NASA Swarmathon: Seeking College Teams For Virtual Robotics Competition

The NASA Swarmathon is now accepting applications for the 2017 NASA Swarmathon Virtual Competition. The NASA Swarmathon is a challenge to develop cooperative robotics to revolutionize space exploration. The Swarmathon Virtual Competition will challenge students to develop search algorithms for robotic swarms, and these algorithms will be tested by competition organizers in a virtual environment. …Read More

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RASC-AL Special Edition: Mars Ice Drilling Challenge

NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace announce the 2017 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage, or RASC-AL, Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge. This new special edition challenge for 2017 is taking place in celebration of the 100th anniversary of NASA’s Langley Research Center! This design competition is aimed at university-level engineering students and is one …Read More

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Gamers Tackle Virtual Asteroid Sampling Mission

OSIRIS-REx Project Scientist Jason Dworkin challenged players of the popular online game Kerbal Space Program to replicate NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. Gamers will use the virtual tools and supplies provided by the game to construct their own OSIRIS-REx spacecraft (also known as the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer), collect an asteroid sample, and return …Read More

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Resource Prospector Progresses With Thermal Vacuum Testing

This rover could be the first robot to mine for resources on another world! Targeted for launch in the early 2020s, Resource Prospector (RP) will take a short trip from Earth to the moon, where it will use a suite of rover-hosted instruments to search and characterize sub-surface water, hydrogen and other volatiles. Further, RP …Read More

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Development Of High-Power Solar Electric Propulsion

A prototype 13-kilowatt Hall thruster is tested at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. This prototype demonstrated the technology readiness needed for industry to continue the development of high-power solar electric propulsion into a flight-qualified system. On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, NASA awarded a contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. to design and develop an advanced …Read More

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UCF Physics Professor Lands Grant To Plan For Space Mining

University of Central Florida physics professor Dan Britt has been named to the New Horizons mission team as the spacecraft heads to the Kuiper Belt. He’s also just landed a grant to help create fake asteroid material, which will help NASA and private companies prepare the technology needed to mine asteroids and eventually other planets. …Read More

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The Art Of Landing On An Asteroid

Researchers in France have customised a drop tower to simulate landing a CubeSat on an asteroid in the near-absence of gravity – part of the preparations for ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission. “We’ve taken an existing drop tower, previously designated for aircraft and material drop-tests, to simulate a low-gravity landing,” explains Naomi Murdoch of the Institut …Read More

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New Detector Perfect For Asteroid Mining

The grizzled asteroid miner is a stock character in science fiction. Now, a couple of recent events – one legal and the other technological – have brought asteroid mining a step closer to reality. The legal step was taken when the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed a bill titled H.R. 2262—SPACE Act of …Read More

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Resource Prospector 2015 Field Testing Complete

Resource Prospector (RP) is an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) capability demonstration mission currently planned to launch in 2020. Expanding human presence beyond low-Earth orbit to asteroids and Mars will require the maximum possible utilization of local materials — so-called in-situ resources. RP aims to be the first mission to validate prospecting, extraction, and analysis of …Read More

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Comet Hitchhiker Would Take Tour Of Small Bodies

Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn’t easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids and comets, which have low gravitational pull. A concept called Comet Hitchhiker, developed …Read More

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