The Occupy Mars Learning Adventure

Training Jr. Astronauts, Scientists & Engineers


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Help the Barboza Space Center: Hyperloop

 

The Barboza Space Center is looking to work with students in grades 5 through 12 on prototyping our own Hyperloop.  SpaceX Needs Our help with batteries and Hyperloops.  Looking for kids that can think outside the box and have great imaginations.  You must have your parent, guardian or teacher permission to communicate with us.  Have your parents or teachers contact us at Suprschool@aol

SpaceX’s hyperloop student contest brings out many big benefactors

Elon Musk is bringing together more than 1,000 college and high school students this weekend to showcase passenger-compartment designs for a hyperloop high-speed transit system.

Two Los Angeles start-ups are already developing hyperloops, starting with test track construction in the Central Valley and North Las Vegas later this year. Driven by a possible mix of electricity, magnetism and air pressure, levitating hyperloop pods would zip fast enough through above-ground tubes to reach San Francisco from Los Angeles in 30 minutes.

But Musk, who popularized the concept three years ago, wants more people involved.

Last summer, the billionaire’s rocket company Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched a student competition to design and build those pods. It includes design reviews Friday and Saturday at Texas A&M University and culminates with small-scale tests this summer near SpaceX in Hawthorne.

The SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition has more than 120 university teams and three high schools vying for runs inside the nearly mile-long, 6-foot-diameter steel-and-concrete tube that’s being planned.

Students said they recognized their projects might not be polished, but hope their ideas could still speed up the launch of a commercial hyperloop.

“No doubt there might be errors in everybody’s design, but it’s a start,” Cal Poly sophomore Wayne Page said. “Even if we don’t get any benefits, but the companies do, it’s still something gained by society as a whole. That’s probably the most exciting thing.”

More than that, the competition has led hundreds of companies, organizations and, of course, parents to contribute what could easily reach millions of dollars to hyperloop research. SpaceX hasn’t tracked teams’ expenses.

Building demo pods, as many teams hope to do, may cost as much as $100,000. Part of this weekend’s exercise is about soliciting cash from donors. Expected sponsors include engineering giant Aecom, law firm Cooley and TV network Nickelodeon. Musk is not expected to appear.

Hyperloop proposals call for the pod to be suspended in air to reduce friction and increase speed, but groups are split over whether to achieve that by using a stream of air underneath or pulsating the pod between magnets. The Cal Poly team went with the significantly more affordable though less tested option: air bearings.

Page has spent 100 hours over the last four weeks with 14 others to work out kinks. They’ve tapped Internet crowdfunding, family, school grants and their own bank accounts to fund the Texas trip. They’re bargain-hunting at every turn, flying ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines to get there.

It’s a similar story at UC Irvine, where 25 students working 40 to 50 hours a week on the hyperloop project have received $10,000 plus lab and office space from the university, free training from software companies such as Ansys and guidance from employees at corporations including Microsoft.

The key technologies Musk proposed for the hyperloop, including solar power and air compression, haven’t been mixed in such a complex machine before, forcing entrants to think creatively.

“In other senior design projects and annual competitions, you can look at last year and say, ‘What can we do better?’” UC Irvine senior Anthony Cirillo said. “We didn’t have that here. You can’t just go on the Internet and find the answers.”

A triple-redundant computer system and a redundant braking system are some of the reasons Irvine’s design should stand out, Cirillo said. He added that the team won’t disband until it produces a working model.

“If that means we have to kick up the sponsorship, then we can do that,” he said.

At El Segundo High School, five seniors are generating graduate-level work by designing custom intake valves and tubing to corral air slamming the pod’s nose, said teacher Steven Eno.

The school, parents and neighbors, including employees at a nearby Air Force base, have offered support to the tune of $14,000 and countless hours.

The high-schoolers said they’re nervous about presenting this weekend to judges from Musk’s companies and academia, but they’re eager to see how they fare compared with universities they’re hoping to attend. At the least, they’ve learned team coordination lessons that will long be valuable, said leader Gavin Glynn.

“We are trying to be inspiration for other people in engineering classes or engineers in general to do something big and try something they might not have tried: ‘There’s a high school team doing that, imagine what we could do as well,’” he said.


