Limbless organisms such as snakes can navigate nearly all terrain. In particular, desert-dwelling sidewinder rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerastes) operate effectively on inclined granular media (such as sand dunes) that induce failure in field-tested limbless robots through slipping and pitching. Our laboratory experiments reveal that as granular incline angle increases, sidewinder rattlesnakes increase the length of their body in contact with the sand. Implementing this strategy in a physical robot model of the snake enables the device to ascend sandy slopes close to the angle of maximum slope stability.
An American Atlas V 401 rocket successfully launched today, October 29th 2014, at 17:21 UTC carrying the GPS IIF-8 satellite into orbit for the US Air Force. The Atlas V 401 rocket was the 50th launch of an Atlas V vehicle. This is ULA's 12th launch in 2014, and the 89th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.