Replica
Replica
Repliee Q1 (at left in both pictures) appeared in june 10 at the 2005 World Expo in Japan, where she gestured, blinked, spoke, and even appeared to breathe. Shown with co-creator Hiroshi Ishiguru of Osaka University, the android is partially covered in skinlike silicone. Q1 is powered by a nearby air compressor, and has 31 points of articulation in its upper body. Internal sensors allow the android to react “naturally.” It can block an attempted slap, for example. But it’s the little, “unconscious” movements that give the robot its eerie verisimilitude: the slight flutter of the eyelids, the subtle rising and falling of the chest, the constant, nearly imperceptible shifting so familiar to humans. Surrounded by machines that draw portraits, swat fast-moving balls, and snake through debris, Q1 is only one of the showstoppers at the expo’s Prototype Robot Exposition, which aims to showcase Japan’s growing role in the robotics industry. But given Q1’s reported glitch-related “spasms” at the expo, it may be a while before androids are escorting tour groups or looking after children—which may be just as well. “When a robot looks too much like the real thing, it’s creepy,” Hiroshi told the Associated Press.

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Alien Worlds
Alien Worlds

For centuries, human beings have pondered this question. Medieval scholars speculated that other worlds must exist and that some would harbor other forms of life. In our time, advances in science and technology have brought us to the threshold of finding an answer to this timeless question. The recent discovery of numerous planets around stars other than the Sun confirms that our solar system is not unique. Indeed, these “extrasolar planets” appear to be common in our galactic neighborhood. The extrasolar planets we have discovered thus far are giants, like Jupiter and Saturn. They are unlikely to support life as we know it. But some of these planetary systems might also contain smaller, terrestrial planets like Mars and Earth. Over the next 15 years, NASA is embarking on a bold series of missions to find and characterize new worlds. These will be the most sensitive instruments ever built, capable of reaching beyond the bounds of our own solar system. So, the Keck Interferometer will combine the light of the world’s largest optical telescopes, extending our vision to new distances. Using a technique known as interferometry, the Keck will study dust clouds around stars where planets may be forming. It may also provide the first direct images of giant planets outside our solar system. SIM PlanetQuest, scheduled to launch in 2011, will measure the distances and positions of stars with unprecedented accuracy. SIM’s precision will allow us to detect evidence of planets just slightly larger than Earth. Finally, the Terrestrial Planet Finder will build upon the legacy of all that have gone before it. With an imaging power 100 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope, Terrestrial Planet Finder will send back the first photographs of nearby planetary systems. We will analyze the atmospheres of these distant worlds, looking for carbon dioxide, water and ozone. The substantial presence of all three gasses would suggest that life is present.;-p:
Such a discovery would at last provide convincing evidence that we are not alone.
We will have found another Earth.

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