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There was two interesting pieces of aero/astro related news in this week’s IEEE Spectrum. First, the announcement by Russia of a new manned space program, whose goal is to send humans to Mars. More than the talks about international cooperation mentioned in the article, I think (unfortunately perhaps) it’s only international competition and the development of new space programs in Russia, China, India, etc., that will settle the current relatively sterile debates around Nasa’s own programs, in particular going to Mars or back to the Moon.

And a funny new UAV, developped by a German team. The applications would be the usual ones, surveillance and emergency communications. But what’s more interesting is that there is absolutely no pilot in the loop here controlling the aircraft remotely. So this leaves us with a lot of opportunities to improve autonomy technology and safe integration into the airspace.

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