min. T-1 hour to launch!

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Update: 23.55 MESZ

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Update: 21.06.2014

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Launch Update
The launch team has reset liftoff for the end of the launch window- now targeting 7:01pm ET. Enjoy the live feed of F9, we'll be back shortly!
Quelle: SpaceX

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CAPE CANAVERAL -- 
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will have another launch attempt on Saturday, according to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The launch was scrubbed Friday because of a technical issue.
Crews worked to determine what caused spurious leak readings in the run-up to launch. We do not, however, know what caused the final scrub.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station announced a new launch window for Saturday, from 5:46 p.m. to 6:39 p.m. No word from SpaceX though on whether the rocket will be ready.
Quelle:News13

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UPDATE: A SpaceX team trying to evaluate readings of decreased pressure on the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage ran out of time Friday evening and called a halt to the planned Florida launch of six satellites for machine-to-machine communications.
The readings were detected shortly before the planned launch time of 5:08 pm CDT, but SpaceX held open the possibility of launching at 6:01 pm, the time when the launch window closed, while engineers tried to work out where the problems were. About 8 minutes before the new launch time, the second-stage team called the abort.
SpaceX has a backup launch opportunity Saturday, but whether it will be used depends on further investigation of the problem.
ORIGINAL POST: If the weather cooperates — which, right now, looks unlikely — SpaceX is set to launch six Orbcomm satellites from Florida this afternoon.
The launch window opens at 5:08 p.m. CDT; if they're not able to launch it immediately, they still have until 6:02 p.m. to seek sufficiently clear skies.
US Air Force forecasters give only a 40 percent chance of acceptable weather for launch, although that chance rises to 60 percent if launch is delayed until Saturday.
Quelle: Wacotribune

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Update: 22.06.2014

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SPACEX LAUNCH DELAYED AGAIN, 3RD TRY SUNDAY


Sen—Cloudy skies, rain and lightning over Central Florida Saturday nixed Space Exploration Technologies' second attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket and six communications satellites for Orbcomm. 
It was the second postponment in as many days. Friday's launch was called off for a technical problem. SpaceX said it detected unexpected pressure readings in the rocket's upper-stage engine.
The California-based firm, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, has provided no additional information about the glitch.
SpaceX conducted Saturday's launch countdown in private, with no audio or video feeds available to the public or the press. 
"Today SpaceX let their community down. Let's hope they rethink their PR strategy till next launch," a SpaceX Twitter follower wrote.
"NASA spoiled us. Required by law to conduct ops in public. Not so SpaceX," tweeted another. 
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 
A spokeswoman with Orbcomm said the next launch attempt would be at 5:30 p.m. EDT/2130 GMT Sunday.
Quelle: SEN 

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Update: 23.06.2014

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Launch Update 7.00 MESZ
Today's ORBCOMM launch attempt has been scrubbed to address a potential concern identified during pre-flight checks. The vehicle and payload are in good condition, and engineering teams will take the extra time to ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to flight. The rocket will remain vertical on the launch pad with the next available launch opportunity targeting Tuesday, June 24th.
Quelle: SpaceX

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Update: 22.35 MESZ

Launch Update
SpaceX is taking a closer look at a potential issue identified while conducting pre-flight checkouts during yesterday's countdown. SpaceX will stand down Tuesday while our engineering teams evaluate further, which will also allow the Range to move forward with previously scheduled maintenance. We are currently targeting the first week of July and will work with the Range to confirm the next available launch opportunities.
Quelle: SpaceX

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Update: 24.06.2014

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Third SpaceX launch try scrubbed, flight delayed to early July

