Friday, November 30, 2018

SpaceX to Launch First Commercial Crew Program Dragon V2 Capsule January 7th

NASA has set Jan. 7 as the date for the launch of the first commercial crew test flight, an uncrewed SpaceX Dragon spacecraft that will start a series of high-stakes missions over the next year.

In a Nov. 21 statement, NASA said the Falcon 9 launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft on a mission designated Demo-1 is scheduled for Jan. 7 from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, the former Apollo and shuttle pad that SpaceX has renovated to support launches of its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy vehicles, in particular crewed Falcon 9 missions.

On that mission, the Crew Dragon spacecraft, also known as Dragon 2, will fly a mission to the International Space Station to test the vehicle’s systems. It will be the first orbital flight for the vehicle, and will not carry astronauts.

If that flight is successful, it will be followed in June by a crewed test flight, called Demo-2, where NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will fly the Crew Dragon to the ISS. Between Demo-1 and Demo-2, SpaceX plans to perform an in-flight abort test where a Crew Dragon will use its abort system to jettison from a Falcon 9 vehicle after liftoff.

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Chinese Researcher Claims to Have Produced First Genetically Engineered Babies,Twin Girls

A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls born this month whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life.

If true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics.

A U.S. scientist said he took part in the work in China, but this kind of gene editing is banned in the United States because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes.

Many mainstream scientists think it’s too unsafe to try, and some denounced the Chinese report as human experimentation.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

India's First Ballistic Missile Submarine Conducted its First Nuclear Deterrent Patrol

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced earlier this month that the Indian Navy had completed its first sea-based nuclear deterrent patrol it was more of a statement of intent than a demonstration of a new capability.

The Indian Navy’s new ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) INS Arihant was the boomer that completed the month-long deterrent patrol. Whilst this is not insignificant – it is the first country outside of the five members of the U.N. Security Council to develop this capability – it also shows how far away India is to achieve its goal of joining the other great powers in establishing a credible sea-based deterrent.

Only the U.S., U.K., France and Russia can sustain continuous-at-sea deterrent patrols, which a provides continuous launch capability of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) by maintaining at least one SSBN on station at any one time that could fire a nuclear missile. A continuous patrol requires a minimum of four SSBNs.

The patrol as a statement will have more effect in diplomatic circles than in military ones. India wants to join the club of countries that can support a sea-based deterrent and eventually achieve a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent. It also means India will have the ability to launch all three air, land and sea-based types of nuclear weapons and a more robust second strike capability.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Robopocalypse Report #110



Drones can provide the police with a surprising amount of data.

Drones can produce some stunning photography.

A DARPA kit converts any helicopter into being self flying.

The FAA is restricting drone flights near US Navy sub bases.

CyPhy wants to tether drones.

DJI drones have security vulnerabilities that could turn them into spies in the sky.

Some DJI Matrice 200 drones are falling out of the sky.

Drone swarms could help find hikers without GPS.

Hovermap is mapping underground spaces with drones.

Intel's drones will join the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.

A test in Maryland demonstrated drones can carry donated organs without damaging them.

Nissan's Sentinel rescue truck concept has a drone launcher.

Roborace's self driving racing league will not drive self driving cars the first season.

Stanford drones can carry far more than their own weight.

Vanuatu is delivering vaccines to remote islands via drone. 

Self Driving Cars:

Have we been talking about self driving cars all wrong?

Tech companies are paying Kenyans to teach self driving cars how to drive.

Self driving vehicles might shape the future of urban tourism.

How DO self driving cars see the road?

Robotaxis are coming.  Why are we not preparing?

The Brits claim they will have self driving taxis and buses by 2021, refusing to be left behind by the Americans, Chinese and Japanese.

Einride's self driving, electric truck is already earning money.

Ford is working with Baidu to test self driving cars in China.

Ford views its future as including a self driving taxi service and deliveries.

Muji and Sensible 4 have teamed up to deploy all weather self driving shuttle bus.

