nasa:

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly shared this incredible video tonight, August 11, showing “our galactic home” with the stars of the Milky Way. Kelly is living and working off the Earth, for the Earth aboard the station for a yearlong mission. Traveling the world more than 220 miles above the Earth, and at 17,500 mph, he circumnavigates the globe more than a dozen times a day conducting research about how the body adapts and changes to living in space for a long duration.

Video credit: NASA

The audacious rescue plan that might have saved Columbia (and been NASA’s finest hour)

The audacious rescue plan that might have saved Columbia (and been NASA’s finest hour)

theatlantic:

NASA’s Next Rover Might Be This Crazy Walking Sphere

Biomimicry has taken us far in robotics. There’s the snake. There’s the mechanized pack animal. There’s the birds, and the bees, and the fleas. And on and on. It makes sense that we would, in constructing our autonomous animals, imitate the highly evolved species of the natural world. 

Except … when it doesn’t. Sometimes robots are at their most effective when they’re self-consciously unnatural. 

Case in point: the Super Ball Bot. Which is the machine’s actual name.

Read more.

An ingenious approach to robot design. They’ve built something with such flexibility in movement that they have to algorithmically evolve its control mechanics just to operate it, theoretically giving them a system with a baked-in robustness you couldn’t achieve otherwise.