A third attempt to launch a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying six ORBCOMM data relay satellites was called off Sunday because of an unspecified technical problem. While Tuesday was the next available launch opportunity, the company announced Monday that the flight would be delayed until the first week of July at the earliest to give engineers more time to evaluate the issue and to allow the Air Force to carry out already planned maintenance of Eastern Range tracking and telemetry systems.
"SpaceX is taking a closer look at a potential issue identified while conducting pre-flight checkouts during yesterday's countdown," the company said in a statement. "SpaceX will stand down Tuesday while our engineering teams evaluate further, which will also allow the Range to move forward with previously scheduled maintenance. We are currently targeting the first week of July and will work with the Range to confirm the next available launch opportunities."
SpaceX originally planned to launch the ORBCOMM OG2 mission in late May, but the flight was delayed, first by problems with a helium leak in the rocket's first-stage pressurization system and then because of concern about one of the six ORBCOMM satellites.
The rocket and payload eventually were cleared for launch Friday, but an apparent propellant pressurization problem with the rocket's second stage forced another delay. SpaceX did not say what, if anything, was done to resolve the issue but the rocket was cleared for a second launch attempt Saturday.
The second time around, bad weather was the issue and while conditions were improving toward the end of the launch window, a lightning strike near the pad prompted a second straight delay.
Weather was expected to be an issue again on Sunday, with late afternoon showers and thunderstorms in the area contributing to an 80 percent "no-go" forecast. SpaceX engineers nonetheless were pressing ahead for a third launch try when they ran into an unspecified problem that apparently could not be resolved before the end of the launch window.
"Today's ORBCOMM launch attempt has been scrubbed to address a potential concern identified during pre-flight checks," SpaceX said in a statement. "The vehicle and payload are in good condition, and engineering teams will take the extra time to ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to flight."
A source said the problem may have involved a component in the system used to move engine nozzles for steering during the climb to space. The Falcon 9 is equipped with nine Merlin 1D first stage engines with a single engine powering the second stage.
But a SpaceX spokeswoman said earlier Sunday she was not aware of any such problem. No other details were immediately available.
Quelle: CBS

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Update: 28.06.2014

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SpaceX to launch Orbcomm on Falcon 9 July 14

After two months of delays, SpaceX says it will launch six second-generation Orbcomm communications satellites July 14 atop a Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida.
The launch of New Jersey-based Orbcomm's six OG2 satellites has been repeatedly delayed due to technical and weather-related setbacks, beginning with a Falcon 9 first-stage helium leak that pushed the initial May 10 launch date to early June.
In a June 22 statement, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company said it would postpone a launch attempt planned for that day until July 24 due to a technical issue that SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell later said involved a thrust vector control actuator on the Falcon 9's first stage. On June 23, the company said it would postpone the launch until the first week of July.
“We saw during some preflight checkouts on Sunday morning some issues with the thrust vector control actuator on the first stage,” Shotwell told The John Batchelor Show, a radio program that was co-hosted by David Livingston of The Space Show June 25. “It's likely something we could have flown through during flight, but what we wanted to do was basically just be super careful and we actually wanted to go in and check the second-stage actuator as well.”
Shotwell did not indicate whether the issue had been resolved, but said the company is now targeting mid-July for the launch.
“July 14 and 15, I think, are the dates we requested from the range,” she said, adding that the U.S. Air Force's eastern range had not confirmed the dates.
“The range does want to go on a two-week maintenance shutdown,” she said. “We couldn't guarantee that we'd be able to fly in the next few days or so so we said look, you shut down, you do your maintenance, we don't want to put that off, and in the meantime we'll obviously spend more time examining the rocket and doing everything we possibly can to make sure this flight is successful.”
After SpaceX fans and journalists publicly berated the company for failing to webcast a June 21 launch attempt that was scrubbed due to poor weather, Shotwell suggested the practice of live-streaming Falcon 9 launches would continue.
“I don't think we're changing our plan. We were moving away from the webcast format that we had before, to get to kind of a higher-tech feel,” she said. “We were just going to transition away. Saturday's launch, even though we obviously attempted it, the weather looked like we would not be able to fly Saturday. So we thought, of the one day we could take to transition, maybe we can take that time and transition on that Saturday.”
However, the day of the launch, SpaceX spokeswoman Emily Shanklin wrote in an email to spaceflightnow.com:
"We've actually been ready to move away from the webcasts for awhile. It takes a lot of resources but the main reason is these launches are becoming more routine and the full webcast isn't really appropriate anymore."
Just to be clear, Shanklin was referring to SpaceX's status as a new entrant to the global commercial launch market. But after just two commercial missions – the SES-8 communications satellite launched in December 2013, followed by Thaicom-6 for Bangkok-based Thaicom in January – SpaceX launches are anything but routine.
In addition, journalists at the Cape for the June 21 launch attempt reported that SpaceX media representatives were not available to answer questions regarding the June 21 launch attempt, and that U.S. Air Force officials with the 45th Space Wing handled media.
As a result, in response to a barrage of criticism that followed on social media, Shotwell said, “public opinion was pretty strong on that point. They like the webcast, or they certainly like us to live-stream.”
Nonetheless, while Shotwell said the company was prepared to live-stream the June 22 attempt – the one that was scrubbed owing to a balky thrust vector control actuator – she did not say whether SpaceX plans to webcast the July 14 launch.
“You know, it's always easy to jump to some nefarious plot for any circumstance that looks odd, but in this case it was simply we were moving away from that specific format anyhow,” she said.
Quelle: Aviationweek




