This week on WDD’s HotSpot: an unmanned helicopter, detecting extraterrestrial life, and NASA’s Rover has amnesia.
Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout drone helicopter has made its first flight from a U.S. Navy destroyer. According to Capt. Jeff Dodge, who manages the program for Naval Air Systems Command, This is the first sea-based flight of the MQ-8C and the first time an unmanned helicopter has operated from a destroyer. The technology offers greater endurance, allowing ship commanders and pilots to have a longer on station presence.
Detecting Extraterrestrial Life
EPFL scientists have developed a sensitive yet simple device that detects extraterrestrial life through motion. The system has proven accurate with detecting bacteria, yeast, and even cancer cells, and uses a nano-sized cantilever to detect motion. The cantilever design is often used with bridges and buildings, but here it is implemented on the micrometer scale, and about 500 bacteria can be deposited on it.
NASA’s Opportunity rover is beginning to show signs of aging with persistent computer resets of its flash memory banks, which seem to be suffering from “amnesia.” Engineers back on Earth have prompted a shift to a working mode that avoids use of the flash data-storage system, which will allow the rover to continue normal operations of science observations and driving, but it will not be able to store data during the overnight sleep. The team is developing a set of commands to restore usability of the flash memory through an overhaul more extensive than the reformatting that has been used so far.
Do you have story ideas? Comment below or email [email protected] we’ll cover them in an upcoming episode.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)