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Curiosity Power Source Batteries for the Mars Rover

clock August 8, 2012 01:49 by author Ty

The Mars Curiosity Rover is powered by plutonium, which is a nuclear power source to charge its batteries and fuel its onboard systems throughout its planned two-year mission on Mars. The battery packs are made up of two separate battery systems, charged by the nuclear power source. These battery packs are 2 Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries to meet peak demands of rover activities when the demand temporarily exceeds the generator's steady electrical output levels. The Power Source unit produces enough electricity to power all Mars rover activities.

If you look at the tail section of the Curiosity Mars rover, you will notice a cylindrical unit sticking up at a 45 degree angle. This unit is the Power Source that runs everything on Curiosity. Below are detailed technical specifications off of the JPL NASA Web site.

Curiosity Mars Rover Power Source


Curiosity Technical Specifications – Mars Rover Power Source:

  • Main Function: Provide power to the rover.
  • Location: Aft side of the rover.
  • Size: 25 inches (64 centimeters) in diameter by 26 inches (66 centimeters) long.
  • Weight: about 99 pounds (45 kilograms).
  • Power Source: Uses 10.6 pounds (4.8 kilograms) of plutonium dioxide as the source of the steady supply of heat.
  • Electrical power produced: slightly over 100 watts. 
  • Batteries: 2 lithium ion rechargeable batteries to meet peak demands of rover activities when the demand temporarily exceeds the generator's steady electrical output levels.
  • Reliability: NASA has used this power source reliably for decades, including the Apollo missions to the moon, the Viking missions to Mars, and the Pioneer, Voyager, Ulysses, Galileo, Cassini, and New Horizons missions. 
  • Safety: Built with several layers of protective material to contain its fuel in a wide range of potential launch accidents, verified through impact testing. Manufactured in a ceramic form, is not a significant health hazard unless broken into very fine pieces or vaporized and then inhaled or swallowed. In the unlikely event of a launch accident, those who might be exposed would receive an average does of 5 to 10 millirem. The average American receives 360 millirem of radiation each year from natural sources, such as radon and cosmic rays.

The Mars Rover Curiosity is projected to last two years off of its nuclear power source and battery pack combination. Curiosity’s power source could last as long as six to twelve years. This would keep the operation running longer, as seen in previous Mars rovers, such as Spirit and Opportunity. For more information on the Curiosity Mars rover, check out the following sources.


How does the Curiosity Rover Nuclear Battery work?

Mars Rover Lifespan

Curiosity Mars Rover



Toshiba Releases The Satellite U845W, Touts Extremely Wide Screen

clock August 7, 2012 23:09 by author Jeremy

A good rule of thumb is "the bigger the better". This hasn't necessarily applied to notebooks though, especially with the emergence of the Ultrabook category, where everything seems to be getting thinner and more sleek. Toshiba, however, seems to want to change things up: in a bold move, they've released the Satellite U845W Ultrabook, which has an extra-wide screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

Weighing in at 4 pounds, the 14.4" ultrabook sports a 1792x768 panel, making it excellent for viewing windows side-by-side. One would think that the screen size offers a distinct advantage when watching movies as well, but since most media isn't filmed in this aspect ratio, you'll usually just wind up with black blocks on the left and right sides of the screen. That isn't to say that the screen itself and the images it projects are bad: in fact, it's quite the contrary, and the ultrabook provides everything you'd expect.

As far as battery-life is concerned, the Satellite U845W lasted just a little over 5 hours when run through Engadget's tests. The tech site also confirms, "That's on par with other 14-inch Ultrabooks, such as the Series 5, which lasted five hours and nine minutes."

For a more in-depth look at this wide-screened behemoth, check out Engadget's full review.

Source: engadget

Samsung Press Event Touts New Product, Hints At Galaxy Note

clock August 4, 2012 00:00 by author Jeremy

Samsung sent out an email invitation today for an event being held on August 15th in New York. While the invitation doesn't specifically say what will be unveiled, the picture accompanying it gives out a fairly obvious clue. Many have implied that a new Galaxy Note is on the way, due to the rectangular shape and the pen/stylus strokes.

Whatever the product may be, we'll find out within 2 weeks.

Sources: wired

German Judges Rule Against Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

clock July 25, 2012 00:35 by author Jeremy

After a long and arduous battle, we're finally seeing a (hopefully final) result in the case between Apple vs. Samsung. The Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court has reasoned that all 27 European member states should exclude the Galaxy Tab 7.7 from sales due to its infringement on Apple patents dating back to 2004. Previously, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 was only banned from Germany.

Apple had also tried to get Samsung's re-designed Galaxy Tab 10.1N to meet the same fate, but that request was rejected. Samsung had to modify the original Galaxy Tab 10.1, else it, too, would not be seen any longer on European shelves.

However, this doesn't stop Samsung from tinkering around with the Galaxy Tab 7.7, and we could very well see a 7.7N version pop up in the next few months. Perhaps then European customers won't feel so left out.

Sources: cnet, pcworld

"Father of Wearable Computing" Assaulted for Using Augmented Reality Glasses

clock July 18, 2012 20:25 by author Jeremy

Thus far, only excitement has followed the recent wave of augmented reality headsets (Google Glasses, Olympus' Meg 4.0). But no one has stopped to consider the possible negative repercussions that may come with these fancy pieces of eyewear. Steve Mann, however, got to experience those repercussions firsthand.

Said to be the "father of augmented reality" and "father of wearable computing," Mann has been researching and creating various headsets for decades. His gear doesn't record like the Google Glasses do, though; instead, his recent wearables (the EyeTap) actually help people with sight-related issues. This didn't stop him from being attacked by what Mann claims were McDonald's employees in Paris, France.

McDonald's has refuted this, claiming that their employees were only helpful. Mann also has some proof in the form on pictures taken by his EyeTap. Ironically, since the device only helps with sight, it doesn't normally take pictures; but due to attempts by the perpetrators to forcefully remove the device from Mann's head, the EyeTap malfunctioned and started taking pictures of those in sight. This was also after the perpetrators had ripped up various doctors' notes describing Mann's need for the headgear.

This may be seen as the first major incident involving augmented reality glasses since the new wave of interest has appeared. The big question on everyone's minds now though, is: What will happen when Google and other companies try to make these glasses mainstream? Will passerbys react violently, claiming rights for privacy?

Sources: sott.net, slashgear, dailymail.co.uk

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