Why Designing a Mars Rover Like Curiosity Just Got a Lot Easier By Tim Maly

MSL Rover NX CAD model

You’ve all seen the artist renditions. This is what Curiosity looks like to an engineer.

A few minutes into our interview last Thursday, I ask Tim Nichols, managing director of Global Aerospace, Defenses and Marine Industries at Siemens, if he was nervous about the Curiosity’s fate on Sunday. “Of course I am,” he says with a laugh, “We all know about missions to Mars — they’re complex.” None moreso than Curiosity’s elaborate landing sequence, designed to get the SUV-sized robot down safely.

He needn’t have worried. Late Sunday night, the rover successfully set down on the Martian landscape, overseen by a tense room of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers and watched by so many people here on Earth that all of NASA’s websites crashed. Like the rest of us, Nichols was glued to his screen. Unlike the rest of us, Nichols gets to say he had a hand in it. His company’s software designed Curiosity.

Curiosity is much larger than her unexpectedly long-lived predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity. This meant that she couldn’t just land bundled inside airbags like the smaller rovers.

Instead, the mission executed a complex series of maneuvers to eject the robot from its capsule and lower it to the ground, via a rocket-powered sky crane in a sequence of events that NASA called the Seven Minutes of Terror.

Curiosity was designed by the JPL at the California Institute of Technology. When it came time to coordinate the enormous team of designers and engineers that built Curiosity, the capsule, and the sky crane, JPL turned to Siemens. They needed to design the robot (relatively) cheaply and they needed to design it fast — the launch window for missions to Mars comes once every two years. If you miss the deadline, there’s a long wait ahead.
MSL Capsule with Rover NX CAE thermal model

If you squint, you can see Curiosity and the sky crane folded up together in the capsule.

Luckily, Siemens had developed software suited to this sort of project. They call it Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

One of the costliest parts of creating a new physical product is building and testing prototypes. With PLM’s robust suite of simulators and version tracking, you can avoid a lot of physical prototyping — saving both time and money, and speeding up the development process. In essence, PLM turns the physical engineering of a product into a process that looks more and more like designing code.

PLM runs on a laptop, connected to a central asset manager, called the Team Center. Engineers can check out parts of the project, work on their problems and assignments, and then check it back in to the main branch. This allows for a lot of concurrent design work. “In the past, engineering teams would be somewhat isolated by discipline,” says Nichols, “The overall leadership recognized that they needed to bring all the groups together.”

This is a far cry from past projects, which would be designed as a series of handoffs between teams. First the thermal profiles would be worked out, then the aerodynamics, on down the line. Propagating changes between teams could become a nightmare. PLM changed all of that, Nichols says, giving the team the ability to “compress the schedule and … do many more design iterations.”
MSL NX CAD Exploded view of seperation stages

With luck, this is the only exploded view of the Mars lander that we’ll ever see.

If this sounds a lot like software engineering, especially the open source variety, it’s because it is. There’s a version control system, the ability to check code in and out of the system, and a set of test suites that allow you check the performance of your part of the module in relation to the whole. By keeping the objects in software for as long as possible, you can treat them like software, with all of the speed and flexibility that this implies.

Nichols says their suite of tools has been used to design everything from golf clubs — “Golf clubs are pretty sophisticated, though they haven’t helped my game.” — to aircraft carriers. Looking ahead, he predicts an increasing incidence of distributed international teams of contributors working on a project.
“Global virtual collaboration and engineering is really the future,” he says. “We want to see more of that.”

But first, Curiosity had to make it to Mars. “We all have our fingers crossed,” he said on Thursday. You can uncross them now, Mr Nichols.

The Release of Large Menu Icons

Menu-Icons.com announces the release of Large Menu Icons, a royalty-free library of stock menu images for application developers and web designers. The new set includes 398 icons drawn in matching style, color and gamut. The Large Menu Icons collection sells for $49.00.

About Large Menu Icons

Large Menu Icons is the perfect choice for busy application and Web site developers. This collection of stock icons with matching properties such as style and colors, can be used in various projects and scripts, as well as on portals, blogs, forums, and web sites. Large Menu Icons will make an application, blog or applet look modern and consistent throughout. All icons in the Large Menu Icons collection are royalty-free. The entire collection is immediately available and comes with an online preview.

