aWe're all used to the naming scheme that AMD has adopted for its GPUs, with the current high-end single GPU being the Radeon HD 7970. This is all going to change with the next generation of GPUs from the chipmaker, and we have some leaked specifications to now share with you.
The next-gen GPUs from AMD will adopt a new name, with the high-end GPU to arrive as the Hawaii R9 290X GPU. This GPU is set to be based off of AMD's second generation Graphics CoreNext architecture, based on a 28nm process and will go head-to-head with NVIDIA's best GPU, the GTX Titan. We should expect an estimated die area of 430 mm², which is 18% bigger than Tahiti.
On top of that, the R9 290X - this is going to get very confusing, but we'll get used to it soon enough - will feature 2,816 stream processors across 44 clusters of 64 stream processors each. This represents a 37.5% increase over its predecessor, Tahiti. Base clock speeds should float at around 900MHz, but we should see overclocked models that will pass this easily.
Tonight will be one of the last nights that you will be able to catch a trio of heavenly bodies hanging out in the night sky in the same neighborhood. This evening's sky watchers in the northern hemisphere will be treated to Saturn, Venus, and the Crescent Moon all within a few degrees of each other.
Tonight around 45 minutes after sunset, you will be able to look toward the southwestern sky and see the waxing crescent moon. To the lower right, you will see a very bright star which is actually the planet Venus. Above Venus, you will see another brightly lit star that will actually be the planet Saturn. The distance between the moon and Saturn will be roughly 5 degrees, which is equal to about half your fist or 3 fingers held at arm's length.
This will also be one of the last spectacular shows Saturn provides us for the year, because in just a few weeks, it will have dipped below the horizon and become visible to those in the southern hemisphere. For those of you with medium power binoculars or a telescope of at least 30-power, you would be able to view Saturn's rings tonight, even with it so close to the moon. I plan on taking out my telescope and imaging gear and getting a couple nice still shots of the trio. If you get any good shots, post them up in the comments and I will share them on our TweakTown Facebook Page.
Last Thursday, Virgin Galactic's private spaceship flew higher and faster than it has ever before. This experience provided company officials the confidence they needed to announce that the vehicle is on track to start taking passengers on suborbital jaunts next year.
This was the second time that Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo has had a rocket-powered test flight, which took off on Thursday morning from Mojave Air and Space Port in California. SpaceShipTwo reached a maximum altitude of 65,000 feet, and hit a top speed of Mach 1.6, which is 1.6 times the speed of sound - or around 761 mph.
The first test flight saw SpaceShipTwo reach just 56,000 feet and a speed of just Mach 1.2, which took flight on April 29.
Does Elon Musk get any sleep? I don't think so. The SpaceX founder has tweeted that he has invented a new way of creating rocket parts, by simply using hand gestures and a laser printer. He has posted a video showing this off, which is an incredible achievement.
Musk explains in the video above: "Right now we interact with computers in a very unnatural, 2D way. And we try to create these 3D objects using a variety of 2D tools. And it just doesn't feel natural - it doesn't feel normal, the way you should do things." Musk continues, demonstrating how he combined a bunch of technologies, including Oculus Rift, Leap Motion 3D controllers and holograms, in order to create a way to engineer a rocket engine, all without physically touching it.
Musk says that this system is "going to revolutionize design and manufacturing in the 21st century." The technology shown off by Musk is quite incredible, as it's all in early stages right now.
It has been quite a while since NASA has bothered with the moon in any great deal, but the US space agency is looking to make a lunar come back next month.
NASA sent up its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer from its Wallops Flight Facility launch pad based in Virginia. LADEE is currently orbiting the Earth at the moment, but next month it will be circling the moon conducting various experiments, all without a human being on-board the craft.
NASA will be using a Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration, which, in a nutshell is fancy laser-powered space Internet that puts anything you use to shame.
Recently, NASA released images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope that show off what scientists are describing as a "Cosmic Caterpillar" that stretches across the universe for nearly 6,000,000,000,000 miles. The so-called Caterpillar is actually a massive cloud of space dust and gas that is collapsing in on itself to form a new star.
Unfortunately for the could-be new star, there are roughly 65 very large and extremely hot stars lurking nearby that can be seen on the right side of the image. These started producing what is said to be a powerful stellar wind, which is doing its best to disperse the cloud of gas and dust and form the long tail-like structure seen in the image. Additionally, 500 less bright stars are in the vicinity, which are adding to the destructive forces at large.
