Tag Archives: NASA

Build your own NASA Curiosity rover

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/build-nasa-curiosity-rover/

Put together your own remote-controlled Curiosity rover with the help of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a Raspberry Pi.

NASA JPL rover Raspberry Pi

Why wouldn’t you want one of these?!

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

To educate the curious about the use of rovers in space, the Pasadena-based NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) built a mini-rover, ROV-E, to tour classrooms, museums, and public engagement events.

NASA JPL rover ROV-E Raspberry Pi

The original ROV-E comes with a much higher price tag, so the JPL engineers decided to scale it down for home makers

And so engaged was the public by the rover and its ability to manoeuvre harsh terrain, rocks, and small children, that the JLP engineers have published a building plan that allows rover-enthused makers to build their own for around $2500 using off-the-shelf parts.

Curiosity for the curious

The JPL open-source rover is a scaled-down model of Curiosity, the car-sized rover currently on day 2187 of its mission to explore the surface of Mars.

NASA JPL rover Raspberry Pi

The Mars rover sings Happy birthday to itself on 5 August every year, and this fact breaks out hearts!

And while the home-brew version of Curiosity may not be able to explore the Red Planet, project sponsor Tom Soderstrom believes it can offer plenty of opportunities to future STEM pioneers:

“We wanted to give back to the community and lower the barrier of entry by giving hands-on experience to the next generation of scientists, engineers, and programmers.”

A Pi at the heart of the rover

The rover uses a variety of tech makers may already have in their arsenal, including USB cameras and a Raspberry Pi. JPL’s design also gives you the option to swap out components with alternatives.

NASA JPL rover Raspberry Pi

Control the rover however you please: via a games controller, a smartphone, or a program of your own design

To control the rover, JPL decided to use a Raspberry Pi:

We chose a Raspberry Pi to be the ‘brain’ of this rover for its versatility, accessibility, simplicity, and ability to add and upgrade your own modifications. Any method with which you can communicate with a Raspberry Pi (Bluetooth, WiFi, USB devices, etc.) can be interfaced into the control system of the robot.

Full plans for the six-wheel rover are available on JPL’s GitHub, where they also list all parts required, final specs, and supporting info such as links to the project forum and parts suppliers. You can also visit the official project website to control your own rover on the surface of Mars…a simulated rover, of course, but one can dream!

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Astro Pi upgrades launch today!

Post Syndicated from David Honess original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/astro-pi-upgrades-launch/

Before our beloved SpaceDave left the Raspberry Pi Foundation to join the ranks of the European Space Agency (ESA) — and no, we’re still not jealous *ahem* — he kindly drafted us one final blog post about the Astro Pi upgrades heading to the International Space Station today! So here it is. Enjoy!

We are very excited to announce that Astro Pi upgrades are on their way to the International Space Station! Back in September, we blogged about a small payload being launched to the International Space Station to upgrade the capabilities of our Astro Pi units.

Astro Pi Raspberry Pi International Space Station

Sneak peek

For the longest time, the payload was scheduled to be launched on SpaceX CRS 14 in February. However, the launch was delayed to April and so impacted the flight operations we have planned for running Mission Space Lab student experiments.

To avoid this, ESA had the payload transferred to Russian Soyuz MS-08 (54S), which is launching today to carry crew members Oleg Artemyev, Andrew Feustel, and Ricky Arnold to the ISS.

Ricky Arnold on Twitter

L-47 hours.

You can watch coverage of the launch on NASA TV from 4.30pm GMT this afternoon, with the launch scheduled for 5.44pm GMT. Check the NASA TV schedule for updates.

The upgrades

The pictures below show the flight hardware in its final configuration before loading onto the launch vehicle.

Wireless dongle in bag — Astro Pi upgrades

All access

With the wireless dongle, the Astro Pi units can be deployed in ISS locations other than the Columbus module, where they don’t have access to an Ethernet switch.

We are also sending some flexible optical filters. These are made from the same material as the blue square which is shipped with the Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera Module.

Optical filters in bag — Astro Pi upgrades


So that future Astro Pi code will need to command fewer windows to download earth observation imagery to the ground, we’re also including some 32GB micro SD cards to replace the current 8GB cards.

Micro SD cards in bag — Astro Pi upgrades

More space in space

Tthe items above are enclosed in a large 8″ ziplock bag that has been designated the “AstroPi Kit”.

bag of Astro Pi upgrades

It’s ziplock bags all the way down up

Once the Soyuz docks with the ISS, this payload is one of the first which will be unpacked, so that the Astro Pi units can be upgraded and deployed ready to run your experiments!

More Astro Pi

Stay tuned for our next update in April, when student code is set to be run on the Astro Pi units as part of our Mission Space Lab programme. And to find out more about Astro Pi, head to the programme website.

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New Amazon EC2 Spot pricing model: Simplified purchasing without bidding and fewer interruptions

Post Syndicated from Roshni Pary original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/new-amazon-ec2-spot-pricing/

Contributed by Deepthi Chelupati and Roshni Pary

Amazon EC2 Spot Instances offer spare compute capacity in the AWS Cloud at steep discounts. Customers—including Yelp, NASA JPL, FINRA, and Autodesk—use Spot Instances to reduce costs and get faster results. Spot Instances provide acceleration, scale, and deep cost savings to big data workloads, containerized applications such as web services, test/dev, and many types of HPC and batch jobs.

At re:Invent 2017, we launched a new pricing model that simplified the Spot purchasing experience. The new model gives you predictable prices that adjust slowly over days and weeks, with typical savings of 70-90% over On-Demand. With the previous pricing model, some of you had to invest time and effort to analyze historical prices to determine your bidding strategy and maximum bid price. Not anymore.

How does the new pricing model work?

You don’t have to bid for Spot Instances in the new pricing model, and you just pay the Spot price that’s in effect for the current hour for the instances that you launch. It’s that simple. Now you can request Spot capacity just like you would request On-Demand capacity, without having to spend time analyzing market prices or setting a maximum bid price.

Previously, Spot Instances were terminated in ascending order of bids, and the Spot price was set to the highest unfulfilled bid. The market prices fluctuated frequently because of this. In the new model, the Spot prices are more predictable, updated less frequently, and are determined by supply and demand for Amazon EC2 spare capacity, not bid prices. You can find the price that’s in effect for the current hour in the EC2 console.

As you can see from the above Spot Instance Pricing History graph (available in the EC2 console under Spot Requests), Spot prices were volatile before the pricing model update. However, after the pricing model update, prices are more predictable and change less frequently.

In the new model, you still have the option to further control costs by submitting a “maximum price” that you are willing to pay in the console when you request Spot Instances:

You can also set your maximum price in EC2 RunInstances or RequestSpotFleet API calls, or in command line requests:

$ aws ec2 run-instances --instance-market-options 
'{"MarketType":"Spot", "SpotOptions": {"SpotPrice": "0.12"}}' \
    --image-id ami-1a2b3c4d --count 1 --instance-type c4.2xlarge

The default maximum price is the On-Demand price and you can continue to set a maximum Spot price of up to 10x the On-Demand price. That means, if you have been running applications on Spot Instances and use the RequestSpotInstances or RequestSpotFleet operations, you can continue to do so. The new Spot pricing model is backward compatible and you do not need to make any changes to your existing applications.

Fewer interruptions

Spot Instances receive a two-minute interruption notice when these instances are about to be reclaimed by EC2, because EC2 needs the capacity back. We have significantly reduced the interruptions with the new pricing model. Now instances are not interrupted because of higher competing bids, and you can enjoy longer workload runtimes. The typical frequency of interruption for Spot Instances in the last 30 days was less than 5% on average.

To reduce the impact of interruptions and optimize Spot Instances, diversify and run your application across multiple capacity pools. Each instance family, each instance size, in each Availability Zone, in every Region is a separate Spot pool. You can use the RequestSpotFleet API operation to launch thousands of Spot Instances and diversify resources automatically. To further reduce the impact of interruptions, you can also set up Spot Instances and Spot Fleets to respond to an interruption notice by stopping or hibernating rather than terminating instances when capacity is no longer available.

Spot Instances are now available in 18 Regions and 51 Availability Zones, and offer 100s of instance options. We have eliminated bidding, simplified the pricing model, and have made it easy to get started with Amazon EC2 Spot Instances for you to take advantage of the largest pool of cost-effective compute capacity in the world. See the Spot Instances detail page for more information and create your Spot Instance here.

HackSpace magazine 4: the wearables issue

Post Syndicated from Andrew Gregory original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/hackspace-4-wearables/

Big things are afoot in the world of HackSpace magazine! This month we’re running our first special issue, with wearables projects throughout the magazine. Moreover, we’re giving away our first subscription gift free to all 12-month print subscribers. Lastly, and most importantly, we’ve made the cover EXTRA SHINY!

HackSpace magazine issue 4 cover

Prepare your eyeballs — it’s HackSpace magazine issue 4!


In this issue, we’re taking an in-depth look at wearable tech. Not Fitbits or Apple Watches — we’re talking stuff you can make yourself, from projects that take a couple of hours to put together, to the huge, inspiring builds that are bringing technology to the runway. If you like wearing clothes and you like using your brain to make things better, then you’ll love this feature.

We’re continuing our obsession with Nixie tubes, with the brilliant Time-To-Go-Clock – Trump edition. This ingenious bit of kit uses obsolete Russian electronics to count down the time until the end of the 45th president’s term in office. However, you can also program it to tell the time left to any predictable event, such as the deadline for your tax return or essay submission, or the date England gets knocked out of the World Cup.

HackSpace magazine page 08
HackSpace magazine page 70
HackSpace magazine issue 4 page 98

We’re also talking to Dr Lucy Rogers — NASA alumna, Robot Wars judge, and fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers — about the difference between making as a hobby and as a job, and about why we need the Guild of Makers. Plus, issue 4 has a teeny boat, the most beautiful Raspberry Pi cases you’ve ever seen, and it explores the results of what happens when you put a bunch of hardware hackers together in a French chateau — sacré bleu!