What’s Inside

The Large Menu Icons collection contains images representing all sides of the application work. Some of the icons in the set are: open, close, edit, validate, time, clock, error, OK, data, computer, archive, people, user, girl, man, admin, horse, car and more.

Large Menu Icons
Technically, the set includes icons in a number of formats, sizes, color resolutions, and image styles. Every icon from the library comes in sizes of 16×16, 24×24, 32×32, 48×48 and 64×64 pixels. Normal, disabled, and highlighted versions are included for every icon. 256-color and semi-transparent True Color icons are supplied. Large Menu Icons are delivered in Windows Icon (ICO), Bitmap (BMP), GIF and PNG formats for instant integration into any systems. The entire Large Menu Icons collection is available for only $49.00. Source images are also available in SVG and AI formats for an additional payment.

Menu-Icons.com also plans to release a number of new original icon sets including Lumina Menu Icons, Windows Menu Icons, New Menu Icons, Cool Menu Icons, Win8 menu Icons, Vista Menu Icons, Mac Menu Icons, Android Tab Icons, Linux Menu Icons, Nokia Menu Icons, iPhone Menu Icons, Mobile Menu Icons.

About the Company

Menu-Icons.com offers thousands of icons in the most difficult small resolutions. PDA and mobile developers and designers can enhance their software with smooth, perfectly rendered icons in the most convenient resolutions. Menu-Icons.com are available in all sizes common to desktop and mobile applications for mobile phones, communicators, and desktop applications. All icons offered by Menu Icons are royalty-free, ready-made and instantly available.

Microsoft discontinues use of Metro name

By: Matthew Humphries

If you’ve read any news coming out of Microsoft over the past year relating to Windows 8 or Windows Phone, you’ve heard the name “Metro” used quite heavily. Metro refers to the design language and overall style of the interface Microsoft is using for both its desktop/tablet and mobile operating systems.

As of today, Metro is no longer a word Microsoft will be using to describe anything to do with their product line-up. It has officially been killed off as a term Microsoft’s staff and marketing is allowed to use.

The specific reason for this sudden change remains unclear. It was first thought to be due to a trademark infringement Microsoft couldn’t settle with German company Metro AG. Microsoft has since sent around an internal memo stating Metro will no longer be used following “discussions with an important European partner.”

It’s unlikely we’ll hear any further explanation beyond that officially, but we can expect to hear a replacement term and phrases coming out of Microsoft before this week is over.

It’s definitely a blow to the Windows 8 marketing campaign as Metro as a term is instantly associated with the OS and interface. And it will be interesting to see how Microsoft decides to handle discussing the interface going forward. Will we simply get Windows 8 and Windows Phone interface terms from now on? Or will there be a totally new buzzword coming out of Redmond? For the moment expect to hear “Windows 8 style UI.”

Another question that needs to be asked: why did Microsoft decide to commercialize a name without first checking (and trademarking worldwide) it wouldn’t cause an issue big enough to see it killed 3 months before a major product launch?

Windows 8 has already gone RTM, and anyone with an MSDN or TechNet subscription will be getting the final ISO on August 15. Will that still happen? It depends on whether Microsoft has used the Metro name within the OS itself and how easily it can be patched out. There’s also a question mark over how much marketing material Microsoft will now have to dump, and whether any training materials need changing, too.

MechanicIcon.com offers icons for Windows 8

Windows 8 Style UI Icons

Windows 8 Style UI Icons

The set of Windows 8 Style UI Icons contains professionally designed application icons meeting all of the requirements of the WP7 and Windows 8 operating systems. The icons have the right size, the right color, their content areas are perfectly centered and they are all 100% ready to be used in your applications.

Download Windows 8 Style UI IconsPurchase Icons

Apple iPhone vs. Android: the Epic Battle

Androids vs. iPhones. The debate goes on and on. When the iPhone was first released, there was really no competition. Apple was playing in a class of its own. First Android phones were dismal: slow UI response, lags here and there, and the overall “do-it-yourself” approach just didn’t with consumers.

iphone icons

Today, the situation has changed. With the latest iPhone being a great device and a luxurious platform, the latest Androids leave little to be desired. Today’s Androids have no UI lags, feature most of the same apps in the Android Market / Google Play store, and went away with the do-it-yourself, LEGO type approach. Today, choosing one phone over another is more of a personal preference. Let’s try to find out what’s best about going the Apple route, and what advantages the Android way can bring.