At the moment, it is unclear if the "caterpillar cloud"--or IRAS 20324+4057--will be able to fight back by gathering enough mass to counteract the erosion. However, it could eventually one day collect enough material to collapse into a very bright and quite large star, but everyone reading this will have long been dead and forgotten about before that event happens.
Our final science Friday post for this week is a story about rebirth, about breathing new life into a hibernating spacecraft to help hunt for near Earth asteroids. Today, NASA announced that it would be bringing the WISE Space Telescope back online and tasking it with an entirely new mission.
Before being mothballed for 2.5 years, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer Telescope, aka WISE, spent 13 months composing a map of the entire sky that highlighted comets, asteroids, stars, and other objects that emit infrared light. As an additional feature to the survey, WISE also hunted asteroids that could pass relatively close to Earth at some point in the future.
Today's announcement states that NASA will bring WISE out of mothballs for a three-year mission, during which it will hunt for asteroids that may be on a collision course with the earth. Additionally, NASA is hoping to find a few non-threatening asteroids that would allow the space agency to use them as targets for a robotic mission that would relocate an asteroid into a safe and stable orbit around the moon.
It's that time again: it's Friday and that means more Science Friday news posts here at TweakTown! Today, a new report straight from NASA says the sun fired off an intense solar storm in the form of a Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME, that was aimed directly at the Earth early Wednesday morning.
The event took place around 1:24 AM EDT and sent billions of tons of charged particles steaming full speed ahead straight at Earth at a rate of 380 miles per second, or 1.3 million miles per hour. The storm is expected to reach the Earth on Saturday, however, do not let that scare you as our atmosphere will effectively block all of the harmful radiation that is headed our way. Those in the extreme north and south of both hemispheres can expect to see some awesome aurora over the next few days.
A statement from NASA confirmed that no one need to fear as this sort of event happens all the time. "These particles cannot travel through the atmosphere to harm humans on Earth, but they can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground," NASA officials explained in a statement. Head over to Source #2 to see an animated GIF of Wednesdays CME taking place.
What a treat! I get to write two SpaceTT posts in one day! Stargazers across the northern hemisphere are witnessing a rare occurrence happening right before our eyes. A nova in the constellation Delphinus has brightened over the last couple of days to a magnitude 5.0 and has allowed naked eye viewing of the astronomical phenomenon.
In the upper left-hand corner of the image above, you can see Nova Del 2013 appearing as a large star shining brightly in a sea of fainter stars. What you are actually witnessing is a binary star system in which the larger star is having its hydrogen stripped off by the much smaller white dwarf star. As is fresh layer of hydrogen grows thicker and more dense, the lower layers erupt in a runaway hydrogen-fusion reaction. As the reaction takes place, the star grows much hotter and brightens in the night sky.
To get an idea of how large this explosion is, one can simply imagine what a hydrogen bomb the size of the Earth would look like. The nova was discovered on August 14 by astronomer Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata, Japan, around 2PM EDT. It was originally listed as a magnitude 17 in brightness, and has since grown 100,000 times in brightness. The event will most likely only last for a few more days, so if you have clear, dark skies, you might just be able to see it with your naked eye. Tossing in visual aid from binoculars or a telescope will greaten one's chance at observing the nova.
Some of you might remember a post that I did a little over a week ago about the Perseid meteor shower. If you did not have a chance to view it with your own eyes, you truly missed out on something special. Luckily, it happens every year and you can plan to check it out next year. In any event, reliving such a wonderful astronomical event is always fun and Vimeo user Kai Gradert has uploaded a time lapse video of the event from the nights of August 10 and 11.
The video was shot during a photography workshop that was held in the Joshua Tree National Park. Gradert captured the footage with a Canon 6D using 14mm and 16mm wide angle lenses on a Kessler CineSlider mount. The stunning footage of the Milky Way, along with the incoming meteors and a few planes and satellites coming from the opposite direction, make this one of the best Perseid meteor shower videos I have seen to date.
News came in overnight that NASA has decided to call off all efforts dedicated to repairing its crippled Kepler Space Telescope. The 0.95-meter space telescope was launched four years ago with the task of discovering Earth-size planets orbiting nearby stars. The mission has widely been considered a success with hundreds of new planets now catalogued.