Tesla rolled out an update to Autopilot for highway driving.

Did Tesla oversell its Autopilot capabilities?

Tesla's Summon function has the car drive itself in parking lots.

Uber is applying to be allowed to put its self driving cars back on the road.

Waymo has permission to put its fully autonomous self driving cars on the road in California.

A Waymo self driving car had an accident, but the human in the car was, supposedly, to blame.

Waymo may launch its self driving car service in the suburbs of Phoenix in early December.

3d Printing:

Watch 3d printed heart tissue beat.

Will 3d printed foods with probiotics make it to your table?

A 3d printed mammoth skeleton replica is for sale.

Concrete printing and 3d knitting have produced a sculpture in Mexico City.

Multiple component composites can now be 3d printed.

Wood furniture waste has been recycled into a 3d printable material.

Pulped paper has been made into a 3d printable material, too.

UL and Georgia Tech are investigating how much 3d printing pollutes indoor air.

A 3d printed dental implant shows promise over its traditionally made equivalents.

Researchers are 3d printing lunar regolith simulant into useful parts.

BigRep has 3d printed a prototype electric motorcycle.

Organs 3d printed from living cells could boost the senses.


More info here.

ABB will build a factory in China to use robots to build robots for the Asian market.

Furhat Robotics is trying to cross the uncanny valley.

Google is shutting down Schaft Robotics after failing to find a buyer for the firm.  Google bought Boston Dynamics and Schaft for some unknown purpose, but failed to find a use for their robots.  They found a buyer for Boston Dynamics, but not Schaft.  I have to wonder if Google didn't actually do serious harm to the development of nextgen robots by its ill-advised procurements.

iRobot has teamed up with Google to study your house.   Yes, really.

LG is turning loose self driving shopping carts in South Korea.

Madeline Gannon is a roboticist teaching them to act more like animals.

Supposedly, this mopping robot can sense and avoid dog poo.

This is how NASA plans to use robots to produce fuel on Mars.

Robots will attempt to reseed chunks of the Great Barrier Reef with coral larvae.

A robotic arm might help rehabilitate sufferers from chronic strokes.

Stanford has developed a electronic glove to give robots a sense of touch.

Starship has launched its robot package delivery service in London.

Toyota put a pizza making robot in the back of a hydrogen powered truck.

Teams will compete to in an XPRIZE to map the ocean floor with autonomous underwater vehicles.


German scientists have created an artificial "skin" that can point north.

Kaspersky Software is warning brain implants might be hackable.

Some scientists are growing organoids of brain tissue and connecting them to robots.

Other scientists have 3d printed bacteria into mushrooms to create electricity from light.

A brain computer interface gives the paralyzed the ability to control a tablet.

Software bots:

The US Commerce Department may regulate the sale of software bots to certain countries.

Is AI/ML hitting a wall of meaning?

The AI/ML revolution is a whole lot of old ideas being run on much faster hardware.

There are calls to teach AI common sense: the problem is common sense isn't.

What IS a bot?

One of the father's of modern "AI" is worried about its future.

20th Century Fox is using software bots to attempt to predict whether people will watch a movie based on its trailer.

Amazon now has all it needs to create popular bot generated fiction.

Apple has bought privacy minded bot company Silky Road.

Boston attempted to use software bots to optimize its bus schedule & routes.  What was learned from the experience?

China has deployed software bots on their news programs, replacing TV anchors.

Should you allow your children to be 'friends' with Alexa and other digital assistants?

Digital assistants like Siri and Alexa have yet to find their niche.

eHarmony is planning a software bot to prevent people from ghosting one another.

The European Union is testing an experimental lie detector software bot to screen people traveling to the EU.

Will Fei Fei Li make AI better for people?

Google is using a software bot to categorize and digitize millions of historical photos from the New York Times.

Google has promised $25M for software bot/AI research to solve social problems.

Google will take back DeepMind's health business.

Google will be rolling out is Duplex AI to select owners of the Pixel phone is certain cities.