Hardware and Model Selection

With Apple, you are always limited to just a few models. Or, rather, you’re limited to only one current model in several versions that, honestly, differ very little. There are a few older models available from the used market, but that’s about it. “You can have any color as long as it’s black”.

Android phones, on the other hand, come in all sorts of shapes, models and colors. Different manufacturers use entirely different hardware. Different screens, processors, memory. Very different reliability and usability. Buying an Android phone will require you to do a market research, whereas you can’t really go wrong with any iPhone you can afford. Are you a techno geek or a gadget guy? Look for an Android phone you like best. The rest will be served by Apple.


The latest generation of iPhones has a great Retina display. These super high pixel density displays will render your apps, icons and graphics so smooth it’s hard to believe. Kudos to Apple: they built one of the greatest screens ever.

Androids come with all sorts of displays. Some of the better ones can match iPhones in resolution, but software integration is still something to work on. Many apps still have low-resolution icons and graphics designed to be shown on lower-resolution screens. When selecting an Android phone, you will have to look carefully to get a model with a good screen. If you’re not good with numbers, icon resolutions, angles of view and technical specs, just get an iPhone for the best screen ever.

Built-in Software and Interface

An iPhone is an iPhone. They’re all the same. One operating system, same user interface, the same set of pre-installed apps, same icons. You can customize it by moving stuff around and choosing a few icons on your own, but there’s only so much you’re allowed to do.

Androids come in all sorts of flavor. Different firmware and dozens of OS versions, builds and revisions. Different sets of icons for same apps. Completely different shells and launchers. Fully customizable: you can turn an Android phone into pretty much whatever you want (and it’s not all about custom icons) – but you have to know what you’re doing. With such a huge variety, some models are simply better as in easier to use, more stable and working more reliable than others. If building your very own tailored environment is fun for you, by all means buy the Android. If you like it working out of the box, get an iPhone and start using it right away.


iPhones don’t have a slot to use an external memory card. You’ll be stuck forever with the amount of memory you originally bought. If you outgrow your iPhone, you’ll have to buy another iPhone, bringing more dough to Apple.

Most but not all Android devices come with a microSD slot, allowing you to put more memory when you need it. With flash memory getting cheaper every year, you will be wealthier in the long run if you buy an Android.

With iPhones, you can’t even swap a battery. If your battery goes bad in some years (they all do; lithium batteries die in 3-4 years), you’ll be sending your iPhone to Apple for a “major repair” (more dough to Apple), or be on the market for a new iPhone (even more dough to Apple).

While some Android phones use similarly user irreplaceable batteries, most devices are easy: just lift the cover and throw a new battery in. A replacement battery will only cost you a few dollars, allowing you to postpone the purchase of another phone some more years.


Android phones are more affordable to buy and cheaper to upgrade and maintain. They’re more extensible and customizable. iPhones work great right out of the box, and offer one of the best usage experience ever. Which one to pick? The choice is yours.

Cool Microsoft Windows Phone Set Icons for Windows Eight

If you can’t wait to run the Windows 8 then along with the new and improved interface, there will be many new appearance changes. But whatever they may be, once of the coolest ones will be the new Microsoft window phone set icons. If you can’t wait to get one, read on!

Microsoft windows Telephone Symbols Set fulfills all the needs from the WP7 as well as Microsoft windows eight operating systems. The actual symbols possess the correct dimension, the best color, their own content material locations tend to be completely focused and they’re just about all 100% prepared to be utilized inside your programs.

All of the symbols tend to be forty eight by forty eight pixels, mainly transparent, using the real image situated in the main square of 26×26 pixels. Officially, designers obtain 505 distinctive software bar symbols drawn in required design, each coming in PNG file format.

