Computational creativity and the future of AI

Space Shuttle

CT-2 rolling out from the VAB (Photo: NASA)

Two veterans of the US space program have marked 50 years of service with in appropriately sedate style. In 1965, a pair of gigantic crawlers were built to move the Saturn V moon rockets to the launch pad. Half a century later, they are still in service and being upgraded to handle NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) and other launch vehicles. To celebrate, the 6 million lb (2.7 million kg) Crawler-Transporter 2 (CT-2) made a rollout for a visitor and media day at less than one mph.  Read More

The RS-25 engine took place at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi...

The Orion spacecraft may have had its maiden flight, but it's still waiting for the Space Launch System (SLS) booster that will send it beyond the Moon. That wait got a bit shorter on Friday as NASA test fired the RS-25 engine that will power the SLS. The first of eight hot tests, it took place at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  Read More

NASA has announced that Boeing and SpaceX would provide manned spacecraft to service the I...

The dawn of manned commercial spaceflight received a major boost as NASA announced in a news conference today that Boeing and SpaceX have been chosen to ferry US astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The US$6.8 billion contract was divided between the two companies to cover the cost of certification of the Boeing CST-100 and the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, one demonstration mission for each, plus six commercial missions to the station.  Read More

Astronauts Mike Massimino (left) and Michael Good (right) strap in for a night's sleep abo...

The recently-released results of a study carried out by researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the University of Colorado have revealed the extent of the sleep deprivation suffered by astronauts over the course of a long-term mission in Earth-orbit. This study and others like it are the result of an increasing effort undertaken by agencies around the world to study the physiological and psychological impacts of a permanent human presence in space.  Read More

The ESA Common Berthing Mechanism is intended to replace other devices, such as this Russi...

Docking is the paradox of spaceflight. On the one hand, it’s as boring to watch as an apple turning brown; on the other, it’s white-knuckle suspense when you realise that tons of paper-thin metal are one misstep away from destruction. What’s worse, the number of different docking port designs makes compatibility a major concern, so ESA is developing a universal docking mechanism that will allow any spacecraft to lock onto any other.  Read More

NASA’s Rodent Habitat module (Image: NASA/Dominic Hart)

Attention space rats and astromice, NASA is sending new, posher rodent habitats to the International Space Station (ISS). The high-tech cages will first will fly in August aboard an unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo ship and are part of an extensive study on the effects of weightlessness on prolonged space voyages.  Read More

The 1/26 scale model ISS built by Pat Acton using 282,000 matchsticks and 8 gallons (30 L)...

During the construction of the International Space Station (ISS), material selection was critical given the extreme environment of space. Chances are that one of those materials up for consideration was not matchsticks. But for Pat Acton of Iowa, the idea of designing and building a complete scale model of the ISS out of matchsticks seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea.  Read More

NASA's dependence on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft (pictured) to send astronauts to the ISS...

The Ukraine crisis reached into space yesterday as NASA confirmed that it is cutting ties with the Russian space program. With the exception of continued cooperation aimed at keeping the International Space Station (ISS) operating, the agency says that in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, it will no longer participate with its Russian counterparts on projects, bilateral visits or communications.  Read More

The tests aim at reducing the weight of the SLS by 20 percent (Image: NASA)

On December 9, NASA began what is either an impressive engineering test or a classic example of world-class larking about. At the space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, engineers are crushing an enormous can by subjecting it to almost one million pounds of force. This may seem like a party trick that’s gone out of control, but there’s a serious reason behind this … or so NASA says. The crushing is part of the project to design the fuel tanks for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), which will be used to launch the Orion spacecraft and deep space missions.  Read More

Space shuttle Enterprise after Hurricane Sandy passed – the inflated display pavilion has ...

Although there is as yet no official confirmation, it appears that the Space Shuttle Enterprise, recently moved to a permanent home in New York City, was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  Read More

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