As always, we’ve got more how-tos than you can shake a soldering iron at. Fittingly for the current climate here in the UK, there’s a hot water monitor, which shows you how long you have before your morning shower turns cold, and an Internet of Tea project to summon a cuppa from your kettle via the web. Perhaps not so fittingly, there’s also an ESP8266 project for monitoring a solar power station online. Readers in the southern hemisphere, we’ll leave that one for you — we haven’t seen the sun here for months!

And there’s more!

We’re super happy to say that all our 12-month print subscribers have been sent an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express with this new issue:

Adafruit Circuit Playground Express HackSpace

This gadget was developed primarily with wearables in mind and comes with all sorts of in-built functionality, so subscribers can get cracking with their latest wearable project today! If you’re not a 12-month print subscriber, you’ll miss out, so subscribe here to get your magazine and your device,  and let us know what you’ll make.

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Astro Pi celebrates anniversary of ISS Columbus module

Post Syndicated from David Honess original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/astro-pi-celebrates-anniversary/

Right now, 400km above the Earth aboard the International Space Station, are two very special Raspberry Pi computers. They were launched into space on 6 December 2015 and are, most assuredly, the farthest-travelled Raspberry Pi computers in existence. Each year they run experiments that school students create in the European Astro Pi Challenge.

Raspberry Astro Pi units on the International Space Station

Left: Astro Pi Vis (Ed); right: Astro Pi IR (Izzy). Image credit: ESA.

The European Columbus module

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of the European Columbus module. The Columbus module is the European Space Agency’s largest single contribution to the ISS, and it supports research in many scientific disciplines, from astrobiology and solar science to metallurgy and psychology. More than 225 experiments have been carried out inside it during the past decade. It’s also home to our Astro Pi computers.

Here’s a video from 7 February 2008, when Space Shuttle Atlantis went skywards carrying the Columbus module in its cargo bay.

STS-122 Launch NASA TV Coverage

From February 7th, 2008 NASA-TV Coverage of The 121st Space Shuttle Launch Launched At:2:45:30 P.M E.T – Coverage begins exactly one hour till launch STS-122 Crew:

Today, coincidentally, is also the deadline for the European Astro Pi Challenge: Mission Space Lab. Participating teams have until midnight tonight to submit their experiments.

Anniversary celebrations

At 16:30 GMT today there will be a live event on NASA TV for the Columbus module anniversary with NASA flight engineers Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei.

Our Astro Pi computers will be joining in the celebrations by displaying a digital birthday candle that the crew can blow out. It works by detecting an increase in humidity when someone blows on it. The video below demonstrates the concept.

AstroPi candle

Uploaded by Effi Edmonton on 2018-01-17.

Do try this at home

The exact Astro Pi code that will run on the ISS today is available for you to download and run on your own Raspberry Pi and Sense HAT. You’ll notice that the program includes code to make it stop automatically when the date changes to 8 February. This is just to save time for the ground control team.

If you have a Raspberry Pi and a Sense HAT, you can use the terminal commands below to download and run the code yourself:

wget http://rpf.io/colbday -O birthday.py
chmod +x birthday.py

When you see a blank blue screen with the brightness increasing, the Sense HAT is measuring the baseline humidity. It does this every 15 minutes so it can recalibrate to take account of natural changes in background humidity. A humidity increase of 2% is needed to blow out the candle, so if the background humidity changes by more than 2% in 15 minutes, it’s possible to get a false positive. Press Ctrl + C to quit.

Please tweet pictures of your candles to @astro_pi – we might share yours! And if we’re lucky, we might catch a glimpse of the candle on the ISS during the NASA TV event at 16:30 GMT today.

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Astro Pi Mission Zero: your code is in space

Post Syndicated from David Honess original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/astro-pi-mission-zero-day/

Every school year, we run the European Astro Pi challenge to find the next generation of space scientists who will program two space-hardened Raspberry Pi units, called Astro Pis, living aboard the International Space Station.

Italian ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli with the Astro Pi units. Image credit ESA.

Astro Pi Mission Zero

The 2017–2018 challenge included the brand-new non-competitive Mission Zero, which guaranteed that participants could have their code run on the ISS for 30 seconds, provided they followed the rules. They would also get a certificate showing the exact time period during which their code ran in space.

Astro Pi Mission Zero logo

We asked participants to write a simple Python program to display a personalised message and the air temperature on the Astro Pi screen. No special hardware was needed, since all the code could be written in a web browser using the Sense HAT emulator developed in partnership with Trinket.

Scott McKenzie on Twitter

Students coding #astropi emulator to scroll a message to astronauts on @Raspberry_Pi in space this summer. Try it here: https://t.co/0KURq11X0L #Rm9Parents #CSforAll #ontariocodes

And now it’s time…

We received over 2500 entries for Mission Zero, and we’re excited to announce that tomorrow all entries with flight status will be run on the ISS…in SPAAACE!

There are 1771 Python programs with flight status, which will run back-to-back on Astro Pi VIS (Ed). The whole process will take about 14 hours. This means that everyone will get a timestamp showing 1 February, so we’re going to call this day Mission Zero Day!

Part of each team’s certificate will be a map, like the one below, showing the exact location of the ISS while the team’s code was running.

The grey line is the ISS orbital path, the red marker shows the ISS’s location when their code was running. Produced using Google Static Maps API.

The programs will be run in the same sequence in which we received them. For operational reasons, we can’t guarantee that they will run while the ISS flies over any particular location. However, if you have submitted an entry to Mission Zero, there is a chance that your code will run while the ISS is right overhead!

Go out and spot the station

Spotting the ISS is a great activity to do by yourself or with your students. The station looks like a very fast-moving star that crosses the sky in just a few minutes. If you know when and where to look, and it’s not cloudy, you literally can’t miss it.

Source Andreas Möller, Wikimedia Commons.

The ISS passes over most ground locations about twice a day. For it to be clearly visible though, you need darkness on the ground with sunlight on the ISS due to its altitude. There are a number of websites which can tell you when these visible passes occur, such as NASA’s Spot the Station. Each of the sites requires you to give your location so it can work out when visible passes will occur near you.

Visible ISS pass star chart from Heavens Above, on which familiar constellations such as the Plough (see label Ursa Major) can be seen.

A personal favourite of mine is Heavens Above. It’s slightly more fiddly to use than other sites, but it produces brilliant star charts that show you precisely where to look in the sky. This is how it works:

  1. Go to www.heavens-above.com
  2. To set your location, click on Unspecified in the top right-hand corner
  3. Enter your location (e.g. Cambridge, United Kingdom) into the text box and click Search
  4. The map should change to the correct location — scroll down and click Update
  5. You’ll be taken back to the homepage, but with your location showing at the top right
  6. Click on ISS in the Satellites section
  7. A table of dates will now show, which are the upcoming visible passes for your location
  8. Click on a row to view the star chart for that pass — the line is the path of the ISS, and the arrow shows direction of travel
  9. Be outside in cloudless weather at the start time, look towards the direction where the line begins, and hope the skies stay clear

If you go out and do this, then tweet some pictures to @raspberry_pi, @astro_pi, and @esa. Good luck!

More Astro Pi

Mission Zero certificates will be arriving in participants’ inboxes shortly. We would like to thank everyone who participated in Mission Zero this school year, and we hope that next time you’ll take it one step further and try Mission Space Lab.

Mission Zero and Mission Space Lab are two really exciting programmes that young people of all ages can take part in. If you would like to be notified when the next round of Astro Pi opens for registrations, sign up to our mailing list here.

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The Raspberry Pi Christmas shopping list 2017

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/christmas-shopping-list-2017/

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a beloved maker in your life? Maybe you’d like to give a relative or friend a taste of the world of coding and Raspberry Pi? Whatever you’re looking for, the Raspberry Pi Christmas shopping list will point you in the right direction.

An ice-skating Raspberry Pi - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

For those getting started

Thinking about introducing someone special to the wonders of Raspberry Pi during the holidays? Although you can set up your Pi with peripherals from around your home, such as a mobile phone charger, your PC’s keyboard, and the old mouse dwelling in an office drawer, a starter kit is a nice all-in-one package for the budding coder.

Check out the starter kits from Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers such as Pimoroni, The Pi Hut, ModMyPi, Adafruit, CanaKit…the list is pretty long. Our products page will direct you to your closest reseller, or you can head to element14 to pick up the official Raspberry Pi Starter Kit.

You can also buy the Raspberry Pi Press’s brand-new Raspberry Pi Beginners Book, which includes a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a case, a ready-made SD card, and adapter cables.

Once you’ve presented a lucky person with their first Raspberry Pi, it’s time for them to spread their maker wings and learn some new skills.

MagPi Essentials books - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

To help them along, you could pick your favourite from among the Official Projects Book volume 3, The MagPi Essentials guides, and the brand-new third edition of Carrie Anne Philbin’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi. (She is super excited about this new edition!)

And you can always add a link to our free resources on the gift tag.

For the maker in your life

If you’re looking for something for a confident digital maker, you can’t go wrong with adding to their arsenal of electric and electronic bits and bobs that are no doubt cluttering drawers and boxes throughout their house.

Components such as servomotors, displays, and sensors are staples of the maker world. And when it comes to jumper wires, buttons, and LEDs, one can never have enough.

You could also consider getting your person a soldering iron, some helpings hands, or small tools such as a Dremel or screwdriver set.

And to make their life a little less messy, pop it all inside a Really Useful Box…because they’re really useful.

For kit makers

While some people like to dive into making head-first and to build whatever comes to mind, others enjoy working with kits.

The Naturebytes kit allows you to record the animal visitors of your garden with the help of a camera and a motion sensor. Footage of your local badgers, birds, deer, and more will be saved to an SD card, or tweeted or emailed to you if it’s in range of WiFi.

Cortec Tiny 4WD - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

Coretec’s Tiny 4WD is a kit for assembling a Pi Zero–powered remote-controlled robot at home. Not only is the robot adorable, building it also a great introduction to motors and wireless control.

Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Pro Kit offers everything you need to create interactive electronics projects using conductive paint.

Pi Hut Arcade Kit - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

Finally, why not help your favourite maker create their own gaming arcade using the Arcade Building Kit from The Pi Hut?

For the reader

For those who like to curl up with a good read, or spend too much of their day on public transport, a book or magazine subscription is the perfect treat.

For makers, hackers, and those interested in new technologies, our brand-new HackSpace magazine and the ever popular community magazine The MagPi are ideal. Both are available via a physical or digital subscription, and new subscribers to The MagPi also receive a free Raspberry Pi Zero W plus case.

Cover of CoderDojo Nano Make your own game

Marc Scott Beginner's Guide to Coding Book

You can also check out other publications from the Raspberry Pi family, including CoderDojo’s new CoderDojo Nano: Make Your Own Game, Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree’s Raspberry Pi User Guide, and Marc Scott’s A Beginner’s Guide to Coding. And have I mentioned Carrie Anne’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi yet?

Stocking fillers for everyone

Looking for something small to keep your loved ones occupied on Christmas morning? Or do you have to buy a Secret Santa gift for the office tech? Here are some wonderful stocking fillers to fill your boots with this season.

Pi Hut 3D Christmas Tree - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

The Pi Hut 3D Xmas Tree: available as both a pre-soldered and a DIY version, this gadget will work with any 40-pin Raspberry Pi and allows you to create your own mini light show.

Google AIY Voice kit: build your own home assistant using a Raspberry Pi, the MagPi Essentials guide, and this brand-new kit. “Google, play Mariah Carey again…”

Pimoroni’s Raspberry Pi Zero W Project Kits offer everything you need, including the Pi, to make your own time-lapse cameras, music players, and more.

The official Raspberry Pi Sense HAT, Camera Module, and cases for the Pi 3 and Pi Zero will complete the collection of any Raspberry Pi owner, while also opening up exciting project opportunities.

STEAM gifts that everyone will love

Awesome Astronauts | Building LEGO’s Women of NASA!

LEGO Idea’s bought out this amazing ‘Women of NASA’ set, and I thought it would be fun to build, play and learn from these inspiring women! First up, let’s discover a little more about Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, two AWESOME ASTRONAUTS!

Treat the kids, and big kids, in your life to the newest LEGO Ideas set, the Women of NASA — starring Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison!

Explore the world of wearables with Pimoroni’s sewable, hackable, wearable, adorable Bearables kits.

Add lights and motors to paper creations with the Activating Origami Kit, available from The Pi Hut.

We all loved Hidden Figures, and the STEAM enthusiast you know will do too. The film’s available on DVD, and you can also buy the original book, along with other fascinating non-fiction such as Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Science, and Sydney Padua’s (mostly true) The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.

Have we missed anything?

With so many amazing kits, HATs, and books available from members of the Raspberry Pi community, it’s hard to only pick a few. Have you found something splendid for the maker in your life? Maybe you’ve created your own kit that uses the Raspberry Pi? Share your favourites with us in the comments below or via our social media accounts.

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Turtle, the earthbound crowdfunded rover

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/turtle-rover/

With ten days to go until the end of their crowdfunding campaign, the team behind the Turtle Rover are waiting eagerly for their project to become a reality for earthbound explorers across the globe.

Turtle Rover

Turtle is the product of the Mars Rover prototype engineers at Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland. Their waterproof land rover can be controlled via your tablet or smartphone, and allows you to explore hidden worlds too small or dangerous for humans. The team says this about their project:

NASA and ESA plan to send another rover to Mars in 2020. SpaceX wants to send one million people to Mars in the next 100 years. However, before anyone sends a rover to another planet, we designed Turtle — a robot to remind you about how beautiful the Earth is.

With a Raspberry Pi at its core, Turtle is an open-source, modular device to which you can attach new, interesting features such as extra cameras, lights, and a DSLR adapter. Depending on the level at which you back the Kickstarter, you might also receive a robotic arm as a reward for your support.

Turtle Rover Kickstarter Raspberry Pi

The Turtle can capture photos and video, and even live-stream video to your device. Moreover, its emergency stop button offers peace of mind whenever your explorations takes your Turtle to cliff edges or other unsafe locations.

Constructed of aerospace-grade aluminium, plastics, and stainless steel, its robust form, watertight and dust-proof body, and 4-hour battery life make the Turtle a great tool for education and development, as well as a wonderful addition to recreational activities such as Airsoft.

Back the Turtle

If you want to join in the Turtle Rover revolution, you have ten days left to back the team on Kickstarter. Pledge €1497 for an unassembled kit (you’ll need your own Raspberry Pi, battery, and servos), or €1549 for a complete rover. The team plan to send your Turtle to you by June 2018 — so get ready to explore!

Turtle Rover Kickstarter Raspberry Pi

For more information on the build, including all crowdfunding rewards, check out their Kickstarter page. And if you’d like to follow their journey, be sure to follow them on Twitter.

Your Projects

Are you running a Raspberry Pi-based crowdfunding campaign? Or maybe you’ve got your idea, and you’re soon going to unleash it on the world? Whatever your plans, we’d love to see what you’re up to, so make sure to let us know via our social media channels or an email to [email protected]


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The Weather Station and the eclipse

Post Syndicated from Richard Hayler original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/weather-station-eclipse/

As everyone knows, one of the problems with the weather is that it can be difficult to predict a long time in advance. In the UK we’ve had stormy conditions for weeks but, of course, now that I’ve finished my lightning detector, everything has calmed down. If you’re planning to make scientific measurements of a particular phenomenon, patience is often required.

Oracle Weather Station

Wake STEM ECH get ready to safely observe the eclipse

In the path of the eclipse

Fortunately, this wasn’t a problem for Mr Burgess and his students at Wake STEM Early College High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. They knew exactly when the event they were interested in studying was going to occur: they were going to use their Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather Station to monitor the progress of the 2017 solar eclipse.

Wake STEM EC HS on Twitter

Through the @Celestron telescope #Eclipse2017 @WCPSS via @stemburgess

Measuring the temperature drop

The Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather Stations are always active and recording data, so all the students needed to do was check that everything was connected and working. That left them free to enjoy the eclipse, and take some amazing pictures like the one above.

You can see from the data how the changes in temperature lag behind the solar events – this makes sense, as it takes a while for the air to cool down. When the sun starts to return, the temperature rise continues on its pre-eclipse trajectory.

Oracle Weather Station

Weather station data 21st Aug: the yellow bars mark the start and end of the eclipse, the red bar marks the maximum sun coverage.

Reading Mr Burgess’ description, I’m feeling rather jealous. Being in the path of the Eclipse sounds amazing: “In North Carolina we experienced 93% coverage, so a lot of sunlight was still shining, but the landscape took on an eerie look. And there was a cool wind like you’d experience at dusk, not at 2:30 pm on a hot summer day. I was amazed at the significant drop in temperature that occurred in a small time frame.”

Temperature drop during Eclipse Oracle Weather Station.

Close up of data showing temperature drop as recorded by the Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather Station. The yellow bars mark the start and end of the eclipse, the red bar marks the maximum sun coverage.

 Weather Station in the classroom

I’ve been preparing for the solar eclipse for almost two years, with the weather station arriving early last school year. I did not think about temperature data until I read about citizen scientists on a NASA website,” explains Mr Burgess, who is now in his second year of working with the Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather Station. Around 120 ninth-grade students (ages 14-15) have been involved with the project so far. “I’ve found that students who don’t have a strong interest in meteorology find it interesting to look at real data and figure out trends.”

Wake STEM EC Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather Station installation

Wake STEM EC Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather Station installation

As many schools have discovered, Mr Burgess found that the biggest challenge with the Weather Station project “was finding a suitable place to install the weather station in a place that could get power and Ethernet“. To help with this problem, we’ve recently added two new guides to help with installing the wind sensors outside and using WiFi to connect the kit to the Internet.

Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather Station

If you want to keep up to date with all the latest Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather Station activities undertaken by our network of schools around the world, make sure you regularly check our weather station forum. Meanwhile, everyone at Wake STEM ECH is already starting to plan for their next eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024. I wonder if they’d like some help with their Weather Station?

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Hunting for life on Mars assisted by high-altitude balloons

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/eclipse-high-altitude-balloons/

Will bacteria-laden high-altitude balloons help us find life on Mars? Today’s eclipse should bring us closer to an answer.

NASA Bacteria Balloons Raspberry Pi HAB Life on Mars

image c/o NASA / Ames Research Center / Tristan Caro

The Eclipse Ballooning Project

Having learned of the Eclipse Ballooning Project set to take place today across the USA, a team at NASA couldn’t miss the opportunity to harness the high-flying project for their own experiments.

NASA Bacteria Balloons Raspberry Pi HAB Life on Mars

The Eclipse Ballooning Project invited students across the USA to aid in the launch of 50+ high-altitude balloons during today’s eclipse. Each balloon is equipped with its own Raspberry Pi and camera for data collection and live video-streaming.

High-altitude ballooning, or HAB as it’s often referred to, has become a popular activity within the Raspberry Pi community. The lightweight nature of the device allows for high ascent, and its Camera Module enables instant visual content collection.

Life on Mars

image c/o Montana State University

The Eclipse Ballooning Project team, headed by Angela Des Jardins of Montana State University, was contacted by Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science at NASA, who hoped to piggyback on the project to run tests on bacteria in the Mars-like conditions the balloons would encounter near space.

Into the stratosphere

At around -35 degrees Fahrenheit, with thinner air and harsher ultraviolet radiation, the conditions in the upper part of the earth’s stratosphere are comparable to those on the surface of Mars. And during the eclipse, the moon will block some UV rays, making the environment in our stratosphere even more similar to the martian oneideal for NASA’s experiment.

So the students taking part in the Eclipse Ballooning Project could help the scientists out, NASA sent them some small metal tags.

NASA Bacteria Balloons Raspberry Pi HAB Life on Mars

These tags contain samples of a kind of bacterium known as Paenibacillus xerothermodurans. Upon their return to ground, the bacteria will be tested to see whether and how the high-altitude conditions affected them.

