If the stigma surrounding Google Glass (or, perhaps more specifically, “Glassholes”) has taught us anything, it’s that no matter how revolutionary technology may be, ultimately its success or failure ride on public perception. Many promising technological developments have died because they were ahead of their times. During a cultural moment when the alleged arrogance of some tech companies is creating a serious image problem, the risk of pushing new tech on a public that isn’t ready could have real bottom-line consequences.
These findings, of course, can’t be taken as a sign that these industries are outright doomed. After all, if someone had told people 50 years ago that we’d all have tiny glass-and-metal boxes in our pockets that could take pictures, pinpoint our exact location anywhere in the world, and hold the contents of thousands of books all at the same time, it would have seemed impossible, if not downright scary. But the findings show that tech companies still have a lot of work to do to educate a public hardly willing to put blind trust in tech giants. Innovation can be a powerful force for positive change, but it goes down easier when the people whose lives will be affected feel like they have a say.
“NASA will begin transmitting commands to its Mars exploration rover, Spirit, on Monday as part of an escape plan to free the venerable robot from its Martian sand trap.
Spirit has been lodged at a site scientists call ‘Troy’ since April 23. Researchers expect the extraction process to be long and the outcome uncertain based on tests here on Earth this spring that simulated conditions at the Martian site.”
“The Mini Research Module-2, known as “Poisk,” which means “explore” in Russian, will deliver 1,800 pounds of cargo to the station. Poisk is scheduled to automatically dock to the station’s Zvezda Service Module at 9:44 a.m.“The 8-ton module is scheduled to launch at 8:22 a.m. Nov. 10 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The combination docking port and airlock will ride atop a Soyuz booster rocket. The Soyuz launch will not be broadcast on NASA TV.“The module will be used as an additional docking port for Russian vehicles, as an airlock for Russian-based spacewalks and as a platform for external science experiments. Its first use will be as a docking port during the relocation of a Soyuz crew vehicle in January.”
“NS 999 is an entirely electric locomotive that uses a lead-acid energy storage system comprised of 1,080 12-volt batteries to operate in railroad switching applications without the use of a diesel engine and with zero exhaust emissions. The plug-in locomotive also can regenerate dynamic braking energy through a system provided by Brookville Equipment Company. The recovered dynamic braking energy continually replenishes the energy storage system, and uses this recovered energy for tractive effort in rail operations. The batteries are carefully monitored and controlled through an elaborate battery management system to assure safety and maximum battery life, and when fully charged NS 999 is able to operate three shifts before recharging is required.”
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“WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA has successfully demonstrated an alternate system for future astronauts to escape their launch vehicle. A simulated launch of the Max Launch Abort System, or MLAS, took place Wednesday morning at 6:26 a.m. at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.”
“After a four and a half day journey to the moon, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, will be captured by the moon’s gravity and prepare for the commissioning phase of its mission on June 23. NASA TV live coverage of LRO’s orbit insertion begins at 5:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday, with the actual engine burn to begin orbit insertion starting at 5:47 a.m.”
“DALLAS, March 25 /PRNewswire/ — A Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher successfully fired two Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) during a U.S. Army ‘common launcher’ feasibility demonstration at White Sands Missile Range, NM. U.S. Army and industry representatives conducted the ‘proof of concept‘ firing to examine the viability of firing an air defense missile from the currently-fielded HIMARS.
“The demonstration featured two modified AMRAAMs, which were rail-launched from a modified Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) enclosure assembly launch pod mounted on a HIMARS launcher. The test, in which all objectives were met, included the operational test missiles (configured from excess AMRAAM assets); integration of modified Surfaced Launched AMRAAM launch rails into an empty ATACMS pod; and the launch of the AMRAAMs using the HIMARS fire control system with modified software.
“The Army is evaluating HIMARS as a potential solution for a light ‘common launcher’ for future air defense, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System and ATACMS munitions. In addition to its capability to support multi-mission munitions, the HIMARS launcher offers tactical flexibility, high reliability and C-130 transportability.”
“TEWKSBURY, Mass., March 23, 2009 /PRNewswire/ — Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has been awarded a $27 million contract by The Boeing Company to support the Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program.
This six-month bridge effort for the follow-on GMD Core Completion Contract allows for the continued evolution, maturation, test, and verification of the Raytheon-built X-Band Radar aboard the Boeing-developed Sea-Based X-Band Radar vessel, the Upgraded Early Warning Radars at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., and at Fylingdales, England, and the Cobra Dane Upgrade Radar at Shemya, Alaska, in support of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).”
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“SUNNYVALE, Calif., March 21 /PRNewswire/ — The fourth and final pair of massive solar arrays, built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) at its Space Systems facility in Sunnyvale, have been installed on the International Space Station by the crew of the space shuttle Discovery. The two new arrays have been deployed and are generating electricity.”
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NASA hopeful repairs will permit Sunday launch