Latest in Science

Image credit:

"Flying laptop" spacecraft could "transform" in space, sort of


Impressive as they are, satellites and space probes aren't always the most versatile pieces of equipment once they're up in orbit. A new satellite developed by researchers from the University of Stuttgart's Institute of Space Systems looks set to shake things up in a pretty big way when it launches in 2012, however, even if it's not quite the "transforming" space probe that you might be imagining. Described as a "flying laptop," the satellite promises to pack a vast array of instruments and sensors, including cameras, multispectral imagers, star trackers, and GPS receivers, to name a few, all of which can apparently be completely reconfigured on the fly in space. That, the researchers say, could let the satellite switch from, say, an atmospheric pollution sensor to a near-Earth asteroid detector, an even open up some new commercial possibilities, with different groups able to rent out the satellite to perform various tasks.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr