NYU researchers used a neural network to generate synthetic fingerprints that work as a “master key” for biometric identification systems. The system is called “DeepMasterPrints,” and the team was able to imitate more than one in five fingerprints in a biometric system by taking advantage of two properties of fingerprint-based authentication systems: the first being that most fingerprint readers image whichever part of the finger touches the scanner, and second, some features of fingerprints are more common than others. Read more for pictures of the AI-generated fingerprints and additional information.
NASA recently tested their all-new Ignition Overpressure Protection and Sound Suppression Water Deluge System at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B for its new Space Launch System (SLS). This test created a giant 2-million liter (450,000 gallon) water fountain in just over a minute. “When the mobile launcher is sitting on its pad surface mount mechanisms, the rest of the Ignition Over-Pressure/Sound Suppression System is connected to the pad supply headers and the water will flow through supply piping and exit through the nozzles…[as the water subsides], it flows into the flame trench and onto the east pad surface before finding its way to the east and west holding ponds through channels, called water flumes, or off the pad surface through the water drains and trenches,” said Nick Moss, NASA’s pad deputy project manager. Read more for another video on the SLS and additional information.
NASA held a multi-year challenege to design a 3D-printable Mars habitat using on-planet materials, and a handful of teams have taken home their share of a $100,000 prize, with first place going to Team Zopherus (bottom in image above). Since the five winners have already been chosen, they’re all set to build scale models next year of their digital representations. “We are thrilled to see the success of this diverse group of teams that have approached this competition in their own unique styles. They are not just designing structures, they are designing habitats that will allow our space explorers to live and work on other planets. We are excited to see their designs come to life as the competition moves forward,” said Monsi Roman, program manager for NASA’s Centennial Challenges. Read more for another video and additional information.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft managed to capture this incredible up-close photo of Jupiter’s swirling clouds in the planet’s North-North Temperate Belt (NNTB), one of the distinct cloud bands. Because of its rapid rotation, it’s shaped like an oblate spheroid (it has a slight but noticeable bulge around the equator), while the outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, resulting in turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries. Read more for another picture, video and additional information.
Astronomers from Harvard University have suggested that the mysterious cigar-shaped object, nicknamed ‘Oumuamua, meaning “a messenger that reaches out from the distant past” in Hawaiian, spotted tumbling through our solar system last year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth. “Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization,” they wrote in the paper, which has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Continue reading for another video and more information.
It’s official, NASA astronauts have taken the controls of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that will be used to transport them to the International Space station for the first time. Yes, they’ll be wearing all new “Stromtrooper” space suits as well, as they blast off late next year following a series of delays. “Commercial crew astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are getting familiar with operating inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, fully suited!,” NASA tweeted. Continue reading for another video and more information.
FloodBreak’s automatic flood barrier looks normal, or invisible, at first, but it actually helps protect infrastructures from floods and hurricanes. It works perfectly for flash floods and in areas that are unprepared for natural disasters. Thanks to the hydrostatic pressure of the flood water, the gate does not need to be controlled or operated by people. Continue reading for two more videos and additional information.
We have seen the future of tiny robots, and they include RoboFly, a laser-powered, toothpick-sized bot that specializes in disaster recovery, or going where humans can’t. University of Washington engineers have managed to complete un-tethered flights with RoboFly, meaning no wires at all. “Before now, the concept of wireless insect-sized flying robots was science fiction. Would we ever be able to make them work without needing a wire?,” said co-author Sawyer Fuller, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering. However, full autonomy is still around 5-years away. Continue reading for another video and more information.
A newly released video today has further confirmed that there’s actually a supermassive black hole, named Sagittarius A* by scientists, at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. In this 1.5-minute clip, you get a wide view of the night sky into the area where the latest telescopic observations were just made. The research team observed three bright flares orbiting around Sagittarius A*, which completed 150-million-mile circuits in 45-minutes, or approximately 30% the speed of light. continue reading for another video and more information.
NASA already has plenty of vehicles on around Mars, and soon, it will have the InSight rover. This lander is set touch down on the Red Planet on November 26, and is designed to listen to the rumblings going on inside the planet, and transmit data that will help scientists understand what’s going on deep under the Martian soil. “InSight will teach us about the interior of planets like our own. The mission team hopes that by studying the deep interior of Mars, we can learn how other rocky worlds, including Earth and the Moon, formed,” said NASA. Continue reading for another video and more information.