Life on Mars

Paenibacillus xerothermodurans is one of the most resilient bacterial species we know. The team at NASA wants to discover how the bacteria react to their flight in order to learn more about whether life on Mars could possibly exist. If the low temperature, UV rays, and air conditions cause the bacteria to mutate or indeed die, we can be pretty sure that the existence of living organisms on the surface of Mars is very unlikely.

Life on Mars

What happens to the bacteria on the spacecraft and rovers we send to space? This experiment should provide some answers.

The eclipse

If you’re in the US, you might have a chance to witness the full solar eclipse today. And if you’re planning to watch, please make sure to take all precautionary measures. In a nutshell, don’t look directly at the sun. Not today, not ever.

If you’re in the UK, you can observe a partial eclipse, if the clouds decide to vanish. And again, take note of safety measures so you don’t damage your eyes.

Life on Mars

You can also watch a live-stream of the eclipse via the NASA website.

If you’ve created an eclipse-viewing Raspberry Pi project, make sure to share it with us. And while we’re talking about eclipses and balloons, check here for our coverage of the 2015 balloon launches coinciding with the UK’s partial eclipse.

The post Hunting for life on Mars assisted by high-altitude balloons appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New – Amazon Connect and Amazon Lex Integration

Post Syndicated from Randall Hunt original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-amazon-connect-and-amazon-lex-integration/

I’m really excited to share some recent enhancements to two of my favorite services: Amazon Connect and Amazon Lex. Amazon Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact center service that makes it easy for any business to deliver better customer service at lower cost. Amazon Lex is a service for building conversational interfaces using voice and text. By integrating these two services you can take advantage of Lex‘s automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing/understading (NLU) capabilities to create great self-service experiences for your customers. To enable this integration the Lex team added support for 8kHz speech input – more on that later. Why should you care about this? Well, if the a bot can solve the majority of your customer’s requests your customers spend less time waiting on hold and more time using your products.

If you need some more background on Amazon Connect or Lex I strongly recommend Jeff’s previous posts[1][2] on these services – especially if you like LEGOs.

Let’s dive in and learn to use this new integration. We’ll take an application that we built on our Twitch channel and modify it for this blog. At the application’s core a user calls an Amazon Connect number which connects them to an Lex bot which invokes an AWS Lambda function based on an intent from Lex. So what does our little application do?

I want to finally settle the question of what the best code editor is: I like vim, it’s a spectacular editor that does one job exceptionally well – editing code (it’s the best). My colleague Jeff likes emacs, a great operating system editor… if you were born with extra joints in your fingers. My colleague Tara loves Visual Studio and sublime. Rather than fighting over what the best editor is I thought we might let you, dear reader, vote. Don’t worry you can even vote for butterflies.

Interested in voting? Call +1 614-569-4019 and tell us which editor you’re voting for! We don’t store your number or record your voice so feel free to vote more than once for vim. Want to see the votes live? http://best-editor-ever.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/.

Now, how do we build this little contraption? We’ll cover each component but since we’ve talked about Lex and Lambda before we’ll focus mostly on the Amazon Connect component. I’m going to assume you already have a connect instance running.

Amazon Lex

Let’s start with the Lex side of things. We’ll create a bot named VoteEditor with two intents: VoteEditor with a single slot called editor and ConnectToAgent with no slots. We’ll populate our editor slot full of different code editor names (maybe we’ll leave out emacs).

AWS Lambda

Our Lambda function will also be fairly simple. First we’ll create a Amazon DynamoDB table to store our votes. Then we’ll make a helper method to respond to Lex (build_response) – it will just wrap our message in a Lex friendly response format. Now we just have to figure out our flow logic.

def lambda_handler(event, context):
    if 'ConnectToAgent' == event['currentIntent']['name']:
        return build_response("Ok, connecting you to an agent.")
    elif 'VoteEditor' == event['currentIntent']['name']:
        editor = event['currentIntent']['slots']['editor']
        resp = ddb.update_item(
            Key={"name": editor.lower()},
            UpdateExpression="SET votes = :incr + if_not_exists(votes, :default)",
            ExpressionAttributeValues={":incr": 1, ":default": 0},
        msg = "Awesome, now {} has {} votes!".format(
        return build_response(msg)

Let’s make sure we understand the code. So, if we got a vote for an editor and it doesn’t exist yet then we add that editor with 1 vote. Otherwise we increase the number of votes on that editor by 1. If we get a request for an agent, we terminate the flow with a nice message. Easy. Now we just tell our Lex bot to use our Lambda function to fulfill our intents. We can test that everything is working over text in the Lex console before moving on.

Amazon Connect

Before we can use our Lex bot in a Contact Flow we have to make sure our Amazon Connect instance has access to it. We can do this by hopping over to the Amazon Connect service console, selecting our instance, and navigating to “Contact Flows”. There should be a section called Lex where you can add your bots!

Now that our Amazon Connect instance can invoke our Lex bot we can create a new Contact Flow that contains our Lex bot. We add the bot to our flow through the “Get customer input” widget from the “Interact” category.

Once we’re on the widget we have a “DTMF” tab for taking input from number keys on a phone or the “Amazon Lex” tab for taking voiceinput and passing it to the Lex service. We’ll use the Lex tab and put in some configuration.

Lots of options, but in short we add the bot we want to use (including the version of the bot), the intents we want to use from our bot, and a short prompt to introduce the bot (and mayb prompt the customer for input).

Our final contact flow looks like this:

A real world example might allow a customer to perform many transactions through a Lex bot. Then on an error or ConnectToAgent intent put the customer into a queue where they could talk to a real person. It could collect and store information about users and populate a rich interface for an agent to use so they could jump right into the conversation with all the context they need.

I want to especially highlight the advantage of 8kHz audio support in Lex. Lex originally only supported speech input that was sampled at a higher rate than the 8 kHz input from the phone. Modern digital communication appliations typically use audio signals sampled at a minimum of 16 kHz. This higher fidelity recroding makes it easier differentiate between sounds like “ess” (/s/) and “eff” (/f/) – or so the audio experts tell me. Phones, however, use a much lower quality recording. Humans, and their ears, are pretty good at using surrounding words to figure out what a voice is saying from a lower quality recording (just check the NASA apollo recordings for proof of this). Most digital phone systems are setup to use 8 kHz sampling by default – it’s a nice tradeoff in bandwidth and fidelity. That’s why your voice sometimes sounds different on the phone. On top of this fundmental sampling rate issue you also have to deal with the fact that a lot of phone call data is already lossy (can you hear me now?). There are thousands of different devices from hundreds of different manufacturers, and tons of different software implentations. So… how do you solve this recognition issue?

The Lex team decided that the best way to address this was to expand the set of models they were using for speech recognition to include an 8kHz model. Support for an 8 kHz telephony audio sampling rate provides increased speech recognition accuracy and fidelity for your contact center interactions. This was a great effort by the team that enables a lot of customers to do more with Amazon Connect.

One final note is that Amazon Connect uses the exact same PostContent endpoint that you can use as an external developer so you don’t have to be a Amazon Connect user to take advantage of this 8kHz feature in Lex.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and as always the real details are in the docs and API Reference.


Launch – .NET Core Support In AWS CodeStar and AWS Codebuild

Post Syndicated from Tara Walker original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/launch-net-core-support-in-aws-codestar-and-aws-codebuild/

A few months ago, I introduced the AWS CodeStar service, which allows you to quickly develop, build, and deploy applications on AWS. AWS CodeStar helps development teams to increase the pace of releasing applications and solutions while reducing some of the challenges of building great software.

When the CodeStar service launched in April, it was released with several project templates for Amazon EC2, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and AWS Lambda using five different programming languages; JavaScript, Java, Python, Ruby, and PHP. Each template provisions the underlying AWS Code Services and configures an end-end continuous delivery pipeline for the targeted application using AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodePipeline, and AWS CodeDeploy.

As I have participated in some of the AWS Summits around the world discussing AWS CodeStar, many of you have shown curiosity in learning about the availability of .NET templates in CodeStar and utilizing CodeStar to deploy .NET applications. Therefore, it is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce that you can now develop, build, and deploy cross-platform .NET Core applications with the AWS CodeStar and AWS CodeBuild services.

AWS CodeBuild has added the ability to build and deploy .NET Core application code to both Amazon EC2 and AWS Lambda. This new CodeBuild capability has enabled the addition of two new project templates in AWS CodeStar for .NET Core applications.  These new project templates enable you to deploy .NET Code applications to Amazon EC2 Linux Instances, and provides everything you need to get started quickly, including .NET Core sample code and a full software development toolchain.

Of course, I can’t wait to try out the new addition to the project templates within CodeStar and the update .NET application build options with CodeBuild. For my test scenario, I will use CodeStar to create, build, and deploy my .NET Code ASP.Net web application on EC2. Then, I will extend my ASP.Net application by creating a .NET Lambda function to be compiled and deployed with CodeBuild as a part of my application’s pipeline. This Lambda function can then be called and used within my ASP.Net application to extend the functionality of my web application.

So, let’s get started!

First, I’ll log into the CodeStar console and start a new CodeStar project. I am presented with the option to select a project template.

Right now, I would like to focus on building .NET Core projects, therefore, I’ll filter the project templates by selecting the C# in the Programming Languages section. Now, CodeStar only shows me the new .NET Core project templates that I can use to build web applications and services with ASP.NET Core.

I think I’ll use the ASP.NET Core web application project template for my first CodeStar .NET Core application. As you can see by the project template information display, my web application will be deployed on Amazon EC2, which signifies to me that my .NET Core code will be compiled and packaged using AWS CodeBuild and deployed to EC2 using the AWS CodeDeploy service.