A few months back, the telescope's gyroscopic reaction wheels began failing, and this makes precisely aligning the telescope for stable long exposure shots impossible. Kepler resides in such a high orbit that even if we had a servicing robot or still flew space shuttles, we would simply not be able to reach it and as such, NASA has decided to end all efforts attempting to revive the telescope.
With Kepler gone and the Hubble space telescope quickly nearing its end of life, our only hope for outer space imaging sources now relies on the constantly threatened James Web Space Telescope. Unfortunately, it appears that every time our lawmakers start talking budgets, the James Webb is always the first to take the hit. I don't normally do this sort of thing, but if you like the images that the Hubble provides, and think hunting for new earth-like planets is a good thing, then please contact your local congressman and let them know that the James Webb space telescope is a good thing.
It has been 35 years since NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft blasted off from terra firma and headed into the final frontier. During this journey, the space probe has visited Saturn, Jupiter, and has even managed to leave our solar system. Well maybe it has left, or maybe it is still here. Not even NASA is sure whether or not Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space.
If you're a space buff like me, I know what you're thinking, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced last year that Voyager 1 has in fact left our solar system and is now streaking through interstellar space. Unfortunately, the original Voyager science team seems to think otherwise.
To toss even more confusion into the mix, both the University of Maryland as well as Boston University both agree that Voyager 1 actually reached interstellar space on July 27, 2012, and for the moment, NASA has agreed to simply disagree and released a statement saying that they simply have no idea where Voyager 1 actually it.
A newly released video from NASA is showing us how astronauts will soon be able to create replacement parts for the space station using a 3-D printer while in orbit. The video elaborates on why 3-D printing in space is an important achievement and how it can be used to lessen the cost of space exploration.
The prototype printer shown in the video appears to be of the normal added-deposition style much like consumer level, hobbyist grade printers we have here on earth. The hot end appears to be of similar design to that used on many of the RepRap derivatives such as the Lulzbot, Mendel, and Prusa 3-D printers. A spokeswoman for NASA says that the first 3-D printer to travel to space is scheduled to launch in June 2014 aboard the SpaceX 5 ISS resupply mission.
August holds a special event for stargazers across the nation in the form of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. This astronomical event occurs on an annual basis and produces more fireballs and "shooting stars" than any other meteor shower. During its peak, stargazers could see more than 100 meteors per hour with some streaking across the sky as bright fireballs.
"We have found that one meteor shower produces more fireballs than any other," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office said in a statement. "It's the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on August 12 and 13."
Cook and a team of scientists from NASA have placed meteor observing cameras across the southern United States in an effort to count the amount of fireballs produced during the Perseid event and between 2008 and 2013, the project logged 568 fireballs. This is significantly more than next largest meteor shower event, The Geminids.
The world's smallest re-creation of the Mona Lisa has been painted on a surface that is just 30 microns in width, which is roughly one-third as wide as a human hair. This tiny feat was accomplished by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and used a process known as ThermoChemical NanoLithography, which is similar to the process used to etch the circuitry on the silicon used in microprocessors.
The process uses a precise application of heat in a painstaking process that "paints" the image pixel by pixel. Varying the amount of heat allows for changes in in the darkness of the gray used to illustrate the image. For example, the more heat used in a single pixel, the darker that pixel will be. Likewise, less heat produces a lighter pixel.
"By tuning the temperature, our team manipulated chemical reactions to yield variations in the molecular concentrations on the nanoscale. We've created a way to make independent patterns of multiple chemicals on a chip that can be drawn in whatever shape you want," Jennifer Curtis, an associate professor in the School of Physics and the study's lead author, said in a statement.
Oculus Rift, apart from being awesome, is being used everywhere, but one of the best uses for it so far has to be NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's super immersive space exploration, which lets you walk the surface of Mars.
The NASA JPL team were pumped for Rift when they first used it at PAX last year, signing up for a developer kit right away. Engadget interviewed Human Interfaces Engineer, Victor Luo, who said they added terrain imagery that was snapped from satellites so that they could actually "walk" on the red planet using an Xbox controller "with up to 25 centimeters per pixel."
Luo thought it would be great to actually physically 'walk' on Mars, so they contacted Virtuix Omni to get one of their treadmills. The Virtuix team were near the JPL labs when E3 2013 was cranking along, and hand delivered an Omni to the excited people at NASA's JPL laboratories. The team hooked the unit up and were able to "wander around" the surface of Mars. Incredible.
