Unforeseen problems continue to bug the Phoenix Mars Lander, but engineers are hopeful obstacles can still be overcome. A robotic scoop finally deployed, capturing Martian polar soil, but the material clumped on a screen and only a few particles passed into analysis equipment.
The team operating the Lander developed a technique for sprinkling soil from a tilted scoop while it is being vibrated by a motorized rasp. Previously, the soil was just dumped. The rasp had been designed to scoop up a subsurface sample of ice, a mission that is still planned.
"This is good news," says Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, lead scientist for the robotic arm. According to Arvidson, Martian soil clumps because of extremely fine particles filling in gaps between coarser, sand-size particles, perhaps with a material that cements particles together. Another strategy: Future soil samples may be chopped and scraped with blades on the scoop.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
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