Both Macintosh operating system as well as Microsoft windows seven symbols tends to be operating neck to neck concerning elegance as well as form. Should you evaluate both Macintosh Operating system as well as Microsoft windows seven symbols there are several distinction you are able to be aware. The actual varieties of each symbol are extremely good as well as obviously suggest a meaning whatever they indicate. Should you consider the file image you will find a few of the crucial distinction between these two symbols. These two symbols make use of file form however Microsoft windows seven make use of regular yellowish color whilst Macintosh Operating system use a speckled azure color which simply just seems like the reused document. This transformation along with Leopard makes a few critiques. Files kinds will also be various among Macintosh Operating system as well as Microsoft windows seven. The brand new Microsoft windows seven symbols launched along with Windows vista on the other side Macintosh Operating system offers a few symbols that are obvious. There are also symbols that are processing brand new designs.

Windows 7 seven provides a cool glass like design it first showed within the Microsoft windows Vista operating system, there are lots available having current design, that steps a long way away from glassy appeal. One of these may be the WordPad that within Microsoft windows seven comes after various designs. Additionally within the Macintosh Operating system X, Text Edit image has got the textual content which went within ‘Think Different’ Television advertisements that the Apple Company did in latter nineties. Additionally, there are plenty of cool looking symbols that have the actual fun contact compared to the actual Microsoft windows that are recognized to present the company such as, the actual practical symbols that have transported within the Microsoft windows seven. The actual Macintosh Operating system symbols will also be recognized to possess the innovative curve design. That, is actually linked clearly in order to personalize the experience of using each and every Operating system: Microsoft windows may be the company focused or even Macintosh Operating system is creatively driven as well as personal.

Chandrayaan-1 – India’s First Unmanned Lunar Probe

Chandrayaan-1 is formerly known as moon vehicle and it has been mentioned that Chandrayaan-1 India’s first unmanned lunar probe. This moon vehicle has been lunched through the Indian Space Research Organization in Oct 2008. Researcher has estimated the budget  386 core ($90 million). This space craft was lunched in 2008 and it has been operated by the researcher still August 2009. India also launched moon vehicle with advance version of PSLV that is greatly known as PSLV C11 on Oct22, 2008.

It has been lunched from Satish Dhawan Space Center and this space center has located at Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh. If you want to reach this space center, then you need to move 80 km from north of Chennai at 06:22 IST.   Previous prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared on Independence Day 15 Aug 2003 that Chandrayaan-1 project has been made a major boost to India’s space organization. Now, India has developed and researched new technology to explore the Moon. Polar areas are of the special interest since they may have ice. Lunar mission carries 5 ISRO payloads and 6 payloads from some other space agencies that includes ESA, NASA, as well as Bulgarian Aerospace Agency that were carried free.

When suffering from many technical issues that includes the failure of star sensors as well as poor thermal shielding, the Chandrayaan stopped to send the radio signals in 1:30AM IST on 29August 2009 after which, ISRO declared officially mission over. Main culprit is been said to be failure of the onboard DC DC Converter made by the mdipower USA, intended converters that are failed to meet radiation specifications for intended mission time. The Chandrayaan operated for around 312days when opposed to intended 2 years however mission attained 95percent of the planned objectives.

Bill Gates – Creates a Big Empire through His Foundation

In this competitive market, every one knows that Bill Gates was born on Oct 28, 1955. He is an American business tycoon, author, and philanthropist as well as the chairperson of Microsoft Company that is well-known for valuable software. He has been established the Microsoft with Paul Allen. He is frequently counted among the World’s wealthiest people. In his career at Microsoft, Bill Gates has kept the position of CEO that means Chief Software Architect and he kept largest shareholder with more than eight percent of the common stock. You can avail numbers of books that are written by him.

Bill Gates is one the most well-known entrepreneur for computer revolution. In his career, Gates has followed numbers of philanthropic endeavors. He is also donating huge amount of money to different charitable organizations as well as scientific research programs by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that has been established in 2000.

Gates stepped down chief executive officer of the Microsoft at Jan 2000. He stayed as chairman as well as made position of the chief software architect. At June 2006, the Gates announced he will get transitioning from the full time work in Microsoft to part time work, as well as full time work at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gradually, he transferred the duties to Ozzie, chief software architect, as well as Craig Mundie, the chief research officer. Gates’ full time day in Microsoft was at June 27, 2008. He stays at Microsoft as the non-executive chairman. Bill didn’t have the definite study plan whereas student in Harvard and spent lots of time by using school’s computers. He stayed in contact with the Paul Allen, and joining him at the Honeywell during summer of 1974. Following year saw release of MITS Altair 8800 that is based on Intel 8080 CPU, Allen and Gates saw as an opportunity to begin the own computer company.

