Sunday, November 20, 2011

Space and Earth's Environment: Night Rover Storing Solar Power, Ocean Robot Challenge, CleanTech Open, Google Earth Models

The Cleantech Open Global Forum included NASA's Night Rover Challenge.  Astronaut Ed Lu was on the schedule after Sam Ortega of NASA's Centennial Challenges.  From the post-NASA part of Ed's bio:

He later ran Advanced Projects at Google, where his teams developed imaging systems for Street View, Google Earth/Maps, and energy projects including Google PowerMeter. He is now Chief of Innovative Applications for Liquid Robotics, which makes autonomous wave/solar powered ocean-going robots.

Liquid Robotics technology includes the Wave Glider, an ocean-faring robot that uses solar panels to power sensors and wave motion for propulsion.  They just launched 4 Wave Gliders on an ocean tour that is intended to break the unmanned ocean distance record while gathering scientific data using several sensors and satellite communications.  They are working with Virgin Oceanic and Ocean in Google Earth.  The PacX Challenge Prize is a competition for scientists to suggest the best science use for the data gathered during the tour.  The winner gets access to data, input on the tour route, and input on the sensors deployed.  Ed's quote for the prize compares the ocean-exploring robots to robotic spacecraft.

Follow robotic wave gliders on a record setting Pacific crossing in Google Earth - Google Lat/Long Blog
Tracking wave-powered robotic gliders across the Pacific - Google Earth Blog

Speaking of Google Earth ...

The 2012 Model Your Town competition is up and running - Google Earth Blog - Competitors can use Google SketchUp or Google Building Maker to create geolocated models of their town to win $25,000 for their local schools.