Algorithm Helps Drive Mars Curiosity Rover Toward Its Mount Sharp Goal



There are no mechanics on Mars, so the next best thing for NASA’s Curiosity rover is careful driving. A new algorithm is helping the rover do just that. The software, referred to as traction control, adjusts the speed of Curiosity’s wheels depending on the rocks it’s climbing. After 18 months of testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the software was uploaded to the rover on Mars in March. Mars Science Laboratory’s mission management approved it for use on June 8, after extensive testing at JPL and multiple tests on Mars.


Hidden Dimensions in Spacetime May Affect Gravitational Waves –“Predicted by String Theory”



“Physicists have been looking for extra dimensions at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN but up to now this search has yielded no results,” says physicist Gustavo Lucena Gómez at Université Libre de Bruxelles. “But gravitational wave detectors might be able to provide experimental evidence.”


“The 4 A.M. Report” (ET Signals, Pentagon’s ‘Space Corps’, Power of Algorithms)




Starting today, The Galaxy will post a new feature once a week culled from cable-news video broadcasts, radio, and print about current and future threats to planet Earth and our fragile, infant technological civilization –politics, AI and robotics, climate change, war, cosmic dangers, and an occasional dash of much needed humor.


NASA Space-Flight Discovery: Archaea Found in Extreme Earth Environments That Could Survive on Mars –“Common on Human Skin”





A new study that stemmed from a planetary protection project for NASA and the European Space Agency. It turns out our skin is crawling with single-celled microorganisms — and they’re not just bacteria. A study by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Medical University of Graz found that the skin microbiome also contains archaea, a type of extreme-loving microbe, and that the amount of it varies with age.


“Hunting for Dinosaur’s Showed Me Our Place in the Universe” (WATCH Today’s ‘Galaxy’ Stream)


What happens when you discover a dinosaur? Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara details his unearthing of Dreadnoughtus — a 77-million-year-old sauropod that was as tall as a two-story house and as heavy as a jumbo jet — and considers how amazingly improbable it is that a tiny mammal living in the cracks of the dinosaur world could evolve into a sentient being capable of understanding these magnificent creatures. Join him in a celebration of the Earth’s geological history and contemplate our place in deep time.



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