My hunch about the services is confirmed on the next screen when CodeStar shows the AWS CodePipeline and the AWS services that will be configured for my new project. I’ll name this web application project, ASPNetCore4Tara, and leave the default Project ID that CodeStar generates from the project name. Yes, I know that this is one of the goofiest names I could ever come up with, but, hey, it will do for this test project so I’ll go ahead and click the Next button. I should mention that you have the option to edit your Amazon EC2 configuration for your project on this screen before CodeStar starts configuring and provisioning the services needed to run your application.

Since my ASP.Net Core web application will be deployed to an Amazon EC2 instance, I will need to choose an Amazon EC2 Key Pair for encryption of the login used to allow me to SSH into this instance. For my ASPNetCore4Tara project, I will use an existing Amazon EC2 key pair I have previously used for launching my other EC2 instances. However, if I was creating this project and I did not have an EC2 key pair or if I didn’t have access to the .pem file (private key file) for an existing EC2 key pair, I would have to first visit the EC2 console and create a new EC2 key pair to use for my project. This is important because if you remember, without having the EC2 key pair with the associated .pem file, I would not be able to log into my EC2 instance.

With my EC2 key pair selected and confirmation that I have the related private file checked, I am ready to click the Create Project button.

After CodeStar completes the creation of the project and the provisioning of the project related AWS services, I am ready to view the CodeStar sample application from the application endpoint displayed in the CodeStar dashboard. This sample application should be familiar to you if have been working with the CodeStar service or if you had an opportunity to read the blog post about the AWS CodeStar service launch. I’ll click the link underneath Application Endpoints to view the sample ASP.NET Core web application.

Now I’ll go ahead and clone the generated project and connect my Visual Studio IDE to the project repository. I am going to make some changes to the application and since AWS CodeBuild now supports .NET Core builds and deployments to both Amazon EC2 and AWS Lambda, I will alter my build specification file appropriately for the changes to my web application that will include the use of the Lambda function.  Don’t worry if you are not familiar with how to clone the project and connect it to the Visual Studio IDE, CodeStar provides in-console step-by-step instructions to assist you.

First things first, I will open up the Visual Studio IDE and connect to AWS CodeCommit repository provisioned for my ASPNetCore4Tara project. It is important to note that the Visual Studio 2017 IDE is required for .NET Core projects in AWS CodeStar and the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio 2017 will need to be installed prior to connecting your project repository to the IDE.

In order to connect to my repo within Visual Studio, I will open up Team Explorer and select the Connect link under the AWS CodeCommit option under Hosted Service Providers. I will click Ok to keep my default AWS profile toolkit credentials.

I’ll then click Clone under the Manage Connections and AWS CodeCommit hosted provider section.

Once I select my aspnetcore4tara repository in the Clone AWS CodeCommit Repository dialog, I only have to enter my IAM role’s HTTPS Git credentials in the Git Credentials for AWS CodeCommit dialog and my process is complete. If you’re following along and receive a dialog for Git Credential Manager login, don’t worry just your enter the same IAM role’s Git credentials.

My project is now connected to the aspnetcore4tara CodeCommit repository and my web application is loaded to editing. As you will notice in the screenshot below, the sample project is structured as a standard ASP.NET Core MVC web application.

With the project created, I can make changes and updates. Since I want to update this project with a .NET Lambda function, I’ll quickly start a new project in Visual Studio to author a very simple C# Lambda function to be compiled with the CodeStar project. This AWS Lambda function will be included in the CodeStar ASP.NET Core web application project.

The Lambda function I’ve created makes a call to the REST API of NASA’s popular Astronomy Picture of the Day website. The API sends back the latest planetary image and related information in JSON format. You can see the Lambda function code below.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

using System.Net.Http;
using Amazon.Lambda.Core;

// Assembly attribute to enable the Lambda function's JSON input to be converted into a .NET class.
[assembly: LambdaSerializer(typeof(Amazon.Lambda.Serialization.Json.JsonSerializer))]

namespace NASAPicOfTheDay
    public class SpacePic
        HttpClient httpClient = new HttpClient();
        string nasaRestApi = "https://api.nasa.gov/planetary/apod?api_key=DEMO_KEY";

        /// <summary>
        /// A simple function that retreives NASA Planetary Info and 
        /// Picture of the Day
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="context"></param>
        /// <returns>nasaResponse-JSON String</returns>
        public async Task<string> GetNASAPicInfo(ILambdaContext context)
            string nasaResponse;
            //Call NASA Picture of the Day API
            nasaResponse = await httpClient.GetStringAsync(nasaRestApi);
            Console.WriteLine("NASA API Response");
            //Return NASA response - JSON format
            return nasaResponse; 

I’ll now publish this C# Lambda function and test by using the Publish to AWS Lambda option provided by the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio with NASAPicOfTheDay project. After publishing the function, I can test it and verify that it is working correctly within Visual Studio and/or the AWS Lambda console. You can learn more about building AWS Lambda functions with C# and .NET at: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/lambda/latest/dg/dotnet-programming-model.html


Now that I have my Lambda function completed and tested, all that is left is to update the CodeBuild buildspec.yml file within my aspnetcore4tara CodeStar project to include publishing and deploying of the Lambda function.

To accomplish this, I will create a new folder named functions and copy the folder that contains my Lambda function .NET project to my aspnetcore4tara web application project directory.



To build and publish my AWS Lambda function, I will use commands in the buildspec.yml file from the aws-lambda-dotnet tools library, which helps .NET Core developers develop AWS Lambda functions. I add a file, funcprof, to the NASAPicOfTheDay folder which contains customized profile information for use with aws-lambda-dotnet tools. All that is left is to update the buildspec.yml file used by CodeBuild for the ASPNetCore4Tara project build to include the packaging and the deployment of the NASAPictureOfDay AWS Lambda function. The updated buildspec.yml is as follows:

version: 0.2
    basePath: 'hold'
      - echo set basePath for project
      - basePath=$(pwd)
      - echo $basePath
      - echo Build restore and package Lambda function using AWS .NET Tools...
      - dotnet restore functions/*/NASAPicOfTheDay.csproj
      - cd functions/NASAPicOfTheDay
      - dotnet lambda package -c Release -f netcoreapp1.0 -o ../lambda_build/nasa-lambda-function.zip
      - echo Deploy Lambda function used in ASPNET application using AWS .NET Tools. Must be in path of Lambda function build 
      - cd $basePath
      - cd functions/NASAPicOfTheDay
      - dotnet lambda deploy-function NASAPicAPI -c Release -pac ../lambda_build/nasa-lambda-function.zip --profile-location funcprof -fd 'NASA API for Picture of the Day' -fn NASAPicAPI -fh NASAPicOfTheDay::NASAPicOfTheDay.SpacePic::GetNASAPicInfo -frun dotnetcore1.0 -frole arn:aws:iam::xxxxxxxxxxxx:role/lambda_exec_role -framework netcoreapp1.0 -fms 256 -ft 30  
      - echo Lambda function is now deployed - Now change directory back to Base path
      - cd $basePath
      - echo Restore started on `date`
      - dotnet restore AspNetCoreWebApplication/AspNetCoreWebApplication.csproj
      - echo Build started on `date`
      - dotnet publish -c release -o ./build_output AspNetCoreWebApplication/AspNetCoreWebApplication.csproj
    - AspNetCoreWebApplication/build_output/**/*
    - scripts/**/*
    - appspec.yml

That’s it! All that is left is for me to add and commit all my file additions and updates to the AWS CodeCommit git repository provisioned for my ASPNetCore4Tara project. This kicks off the AWS CodePipeline for the project which will now use AWS CodeBuild new support for .NET Core to build and deploy both the ASP.NET Core web application and the .NET AWS Lambda function.



The support for .NET Core in AWS CodeStar and AWS CodeBuild opens the door for .NET developers to take advantage of the benefits of Continuous Integration and Delivery when building .NET based solutions on AWS.  Read more about .NET Core support in AWS CodeStar and AWS CodeBuild here or review product pages for AWS CodeStar and/or AWS CodeBuild for more information on using the services.

Enjoy building .NET projects more efficiently with Amazon Web Services using .NET Core with AWS CodeStar and AWS CodeBuild.



AWS GovCloud (US) Heads East – New Region in the Works for 2018

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-govcloud-us-heads-east-new-region-in-the-works-for-2018/

AWS GovCloud (US) gives AWS customers a place to host sensitive data and regulated workloads in the AWS Cloud. The first AWS GovCloud (US) Region was launched in 2011 and is located on the west coast of the US.

I’m happy to announce that we are working on a second Region that we expect to open in 2018. The upcoming AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region will provide customers with added redundancy, data durability, and resiliency, and will also provide additional options for disaster recovery.

Like the existing region, which we now call AWS GovCloud (US-West), the new region will be isolated and meet top US government compliance requirements including International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), NIST standards, Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Moderate and High, Department of Defense Impact Levels 2-4, DFARs, IRS1075, and Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) requirements. Visit the GovCloud (US) page to learn more about the compliance regimes that we support.

Government agencies and the IT contactors that serve them were early adopters of AWS GovCloud (US), as were companies in regulated industries. These organizations are able to enjoy the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of public cloud while benefiting from the isolation and data protection offered by a region designed and built to meet their regulatory needs and to help them to meet their compliance requirements. Here’s a small sample from our customer base:

Federal (US) GovernmentDepartment of Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration 18F (Digital Services Delivery), NASA JPL, Defense Digital Service, United States Air Force, United States Department of Justice.

Regulated IndustriesCSRA, Talen Energy, Cobham Electronics.

SaaS and Solution ProvidersFIGmd, Blackboard, Splunk, GitHub, Motorola.

Federal, state, and local agencies that want to move their existing applications to the AWS Cloud can take advantage of the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) offered by AWS Professional Services.




European Astro Pi: Mission complete

Post Syndicated from David Honess original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/european-astro-pi-mission-complete/

In October last year, with the European Space Agency and CNES, we launched the first ever European Astro Pi challenge. We asked students from all across Europe to write code for the flight of French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Proxima mission.

The winners were announced back in March, and since then their code has been uploaded to the ISS and run in space!

Thomas Pesquet aboard the ISS with the Astro Pi units

French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet with the Astro Pi units. Image credit ESA.