INRS and the University of Sussex used software bots to tailor light sources.

Mercedes' research into software bots could improve package delivery.

MIT offers how to make AI less biased.

Russian researchers have developed a neural net based not for 3d metal printing.

Samsung has opened its Bixby digital assistant to developers.

Samsung's new chips have a dedicated section for "AI."

Software bots help accelerate malaria research.

Software bots can ID animals that deadly pathogens hide in.

Software bots can predict Alzheimer's years before formal diagnosis.

A new software bot can condense data from thousands of scientific papers.

A software bot is being used to create new materials.

Can software bots learn languages like a child does?

Software bots are being developed to find deep fake videos.

Software bots may solve bottlenecks in drug research.

Software bots can and do fail at analyzing data across multiple health care systems.

Software bots are being trained with video games.

Software bots help improve detection of new particles at the LHC.

Software bots may help ID the root cause of religious conflict?

Software bots can determine atomic positions in record time.

Software bot created portrait fetched over $400k at auction.

How much do software bots drive the narrative during news events?

Can software bots actually make art?

Software bots are being adopted by DIYers.

Software bots are now able to generate fake finger prints to trick biometric scanners.

Can software bots help people who have suffered trauma give court testimony?

Software bots greatly increase people's exposure to negative and inflammatory information on social networks.

Software bots are sorting which patients need immediate emergency admission to hospitals.

Could software bots help with the crush of peer review?

There's a software bot that will help make your resume more competitive.

Wired showed just about anyone can use software bots to create art.


7-11 is testing Amazon Go-like cashierless stores in 14 locations.

Amazon is hiring less seasonal workers this year...due to robots making them unnecessary.

Amazon Go is the inevitable evolution of supermarket shopping.

Walmart wants to open an Amazon Go style Sam's Club.


Japan is both obsessed with and resistant to the robopocalypse.

How Boston Dynamics' videos become hits.

Making the robopocalypse work for Africa's farmers.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Russia Aims to Complete its Portion of ISS 24 years After ISS Began

The Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) will be fully built in 2022 when the last of the three modules scheduled for their launch in 2019-2022 joins the station, Chief Designer and First Deputy CEO of Energia Space Rocket Corporation Yevgeny Mikrin said on Monday.

"The construction of the ISS is planned to be completed by 2022 by putting three new modules into operation. These are the multifunctional laboratory module due to be launched in 2019, the nodal module with its launch in 2020 and the research and energy module planned to be launched in 2022," Mikrin said at a conference devoted to the 20th anniversary of the world’s sole orbiter.

Monday, November 19, 2018

As NASA Receives Criticism for the Gateway Stations, Other Nations Begin to Plan Their Own

Russian cosmonauts will carry out a 14-day lunar landing mission after 2030, according to a presentation made by Russia's general designer of manned spacecraft Yevgeny Mikrin has stated.

“The first landing mission [14 days]," one of the slides in his presentation at a conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station (ISS) says.

According to the image on the slide, it is planned to send three cosmonauts to the lunar surface.

Mikrin has presented a concept of Russian lunar orbital station.

"We propose that the base block of the station should be created in accordance with the composition of the current Russian segment of the ISS, and include a node module, a scientific/ energy module, and a propulsion module," Mikrin said.

And a graphic emerged from China about their lunar missions and there's a lunar station in it.

All of this is somewhat funny because NASA received a cold shoulder from Canada about participating in the Gateway Station, the Russians have been stating they want an equal say in running the NASA project, and an advisory board was very unhappy with the plans for the station and return to the Moon. ex Administrator Griffin called the Gateway 'stupid.'  The Chinese were not impressed either in the past.

Yet, here's Russia talking about their own lunar station and China has started releasing graphics of their lunar station.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Has a Russian Skynet Been Implemented?

“He also said the Soviet-created ‘command’ missile system ‘Perimeter’ capable of transmitting launch commands to intercontinental missiles after an enemy nuclear strike on Russia has been modernized.”

“‘The ‘Perimeter’ system is functioning, and it is even improved,’ said V. Yesin.”

