What to expect from SpaceX, Blue Origin in 2019 and beyond
4:17

What to expect from SpaceX, Blue Origin in 2019 and beyond

Science
[MUSIC] Welcome to What the Future. On today's show, what to expect from billionaire space bros Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in 2019 and beyond, an amphibious robot with a unique way of getting around. And finally, we take a look at how one company is using simulations to teach their robot dog new tricks. Let's get in to it. SpaceX launched 21 rockets in 2018. That's roughly 20% of all rocket launches worldwide. It's also the only company to have recovered and reused its rockets, a critical step towards making space travel more accessible and affordable. So what's next for the pioneering space corporation? Even bigger rockets, of course. Musk's eventual goal has long been to help make mankind an interplanetary species, that means transporting large amounts of people, and machinery, to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. To accomplish this, SpaceX has been working on the Starship, formerly known as the Big Falcon Rocket. Musk said the rocket will be able to bring 100 metric tons of cargo to the surface of Mars as long as it has a chance to refuel in Earth's orbit first. A test model of the Starship rocket has been built at the Space X launch site in Boca Chica, Texas. This test model will reportedly be used for vertical takeoff and landing tests in March of this year. The stainless steel skin is heavier than other rocket materials, but Musk says it's the right choice for the Starship because of its resistance to extreme temperatures. The orbital version will be taller with thicker skin and is aiming to launch in 2020. Another major player in the privatized space race is Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin. The company hasn't launched anything into orbit yet, but its goals aren't any less ambitious. Its new Shepard Rocket named after the first American in space, Allan Shepard is a sub orbital tourist vehicle capable of Taking up t six people into space. Bezos said he hope's the first tourist flight will launch in 2019, though to be fair, he said the same thing about 2018. Beyond that [UNKNOWN] new Glenn Rocket is in development. It will be capable of taking 45 metric into lower Earth orbit and is scheduled to launch in 2021. Best believe Andy and I will keep you all posted as the space race continues heating up in 2019. This amphibious robot sure has a unique way of getting around. Its name is Velox and it was made by Pliant Energy Systems. Funded in part by the US Office of Naval Research, Velox can transition easily from water to land and can navigate snow Ice and sand as well. It's undulating fins allow it to swim, crawl, jet or slide. It can also reverse easily, make quick turns and it's special fins are gentler on the environment then propellers. It's not the only fin driven aquatic robot out there. Best of the makers of many different animal inspired robots Released this video in August of last year. It's called the Bionicfinwave. The autonomous swimming robot is beautiful to watch, but it is never shown outside of its tank. And Festo doesn't mention any kind of amphibious capabilities. Velox seems to be the more versatile robot for now. Developers say Velox could be used for bringing toe rubs to people who have fallen through thin ice Personal propulsion for divers or for monitoring coral reefs. [MUSIC] This robot dog has been learning some new tricks. The Anymal robot, made by Robotics Systems Lab, was taught to run 25% faster. To run at a specific speed. And to get up after falling down in a variety of positions The fall recovery technique the animal learnt was successful for 100% of trials in any fall position. These new skils were learnt with the help of simulation, which are faster, cheaper and safer than real world reenforcement learning. The simulations are 1,000 times faster than real time and can simulate up to 2,000 animal robots at once once. The best part is that this method of machine learning is not robot specific. Meaning, this technique could be a game changer for other leg of robots learning to maneuver in our fast paced world. Thanks so much for watching. I'm your host, Jessie Earl and I'll see you next time in What The Future. [MUSIC]

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