Tags: Raumfahrt 

2398 Views

Samstag, 28. Juni 2014 - 11:40 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA`s NEW HORIZONS Sonde wird eine Nachricht an Aliens durchführen, sobald ihre Mission den Pluto zu erkunden abgeschlossen ist.

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Nasa's New Horizons will send digital messages to aliens

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Nasa probe will carry a message to alien lifeforms out of the solar system once its mission to explore Pluto is complete.
The New Horizons spacecraft, which is currently hurtling through space between Jupiter and Pluto, will arrive at the former planet in about a year's time to capture the first close-up images of its icy surface.
After that, it'll explore as-yet-undecided objects in the chilly Kuiper Belt -- a band of small icy asteroids and planetoids in the far reaches of the solar system. Hubble has been tasked to help the mission team track down a suitable object for study.
But once that is complete, Nasa will perform one final data transfer to the craft -- a digital message from humanity that it will carry into the dark unknown, past our Sun's sphere of influence. The plan is similar to the "Golden Record" attached to Voyager 1 and 2, which contained an analogue sound recording and several engraved images.
The design director of Voyager's Golden Record is Jon Lomberg, who led the call for a similar artefact to be included with New Horizons. However, the craft was launched in 2006, making a physical record impossible. Instead, the data will be gathered from around the world and sent digitally to the probe.
That gathering process needs money, however, so Lomberg will be crowdfunding around $500,000 (£300,000) through Kickstarter to fund expenses for the next three years. An official announcement about the project is due on 25 August, 2014.
"In a way, the history of long-term space message artefacts recapitulates the history of communications technology," Lomberg told Space. "This new message will reflect the hopes and dreams of the second decade in the 21st century. It will inspire young people's interest in science and ignite the imagination of all ages. We hope it will be an example of global creativity and cooperation, something that the entire planet can share as a cooperative venture."
Quelle: WIRED

2196 Views

Freitag, 27. Juni 2014 - 10:35 Uhr

Luftfahrt - StratXX Luftschiff-Digital-TV-Radio-Übertragungen

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STRATXX Airship Broadcasts Digital TV Radio Over 100km of Land

Stratxx Holding AG has recently announced that it has launched a new tethered Airship: the "X-Tower". The airship is designed to carry telecommunications and broadcast payloads.

The team recently carried out a successful longevity test on its unique X-Tower communications airship platform. The Airship successfully flew for the scheduled 23 Days while only using 20 watts of power. The airship broadcasted 12 digital television and two FM radio channels for the entire 23 day flight.

The airship is comprised of several new technologies along with a state of the art aerodynamic design that allows the X-Tower to withstand high wind speeds without being damaged. At a height of 1000m from ground level, the platform withstood airspeeds exceeding 65 mph in the most recent launch.