“Answering the question if the ‘Perimeter’ system can guarantee a retaliatory strike in the case of an enemy preemptive attack, the general said: ‘When it is working, we will already have few means remaining – we can launch only the missiles which survive after the aggressor’s first strike.'”

“The expert also stated that ‘we still don’t have an effective response to American medium-range missiles in Europe.'”

“‘Perimeter’ (in English Dead Hand) is an automated command and control system for a massive nuclear retaliatory strike developed in the USSR. According to open information, the ‘Perimeter’ system was created as a component part of the Airborne Command Post (VKP) system under the codename ‘Link’ developed in the Soviet Union.”

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Stealth Saga #41

Sixth Gen Fighters:

The AFRL is seeking information on the status of lasers that could be used to shoot down incoming SAMs or air to air missiles.

France and Germany are having a tiff over whether or not the FCAS will have significant export restrictions.  Germany wants them.  France does not.

Germany is eager for Spain to participate in the FCAS and some design parameters are starting to emerge.

The FCAS program must be manned because France needs it for the air superiority and nuclear missions.


Indonesia is trying to renegotiate its contribution to the KF-X/IFX project due to fiscal constraints.


Turkey selected GE over Rolls Royce to provide the engines to its new fighter.

Other sources are stating Turkey is putting in a local engine design instead.


The Russians did a photoshoot of the SU-57.

They also did a slightly cheesy shoot of the load testing and failures on a static article for the SU-57.

The Russians are claiming the SU-57 is better than the F-22 and the F-35.  WiB comes to defend the F-22 vs the SU-57.

SU-57 pilots are testing gravity suits to counter the affects of acceleration had high g turns and the like.

The Russians have released pictures of testing the SU-57 at a radar range.


China showed off its stealthy CH-7 UAV.

Tiang Ying:

China also showed off a flying wing UAV that could be a carrier based drone.


J-20s, at least three, possibly more, participated in the airshow at Zhuhai.

The J-20 overflew the Zhuhai airshow with its weapons bay open.  It showed it could carry six missiles: four in the main bay and one in each of the secondaries.

F-35 haters are defending the J-20.

China is making significant advances on the fighter front.


Sources stated the Chinese government has given AVIC a contract to develop the J-31 into an aircraft suitable for the Chinese military due to the J-15 problems.


Reports are starting to circulate the Chinese will unveil the H-20 next year.  Accurate?  Who knows.

Unknown Tonopah aircraft:

Satellite images were censored of an unknown aircraft at the famous Area 51.

Northrop Grumman Stealth Transport:

Was this a cockpit mockup of an undisclosed stealthy transport aircraft?


A B-2 bomber had an emergency landing in Colorado Springs.


Edwards AFB will be where the B-21 is tested and Tinker AFB will be its regular post testing base.


The F-22 changed a lot from the YF-22 to the F-22A.  Had the YF-23 won the competition, what would the production F-23A looked like?

WiB attacks the idea bringing the F-23 into production is a good one.


Hurricane Michael did damage to up to 17 F-22s at Tyndall AFB. At least five were in good enough condition they were flown out of Tyndall to Langley.

F-22s arrived at Klein-Brogal AFB in Belgium.

The KC-30 is undergoing refueling trials with the F-22 for certification.

On April 13th, an F-22 had a bellyflop landing on take-off.  The pilot was to blame.

All F-22s have left Tyndall, SecUSAF has stated.


Has the Block Buy for the F-35 begun?  Lockheed received a downpayment of $6B for 255 F-35s.

80% of F-35s have been returned to flight operations after the recent grounding.

The crash may slow the F-35 testing a couple months.

The USAF is working to fix the cyber security weaknesses of the F-35.

An F-35B connected to the USS Wasp anti cruise missile system.

The Aviationist has a video of a F-35B refueling over the Middle East.

Belgium has reportedly selected the F-35A over the Eurofighter to replace its F-16s.  European firms are unhappy with the selection.  The F-35 selection shouldn't shock anyone.  It still makes some haters unhappy.