Code from 64 student teams ran between 28 April and 10 May, supervised by Thomas, in the European Columbus module.

Astro Pi on Twitter

We can confirm student programs are finished, results are downloaded from @Space_Station and teams will receive their​ data by next week 🛰️📡

On 10 May the results, data, and log files were downloaded to the ground, and the following week they were emailed back to the student teams for analysis.

Ecole St-André d’E on Twitter

On vient de recevoir les données enregistrées par nos codes #python depuis l’ #iss @CNES @astro_pi @Thom_astro . Reste à analyser tout ça!

We’ve looked at the results, and we can see that many of the teams have been successful in their missions: congratulations to all of you! We look forward to reading your write-ups and blogs.

In pictures

In a surprise turn of events, we learnt that Thomas set up a camera to take regular pictures of the Astro Pi units for one afternoon. This was entirely voluntary on his part and was not scheduled as part of the mission. Thank you so much, Thomas!

Some lucky teams have some very nice souvenirs from the ISS. Here are a couple of them:

Astro Pi units on the ISS photographed by Thomas Pesquet

Juvara team – Italy (left) and South London Raspberry Jam – UK (right). Image credit ESA.

Astro Pi units on the ISS photographed by Thomas Pesquet

Astro Team – Italy (left) and AstroShot – Greece (right). Image credit ESA.

Until next time…

This brings the 2016/17 European Astro Pi challenge to a close. We would like to thank all the students and teachers who participated; the ESA Education, Integration and Implementation, Ground Systems, and Flight Control teams; BioTesc (ESA’s user operations control centre for Astro Pi); and especially Thomas Pesquet himself.

Thomas and Russian Soyuz commander Oleg Novitskiy return to Earth today, concluding their six-month stay on the ISS. After a three-hour journey in their Soyuz spacecraft, they will land in the Kazakh steppe at approximately 15:09 this afternoon. You can watch coverage of the departure, re-entry, and landing on NASA TV.

Astro Pi has been a hugely enjoyable project to work on, and we hope to be back in the new school year (2017-18) with brand-new challenges for teachers and students.


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How to Update AWS CloudHSM Devices and Client Instances to the Software and Firmware Versions Supported by AWS

Post Syndicated from Tracy Pierce original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-to-update-aws-cloudhsm-devices-and-client-instances-to-the-software-and-firmware-versions-supported-by-aws/

As I explained in my previous Security Blog post, a hardware security module (HSM) is a hardware device designed with the security of your data and cryptographic key material in mind. It is tamper-resistant hardware that prevents unauthorized users from attempting to pry open the device, plug in any extra devices to access data or keys such as subtokens, or damage the outside housing. The HSM device AWS CloudHSM offers is the Luna SA 7000 (also called Safenet Network HSM 7000), which is created by Gemalto. Depending on the firmware version you install, many of the security properties of these HSMs will have been validated under Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2, a standard issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for cryptography modules. These standards are in place to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the data stored on cryptographic modules.

To help ensure its continued use, functionality, and support from AWS, we suggest that you update your AWS CloudHSM device software and firmware as well as the client instance software to current versions offered by AWS. As of the publication of this blog post, the current non-FIPS-validated versions are 5.4.9/client, 5.3.13/software, and 6.20.2/firmware, and the current FIPS-validated versions are 5.4.9/client, 5.3.13/software, and 6.10.9/firmware. (The firmware version determines FIPS validation.) It is important to know your current versions before updating so that you can follow the correct update path.

In this post, I demonstrate how to update your current CloudHSM devices and client instances so that you are using the most current versions of software and firmware. If you contact AWS Support for CloudHSM hardware and application issues, you will be required to update to these supported versions before proceeding. Also, any newly provisioned CloudHSM devices will use these supported software and firmware versions only, and AWS does not offer “downgrade options.

Note: Before you perform any updates, check with your local CloudHSM administrator and application developer to verify that these updates will not conflict with your current applications or architecture.

Overview of the update process

To update your client and CloudHSM devices, you must use both update paths offered by AWS. The first path involves updating the software on your client instance, also known as a control instance. Following the second path updates the software first and then the firmware on your CloudHSM devices. The CloudHSM software must be updated before the firmware because of the firmware’s dependencies on the software in order to work appropriately.

As I demonstrate in this post, the correct update order is:

  1. Updating your client instance
  2. Updating your CloudHSM software
  3. Updating your CloudHSM firmware

To update your client instance, you must have the private SSH key you created when you first set up your client environment. This key is used to connect via SSH protocol on port 22 of your client instance. If you have more than one client instance, you must repeat this connection and update process on each of them. The following diagram shows the flow of an SSH connection from your local network to your client instances in the AWS Cloud.

Diagram that shows the flow of an SSH connection from your local network to your client instances in the AWS Cloud

After you update your client instance to the most recent software (5.3.13), you then must update the CloudHSM device software and firmware. First, you must initiate an SSH connection from any one client instance to each CloudHSM device, as illustrated in the following diagram. A successful SSH connection will have you land at the Luna shell, denoted by lunash:>. Second, you must be able to initiate a Secure Copy (SCP) of files to each device from the client instance. Because the software and firmware updates require an elevated level of privilege, you must have the Security Officer (SO) password that you created when you initialized your CloudHSM devices.

Diagram illustrating the initiation of an SSH connection from any one client instance to each CloudHSM device

After you have completed all updates, you can receive enhanced troubleshooting assistance from AWS, if you need it. When new versions of software and firmware are released, AWS performs extensive testing to ensure your smooth transition from version to version.

Detailed guidance for updating your client instance, CloudHSM software, and CloudHSM firmware

1.  Updating your client instance

Let’s start by updating your client instances. My client instance and CloudHSM devices are in the eu-west-1 region, but these steps work the same in any AWS region. Because Gemalto offers client instances in both Linux and Windows, I will cover steps to update both. I will start with Linux. Please note that all commands should be run as the “root” user.

Updating the Linux client

  1. SSH from your local network into the client instance. You can do this from Linux or Windows. Typically, you would do this from the directory where you have stored your private SSH key by using a command like the following command in a terminal or PuTTY This initiates the SSH connection by pointing to the path of your SSH key and denoting the user name and IP address of your client instance.
    ssh –i /Users/Bob/Keys/CloudHSM_SSH_Key.pem [email protected]

  1. After the SSH connection is established, you must stop all applications and services on the instance that are using the CloudHSM device. This is required because you are removing old software and installing new software in its place. After you have stopped all applications and services, you can move on to remove the existing version of the client software.

This command will remove the old client software, but will not remove your configuration file or certificates. These will be saved in the Chrystoki.conf file of your /etc directory and your usr/safenet/lunaclient/cert directory. Do not delete these files because you will lose the configuration of your CloudHSM devices and client connections.

  1. Download the new client software package: cloudhsm-safenet-client. Double-click it to extract the archive.

    Make sure you choose the Luna SA option when presented with it. Because the directory where your certificates are installed is the same, you do not need to copy these certificates to another directory. You do, however, need to ensure that the Chrystoki.conf file, located at /etc/Chrystoki.conf, has the same path and name for the certificates as when you created them. (The path or names should not have changed, but you should still verify they are same as before the update.)

  1. Check to ensure that the PATH environment variable points to the directory, /usr/safenet/lunaclient/bin, to ensure no issues when you restart applications and services. The update process for your Linux client Instance is now complete.

Updating the Windows client

Use the following steps to update your Windows client instances:

  1. Use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) from your local network into the client instance. You can accomplish this with the RDP application of your choice.
  2. After you establish the RDP connection, stop all applications and services on the instance that are using the CloudHSM device. This is required because you will remove old software and install new software in its place or overwrite If your client software version is older than 5.4.1, you need to completely remove it and all patches by using Programs and Features in the Windows Control Panel. If your client software version is 5.4.1 or newer, proceed without removing the software. Your configuration file will remain intact in the crystoki.ini file of your C:\Program Files\SafeNet\Lunaclient\ directory. All certificates are preserved in the C:\Program Files\SafeNet\Lunaclient\cert\ directory. Again, do not delete these files, or you will lose all configuration and client connection data.
  3. After you have completed these steps, download the new client software: cloudhsm-safenet-client. Extract the archive from the downloaded file, and launch the SafeNet-Luna-client-5-4-9\win\64\Lunaclient.msi Choose the Luna SA option when it is presented to you. Because the directory where your certificates are installed is the same, you do not need to copy these certificates to another directory. You do, however, need to ensure that the crystoki.ini file, which is located at C:\Program Files\SafeNet\Lunaclient\crystoki.ini, has the same path and name for the certificates as when you created them. (The path and names should not have changed, but you should still verify they are same as before the update.)
  4. Make one last check to ensure the PATH environment variable points to the directory C:\Program Files\SafeNet\Lunaclient\ to help ensure no issues when you restart applications and services. The update process for your Windows client instance is now complete.

2.  Updating your CloudHSM software

Now that your clients are up to date with the most current software version, it’s time to move on to your CloudHSM devices. A few important notes:

  • Back up your data to a Luna SA Backup device. AWS does not sell or support the Luna SA Backup devices, but you can purchase them from Gemalto. We do, however, offer the steps to back up your data to a Luna SA Backup device. Do not update your CloudHSM devices without backing up your data first.
  • If the names of your clients used for Network Trust Link Service (NTLS) connections has a capital “T” as the eighth character, the client will not work after this update. This is because of a Gemalto naming convention. Before upgrading, ensure you modify your client names accordingly. The NTLS connection uses a two-way digital certificate authentication and SSL data encryption to protect sensitive data transmitted between your CloudHSM device and the client Instances.
  • The syslog configuration for the CloudHSM devices will be lost. After the update is complete, notify AWS Support and we will update the configuration for you.

Now on to updating the software versions. There are actually three different update paths to follow, and I will cover each. Depending on the current software versions on your CloudHSM devices, you might need to follow all three or just one.