The X-Tower is comprised of a patented high tech material that is extremely lightweight. The material is durable to the point that it is bullet proof and it retains helium 70% better than conventional materials available on the market today. Stratxx holds several material as well as design patents and they produce almost everything in house.

The Material is a certified Level III Anti-ballistic material and will be certified Level IV this year. In house tests have proven that STRATXX material can stop a 5.56x45mm NATO Full Metal Jacket ammunition and a 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition fired from a H&K G3 travelling at 3500 ft/s with a muzzle velocity of 2500 ft lbf. Strat Here is a Video from the Level III certification test we conducted in 2010 using a 9mm round.

With this new proven technology Stratxx has demonstrated that it can and will proceed with its next development of the "X-Station", a high altitude platform.

Kamal Alavi, Stratxx CEO added, "The X-Tower is the first airship that has successfully proven that digital TV and radio transmissions can be broadcasted from an airship over a long period of time. In addition Statxx has clearly tested and proven that far less energy is required to broadcast in this manor versus current conventional methods."

Stratxx has proven that with much less energy currently used in conventional fixed antennas, a single X-Tower can broadcast to a ground footprint of 100km.

Stratxx is proud that this is the first time a tethered airship has been used successfully in a broadcasting capacity at altitude.

Stratxx next flight will be at 5000 meters above sea level.

Quelle: SD-AEROSPACE


2539 Views

Freitag, 27. Juni 2014 - 09:47 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - IFO-Universität: Sonnen-Reflexion

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Dieses Bild zeigt eine Reflexion der Sonne auf Cirrus-Wolke (Aufgenommen über Florida 2013). Es sieht wie ein UFO aus und mich würde es nicht wundern, wenn so etwas Beobachter täuscht.
Quelle: SUNlite 2/2013

2301 Views

Freitag, 27. Juni 2014 - 09:28 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Unzureichende Informationen in NICAP-Dokument als UFO-Beweis -TEIL 3

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November 12, 1954

The UFO evidence lists the following:
Louisville, Ky. Spherical object moved quickly south, hovered for a long period [VIII}.1
Section VIII is not much more informative on the details. Their source is one clipping from a Louisville newspaper of November 13th:
November 12, 1954 Kentucky, (Indiana, Ohio) - Air Force interceptors chased spherical object seen over tri-state area; also followed by theodolite.2
While this listing is under radar cases, I saw no mention that it was tracked by radar. Perhaps radar was mentioned in the newspaper clipping but this is a minor point because the description appears to fit a common source for UFO reports.
High altitude balloon research
Throughout the 1950s, various research balloons were being launched across the country. They were often referred to as Skyhook balloons but there were many programs using these balloons (Gopher, Grab bag, Ash can, Moby Dick, etc.). One of the major launching points was St. Paul Minnesota (Fleming Field), where Winzen Research Inc, conducted many launches. Another major launch area was New Brighton, where the University of Minnesota performed their operations using General Mills balloons.Looking at the description, my first though was that it was probably one of these research balloons. However, could I actually identify one that was in the area?
Looking for a source
According to the Stratocat database, a candidate for this event was a balloon launched on November 11th from Fleming Field, Minnesota. Unfortunately, the stratocat database is incomplete and does not contain all the launches that had been made from these locations or the data that was associated with them. This specific flight is listed as “no data” and we do not know anything more than the balloon was launched on that date. I really could only suggest it was possible that it was this balloon but, without knowing the duration and recovery location, I could not say so for sure.
Since the case involved interceptors and a large number of witnesses, I decided to see if Blue Book was involved. A search of the Fold 3 web site produced a case file showing that the source of the report was a research balloon. Did Blue Book simply slap this identification on the case as many UFOlogists claim or was there reasonable evidence to support this explanation?
NICAP’s selective reporting
Examining the file, revealed that there was more to the news reports than what NICAP let everyone know in their reporting of this case. For instance,
the Knoxville News Sentinel reported on November 14th3, that the pilots (Lt. Melvin Bowers and Lt. Mark Studder), who were sent to intercept the UFO, quickly identified the object as a balloon of some kind. On November
15th, the Dayton Journal reported that a General Mills spokesman had suggested that it was possibly a balloon launched from Minneapolis.4
A further check of news papers from the area revealed more information to support the balloon explanation. The November 15th edition of the Middlesboro,
Kentucky, Daily News, had a sketch by a reporter, who saw the UFO through binoculars (see image to the right).5 The sketch appears to be very similar to a research balloon. There is also a statement by an individual, who saw the UFO with a telescope and stated it looked like a “man-carrying balloon”. 6 This is a limited search of all the news papers and I am certain that a large number of the papers from the area included the explanation and commentary by the pilots. For some reason, NICAP’s document failed to include this information. Was this a case of NICAP only having the one news clipping and not researching the case any further? I couldn’t find any mention of radar in any of the stories I read, so I am not sure how NICAP figured it was a radar case. It seems that NICAP simply placed it into their document with little or no investigation.
The evidence
After receiving the reports, ATIC suspected they were possibly caused by a balloons T/SGT Dreppard contacted LCDR Ross at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) on the 18th of November. On the 22nd of November, the ONR representative at the University of Minnesota called T/SGT Dreppard and told him that two balloons were launched on November 12 and 13.7 These payloads were recovered near Danville and Carlisle, Kentucky. For Blue Book, and myself, it was/is enough information to classify this case as “solved”. NICAP can say otherwise but the evidence is pretty convincing that this case involved a research balloon.
Quelle: SUNlite 2/2013

