NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Fantastic Sand Dunes Of Mars

Space exploration is a fascinating subject which encompasses a wide selection of avenues which include the search for other life forms to new discoveries both concerning known and also unknown distant plants. NASA has recently released images from the Curiosity Mars rover which show a fantastic selection of images of Sand Dunes from the red planet.

Below is a selection of images of Sand Dunes which have been both snapped and also transmitted back by Curiosity, it conveys an extremely steep surface where “cascading sand has sculpted very different textures”  Researchers are implementing the rover with the aim of examining examples of the Bagnold Dunes, “this is a band of dark sand dunes lining the northwestern flank of Mt. Sharp”. 

The Curiosity rover “conveys the downwind side of a dune at around about 13 feet high within the Bagnold Dunes field on Mars”. Below is an image which really does capture both the steepness and also the varying textures, The mission’s dune-investigation campaign is designed to increase understanding about how “wind moves and sorts grains of sand in an environment with less gravity and much less atmosphere than well-studied dune fields on Earth”

Below is another incredible image, the Curiosity rover has been stationed on Mars since August 2012 and had managed to reach the base of Mount Sharp in 2014. This image was also taken from the “telephoto-lens camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, this reveals fine details of the downwind face of Namib Dune. Sand on this face of the dark dune has cascaded down a slope of about 26 to 28 degrees”.

 

It’s certainly impressive and what space discoveries are all about, it also makes you wonder what else will be found within the near future, perhaps there really is life on Mars, if not, the advancement within this area of tech will make it a possibility of deeper and more detailed space exploration.

Drone Lands Radioactive Sand on Japanese Prime Minister’s Office

A 40-year old Japanese man has admitted to being the drone operator that carried radioactive sand to the top of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office in central Tokyo. All of which to protest nuclear power generation.

The drone in question was a modified DJI Phantom 2, modified to handle the extra weight of the sand. It had a sign on it which said “Radioactive” and was carrying a small container of sand which was contaminated with radioactive cesium and the pre-fitted camera. Even though the radiation levels were not to any health risks, witnesses took this message as the initiation of a terrorist attack.

The unemployed man has been named as Yasuo Yamamoto, he faces a maximum of three years in prison if convicted. “I was operating the drone around 3:30 in the morning on April 9 to express my opposition to nuclear power generation” police quoted the operator was saying.

Shinzo Abe is pushing to restart the nuclear reactors after the devastating tsunami that struck Japan back in 2011 that destroyed the Fukushima power plant. A public broadcaster said that the sand had originated from a beach near the Fukushima meltdown.

The drone remained undetected until last Wednesday when a group of employees were taking a tour of the buildings roof; meaning that the drone has been sat dormant for around two weeks.

Well that peaceful protest ended up badly; how do think a UK Prime Minister or the US President would react if a similar stunt was played on them? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to arstechnica for providing us with this information

 

Disney Builds Autonomous Robot to Draw on Sand

We’ve all drawn or written in the sand. For most of us our tool of choice is a stick, but for Disney it’s an autonomous robot that uses lasers.

As part of a collaboration between Disney Research and Swiss Engineering school ETH Zurich, the ‘Beachbot’ has been created with the intention of turning beaches into giant canvases. The turtle-shaped machine automatically circumvents a beach using special telemetry data.

Quite like robotic vacuums and lawn mowers, the device measures its distance from four poles placed in the sand to determine the area in which it can draw. It carries a small rake that then grazes the sand as it moves along its path.

You might be wondering why Disney is involved with this, but for the last few years the company has been operating its own ‘Disney Research’ group to develop new technologies which may eventually be utilised in its parks, resorts and in the production of its movies.

Source: The Verge Image: Disney

Scientists Use Sand To Triple Smartphone And Other Devices Battery Life

The battery life of our mobile devices – and anything that contains a battery for that matter is something which ranks quite high in everyone gripe list. Although manufacturers are discovering new ways to design components the need less power to run, there is only a certain amount of power that can be crammed into the battery, thus limiting the overall life of the device. This could all be about to change though as scientists have created a new type of lithium-ion battery that offers three times the life of a standard li-on battery using nothing more than sand.

Naturally we are not talking about pouring sand like we find on the beach into a battery. Instead of using graphite to make the anode end of the cell, refined sand is used to create a pure silicone compound which gives the extended life span.

To create the compound the sand, right in quartz, is ground down to minute particles nanometres in size and then is refined and purified by heating it to remove any oxygen which is present. The pure mixture is added to a salt and magnesium mix to create the pure silicone mix.

Whilst this process may sound like it will result in a battery which costs much more to buy, the resulting product is actually cheaper due to the use of common elements which do not create any harmful waste materials after processing. How long it will take to get this new type of battery into mass production and finally into the market is unknown, but as and when it does we could finally be looking at mobile devices that last days instead of hours before they need plugging in to charge – imagine a smartphone that has the heroic battery life of the old Nokia 3310’s? I know that is something we’d all love to have.

Source: WCCF Tech

Image courtesy: Neptor.com