The Brits tested the Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing technique for the first time on the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

F-35Bs on the Queen Elizabeth have completed DT-1 trials.

The British confirmed their order of another 17 F-35Bs.

Israeli F-35Is had been returned to service faster than the rest it seems.

Italy is signaling it will be slowing down its F-35 orders.

A report from the Pentagon to Congress on Turkey's participation in the F-35 has been delivered.

Lockheed expects to sell even more F-35s.

Can Lockheed keep the sustainment costs down for the F-35?

Friday, November 16, 2018

ESA Delivers First Service Module for Orion Flight

The powerhouse that will help NASA’s Orion spacecraft venture beyond the Moon is stateside. The European-built service module that will propel, power and cool during Orion flight to the Moon on Exploration Mission-1 arrived from Germany at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday to begin final outfitting, integration and testing with the crew module and other Orion elements.

The service module is integral to human missions to the Moon and Mars. After Orion launches on top of the agency’s Space Launch System rocket, the service module will be responsible for in-space maneuvering throughout the mission, including course corrections. The service module will also provide the powerful burns to insert Orion into lunar orbit and again to get out of lunar orbit and return to Earth. It is provided by ESA (European Space Agency) and built by ESA’s prime contractor Airbus of Bremen, Germany. NASA’s prime contractor for Orion, Lockheed Martin, built the crew module and other elements of the spacecraft.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Russia may Deploy Avangard Boost-glide Hypersonic Weapon in 2019

Russian press quotes an industry source as saying that the Avangard boost-glide system (Project 4202) "will begin combat duty by the end of 2019." The first regiment will include two UR-100NUTTH/SS-19 missiles, each armed with a single boost-glide vehicle. The missiles will be deployed in silos of the Dombarovskiy missile division. Later the number of missiles in the regiment will be increased to six; a second regiment with six missiles is expected to be deployed by 2027. The source also said that it's possible that the deployment will begin without additional flight tests of the vehicle.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Terminator Times #51

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs: drones)

DARPA is working on controlling drones by thought.

DARPA is also studying human-swarm interactions.

DARPA demonstrated its kit on a Sikorsky to make any helicopter optionally manned.

A US Air Force Global Hawk was reported near Russian borders.

Is the USAF drone base in Niger worth the cost?

The USAF has given L3 a contract for MQ-9 maintenance.

Suicide drones are being considered for the US Army.

The US Army is considering special pods to allow their Gray Eagle UAVs to carry a lot of very small bombs.

The US Army is considering a very long duration UAV like the Zephyr.

The US Army gave a contract mod to General Atomics to support its Gray Eagle UAVs.

The US Navy has launched its first uav test squadron.

The US Navy has installed an unmanned warfare center on the USS Eisenhower.

The US Navy is buying the Aerosonde UAV.

Algeria unveiled its Chinese bought UAVs.

Belgium is buying two RQ-9B UAVs.  Or will it be MQ-1 Predators?

China unveiled its stealthy CH-7 UAV at the Zhuhai Airshow.

China also showed off the latest version of Tian Ying UAV.

China's Wing Loong II has entered PLAAF service.

New drones dominated China's Zhuhai airshow.

Egypt is showing off its Wing Loong UAVs.

Iran claims to have used its Saeqeh drone, reversed engineered from the captured RQ-170, for strikes in Syria.

Iranian drone overflights of US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf are now common.

Japan is interested in the General Atomics Avenger to monitor China.

Netherlands is considering cooperating with Italy on their Reaper utilization.

Pakistan and China will jointly produce the Wing Loong UAVs.

The Russian military apparently are no longer interested in the Altair UAV.

The Russians are bizarrely claiming the drone attacks against their airbase in Syria were directed by a US Navy P-8 Poseidon.  The US and its allies refute this.

The Russian Army has supposedly received 1800 UAVs in the last six years.

The Russians have developed a biomimic UAV in the shape of an owl.

