I think part of the problem is lack of public interest and NASA is dropping the ball in this area. One of my most unforgettable experiences was visiting an open house at the John son Space Center. It was geared to families and areas normally closed to the public where opened. My son got to shake hands with Rick Husbands and there were several shuttle astronauts available for autographs. We got to see moon rocks up close as well as go in a simulator. The event lasted all day and was a highlight for our entire family. It was filled with families and was an obvious success attendance-wise. Of course we went home with a model shuttle craft with a remote control and all the bells and whistles, serving to stimulate my then pre-schoolers imagination and love for all things space. Since then over the years, I have checked with NASA about there next open house only to find they had stopped doing them. We need to bring the excitement of space back to a generation that is so desensitized to its incredible beauty due to the nature of computer graphics that makes them feel like they have already seen everything. When you take a kid out into the country so that they feel like they can actually reach up and touch the stars, it changes their perspective. Introduce them to the real workings of space technology, it generates excitement. We need more public exposure to these sort of things!
Naperlou, I wonder if the sluggishness of development at NASA is because there is no outside impending deadline. The moonshot was driven by the desire to beat the Soviets to the moon -- that plus Kennedy's "end of the decade" challenge. What would force a deadline now? Nothing really.
Over the years I worked in space applications. Many of them were military, but several were NASA programs. The amount of technology developed for these programs was tremendous. On the other hand, they take way too long. I will give you an example. I worked on the ISS in the 1980s (it may not have had the I back then). I found that there were people on out team that had worked on it in the 1970s. What was eventually launched was not much different from what we could have launched in the 1980s. The point is that people tend to fall away from these programs becuase they take several times longer that they need to. I believe that this is part of the reason that programs do not get the public support they need.
Another issue is that NASA often limits the technology used to play it safe (and I am not talking about crew safety). This means that the technology launched is often obsolete before it goes up. NASA needs to change, but in addition, we need to provide funding in a more reliable way. That means we either have to say, we will spend this much, or that we will have goals that we are trying to reach, and fund those. I don't see either happening any time soon.
Iterative design — the cycle of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product — existed long before additive manufacturing, but it has never been as efficient and approachable as it is today with 3D printing.
People usually think of a time constant as the time it takes a first order system to change 63% of the way to the steady state value in response to a step change in the input -- it’s basically a measure of the responsiveness of the system. This is true, but in reality, time constants are often not constant. They can change just like system gains change as the environment or the geometry of the system changes.
At its core, sound is a relatively simple natural phenomenon caused by pressure pulsations or vibrations propagating through various mediums in the world around us. Studies have shown that the complete absence of sound can drive a person insane, causing them to experience hallucinations. Likewise, loud and overwhelming sound can have the same effect. This especially holds true in manufacturing and plant environments where loud noises are the norm.
The tech industry is no stranger to crowdsourcing funding for new projects, and the team at element14 are no strangers to crowdsourcing ideas for new projects through its design competitions. But what about crowdsourcing new components?
It has been common wisdom of late that anything you needed to manufacture could be made more cost-effectively on foreign shores. Following World War II, the label “Made in Japan” was as ubiquitous as is the “Made in China” version today and often had very similar -- not always positive -- connotations. Along the way, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Pacific-rim nations have each had their turn at being the preferred low-cost alternative to manufacturing here in the US.
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