NASA Builds SpiderLike Lander Launches Strange Science to ISS

first_imgStay on target NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendScientists Discover Possible Interstellar Visitor Following a (so far) fruitless search for life on Mars, NASA is turning its attention to the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.But getting landers to these gas giants—which orbit as far as 380 million miles beyond the Red Planet—is much easier said than done.Design and engineering challenges, however, have never stopped the U.S. space agency before. And, thanks to software corporation Autodesk, they won’t now.NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) tapped into Autodesk’s generative design technology to build its concept interplanetary lander, unveiled this week in Las Vegas.Project team members carefully assemble the components of the lander (via Autodesk/JPL)“They were clear that they weren’t interested in incremental gains,” Mark Davis, senior director of industry research at Autodesk, said of the NASA lab.It’s understandable why scientists are careful when considering new processes.“If they were only able to improve performance by 10 percent, they basically weren’t interested,” he continued. “If we could deliver software tools to help them achieve a performance improvement of 30 percent or more, then we had their attention.”There is no word on when the insect-esque spacecraft will be ready for interstellar exploration.The fully-assembled lander measures approximately 8 feet across and 3 feet tall (via Autodesk/JPL)NASA, meanwhile, is preparing to send a hodgepodge of science into space this week.An International Space Station resupply flight will carry several tons of crew supplies, as well as experiments ranging from 3D printing and recycling to stimulating the creation of celestial bodies from stardust.Sounds exciting.Also on board the Northrop Grumman Cygnus 10 (CRS-10) flight are projects to measure the effect of sensory input in microgravity, study the process of cement solidification, and grow crystals to fight Parkinson’s disease.These will join the hundreds of ongoing investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory.More cosmic coverage on Geek.com:Go Behind the Scenes of Apollo 11 With New Audio RecordingsStartup Rocket Lab Delivers Seven Payloads to OrbitRIP Kepler: NASA Retires Planet-Hunting Space Telescopelast_img

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