2250 Views

Freitag, 27. Juni 2014 - 09:20 Uhr

Astronomie - GIGANTISCHE SPRITES ÜBER DEN USA

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The storm over western Oklahoma on June 23, 2014 produced hundreds of sprites and some ELVEs and also some rare phenomena called negative sprites. I am still processing the captures. The radio emissions in the video are VLF-ELF, very low frequency and extremely low frequency, and you can hear the lightning strokes that generated the sprites.
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GIGANTIC SPRITES OVER THE USA: With the arrival of summer, thunderstorm activity is underway across the USA. We all know what comes out of the bottom of thunderstorms: lightning. Lesser known is what comes out of the top: sprites. "Lately there has been a bumper crop of sprites," reports Thomas Ashcraft, a longtime observer of the phenomenon. "Here is one of the largest' 'jellyfish' sprites I have captured in the last four years." The cluster shot up from western Oklahoma on June 23, so large that it was visible from Ashcraft's observatory in New Mexico 289 miles away:
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"According to my measurements, it was 40 miles tall and 46 miles wide. This sprite would dwarf Mt. Everest!" he exclaims.
Also in New Mexico, Jan Curtis saw a cluster of red sprites just one night later, June 24. "I've always wanted to capture these elusive atmospheric phenomena and last night I was finally successful."
Although sprites have been seen for at least a century, most scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now "sprite chasers" regularly photograph the upward bolts from their own homes.
Ashcraft explains how he does it: "My method for photographing sprites is fairly simple.  First I check for strong thunderstorms within 500 miles using regional radar maps accessible on the Internet. There must be a locally clear sky to image above the distant storm clouds. Then I aim my cameras out over the direction of the thunderstorms (which will be hot red or purple on the radar maps) and shoot continuous DSLR exposures. I usually shoot continuous 2 second exposures but if there is no moon then I will shoot up to 4 second exposures. Then I run through all the photographs and if I am lucky some sprites will be there. It might take hundreds to usually  thousands of exposures so be prepared for many shutter clicks. I use a modified near infrared DLSR but any DLSR will capture sprites. Note that it does require persistence and a little bit of luck."
Quelle: Spaceweather

2476 Views

Freitag, 27. Juni 2014 - 08:26 Uhr

Planet Erde - Gigantische Ozean Wirbel gesehen aus dem All könnte Klimamodelle ändern