Spain has bought Orbiter UAVs.

Spain has pledged to buy 15 European MALE UAVs.

Taiwan has not decided between the MQ-9 UAV and Teng Yun.

Taiwan has been cleared to buy the MQ-8B FireScout.

Turkey is buying 22 more Anka UAVs.

Turkey's drones are targeting the Kurds.

Turkeys indigenous UAV industry is making progress.

A Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter shot down a Russian Orlan-10 UAV.

The Aeromapper Talon UAV can land in water.

AeroVironment is working with General Dynamics to integrate drones on its armored fighting vehicles.

Anatov unveiled UAV concepts.

Avic is readying the prototype of the Wing Loong I-D for its first flight.

Boeing believes they won the MQ-25A competition through R&D ahead of time.  Also, the MQ-25A will fly for the first time in 2019.

CASIC also unveiled its WJ-700 UCAV.

FLIR has developed a launch/recovery system for its Black Hornest 3 Micro UAVs for vehicles.

General Atomics has been given a contract to improve the all weather capabilities of the Reaper.

General Atomics also got another contract to produce more Reapers for the US military.

IAI has been working on an IED clearing robot.

Instant Eye displayed its new small UAV.

Institu is promoting its ScanEagle.

KAI has been working internally on its own VTOL UAVs.

Kratos is expanding its Oklahoma City manufacturing facilities.

Leonardo is prepping its AWHero UAS for an exercise.

Lockheed has added synthetic aperature radar to its unmanned hybrid airship.

Norinco has presented a UAV swarm concept where some are hexacopters with missiles and others are quads with sensors and grenades.

Stanford has drones that can lift 40 times their weight and open doors cooperatively.

Textron is demoing a replacement for the Shadow UAV.

Uconsystem has added VTOL capabilities to the RemoEye 002B mini UAV.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs: Bolos and Ogres):

The US Army is about to do an extended test of the SMET UGVs in infantry brigades.

The US Army has come up with a way for bots to figure out where they are when GPS isn't available.

The US Army wants to use robots to direct precision strikes, especially in urban areas.

The US Army is looking to deploy its leader-follower technology to make logistics vehicles self driving next year in the US.

The British robot for bomb disposal is sailing through its early trials.

China unveiled an armed UGV with micro intelligent missiles.

Israel has confirmed it has a customer for its Sahar UGV.

NATO exercises are demoing UGVs for logistics.

Ukraine has unveiled a new UGCV.

IAI is working on UGVs.

Textron is buying Howe & Howe, makers of the Ripsaw mini tank and UGVs.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Roboats):

The US Navy is developing a USV for countermine operations.

The US Navy has released an RFI on a medium sized USV, 12m to 50m in length.

NATO nations are teaming up on unmanned systems to counter Russian subs.

French company Ixblue unveiled its Drix USVs.

Yunzhou Tech showed off its armed USVs.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles:

GD has introduced the Bluefin-9 UUV.

3d Printing:

The US Army has deployed a 3d printing RFAB facility in South Korea.

3d printing might help the US Navy and USMC return aircraft to flight status faster.

3d printing has produced its first part for a nuclear aircraft carrier.

Lockheed is studying robotic assisted 3d printing.

Software Bots:

DARPA wants an AI that understands context.

The US military wants to teach common sense to AI.


Some are calling for AI to be retooled to spot and limit wars.

Children are being recruited in China to work on AI based weapons.

Friday, November 09, 2018

China to Begin Flight Tests of Next Gen Capsule in 2019

China will perform a first test flight of a full-scale 20-metric ton model of a successor to its Shenzhou spacecraft for human spaceflight next year, a senior official at the craft’s designer said last week.

The next-generation crewed spacecraft will be the payload for the first flight of the Long March 5B launch vehicle, a variant of the Long March 5 and designed for lofting large modules of the planned Chinese Space Station (CSS) into low Earth orbit.

In 2016, China use the first flight of the Long March 7 medium-lift rocket to launch a scale model of a new return module to test re-entry and landing profile for new spacecraft.

