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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 39

DNA used to store MP3 files, holds 2.2 petabytes per gram

Researchers out of the European Bioinformatics Institute are claiming to have successfully encoded 154 Shakespeare sonnets, as well as an MP3 of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and crammed it all into a single DNA strand. This information costs of around 739KB of data.

 

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Better yet, researchers were able to read those files again with 100% accuracy leading to the possibilities of eventually storing data within the strands of our DNA. With DNA being just chemical-based instruction manuals for developing highly complex organisms with a seemingly never ending variety of permutations. A researcher involved with the testing said:

 

We realized that DNA itself is a really efficient way of storing information. Over a second beer, we started to write on napkins and sketch out some details of how that might be made to work.

 

A single gram of DNA can is capable of storing an incredible 2.2 petabytes of information, with the paper claiming "We recovered 757,051 bytes of information from 337 pg of DNA (above), giving an information storage density of ~2.2 PB/g (= 757,051/337 x 10-12)".

Happy 9th birthday to NASA's Opportunity rover

We'd like to extend our warmest wishes to Opportunity for it's ninth birthday today. Opportunity originally landed on the Red Planet late January 24, 2004, three weeks after a twin rover named Spirit landed. Unfortunately, Opportunity is likely lonely as the twin rover stopped functioning in 2010.

 

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Curiosity can keep Opportunity company. Opportunity was originally only supposed to have a 90-day mission, so it has far exceeded that in the past nine years.

 

"No one could've imagined how good the exploration and scientific discovery would be for this vehicle, looking from the perspective of nine years ago," said John Callas, Opportunity's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It's been a phenomenal accomplishment."

 

Thanks to Opportunity's long life, it's odometer is getting close to the record for most ground covered on the surface of another world. Currently, the Soviet's Lunokhod 2 holds the record with 23 miles traversed on the moon. Opportunity sits at 22.03 miles on its odometer. Here's to another nine years of life!

Listen to the sound of the sun, generated from data gathered by SOHO

Ever wonder what the sun sounds like? Well, you can now find out for sure thanks to Robert Alexander. He is a data sonification specialist, which basically means he turns numbers into sounds and music. "I think of myself as an explorer," Alexander says in the video below. "I live in the space between art and science and technology."

 

 

Alexander relied on data collected by SOHO, the Solar Heliospheric Observatory, to generate the music. Motherboard's Michael Byrne says, "He's rendered solar flares as a human choir, and turned the sun's rotation into a a tribal beat." He managed to detect a hum from the data, which cycled every 27 days, the same rotational period as the sun.

 

Take a look at the video and let us know what you think of it. It really does the best job of explaining it.

SpaceTT: Evidence of once water filled lake found on Mars, says NASA

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found evidence that the 57 mile wide, 1.4 mile deep McLaughlin Crator once was filled with water that flowed from an underground source.

 

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The evidence lies in the bottom of the crator where there are layered, flat rocks which contain carbonate and other minerals that form only in the presence of water. Small channels in the crator wall also resemble something you might find in a dried up lake bed here on Earth.

 

The findings were published in the latest edition of Nature Geoscience, and lend even more evidence that Mars could have once been a habitable planet. "This new report and others are continuing to reveal a more complex Mars than previously appreciated, with at least some areas more likely to reveal signs of ancient life than others," said Rich Zurek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Continue reading 'SpaceTT: Evidence of once water filled lake found on Mars, says NASA' (full post)

SpaceTT: NASA tests transmitting data with lasers by beaming Mona Lisa into space

A successful test of laser communication has just been complete by researchers at NASA according to Space.com. The agency tested laser transmission of data into space by beaming the Mona Lisa from earth to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter some 240,000 miles away.

 

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The LRO, which has been orbiting the moon since 2009, was chosen over other space craft because it was already fitted with laser communication gear. The image of the Mona Lisa was subdivided into 150 x 200 pixel segments and then beamed to the LRO from the Goddard Flight Center at a rate of about 300 bits per second.