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The weather is a dance between an odd couple: the frantic atmosphere and the staid sea. The atmosphere changes quickly, as when a strong wind suddenly starts to blow or a cyclone careens ashore. The ocean seems more sedate. Its wide gyres trace the edges of continents, carrying sun-warmed water from the equator out towards the poles. Even the rough storms that terrorize sailors are more the sky’s fault than the sea’s. The waves that toss a ship are whipped up by the wind.
But it turns out that the ocean makes its own gestures; it just makes them very slowly. Enormous vortices of water, measuring 60 miles across, spin their way across the sea at a deliberate pace—3 miles per day. Oceanographers have dubbed them mesoscale eddies for their middle size, larger than a wake formed by an aircraft carrier and smaller than a gyre. Each one is like an upside down mountain of water, held together by its own rotation and extending about 3,000 feet beneath the surface. In the video above, eddies show up as red and blue dots dancing around. (Red ones spin clockwise, blue ones counterclockwise.) Just how much water gets carried around by all these eddies? The total is staggering: more than 30 times the amount dumped by all the world’s rivers into the ocean, according to a paper published today in Science. Other stuff gets caught in the vortices and taken along for the ride. This huge network of eddies may be shipping packets of pollutants, organic nutrients, and dissolved carbon all around the world.
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Enormous ocean eddies are measured using satellites (height map, top layer) and submersibles (vorticity map, bottom layers).
 Ocean University of China
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These eddies are almost invisible unless you look from space. For decades, oceanographers have been tracking eddies using NASA satellites. By bouncing a pulse of radar off the surface of the water and recording the time it takes to return, the satellites can measure their distance from the water to within less than an inch. This astounding accuracy turns out to be necessary, since unlike the deep ship-swallowing whirlpools of Greek mythology, the depression at the center of an eddy is a mere 20 inches.
To reconstruct the 3-D structure of the eddies and find their volume, a team of oceanographers led by Bo Qiu of the University of Hawaii used data from underwater floats. More than 3,000 ARGO submersibles are scattered around the globe, lurking under the surface. Each comes to the surface every 10 days to report the water temperature, salt content, density, and velocity. An eddy, once born, might travel for months or years before dissipating. By combining a decade of satellite and submersible data, the researchers were able to track the incredible mass of water collectively moved by eddies across the entire world. Qiu’s calculations surprised even him.
“We didn’t expect the number to be that high,” he said. “We know they propagate westward, and there are a lot of eddies. But the mass… there’s an order of magnitude more than we expected.”
Previously, it was thought that the steady currents like the Gulf Stream were almost entirely responsible for moving stuff through the ocean. The ocean transports trash, nutrients, radioactive waste, dissolved carbon dioxide and heat all around the world, and the latter two are especially important for understanding climate change. Qiu’s study raises the possibility that eddies also make a substantial contribution to these transports.
This paper will kick off a wave of research among climate modelers, says Ryan Abernathey, who studies the impact of ocean circulation on climate at Columbia University.  ”The volume estimate is really surprising,” he said. “This is an important effect. The next question is how leaky the eddy is.” The eddy is made of water, after all, and the difference between inside and outside is not precise. If, say, the dissolved carbon caught in an eddy slowly slips out, then after a year of meandering an eddy may have left its original contents an ocean away. But if the eddies hold their cargo tightly, they might be shipping enormous packages of carbon, salt, and pollutants from Australia to Africa and from Europe to America. Scientists are now trying to figure out how the packages effect local ecosystems and the planet’s climate.
Quelle: WIRED

2320 Views

Freitag, 27. Juni 2014 - 08:11 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Erste Quantenübertragung in den Orbit geschickt

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First quantum transmission sent through space

