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Analysis through testing the variation in 3-Dimensionality of the Bombyx mori‘s spinning environment from 2D to increasingly 3D.
Building robots to land on Saturn’s moons
Landing an unmanned robot on another planet can be quite a feat and can end up being quite a complex process. Scientists want to make this process easier but also allow us to explore worlds that are currently too difficult to land on.
UC Berkeley professor Alice Agogino is working with doctoral students to build what are known as tensegrity robots. Essentially, these are robots built with a series of rods and tension wires that protect the delicate scientific instruments in the middle.
The structure allows for both flexibility and strength while navigating a rugged environment — for example, landing on a planet’s rocky surface. These robots can explore places that are currently inaccessible to wheeled rovers such as rocky cliffs, which are rich in geological data due to the exposed rock.
Currently, NASA researchers are working on a prototype to one day land on places such as Titan - one of Saturn’s moons. Scientists are interested in this moon because it has a thick atmosphere with flowing liquids on the surface and is often referred to being the most earthlike world in our solar system.
NPR’s Skunk Bear Tumblr has a great new video on the schlieren visualization technique. The schlieren optical set-up is relatively simple but very powerful, as shown in the video. The technique is sensitive to variations in the refractive index of air; this bends light passing through the test area so that changes in fluid density appear as light and dark regions in the final image. Since air’s density changes with temperature and with compressibility, the technique gets used extensively to visualize buoyancy-driven flows and supersonic flows. Since sound waves are compression waves which change the air’s density as they travel, schlieren can capture them, too. (Video credit: A. Cole/NPR’s Skunk Bear)