 

"This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances," said David Smith, a researcher working with the LRO's Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter. "In the near future, this type of simple laser communication might serve as a backup for the radio communication that satellites use."

SpaceTT: NASA unveils 'BEAM', an inflatable habitat module for ISS

Earlier this week, I reported on NASA's plans to add an inflatable habitat module to the International Space Station. Today the space agency has released photos and a simulation animation on how the module will connect to the ISS.

 

Officially named the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM for short, the module will test expandable space habitat technology. While early reports showed the module as being quite large, the photo above is said to depict the actual size of the module that will fly into space.

 

 

BEAM is scheduled to launch on SpaceX's eighth cargo resupply mission to the ISS, which has been contracted by NASA for some time in 2015. As seen in the video above, astronauts will use the stations robotic arm to install the inflatable BEAM module and a two year test of the module will commence.

Continue reading 'SpaceTT: NASA unveils 'BEAM', an inflatable habitat module for ISS' (full post)

SpaceTT: Astronomers discover largest objects in known universe

A multinational team of astronomers have discovered the largest objects in the known universe. In research led by the University of Central Lancashire, the team recently observed a large quasar group comprised of dozens of highly energetic "star-like" objects.

 

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Each object averages about 500 Megaparsecs, with the entire group being close to 1,200 Megaparsecs at its widest point. If that makes no sense to you, the distance between our Milky Way, and our closest neighboring galaxy, Andromeda, is about 0.75 Megaparsecs. If this new object was within 100 light-years of Earth, it would dominate the entire night sky. For those who are curious, 1 Megaparsec equals 3,261,633.44 light years.

 

This discovery will have huge implications on the study of cosmology. Einstein's Cosmological Principal states that the universe looks the same regardless of the observation point when viewed at a large enough scale. If you combine this principal with modern theories, we shouldn't be able to find objects larger than 370Mpc. This new quasar group is not the first to question Einstein's theory either. Other smaller objects have been discovered that add weight to the challenge.

HzO dips smartphone in beer, it lives to tell the tale

CES 2013 - Walking the halls of the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas last week, we came across a demo from HzO which was super impressive. They've developed a proprietary nanotechnology that uses nanocoating that gets applied to the internal components of a device.

 

 

After this, the device is put through a vapor deposition process and voila, your smart device is pretty much water proof. The demo involved dropping a smartphone into a bowl of beer and it survived. The phone was taken out of the beer, quickly dumped in some water, and had the battery reinserted. It was turned on in front of our eyes and it worked.

 

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Can this be applied to all technology, yesterday? Thanks, HzO.

World not going to end in 2029 or 2036 due to Apophis astroid

Fans of the end of the world will have to wait just a bit longer to start cheering. NASA has just released information that the world will not be ending in an explosion caused by an asteroid in 2029 or 2036. Previously, the Apophis asteroid was thought that it could hit the Earth in 2036, with a low chance of collision in 2029.

 

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NASA's new data suggests that there is only a one in a million chance of the asteroid colliding with Earth in 2036, which is small enough for NASA to effectively rule out the collision. NASA says that interest in the Asteroid will now be purely scientific for the foreseeable future.

 

The asteroid will pass within 9.3 million miles of the Earth, which is a bit close for my comfort. However, it's far enough away that nobody will need to build bunkers. So, until the next space scare, put away your end of the world gear.

SpaceTT: NASA buys inflatable ISS expansion module for $17.8m

When we think of inflatables, we usually picture the moon bounce or giant slides often seen at amusement parks and children's birthday parties. NASA has other plans for the inflatable technology though, commissioning a $17.8 million inflatable space habitat.

 

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A contract between Bigelow Airspace and NASA was just signed for the construction of an inflatable and expandable module for the International Space Station. Bigelow Airspace was chosen because they already have a few prototype habitats orbiting earth.

 

Last year Bigelow Airspace partnered up with SpaceX to launch its BA 330, seen above, sometime in 2015. It is unsure at this time if NASA will launch the new expansion module or if SpaceX will be handling the delivery. Further details on the new ISS expansion are due this Wednesday, and I will be covering the event, so stay tuned for more information.

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