The life of a Mars rover is probably bit like that of Wall-E at the start of the Pixar movie: a lot of lonely treks in dutiful fulfillment of a mission through the remains of a planet's earlier days.
The rovers Spirit and Opportunity may not be Hollywood icons, but they have done NASA proud. And in just the last day or so, Opportunity hit yet another milestone--it now holds the record for the longest active service on the surface of Mars, surpassing the mark of six years, 116 days (in Earth time) set by the Viking 1 lander, … Read more
We think of SUVs as lumbering beasts rolling sedately down the road, approaching slight turns with trepidation lest there top-heavy bodies tip them. However, a few models stand apart. They can tear through corners as if they were plot twists on Lost. We found five SUVs that, despite their bulky bodies and high riding style, handle better than most cars do.
Technically, all of these vehicles are crossovers. Although they have typically SUV-like bodies, they all have a unibody, rather than body-on-frame, design. Having a unibody construction helps them with handling, but all of these vehicles use technology to … Read more
Land Rover went through a couple of big changes lately, with its ownership moving from Ford to Indian company Tata, and its entire model lineup getting a significant update. The Range Rover Sport underwent a very positive improvement, losing yards of plastic in favor of the kind of fine quality materials you would expect in such an expensive car.
Better yet, the new Range Rover Sport actually lives up to its name, featuring a new dynamic mode in it Terrain Response system that makes it corner almost like a sports car.
Cabin tech is a little weak, however, with a … Read more
Fiat rejiggers Chrysler, Maserati and Ferrari, the Garminfone mashes up GPS with Android in your car, Subaru's cars get stereo vision, and we drive the supercharged Range Rover Sport.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 165 SHOW NOTES
How do you make sniper target practice more helpful and more fun? By shooting at Segway robots, of course.
To train its snipers in realistic conditions, the Australian Department of Defence enlisted the help of Marathon Robotics of Sydney, Australia, to set up a course populated by Segways with plastic, 3D, human-size dummies onboard.
The Segways are programmed to wander around a small village aimlessly, with the robots leaning forward to accelerate and backward to stop, making them harder to hit. When a sniper does pick one of them off, the system provides instant visual feedback by stopping and dropping the mannequin. The robots then all scatter automatically.
The Rover system (PDF) uses GPS and a scanning laser rangefinder for navigation, positioning, and obstacle detection and avoidance.
It's all pretty clever and awesome, really, and it makes me want to become a sniper just so I can do this, which feels like a real-life video game. But I won't, because they are practicing so they can get good at shooting real people in the head. I guess I'll just stick with the video games. See a video of the Rover system in action after the jump.
NASA's rover Opportunity is getting smarter through software.
Celebrating its seventh year investigating the surface of the Red Planet, Opportunity is now able to make its own choices about which rocks it should investigate further and which ones it should leave alone, according to a NASA report on Tuesday.
Thanks to a new software upload, Opportunity's computer can analyze the photos taken with its wide-angle camera and isolate rocks that meet specific criteria. It can then determine whether specific rocks are worthy of close-up shots through its narrow-angle, color-filtered camera.
The new software called Autonomous Exploration for Gathering … Read more
Each week brings a bevvy of new iPhone games to our digital doorstep, but time doesn't permit us to cover each one individually. Therefore, here's a roundup of some new and interesting titles you might want to check out:
Alice in Wonderland: You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a movie by its trailer--and Tim Burton's latest attempt to make Johnny Depp look weird (aka "Alice") offers little appeal to me or my kids. The eponymous tie-in game, on the other hand, is a surprisingly charming little platformer. Don'… Read more
We recorded right after Steve Jobs finished his 90-minute announcement of the Apple iPad, Apple's new tablet computer. It's variably impressive depending on who you are, but will anyone buy it? We discuss. Also, it's over for the Mars rover Spirit. At least the roving part is over, but it's still alive and doing science.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1153
Apple iPad tablet http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-10440943-260.html
After three months, only 35 subscriptions for Newsday’s Web site http://www.observer.com/2010/media/after-three-months-only-35-subscriptions-newsdays-web-site… Read more
NASA's Mars rover Spirit isn't dead yet, but it has reached its final resting place.
After months of unsuccessful attempts at freeing the rover from a sandtrap, NASA on Tuesday said it has decided to make the best of the situation and instruct it to conduct scientific experiments from its current location.
The rover became trapped last April when one of its wheels broke through a crusty Martian surface and dug into the fine, powdery soil beneath it. After many so-called extraction activities, including wiggling the wheels and rotating them very slowly, NASA scientists have decided to stop … Read more