If the Mayans are wrong, it's only a matter of time before some future generation of this thing wipes us all out anyway. Judgment Day is coming, folks.
Although DARPA previously reported that a "flight anomaly" had caused the vehicle to fail and enter a controlled dive, they weren't specific about the cause of failure. Well, now we know what happened: the aircraft was moving so far that its skin literally peeled away from its frame, sending it into a series of abrupt rolls.
The HTV-2 was able to right itself a few times -- no mean feat at 13,000 mph -- but it was eventually overpowered by impulsive shock waves and forced to enter failure mode.
DARPA and the Department of Defense haven't announced plans for further test flights, but the lessons learned from HTV-2 will likely be put to use in future hypersonic vehicles.
Boston Dynamics' humanoid PETMAN robot is now capable of climbing stairs, walking on a treadmill and doing pushups. It's currently serving as a model entry for DARPA's latest robotics challenge, which calls for a robot capable of "utilizing human tools."
Terminators robots will ideally have two arms, two legs, a torso and a head, and will be capable of responding to several different disaster scenarios. A humanoid form isn't a requirement to compete, though -- entries can take any form as long as they can use tools and be controlled by a non-expert operator.
The challenge has a top prize of $2 million.
DARPA's speedy Cheetah robot has set a new landspeed record for robots with legs, reaching speeds of 18 miles an hour. The 'bot topped the previous record of 13.1 MPH, set way back in 1989.
Although it still lags behind the fastest human runners -- topped by Usain Bolt and his amazing 28 mph world record -- the Cheetah's creators at Boston Dynamics hope it will one day mimic the 60-70 mph running speeds of an actual cheetah.
DARPA envisions the 'bot being used for "emergency response, firefighting, advanced agriculture and vehicular travel."
They'll be putting the Cheetah to the test within the next year, letting it off the treadmill for a live running exercise.