Updating the software from version 5.1.x to 5.1.5

If you are running any version of the software older than 5.1.5, you must first update to version 5.1.5 before proceeding. To update to version 5.1.5:

  1. Stop all applications and services that access the CloudHSM device.
  2. Download the Luna SA software update package.
  3. Extract all files from the archive.
  4. Run the following command from your client instance to copy the lunasa_update-5.1.5-2.spkg file to the CloudHSM device.
    $ scp –I <private_key_file> lunasa_update-5.1.5-2.spkg [email protected]<hsm_ip_address>:

    <private_key_file> is the private portion of your SSH key pair and <hsm_ip_address> is the IP address of your CloudHSM elastic network interface (ENI). The ENI is the network endpoint that permits access to your CloudHSM device. The IP address was supplied to you when the CloudHSM device was provisioned.

  1. Use the following command to connect to your CloudHSM device and log in with your Security Officer (SO) password.
    $ ssh –I <private_key_file> [email protected]<hsm_ip_address>
    lunash:> hsm login

  1. Run the following commands to verify and then install the updated Luna SA software package.
    lunash:> package verify lunasa_update-5.1.5-2.spkg –authcode <auth_code>
    lunash:> package update lunasa_update-5.1.5-2.spkg –authcode <auth_code>

    The value you will use for <auth_code> is contained in the lunasa_update-5.1.5-2.auth file found in the 630-010165-018_reva.tar archive you downloaded in Step 2.

  1. Reboot the CloudHSM device by running the following command.
    lunash:> sysconf appliance reboot

When all the steps in this section are completed, you will have updated your CloudHSM software to version 5.1.5. You can now move on to update to version 5.3.10.

Updating the software to version 5.3.10

You can update to version 5.3.10 only if you are currently running version 5.1.5. To update to version 5.3.10:

  1. Stop all applications and services that access the CloudHSM device.
  2. Download the v 5.3.10 Luna SA software update package.
  3. Extract all files from the archive.
  4. Run the following command to copy the lunasa_update-5.3.10-7.spkg file to the CloudHSM device.
    $ scp –i <private_key_file> lunasa_update-5.3.10-7.spkg [email protected]<hsm_ip_address>:

    <private_key_file> is the private portion of your SSH key pair and <hsm_ip_address> is the IP address of your CloudHSM ENI.

  1. Run the following command to connect to your CloudHSM device and log in with your SO password.
    $ ssh –i <private_key_file> [email protected]<hsm_ip_address>
    lunash:> hsm login

  1. Run the following commands to verify and then install the updated Luna SA software package.
    lunash:> package verify lunasa_update-5.3.10-7.spkg –authcode <auth_code>
    lunash:> package update lunasa_update-5.3.10-7.spkg –authcode <auth_code>

The value you will use for <auth_code> is contained in the lunasa_update-5.3.10-7.auth file found in the SafeNet-Luna-SA-5-3-10.zip archive you downloaded in Step 2.

  1. Reboot the CloudHSM device by running the following command.
    lunash:> sysconf appliance reboot

When all the steps in this section are completed, you will have updated your CloudHSM software to version 5.3.10. You can now move on to update to version 5.3.13.

Note: Do not configure your applog settings at this point; you must first update the software to version 5.3.13 in the following step.

Updating the software to version 5.3.13

You can update to version 5.3.13 only if you are currently running version 5.3.10. If you are not already running version 5.3.10, follow the two update paths mentioned previously in this section.

To update to version 5.3.13:

  1. Stop all applications and services that access the CloudHSM device.
  2. Download the Luna SA software update package.
  3. Extract all files from the archive.
  4. Run the following command to copy the lunasa_update-5.3.13-1.spkg file to the CloudHSM device.
    $ scp –i <private_key_file> lunasa_update-5.3.13-1.spkg [email protected]<hsm_ip_address>

<private_key_file> is the private portion of your SSH key pair and <hsm_ip_address> is the IP address of your CloudHSM ENI.

  1. Run the following command to connect to your CloudHSM device and log in with your SO password.
    $ ssh –i <private_key_file> [email protected]<hsm_ip_address>
    lunash:> hsm login

  1. Run the following commands to verify and then install the updated Luna SA software package.
    lunash:> package verify lunasa_update-5.3.13-1.spkg –authcode <auth_code>
    lunash:> package update lunasa_update-5.3.13-1.spkg –authcode <auth_code>

The value you will use for <auth_code> is contained in the lunasa_update-5.3.13-1.auth file found in the SafeNet-Luna-SA-5-3-13.zip archive that you downloaded in Step 2.

  1. When updating to this software version, the option to update the firmware also is offered. If you do not require a version of the firmware validated under FIPS 140-2, accept the firmware update to version 6.20.2. If you do require a version of the firmware validated under FIPS 140-2, do not accept the firmware update and instead update by using the steps in the next section, “Updating your CloudHSM FIPS 140-2 validated firmware.”
  2. After updating the CloudHSM device, reboot it by running the following command.
    lunash:> sysconf appliance reboot

  1. Disable NTLS IP checking on the CloudHSM device so that it can operate within its VPC. To do this, run the following command.
    lunash:> ntls ipcheck disable

When all the steps in this section are completed, you will have updated your CloudHSM software to version 5.3.13. If you don’t need the FIPS 140-2 validated firmware, you will have also updated the firmware to version 6.20.2. If you do need the FIPS 140-2 validated firmware, proceed to the next section.

3.  Updating your CloudHSM FIPS 140-2 validated firmware

To update the FIPS 140-2 validated version of the firmware to 6.10.9, use the following steps:

  1. Download version 6.10.9 of the firmware package.
  2. Extract all files from the archive.
  3. Run the following command to copy the 630-010430-010_SPKG_LunaFW_6.10.9.spkg file to the CloudHSM device.
    $ scp –i <private_key_file> 630-010430-010_SPKG_LunaFW_6.10.9.spkg [email protected]<hsm_ip_address>:

<private_key_file> is the private portion of your SSH key pair, and <hsm_ip_address> is the IP address of your CloudHSM ENI.

  1. Run the following command to connect to your CloudHSM device and log in with your SO password.
    $ ssh –i <private_key_file> manager#<hsm_ip_address>
    lunash:> hsm login

  1. Run the following commands to verify and then install the updated Luna SA firmware package.
    lunash:> package verify 630-010430-010_SPKG_LunaFW_6.10.9.spkg –authcode <auth_code>
    lunash:> package update 630-010430-010_SPKG_LunaFW_6.10.9.spkg –authcode <auth_code>

The value you will use for <auth_code> is contained in the 630-010430-010_SPKG_LunaFW_6.10.9.auth file found in the 630-010430-010_SPKG_LunaFW_6.10.9.zip archive that you downloaded in Step 1.

  1. Run the following command to update the firmware of the CloudHSM devices.
    lunash:> hsm update firmware

  1. After you have updated the firmware, reboot the CloudHSM devices to complete the installation.
    lunash:> sysconf appliance reboot


In this blog post, I walked you through how to update your existing CloudHSM devices and clients so that they are using supported client, software, and firmware versions. Per AWS Support and CloudHSM Terms and Conditions, your devices and clients must use the most current supported software and firmware for continued troubleshooting assistance. Software and firmware versions regularly change based on customer use cases and requirements. Because AWS tests and validates all updates from Gemalto, you must install all updates for firmware and software by using our package links described in this post and elsewhere in our documentation.

If you have comments about this blog post, submit them in the “Comments” section below. If you have questions about implementing this solution, please start a new thread on the CloudHSM forum.

– Tracy

New – USASpending.gov on an Amazon RDS Snapshot

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-usaspending-gov-on-an-amazon-rds-snapshot/

My colleague Jed Sundwall runs the AWS Public Datasets program. He wrote the guest post below to tell you about an important new dataset that is available as an Amazon RDS Snapshot. In the post, Jed introduces the dataset and shows you how to create an Amazon RDS DB Instance from the snapshot.


I am very excited to announce that, starting today, the entire public USAspending.gov database is available for anyone to copy via Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). USAspending.gov data includes data on all spending by the federal government, including contracts, grants, loans, employee salaries, and more. The data is available via a PostgreSQL snapshot, which provides bulk access to the entire USAspending.gov database, and is updated nightly. At this time, the database includes all USAspending.gov for the second quarter of fiscal year 2017, and data going back to the year 2000 will be added over the summer. You can learn more about the database and how to access it on its AWS Public Dataset landing page.

Through the AWS Public Datasets program, we work with AWS customers to experiment with ways that the cloud can make data more accessible to more people. Most of our AWS Public Datasets are made available through Amazon S3 because of its tremendous flexibility and ability to scale to serve any volume of any kind of data files. What’s exciting about the USAspending.gov database is that it provides a great example of how Amazon RDS can be used to share an entire relational database quickly and easily. Typically, sharing a relational database requires extract, transfer, and load (ETL) processes that require redundant storage capacity, time for data transfer, and often scripts to migrate your database schema from one database engine to another. ETL processes can be so intimidating and cumbersome that they’re effectively impossible for many people to carry out.

By making their data available as a public Amazon RDS snapshot, the team at USASPending.gov has made it easy for anyone to get a copy of their entire production database for their own use within minutes. This will be useful for researchers and businesses who want to work with real data about all US Government spending and quickly combine it with their own data or other data resources.

Deploying the USASpending.gov Database Using the AWS Management Console
Let’s go through the steps involved in deploying the database in your AWS account using the AWS Management Console.

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and select the US East (N. Virginia) region in the menu bar.
  2. Open the Amazon RDS Console and choose Snapshots in the navigation pane.
  3. In the filter for the search bar, select All Public Snapshots and search for 515495268755:
  4. Select the snapshot named arn:aws:rds:us-east-1:515495268755:snapshot:usaspending-db.
  5. Select Snapshot Actions -> Restore Snapshot. Select an instance size, and enter the other details, then click on Restore DB Instance.
  6. You will see that a DB Instance is being created from the snapshot, within your AWS account.
  7. After a few minutes, the status of the instance will change to Available.
  8. You can see the endpoint for your database on the main page along with other useful info:

Deploying the USASpending.gov Database Using the AWS CLI
You can also install the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) and use it to create a DB Instance from the snapshot. Here’s a sample command:

$ aws rds restore-db-instance-from-db-snapshot --db-instance-identifier my-test-db-cli \
  --db-snapshot-identifier arn:aws:rds:us-east-1:515495268755:snapshot:usaspending-db \
  --region us-east-1

This will give you an ARN (Amazon Resource Name) that you can use to reference the DB Instance. For example:

$ aws rds describe-db-instances \
  --db-instance-identifier arn:aws:rds:us-east-1:917192695859:db:my-test-db-cli

This command will display the Endpoint.Address that you use to connect to the database.

