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A space module carrying China’s first lunar rover landed on the moon over the weekend.

State television showed what was the first soft landing on the moon in close to 4 decades. It was a major step for the emerging superpower’s ambitious space program. burst into applause as a computer generated image representing the spacecraft was seen landing on the moon’s surface via screens at a Beijing control centre, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed, 12 days after Chang’e-3 blasted off on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

China is set to become just the third country to carry out a moon rover mission, following the United States and former Soviet Union, which also made the last soft landing on the moon 37 years ago.

The probe touched down on an ancient 400-kilometre wide plain known in Latin as Sinus Iridum, or The Bay of Rainbows.

The landing was previously described as the “most difficult” part of the mission by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in a post on Chang’e-3′s microblogging page on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter equivalent. Read the remainder of this entry »

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NASA exhibits Valkyrie, an advanced humanoid robot that has a female likeness and may used to explore Mars.

NASA Valkyrie superhero robotThe ‘Valkyrie’ robot was designed by NASA scientists to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). Valkyrie stands 1.9-metres tall and weighs 125 kilograms. In Norse mythology, the Valkyrie were female figures who chose which fighters who died in battle were worthy of Valhalla.

A genderless humanoid robot in some respects but Valkyrie was designed to have female characteristics from the beginning. It has a pronounced chest area, with internal motors that glow like Iron Man, and padding to protect it from a fall.

The flexible Valkyrie has 44 degrees of axes of rotation in its joints and is powered by a battery backpack, which can keep it operating for an hour. It can walk on its own, pick up objects and manipulate objects and tools, which are part of the requirements for the DARPA challenge. Read the remainder of this entry »

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NASA has rushed to fix a problem with the cooling system at the International Space Station that could delay Orbital Sciences’  first launch next week to deliver cargo.

International Space StationEngineers are still trying to figure out what caused the fault on Wednesday in a flow valve that controls the temperature of the equipment aboard the station, said mission team manager Kenny Todd.

The astronauts on board are “in good shape”, and comfortable after the cooling system problem, which NASA has said posed no danger.

A spacewalk might be necessary to get a closer look at the external thermal control loops – of which two exist on the station – and the defective valve, but NASA has not yet decided on that.

A temporary fix is in place in the meantime, in which some elements have been turned off to save power and the cooling system is functioning in a non-integrated fashion, he said. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Smarty Ring sends smartphone updates to your finger.

Posted December 12, 2013 By David Kolle

Smarty Ring is a Bluetooth-enabled wearable device that not only allows you to receive smartphone alerts but manages incoming calls as well.

Smarty Ring.Users can manage the settings for their Smarty Ring from a mobile app, and can even use the device as a watch, timer or phone finder.

If a user walks more than 9 metres from his phone, the ring will beep to alert them that they’ve left something behind.

The stainless-steel ring has a 24-hour battery life. Android and iOS devices are all compatible, as long as they have Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities, according to Smarty Ring’s page on crowd-funding website Indiegogo.

Despite the general popularity of wearable devices (the Pebble Watch raised more than $US10 million on crowd-funding wbesite Kickstarter), Smarty Ring’s Indiegogo campaign is struggling. Since launching in early November, its campaign has raised only $US8695 of the team’s $US40,000 goal, with 3 days remaining.

Although, Smarty Ring’s campaign is set up so that money will be collected even if the campaign goal is not met.


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