The Space Tech of Planetary Defense

Rendered graphic of the DART spacecraft in space

On September 26, 2022, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission successfully collided with the asteroid “Dimorphos”. While this relatively small asteroid does not pose a threat to Earth, it provided the perfect target to test NASA’s ability to steer a spacecraft to contact an asteroid in order to divert it. While DART is the first mission of its kind when it comes to testing full scale planetary defense, it is only a part of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which was established in 2016.

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Electronic Color Coding

Cut the red wire!” This is a familiar line to any fan of high-stakes action movies like Lethal Weapon. In the movies, characters hoping to diffuse a bomb before it’s too late are faced with a dilemma- what color wire do they cut? While the answer to that question may depend on the film- the difference in color coded wires has real life consequences. How does a color coded system improve electrical safety? Are all color coding systems still used today? Most importantly- what do all of these different colors mean?

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Checking in With LabVIEW in 2022

Closeup of two people using a laptop and pointing to the screen

Back in June, we published a blog post navigating the initial project outlines for LabVIEW in 2022. Recently, NI released their Q3 Roadmap for the platform, outlining their plan for upcoming releases. September also marks the 9th month since LabVIEW switched over to an all subscription model in January of 2022. In this post, we will see what has changed for the LabVIEW roadmap since our June post, and we will dive into the different options for LabVIEW subscriptions.

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Are AI Images Real Art?

4 AI generated images showing water at night with glowing green and blue

In August 2022, Jason M. Allen won first place at the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition. The category for his submission was “digital arts/digitally manipulated photography”. Normally this award wouldn’t make national news headlines, but the prize-winning image was controversial in its creation. Allen used the AI image generator Midjourney as the base to create his piece, leading to a divisive debate: are AI images truly art, owned by the artist? Are these AI generators another artistic tool, or are they just the product of randomized computer code?

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The Flexible Functionality of Op-Amps

Picture of 8 black op-amps on a wooden surface

Before the modern digital technology we use in computers today, electronic computations were conducted by utilizing both voltages and currents as representations of numerical values. This process needed circuitry capable of carrying out a wide range of analog signal processing tasks, which led to the use of operational amplifiers (often referred to as op-amps). The engineering concept of negative feedback, which forms the basis of practically all automatic control procedures, holds the key to the utility of these tiny circuits.

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