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NASA Counting on humanoid robots in deep space exploration

High school students at the Barboza Space Center are working with humanoid and other robots in the hopes of one day getting an opportunity to work for NASA and other companies in the aerospace industry.  Our student are learning how to design prototypes. We are part of an XQ team that is working on designing the American high school.  You can follow our work at http://www.KidsTalkRadioLA.com and http://www.BarbozaSpaceCenter.com.   We would like to share this article by Robo Daily……
ROBO SPACE

NASA counting on humanoid robots in deep space exploration
by Tomasz Nowakowski for AstroWatch
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 25, 2016


NASA’s R5 robot. Image courtesy NASA.

As humanity moves forward with space exploration, we should prepare for risky and extremely hazardous endeavors such as manned missions to Mars and asteroids. Having fully operational robotic help ready to assist in every dangerous task would be of the utmost importance during long-lasting journeys beyond Earth. NASA is seriously considering this subject matter, ushering new humanoid robots, expected to be space pioneers that could offer astronauts a helping hand in future expeditions.

“NASA is counting on robots to setup and care for deep space exploration facilities and equipment pre-deployed ahead of astronauts. Robots are also excellent precursors for conducting science missions ahead of human exploration,” Sasha Congiu Ellis of NASA’s Langley Research Center, told Astrowatch.net.

That’s why the agency is developing a six-feet tall humanoid robot called R5, previously known as Valkyrie. The machine weighs about 290 lbs., and what’s interesting, it was initially designed to complete disaster-relief maneuvers. In November 2015, NASA awarded two R5 robots to university groups competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge (DRC).

One robot is tested by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts under its Robust Autonomy for Extreme Space Environments program. The second one is available for the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for its Accessible Testing on Humanoid-Robot-R5 and Evaluation of NASA Administered (ATHENA) Space Robotics Challenge. According to NASA, the teams have two years to perform research and software development in order to improve the robot’s autonomy.

They will be also receiving $250,000 a year for two years and have access to onsite and virtual technical support from the agency. Moreover, the robots will compete in a Space Robotics Challenge through NASA’s Centennial Challenge Program.

“This will be our first hands-on experience with this hardware. We will leverage our lessons learned from the DARPA Robotics Challenge to perform tasks relevant to future space missions with Valkyrie autonomously,” Taskin Padir, the principal investigator of ATHENA at the Northeastern University, told SpaceFlight Insider.

Padir’s team will make contributions in three main areas, constrained motion planning and control, grasping of unknown objects, and human-robot interaction. Their testing strategy will rely on completing these task by progressing from teleoperation to full autonomy.

ATHENA program will include collecting or recovering desired samples or items, such as Mars soil and rocks as well as exiting a habitat airlock hatch and using a ladder to reach the terrestrial surface.

Next test will check if the robot is capable of removing a communications or power cable from a soft-goods storage location and attach it to a connector located at least 33 feet away, while traversing an irregular rocky terrain, like the surface of Mars. The task list concludes with repairing or replacing damaged components on complex equipment, such as a broken valve or a damaged tire on a planetary rover.

Ellis admitted that all these tests are Mars-oriented as the Red Planet is perceived as the next giant leap for humanity in space exploration.

“The universities selected as hosts for NASA robots will be asked to validate tasks like those needed on a Mars mission, pre deploying and setting up equipment ahead of human members of the crew,” she said. Creating more dexterous autonomous robots, designed to operate in extreme space environments could be crucial for expeditions to Mars and beyond. Humanoid machines could easily undertake activities dangerous for future astronauts.

“Extreme space environments are dangerous for humans. And, robots are ideal for dangerous tasks. NASA already has rovers on Mars. This is an effort to advance autonomy of humanoid robots. We will have a better understanding of when and how humanoid robots will help with future deep space exploration missions as we continue our research and development in this field,” Padir said.

In developing R5, NASA can rely on experience coming from its Robonaut project. The latest version of this humanoid robot, Robonaut 2, flew to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011.

It was built as a prototype to work on Earth but was sent to ISS and is completing regular and repetitive tasks inside the orbital laboratory, like pressing buttons, flipping, switches and turning knobs. It also worked with two tools: the air flow meter and an RFID inventory scanner. In 2014, the robot received a pair of climbing legs to help it move around the station. It is successfully paving way for future more complex humanoid robots like R5.

“NASA has the first of this new class of care taking robot onboard the ISS today. Called Robonaut 2, this system is being used to develop and test new approaches for robots to perform maintenance and repair tasks,” Ellis noted.

The R5 project is a part of NASA’s Game Changing Development Program. Langley Research Center manages this program for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.