Rappelling NASA rover could split in two to explore Mars’ deep craters

NASA JPL took the DuAxel out for a test run in the Mojave Desert.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.D. Gammell

NASA’s car-size Mars rovers are awesome, versatile machines capable of traversing rugged terrain. But they’re not made to descend down the sides of craters. For that, NASA would need something like its DuAxel prototype rover, a wild concept that is two rovers in one.

When all together, DuAxel is a four-wheeled rover. The rear can anchor itself to the ground while the front goes free on two wheels. A tether holds the pieces together while the front section rappels down a steep slope. This could work well for exploring currently inaccessible crater walls on Mars.

NASA put a DuAxel prototype through its paces in the Mojave Desert in California. “DuAxel performed extremely well in the field, successfully demonstrating its

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Watch a Spot robot from Boston Dynamics explore an old mine

The ground is rocky and uneven. Old, rusted rails that used to carry loads of precious metals run the length of the path. Most wheeled robots would have trouble navigating this uneven surface, but it’s not a problem for Spot.

“This is one of the most advanced robots in the world.” Hao Zhang tells me. He’s a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, and he’s brought his department’s new robotic dog from Boston Dynamics to the Edgar Mine outside of Denver for testing. The school is one of the first customers to buy a Spot robot since the four-legged machines went on sale this summer.

Spot robot in Edgar Mine

A handler guides Spot the robotic dog with a proprietary tablet controller.


Agata Bogucka

Much of Zhang’s work in robotics involves exploring ways robots can take over dangerous jobs from people, like searching for survivors in a collapsed mine or inspecting nuclear facilities

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GeekWire Summit- Explore the future at this 2020 virtual tech conference!

Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

SEATTLE, Oct. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The 2020 GeekWire Summit, presented by Bank of America, brings together the brightest minds in technology, business, science and entrepreneurship for engaging conversations about the future. In its 9th year, the GeekWire Summit has transitioned into a fully virtual experience taking place over three-weeks featuring deep dives into areas such as privacy, AI, health tech, travel, politics, and much more.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays from Oct. 13-29, we are convening some of the planet’s top thinkers in areas such as travel, education, health, politics, vaccines, venture capital and much more. The Summit event platform encourages networking and attendee engagement.

Agenda highlights include fireside chats with Bill Gates, Gates Foundation Co-chair, Peter Kern, Expedia Group CEO, and Panos Panay, Microsoft Chief Product Officer. Regence BlueShield’s

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UK companies explore Agri-tech opportunities in Costa Rica

The Department for International Trade (DIT) organised a virtual workshop to explore opportunities in Agricultural Technology in Costa Rica last week alongside the British-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce and the Costa Rican Chamber of Agriculture.

The event, “Costa Rica: Opportunities in Agri-Tech” offered an exclusive opportunity for participants to learn about Costa Rica’s current initiatives to increase the productivity of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, and the specific opportunities available for UK companies. British Ambassador to Costa Rica, Ross Denny, welcomed participants to the workshop, highlighting that:

The UK has one of the most highly regarded agricultural technology sectors in the world. Its fully integrated agricultural supply chain, combined with world-class scientific advances and the country’s natural vibrant business environment, make it an excellent match for Costa Rica’s growing Agritech sector. The UK has pioneered new approaches to farming in areas such as animal science, plant genetics and reproduction, as

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Virtual events explore science of well-being, feature new insights from Dalai Lama

“The World We Make 2020” is a weeklong series of free virtual events to share the latest science, well-being tips and the opportunity to hear from mental health experts and leaders, including a recorded dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama (left) and Center for Healthy Minds founder Richard Davidson (on monitor). Center for Healthy Minds

In this moment of stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and civil unrest, and environmental disasters, many are calling for a reimagining of personal and public life that is more just, health-promoting and sustainable.

At the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds, researchers continue to pursue the science of well-being, sharing knowledge and guidance to help people manage their stress and emotional health during times of hardship.

That’s why the center, along with its external, affiliated nonprofit Healthy Minds Innovations, is offering a weeklong series of free virtual events to share the latest

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Explore over 100 virtual events at the 10th annual Wisconsin Science Festival

From the novel coronavirus to food sciences, the 2020 Wisconsin Science Festival, held Oct. 15-18, will feature more than 100 virtual events — with a few opportunities to get out (safely) with others.

Activities will include hands-on science experiments, live Q&A with scientists, demonstrations, performances, podcasts, behind-the-scenes tours and more — along with some up-to-the-minute information about what researchers in Wisconsin are learning about COVID-19.

Most venues across the state are offering online or at-home events. Teachers and school districts are encouraged to preregister to participate in virtual field trip live sessions with scientists covering a wide variety of topics, including learning how geologists excavate a dinosaur bone, how microscopists detect cancer cells, how material scientists can help you create a simple device at home to make electricity, what it’s like to actually be a scientist, and more.

“Making science accessible and understandable is critically important, especially now, given the

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Where to next in the outer solar system? Scientists have big ideas to explore icy moons and more.

If you had a few billion dollars and some of the most talented space scientists and engineers in the world, where would you go?

There’s no wrong answer, really. Even if you narrow it down to just the outer solar system — planets, moons, rings and other cosmic rubble — you’ll never get bored. But that abundance of solar system destinations has downsides, of course, since there’s little chance of ever flying all the missions scientists can dream of. But dreaming up those missions anyway is a vital piece of space exploration, and one that scientists do regularly.

During a recent virtual meeting of the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), a science advisory group focused on everything past the asteroid belt, scientists walked the audience through three different mission concept studies that were commissioned to inform the Planetary Science Decadal Survey, which will guide NASA programs between 2023 and

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