NASA Fits Orbiter Camera With AI to Track Changes on Mars

Plus, drones that can plant thousands of trees in a day, mobile Microsoft data centers designed to set up in remote or hazardous locations, and a five-story building in Shanghai that “walked” itself down the street.

Satellite floating in space over the earth


Scientists are applying AI to space exploration to track changes in celestial bodies over time. Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory fed an algorithm 6,830 images taken by the Context Camera that’s part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to train it on what to look for, then gave it 112,000 images to analyze, revealing new craters on the Red Planet they think were made between March 2010 and May 2012.
Source: Venture Beat


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says 1 billion hectares of new trees need to be planted to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (about 35 degrees Fahrenheit), and Canadian startup Flash Forest is using drones to take on the charge. First, the company sends mapping drones in to scout an area for prime planting spots, then other devices fly in to precisely drop seeds for native trees. The company planned to plant 40,000 trees in an area affected by wildfire north of Toronto this past October, and anticipates that as the tech advances it will be able to plant 100,000 trees in a single day, compared to an estimated 1,500 a day that a human can plant by hand.
Source: Fast Company

Going Mobile

A new offering from Microsoft is taking data centers where they’ve never been before: anywhere, really. Designed for cloud computing in remote or hazardous environments, such as for “humanitarian assistance, military mission needs [and] mineral exploration,” according to the tech giant, the Azure Modular Data Center is a self-contained, ruggedized unit. But how do these mobile data centers get connected when there’s nothing even close to fiber running to them? For that, Microsoft is partnering with SpaceX, to utilize its Starlink low-Earth orbit satellite broadband.
Source: Ars Technica

On the Move

In October, a five-story building in Shanghai “walked” itself to a new location with the help of 200 robotic legs. The 85-year-old primary school facility used its new appendages to rotate 21 degrees and move 200 feet down the street, a journey that took just over two weeks.
Source: Boing Boing

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.