“The full model will be tested next year,” Li Ming, vice president of the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), told SpaceNews, and confirmed the mission would include the full spacecraft including re-entry and orbital modules.

“The key issue is to test the new shape and reusable technologies. This capsule will be reused after recovery from space,” Li Ming said at the International Astronautical Congress, held Oct. 1-5 in Bremen, Germany.

The test of the spacecraft will not include environmental controls or systems required to support astronauts, but focus on testing avionics, separation events, heat shielding, parachutes and recovery operations, similar to the mission profile NASA’s Orion flew in 2014 when a Delta 4 heavy rocket sent the unmanned capsule 5,800 kilometers above the Earth to test re-entry systems.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Sunday, November 04, 2018

The 2nd Refit of the INS Vikramaditya has Finished

With the second refitment of INS Vikramaditya over, the country’s lone operational aircraft carrier will be entering the sea-trial stage by next week. The short refit, at an expense of Rs 705 crore, was carried out at the Cochin Shipyard and the aircraft carrier is now docked at Ernakulam Wharf, prior to the commencement of the sea trials.

During an onboard visit arranged by the Navy for media persons on Saturday, Commanding Officer of INS Vikramaditya Captain Puruvir Das said the refitment of the ship has been completed.

“However, a few tests, including the checks on the ship’s boilers, are underway. Soon, we will start the sea trials, which will take place off the Kochi and Goa coasts. We are hopeful of returning to the Western Naval Command without delay,” he said.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Paleolithic Papers #24

Genus Homo:

H. sapiens:

A cave in Libya has show evidence of grinding stones used on seeds from the Late Pleistocene, 31 kya.

We know ancient humans believed in an afterlife.

A new bone knife is the oldest specialized artifact from the Aterian culture, 90,000 years ago.

A technological/cultural transition that took place in South Africa was definitely not linked to climate change.

The Friedkin site in Texas has yielded more pre Clovis projectile points from approximately 15.5kya.

Are the reports of H. sapiens outside of Africa ~200kya due to flawed interpretation of the dating data?

Genetic studies of Africa are giving light to ancient human population evolution there during the Pleistocene.

H. neanderthalensis:

A large part of the DNA left to modern humans from interbreeding with Neandertals is related to fighting off viruses.

Neandertals practiced their own form of health care and it was crucial to their survival.

Modeling the disappearance of Neandertals through population dynamics.

A Neandertal child in Poland from 42 kya was eaten by a large bird.

H. antecessor:

Homo antecessor had already evolved Neandertal-type teeth 450,000 years ago.

H. erectus:

The variation in the Acheulean stone tools is examined.

How many different grips were used on the lower Paleolithic hand axes?


Did the ancient climate affect human evolution?

The difference between chimpanzee and human upright walking related to trunk sizes.

A geometric morphometric examination of hominoid third metacarpal shape and its implications for inferring the precursor to terrestrial bipedalism.

Friday, November 02, 2018

NASA Seeking Commercial Cargo Services to Gateway Station

NASA will lead the development of the Gateway, a permanent spaceship orbiting the Moon, to serve as a home base for human and robotic missions to the surface of the Moon and ultimately, Mars. The first orbiting lunar laboratory will be a temporary home and office for astronauts for up to three months at a time, with cargo deliveries likely scheduled when crew are not present.

The agency is seeking input from U.S. companies regarding logistics requirements to supply the Gateway. This request, published Oct. 23, 2018, will help NASA understand service options to transport cargo, equipment and other goods like food to and from the orbiting spaceship nearly 240,000 miles from home. Responses are due to NASA by Nov. 2, 2018.

NASA is interested in a logistics module capable of carrying pressurized and unpressurized cargo. The agency anticipates needing at least three cargo delivery missions, with the first mission potentially delivering a robotic arm provided by an international partner to the Gateway in 2024. The first two logistics modules will likely launch on commercial rockets, but after Gateway assembly, NASA’s Space Launch System will be available as well.