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Worried about keeping secrets? Here's a quantum of solace. The first quantum transmission to go via space paves the way for ultra-secure communications satellites.
Secret encryption keys transmitted via quantum links provide the ultimate way to communicate securely. That's because any attempt to intercept the key will be revealed thanks to the laws of quantum mechanics, which say that interception will introduce changes that give away eavesdroppers.
The technology is already available for fibre-optic cables, but a truly global network would need satellites to beam quantum data between distant locations. To test how these might work, Paolo Villoresi at the University of Padua in Italy and his colleagues turned to satellites covered in ultra-reflective mirrors. These are normally used to bounce laser beams back to Earth. The time they take to return shows up any shifts in gravity.
Record bounce
In 2007, the team sent a beam of light to space using the Matera Laser Ranging Observatory (MLRO) in Italy and detected single photons bounced off Japan's Ajisai satellite. For the latest experiment, they prepared photons in four different quantum states – the minimum required to generate an encryption key – and sent them to space using the MLRO. They were able to receive quantum bits of information, or qubits, bounced back from five satellites up to 2600 kilometres above. That smashes the previous record for sending quantum information – 144 kilometres, between two locations on Earth.
To ensure they didn't count background photons that were not part of the signal, the team timed the laser pulses exactly, rejecting any light that returned outside a narrow time window. The observatory acted as the transmitter and receiver, so the team decided not to send an encrypted message. Still, the team thinks the photons would have been able to encrypt about one bit of data a second.
The team has a way to go before quantum satellites are up to speed. Light travells easily through fibre optic cables compared to turbulent air, so ground-based commercial versions of the technology can encrypt at much faster rates of at least 1 megabit a second.
Villoresi compares the performance to Sputnik, the first-ever satellite, launched in 1957. "Comments at the time were, 'How nice, the satellite can send a few beeps, it's totally useless'," he says. "We are more or less the same level." But even a very limited data channel could be used to send secure commands to a spacecraft, he says.
Closer to quantum comms
Rupert Ursin at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna, Austria, points out that Villoresi's team sent the qubits in four bursts, each tens of seconds apart. That means they did not detect all four quantum states at once, which would be necessary for a true quantum satellite.
And Jian-Wei Pan at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei notes that a lot of photons are lost in transmission, so he is not sure the signal would be strong enough to transmit a full quantum key. But Pan and Ursin both say the work shows the technology is getting close.
China has announced plans to launch a true quantum communications satellite in 2016, and other nations' space agencies are investigating the possibility. "Everything is ready, and if we had enough money we could fly," says Ursin. "The risk that we fail in space is reduced thanks to these kinds of experiments."
Quelle: NewScientist

2555 Views

Donnerstag, 26. Juni 2014 - 23:55 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News Sol 621-635

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 621 (2014-05-06 05:55:06 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 621 (2014-05-06 05:55:15 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Right B (FHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 621 (2014-05-06 05:34:01 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 621 (2014-05-06 04:33:59 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 622 (2014-05-07 07:47:42 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 623 (2014-05-08 06:10:19 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 624 (2014-05-09 08:03:56 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 624 (2014-05-09 09:07:15 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on May 12, 2014, Sol 627 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 09:41:32 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 13034. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on May 12, 2014, Sol 627 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 10:12:24 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 14088. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on May 12, 2014, Sol 627 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 10:17:10 UTC.
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on May 13, 2014, Sol 628 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 16:29:11 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 14100. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on May 14, 2014, Sol 629 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 10:37:11 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 13973. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 630 (2014-05-15 09:34:57 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 630 (2014-05-15 11:01:00 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 630 (2014-05-15 10:42:20 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 630 (2014-05-15 10:42:20 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 630 (2014-05-15 11:05:15 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 630 (2014-05-15 11:09:47 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 631 (2014-05-16 09:22:09 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 631 (2014-05-16 09:42:51 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 631 (2014-05-16 10:03:32 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 631 (2014-05-16 10:09:47 UTC). 
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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on May 16, 2014, Sol 631 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 10:50:35 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 12582. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 631 (2014-05-16 12:00:37 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 632 (2014-05-17 14:05:19 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 634 (2014-05-19 13:21:54 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 634 (2014-05-19 14:37:21 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 635 (2014-05-20 12:46:06 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 635 (2014-05-20 15:05:48 UTC). 
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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 635 (2014-05-20 15:05:48 UTC). 
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Fotos: NASA

2189 Views


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