End of the World? | SciByte 75

End of the World? | SciByte 75

We take a look at the science of a few “end of the world” ideas, a few astronomy gift ideas, DARPA’s Probe Droid, the new Space Station crew, spacecraft updates, Curiosity news and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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End of the World?


Holiday Gift Ideas


DARPA … Probe Droid?

  • The low down
  • This UAV is capable of both hover and wing-borne flight, making the delivery and precision emplacement of a payload possible
  • A special robotic arm was designed with the capability of carrying up to 1 pound.
  • The low-cost vision system enables the UAV to autonomously search, find and track a target’s position relative to the hovering vehicle
  • The newly developed stereo vision system tracks the target and motion of the robotic arm.
  • The control logic maneuvers the vehicle and direct the robotic arm to accurately engage the emplacement target.
  • Vehicle stability can be maintained with the arm extended 6 feet with a 1-pound payload.
  • The goal was to show the team could quickly develop and integrate the right technology to make this work
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube V-Bat VTOL UAV | Headed to Target
  • YouTube V-Bat VTOL UAV | Search for and Find Target
  • YouTube V-Bat VTOL UAV | Arm Places Object
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • What an unmanned aerial vehicle can do with depth perception | phys.org

Snapshot Serengeti

  • The low down
  • Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been trying to count and locate the animals of the Serengeti, and began placing automatic cameras across the park a couple of years ago.
  • They now have more than 200 cameras around the region – all triggered by motion – capturing animals day and night.
  • They have amassed millions of images so far, and more come in all the time. So they’ve team up with us here at the Zooniverse!
  • They need the help of online volunteers to spot and classify animals in these snapshot of life in Serengeti National Park. Doing this will provide the data needed to track and study these animals, whilst giving everyone the chance to see them in the wild.
  • Snapshot Serengeti


GRAIL End of Mission

International Space Station – Expedition 34


The Higgs=Boson steps closer to certainty

  • The low down
  • The latest research findings from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN show that the CMS and ATLAS experiments are now reporting that the significance of their observation of the Higgs-like particle is standing close to the 7 sigma level
  • This is well beyond the 5 required for a discovery, and that the new particle’s properties appear to be consistent with those of a Standard Model Higgs boson.
  • Even with these results much further analysis is needed to reveal the full details of its identity
  • The next update is scheduled for the spring 2013 conferences although with the LHC shutting down after the new year and resuming operations in 2015, we’ll probably have to wait some time longer.
  • Of Note
  • 5 Sigma is 1 in about 1.7 million (1,744,278)
  • 7 Sigma is 1 in about 390 billion (390,682,215,445)
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • CMS, ATLAS experiments report Higgs-like particle close to the 7 sigma level | phys.org



Looking back

  • Dec 22 1882 : 130 years ago : Christmas tree lights : The first string of electric lights decorating a Christmas tree was created for his home by Edward H. Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison. Previously, trees had been decorated with wax candles. The Dec 1901 issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal advertised the Christmas tree lamps, first made commercially by the Edison General Electric Co. of Harrison, N.J. in strings of nine sockets, each with a miniature 2 candlepower, 32-volt, carbon-filament lamp*. Christmas tree lights quickly became the rage among wealthy Americans, but the average citizen didn’t use them until the 1920s or later. Character light bulbs became popular in the 1920s, bubble lights in the 1940s, twinkle bulbs in the 1950s and plastic bulbs by 1955. Image

Looking up this week

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