Blog Vista Icons – Available in Different Resolutions

If you are looking to make a perfect skin for a blog forum, then Blog Icons for Windows 7 can make your task really easier. These icons are a great source of help for designers who want to make a perfect skin for a blog or forum. These icons are carefully crafted, so that designers can make full use of it.  Blog Icons are can be crafted in the Glowing Glass style which gives a perfect look on modern Vista-style Web sites. These icons can be share in the same color palette and also be well rendered from smallest to largest size. Blog Icons are also available in different resolutions such as 16×16, 20×20, 24×24, 32×32, 48×48 and 256×256. They can be also available in various file formats such as ICO, PNG, GIF and BMP formats. Now, you can get these wonderful sets of icons in 256 color and true color.

There are many web designers & application now giving you more importance to addition of the eye catching icons. All these icons will actually make your application to look elegant and they will also make your application or website highly accepted by nature. In case, you have wanted to get best results for the application or website design, it is now time to select any of the icons downloads. You can now very easily download some of the fabulous icons on internet in order, to make your applications look very elegant.

In case, you have tried making that simple to use, then to add the icons will actually make difference in your projects. You now can opt for the icon downloads such as options with websites, which are giving you the free deals. The websites can demand for the small fee or may allow you download the icons for free.

Best Way to Make Money Online – Definitely You Can Make Money Through Online

What are really the best ways to make money online? It is the most common question of every online user. Well, there are certainly wide ranges of chance to make money through online. However, there are some major things you need to
consider while looking to make money through online. There are some useful tips discussed below to make money from online.

Make money with GPT:
GPT sites are becoming very popular. If you are a teenager and looking for some extra pocket money then GPT sites are just perfect for you. You will get paid for signing up for newsletters, shopping, playing games and visit different websites.

Getting paid for online surveys:
Online surveys are one of the easiest ways to make money online. It is a very simple procedure of surveys on various topics from shopping to entertainment.  You can surely earn some expected amounts from this type of online surveys.

Get paid for Photographs

There are a lot of stock photography sites where you will upload the images as well as put them for sale. Though you might not have more than some cents every time one of the images is been downloaded, however in case, you are very creative as well as good in what you do, then your images are downloaded of thousands of times, now that everybody appears to be blogging, blogs requires pictures and lots of bloggers are buying these images that they use on the blogs.

Make money by You tube

I think that you tube is the best tools, which internet has made. In case, you are very talented, then you may make the name yourself. All you need to do is to make the video yourself performing or upload that to you tube.

Portable Network Graphics is Known as Bitmapped Image Format!

As we know the short pronounce of portable network graphics is PNG. It is a bitmapped image format and video codec that has used for lossless data compression. Portable network graphics has designed to enhance upon and replace Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) as a picture file format. One of the best advantages of it is not requiring any sorts of patent license.

Also, the PNG has designed to support the palette based pictures like 24-bit, 32-bit RGBA colors, and grayscale images with or without alpha channel. Also, the PNG has been evolved for transmitting the pictures on the Online, and it has not designed for professional image print graphics. This technical process has been approved by the Internet Engineering Steering Group in the year of 1996. If you want to use this sort technical process, then you need to understand how to utilize in an image for perfect print quality. Motivation to make PNG format was in 1995, after that it became known as Lempel Ziv Welch data compression algorithm that is used in Graphics Interchange Format that was patented by the Unisys. Also, there were other problems with GIF format, which made the replacement desirable, and notably the limit of 256colors at the time when the computers display more than 256colors were growing very common.

Though GIF enables for animation, then it was decided PNG must be the single image format. The companion format named Multiple image Network is defined for the animation. In 1996: Version1.0 of PNG specification was been released, and then appeared as the RFC 2083 and it became the W3C Recommendation on 1 October 1996. On, 1998: Version1.1, with little changes and addition of 3 new chunks, was been released. In August, 1999: Version1.2, adding extra chunk, was released.