Canada's Next-Generation Canadarm (NGC) have developed a new version of their robotic space arm that will help out with space exploration. The program itself is designed to support missions in both low-Earth orbit, and deep space.
The next-gen robotic arm will be used for jobs from repairing communications satellites to helping out on manned missions to the moon, asteroids, Mars, and other vast parts of the universe. Alain Ouellet, the Director of Space Exploration Development at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) said:
"With the retirement of the space shuttle, a new generation of crewed space exploration vehicles will soon become available. However, these new vehicles are much smaller in size compared to the space shuttle, and therefore there is a need to adapt the robotic arm technology developed for the shuttle and the International Space Station."
If you thought NSA's PRISM system was invasive to your privacy, just wait until you hear what the National Taiwan University team has been up to. Lead by Hao-hua Chu, they've just tested prototypes of a new tooth sensor that is capable of detecting if you're smoking or overeating.
The team tested them in eight people's dentures, with the sensor featuring accelerometers that are capable of detecting the difference between chewing, smoking, speaking and coughing, roughly 94% of the time. It can only get better, with next-gen versions possibly detecting the type of food you're eating, which would be a huge step for health.
The biggest issue is scientists first have to create an on-power power source, as the prototypes currently run from external batteries, and secondly mouth-safe Bluetooth connectivity so that it can transmit data to smartphones. The team are already talking about shrinking the tooth sensor down so that it could fit inside cavities or crowns.
ScienceFriday: Hubble captures breathtaking image of Comet ISON, one of the greatest comets humans will ever see
It has been several months since I have made a Science Friday post here at TweakTown and I have been wanting to bring it back. So many of you have mentioned how much you enjoyed them, so I am going to attempt to make 1-2 science related posts every Friday. Today, NASA released a breathtaking image of Comet ISON taken with the Hubble Space Telescope back on April 30. The image shows ISON streaking through our solar system with many stars and faint galaxies in the background.
The image is comprised of five photos that the researchers at NASA stitched together to form such a wide field of view. "The result is part science, part art," Josh Sokol of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., which operates Hubble, wrote in a blog post last week. "It's a simulation of what our eyes, with their ability to dynamically adjust to brighter and fainter objects, would see if we could look up at the heavens with the resolution of Hubble."
Comet ISON, is a sungrazing comet discovered on September 21, 2012, by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. The discovery was made using a 0.4 meter--16 in--reflecting telescope. As the comet warms as it moves closer to the sun, its rate of sublimation (a process similar to evaporation in which solid matter transitions directly into gas) will increase. The comet will get brighter and its tail will grow longer. The comet is predicted to reach naked-eye visibility in November.
Now this is a scary piece of news. A group of MIT researchers have successfully implanted false memories into the minds of test mice, with a study published in the journal, Science.
The experiment was designed to look at the phenomenon known as "false memory syndrome", where the brain creates recollections of events that have never actually happened: you know, like seeing a black cat twice in The Matrix. By playing with the memory engram-bearing cells in the hippocampus, the MIT researchers convinced a bunch of mice that they had experienced shock to their feet, without physically doing anything different than just standing there.
Now, all this team has to do is sell me a dream pill that gives me the ability to "dream" some "memories". We could call it "iDream", should I go and get a patent on that?
86 years ago, the University of Queensland in Australia began conducting an experiment in which the flow rate of a piece of pitch was measured. For those of you who may not know what pitch is, it's a highly viscous liquid which, for all intents and purposes, appears to be solid. Bitumen is the most commonly used form and at room temperature, this tar pitch flows at a very slow rate sometimes taking up to a decade or more for a single drop to fall.
The University of Queensland is not the only institution studying this phenomenon. Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland has also been conducting their own experiment since 1944. Finally after 69 long years, the first drop of pitch has finally fallen. The drop occurred on July 11, 2013 at 5 PM local time and webcams that were set up last April were on hand to catch this extremely rare occurrence.
While some of you may not understand the excitement, I find in things like this let me break down how many times human eyes have missed seeing this event take place. According to Prof. John Mainstone of the University of Queensland, he has missed several opportunities to witness the drop happening with his own eyes. First in 1979, Mainstone said that he skipped one of his usual Sunday campus visits and coincidentally the drop happened the same day. Then again in 1988, Mainstone left his lab to grab a snack and apparently missed the drop by just five minutes. Finally in 2000, fed up with missing the drop, Mainstone set up a camera but unfortunately a glitch at the moment of the drop prevented any video of the event occurring.