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Rover test: What's it like to ride a rocket to Mars?

Rover test: What's it like to ride a rocket to Mars?

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device So, if you spend a billion euros on a space mission, you better be sure it can survive the rocket ride off Earth. This video shows a model of Europe's upcoming Mars rover being shaken to simulate the violent first few minutes of flight on leaving the launch pad. ExoMars, as it is known, is a joint project with Russia to put a mobile laboratory on the surface of the Red Planet in 2021. The hi-tech rover will look for signs of past or present life. Europe's Mars rover takes shape Curiosity sees Mars methane swing The vehicle pictured being put through a shake test at Airbus in Toulouse, France, is what is called a Structural Thermal Model, or STM. It is a near-exact copy of the rover that will eventu...
Exclusive ride on first self-driving motorbike

Exclusive ride on first self-driving motorbike

Technology
Sky News has been given an exclusive ride on the first self-driving motorbike. The BMW C1 can steer, control its speed and keep itself upright without any human intervention.It is the first step towards a fully autonomous machine that could whisk passengers through city traffic far more safely.Engineer Torquil Ross-Martin has set up a company, AutoRd Limited, to develop the bike.He said the on-board computer reacts far more quickly than a brain to dangerous situations, such as a gust of wind or an obstruction."A computer can do a better job than a human can because it is always concentrating."When commuting you are not necessarily completely focussed on what you are doing."You are thinking about what you are going to do when you get to the office or whether you are running ...
Mars Opportunity: Rover 'should ride out storm'

Mars Opportunity: Rover 'should ride out storm'

Science
The American space agency says it is concerned but hopeful that its veteran robot rover on Mars can survive a big dust storm on the planet. The 15-year-old vehicle, known as Opportunity, has gone into an emergency mode because there is not enough sunlight reaching its solar panels to power onboard systems. All contact was lost at the weekend.The only function likely running off the batteries currently is a clock.The expectation is that the robot is using this timepiece to wake itself periodically to check whether skies have cleared."It is concerning; this team has a very strong bond with the rover," said John Callas, the Opportunity project manager at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory."We anthropomorphise this rover; we have a tig...
Tiny invertebrates ride high winds across the desert, study shows

Tiny invertebrates ride high winds across the desert, study shows

Science
March 13 (UPI) -- New research shows waterborne microinvertebrates can be dispersed across large deserts by high winds.Because these organisms form the base of food chains among arid habitats, the impact of climate change on their dispersal patterns could influence delicate ecosystems."These novel findings might have large implications for freshwater systems," Elizabeth J. Walsh, an ecologist at the University of Texas at El Paso, said in a news release.During a previous study of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico and West Texas, Walsh and her colleagues were surprised to find colonies of related microinvertebrates linking water basins separated by several hundred miles. Their discovery inspired them to find out how the tiny organisms disperse across such large regions."If they weren't being ...
Are ride tracking apps helping bike thieves?

Are ride tracking apps helping bike thieves?

Technology
Police and cybersecurity firms are warning cyclists to be careful with the data they share on ride-tracking apps because they could be helping bike thieves.Peter Murtagh, from Dublin, is a keen triathlete - but recently had his top of the range racing and road bikes stolen in a daring, daylight raid on his house."I came downstairs and noticed one of my bikes, it was gone. That was in the front of the house," Mr Murtagh told Sky News."Little did I know, the thieves were still in the house, they'd got in with a crowbar, they broke three windows and they stole my second bike too."Mr Murtagh cannot prove it, but thinks he might know why the thieves knew exactly where to look.He had been using an app that logs cycling data, called Strava, to track his cycling speeds and compete against other us...