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Engineering Newswire: Zero Gravity Whiskey Glass

This Engineering Newswire looks at assembling the Mars bound crew module, killing invasive starfish with robots and drinking whiskey in zero gravity.

This Engineering Newswire looks at assembling the Mars bound crew module, killing invasive starfish with robots and drinking whiskey in zero gravity.

Engineers Assemble Mars Bound Crew Module

On Saturday, engineers at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans welded together the first two segments of the Orion crew module that will fly atop NASA’s Space Launch System rocket destined for the red planet.

Seven large aluminum pieces makeup the modules primary structure. As you can see on this diagram, the first weld connects the tunnel to the forward bulkhead, which houses many critical systems, such as the parachutes for reentry — an important one. Orion’s tunnel has a docking hatch and will allow crews to move between the module and other spacecraft.

Zero Gravity Whiskey Glass

Scottish distiller Ballantine’s has commissioned an Open Space Agency to create a zero gravity whiskey glass. For a year, the team studied how whiskey behaves in zero gravity. The team then tested prototypes glasses using the ZARM Drop Tower in Bremen, Germany to simulate weightlessness.

The final product is actually made from 3D printed plastic, and is simply called Space Glass. It has a rose-gold plated spiral convex base plate, which creates surface tension to hold the whisky down in a reservoir at the bottom of the glass. Included in the base is a 10 kg pull magnet that anchors it to a metallic microgravity bar.

Robot Seeks Out, Kills Starfish

The crown-of-thorns starfish is one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef. They eat coral. So, to help combat the deadly starfish, researchers have developed a new robotic system called the COTsbot.

The COTSbot is a proof-of-concept robotic system that combines ongoing research into image-based crown-of-thorns starfish detection, robotic vision, manipulator control, and shallow water Autonomous Underwater vehicle design. The system also uses machine learning to achieve a detection performance of more than 99 percent.

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