Connecting to the DB Instance
After following the AWS Management Console or AWS CLI instructions above, you will have access to the full USAspending.gov database within this Amazon RDS DB instance, and you can connect to it using any PostgreSQL client using the following credentials:

  • Username: root
  • Password: password
  • Database: data_store_api

If you use psql, you can access the database using this command:

$ psql -h my-endpoint.rds.amazonaws.com -U root -d data_store_api

You should change the database password after you log in:


If you can’t connect to your instance but think you should be able to, you may need to check your VPC Security Groups and make sure inbound and outbound traffic on the port (usually 5432) is allowed from your IP address.

Exploring the Data
The USAspending.gov data is very rich, so it will be hard to do it justice in this blog post, but hopefully these queries will give you an idea of what’s possible. To learn about the contents of the database, please review the USAspending.gov Data Dictionary.

The following query will return the total amount of money the government is obligated to pay for contracts awarded by NASA that include “Mars” or “Martian” in the description of the award:

select sum(total_obligation) from awards, subtier_agency 
  where (awards.description like '% MARTIAN %' OR awards.description like '% MARS %') 
  AND subtier_agency.name = 'National Aeronautics and Space Administration';

As I write this, the result I get for this query is $55,411,025.42. Note that the database is updated nightly and will include more historical data in the coming months, so you may get a different result if you run this query.

Now, here’s the same query, but looking for awards with “Jupiter” or “Jovian” in the description:

select sum(total_obligation) from awards, subtier_agency
  where (awards.description like '%JUPITER%' OR awards.description like '%JOVIAN%') 
  AND subtier_agency.name = 'National Aeronautics and Space Administration';

The result I get is $14,766,392.96.

Questions & Comments
I’m looking forward to seeing what people can do with this data. If you have any questions about the data, please create an issue on the USAspending.gov API’s issue tracker on GitHub.

— Jed

RethinkDB source relicensed, donated to the Linux Foundation

Post Syndicated from corbet original https://lwn.net/Articles/713716/rss

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation has announced
that it has purchased the rights to the RethinkDB NoSQL database and
contributed it to the Linux Foundation. In the process, the code was
relicensed from the Affero GPLv3 to the Apache license. “RethinkDB
is an open source, NoSQL, distributed document-oriented database that is in
production use today by hundreds of technology startups, consulting firms
and Fortune 500 companies, including NASA, GM, Jive, Platzi, the
U.S. Department of Defense, Distractify and Matters Media. Some of Silicon
Valley’s top firms invested $12.2 million over more than eight years in the
RethinkDB company to build a state-of-the-art database system, but were
unsuccessful in creating a sustainable business, and it shut down in
October 2016.

Announcing the first ever European Astro Pi Challenge!

Post Syndicated from Marc Scott original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/announcing-european-astro-pi-challenge/


Right now, 400km above the Earth aboard the International Space Station, are two very special pieces of hardware. Two Raspberry Pi computers are currently orbiting our planet, each equipped with a Sense HAT, a camera and a special aluminium flight case – and children all over Europe have the chance to program them.


Last year, in collaboration with the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency, we ran a competition that allowed students all over the UK to design experiments to run on the Astro Pi units. We sent their code into space with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake, who had a great time running all their programs. The data collected was then transmitted back down to Earth, so the winners of the competition – and everyone else – could analyse the results of their experiments as well.

Tim is safely back on Earth now, but French ESA Astronaut Thomas Pesquet is soon launching to the ISS, and he’s keen to see what students from all over Europe can do with the Astro Pi units too. So ESA, together with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, are launching a brand-new Astro Pi Challenge, and this time it’s open to children from every ESA member country.

Earthlights 2002

Children from across Europe can enter the European Astro Pi Challenge
Photo: Earthlights 2002 by NASA

This is an amazing opportunity for students all over Europe. What better way to learn about computing, science, and space than actually being able to run your very own experiments on board the International Space Station? Imagine being able to say that you played a part in a real ESA mission, that programs you wrote were executed in orbit, and that results from your experiments were analysed by children all over the world!

Astro Pi Mission

This is “Astro Pi Mission” by raspberrypi on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

If you’re a teacher or a student from an ESA member country, this is how you can take part:

  1. Assemble your mission team, which must include at least one support teacher as well as students under the age of 16.
  2. Use the Mission Plan Template to design a sample mission that showcases your approach to running a space mission, and demonstrates that you can break down your big idea into specific steps. Note that you don’t need to address the challenge at this stage. Submit your mission plan and register your participation**.
  3. If you’re picked to continue to the next phase, you will receive an Astro Pi kit and a mission challenge designed by Thomas Pesquet to test your team’s ingenuity and skills.
  4. If your solutions are picked, then your code will be beamed up to the ISS, installed on the Astro Pi units, and run by Thomas Pesquet.

To help you learn all about the Astro Pi units and gain the skills to use a Raspberry Pi equipped with a Sense HAT, we have a variety of resources that you can begin to work your way through. Just go to our resources section and have a look through the Astro Pi and Sense HAT resources. Even if you don’t have a Sense HAT yourself, you can still learn how to use one with either the stand-alone, desktop Sense HAT emulator or Trinket’s web-based emulator.

** Related links:

The post Announcing the first ever European Astro Pi Challenge! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Earth on AWS: A Home for Geospatial Data on AWS

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/earth-on-aws-a-home-for-geospatial-data-on-aws/

My colleague Joe Flasher is part of our Open Data team. He wrote the guest post below in order to let you know about our new Earth on AWS project.



In March 2015, we launched Landsat on AWS, a Public Dataset made up of imagery from the Landsat 8 satellite. Within the first year of launching Landsat on AWS, we logged over 1 billion requests for Landsat data and have been inpsired by our customers’ innovative uses of the data. Landsat on AWS showed that sharing data in the cloud makes it possible for anyone to build planetary-scale applications without the bandwidth, storage, memory and processing power limitations of conventional IT infrastructure

Today, we are launching Earth on AWS and making more large geospatial datasets openly available in the cloud so you can bring your algorithms to the data instead of being required to download them to your machine locally. But more than just making the data openly available, the Earth on AWS initiative will focus on providing resources to help you understand how to work with the data. We are also announcing an associated Call for Proposals for research utilizing the Earth on AWS datasets.

Making More Data Available
Earth on AWS currently contains the following data sets:

NAIP 1m Imagery
The National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) acquires aerial imagery during the agricultural growing seasons in the continental U.S.. Roughly 1 meter aerial imagery (Red, Green, Blue, NIR) is available on Amazon S3. Learn more about NAIP on AWS.

Terrain Tiles
Worldwide elevation data available in terrain vector tiles. Additionally, in the United States 10 meter NED data now augments the earlier NED 3 meter and 30 meter SRTM data for crisper, more consistent mountain detail. Tiles are available via Amazon S3. Learn more about terrain tiles.

GDELT – A Global Database of Society
The GDELT Project monitors the world’s broadcast, print, and web news from nearly every corner of every country in over 100 languages and identifies the people, locations, organizations, counts, themes, sources, emotions, counts, quotes, images, and events driving our global society every second of every day. Learn more about GDELT.

Landsat 8 Satellite Imagery
Landsat 8 data is available for anyone to use via Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). All Landsat 8 scenes from 2015 are available along with a selection of cloud-free scenes from 2013 and 2014. All new Landsat 8 scenes are made available each day, often within hours of production. The satellite images the entire Earth every 16 days at a roughly 30 meter resolution. Learn more about Landsat on AWS.

NEXRAD Weather Radar
The Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) is a network of 160 high-resolution Doppler radar sites that detects precipitation and atmospheric movement and disseminates data in approximately 5 minute intervals from each site. NEXRAD enables severe storm prediction and is used by researchers and commercial enterprises to study and address the impact of weather across multiple sectors. Learn more about NEXRAD on AWS.

SpaceNet Machine Learning Corpus
SpaceNet is a corpus of very high-resolution DigitalGlobe satellite imagery and labeled training data for researchers to utilize to develop and train machine learning algorithms. The dataset is made up of roughly 1,990 square kilometers of imagery at 50 cm resolution and 220,594 corresponding building footprints. Learn more about the SpaceNet corpus.

NASA Earth Exchange
The NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) makes it easier and more efficient for researchers to access and process earth science data. NEX datasets available on Amazon S3 include downscaled climate projections (including newly available Localized Constructed Analogs), global MODIS vegetation indices, and Landsat Global Land Survey data. Learn more about the NASA Earth Exchange.

Beyond Opening Data
Open data is only useful when you understand what it is and how to use it for your own purposes. To that end, Earth on AWS features videos and articles of customers talking about how they use geospatial data within their own workflows. From using Lambda to replace geospatial servers to studying migrating flocks of birds with radar data, there are a wealth of examples that you can learn from.

If you have an idea of how to use Earth on AWS data, we want to hear about it! There is an open Call for Proposals for research related to Earth on AWS datasets. Our goal with this Call for Proposals is to remove traditional barriers and allow students, educators and researchers to be key drivers of technological innovation and make new advances in their fields.

Thanks to Our Customers
We’d like to thank our customers at DigitalGlobe, Mapzen, Planet, and Unidata for working with us to make these datasets available on AWS.

We are always looking for new ways to work with large datasets and if you have ideas for new data we should be adding or ways in which we should be providing the data, please contact us.

Joe Flasher, Open Geospatial Data Lead, Amazon Web Services