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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 52

Lunar Eclipse this Saturday, visible in Australia and parts of Asia, won't be seen against until 2014

By: Array

Want to see something you won't be able to see again for another three years? Well, be outside on Saturday and you'll see a lunar eclipse. It will only be visible from Australia and in some parts of Asia.


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The entire moon will turn red, as it falls behind Earth's darkest shadow. Sydney Observatory's Geoffrey Wyatt says:


People will see the shadow of the earth moving across the moon, and for 52 minutes witness the usually milky white moon turn a blood-red rusty colour.


This is the second total lunar eclipse this year, with the previous one in May. Wyatt says that the east coast will be the one of the best places on Earth to see the eclipse. It is set to start at around 11:30pm on Saturday, and last for around three hours.


Thank you to my wife for reminding me of this news!

2005 YU55, a 400m-wide Asteroid that will fly past Earth on November 9 at just 324,600km

By: Array

For those of you who don't know, there is a 400m-wide asteroid called "2005 YU55" that will fly past us (and in-between the Moon) on November 9. It will fly past at just 324,600km away, which is 0.85 the distance of the Moon itself, it won't kill us; but it is close enough to be news-worthy.


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According to NASA, the "trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood", so there's no dangers whatsoever. The asteroid won't have any gravitational influence on Earth, so it won't make volcanoes go off or cause Earthquakes, etc. But, our gravitational pull might re-direct 2005 YU55. This is something NASA don't really cover, because it will [of course] most likely cause panic.


Also remember, that on the same day, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) along with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be running a nationwide event coordinated by those agencies and administrations. Come November 9, there will be a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in which the test will be heard on the radio and seen on local, cable and satellite TV.

Continue reading '2005 YU55, a 400m-wide Asteroid that will fly past Earth on November 9 at just 324,600km' (full post)

SpaceX set to have a man in space in there years, also sets goal of Man on Mars within two decades

By: Array

Elon Musk of SpaceX has made pretty bold moves here, he's saying that his company will "probably" have a man in space within the next three years and has another goal of having men on Mars within the next 10 to 20 years.


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SpaceX earlier this month unveiled plans for the "world's most powerful rocket", the Falcon Heavy, mere weeks from receiving NASA's $75 million gift in hopes of kick-starting development of it's commercial spaceflight projects. Musk's enthusiasm is great, with an excellent quote from him below:


Continue reading 'SpaceX set to have a man in space in there years, also sets goal of Man on Mars within two decades' (full post)

Reprogrammable chip - upgradeable over time

By: Array

This could well be the future folks, reprogrammable chips. Startup company, Tabula, is trying to create the hardware equivalent of software - a chip that over time, can have hardware improvements without completely replacing the device. If a programmable chip like this makes it to the market, it would replace the current mantra of replacing the entire device when a new, faster device comes out.


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The idea isn't new, field programmable gate array (FPGA) is a similar technology which is used in some finished devices or prototypes before production begins. But right now FPGA chips are large as they require all the space for the reprogrammable circuitry. This of course makes them slow and expensive.


Continue reading 'Reprogrammable chip - upgradeable over time' (full post)

1950 FBI memo confirms flying saucers crashing in New Mexico, disclosure FTW

By: Array

For years people have wondered, talked about, made movies about, created successful businesses locally and internationally, sold goods and accessories, all around the Roswell incident involving UFOs that crashed. Files have now appeared on the FBI's "vault" website that was once devoted to classified documents have now become public.


The memo is brief but it's from an Air Force informant about "flying saucers". The memo has FBI agent Guy Hottel saying what an "investigator for the Air Forces" told him about what is called "the Roswell incident", Hottel says:


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Three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico . . . they were described as being circular in shape with raised centres, approximately 50 feet in diameter . . . Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in a metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.

Continue reading '1950 FBI memo confirms flying saucers crashing in New Mexico, disclosure FTW' (full post)

MIT Labs Develops Kinect-Based Teleconference Interface

By: Array

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Lining Yao, Anthony DeVincenzi, Ramesh Raskar, and Hiroshi Ishii from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab have developed a prototypal teleconference interface demonstration using Microsoft's Kinect sensor array.


Featured in their demo video, Lining (Lizzie) and Anthony (Tony) show off some of the features they managed to successfully implement. In their interactive interface, speakers will be given time-bubbles that pop up over their respective heads, tracking the length of time that each is speaking. Amazingly, the clock stops as soon as the person stops speaking, meaning the program is recognizing voices individually. A cool feature (that may need a bit of tweaking, but cool nonetheless) they also included is the automation of focus- when a person is speaking, the focus of the camera changes, ensuring that everything but the speaker is blurry. This wasn't as successfully implemented as the time-tracker, but a very interesting idea, especially for someone like me with rampant ADD.


Speaking of ADD, I have many problems when it comes to not answering or responding to portable phone vibrations, so this next feature made me sigh in relief that someone was actually working on it. The MIT team developed a way that a person in a teleconference can actually freeze an image of themselves, for instance sitting at a table with a rapt...


Continue reading 'MIT Labs Develops Kinect-Based Teleconference Interface' (full post)

Carbon Nanotubes make the world's lightest material weigh even less

By: Array

Aerogel is a material that is a solid but has a tiny bit of weight to it making it the lightest solid material in the world. The translucent nature of the material has led to it being dubbed frozen smoke. The aerogel has been redesigned by researchers to make it even lighter weight using carbon nanotubes. The new material is called multiwalled carbon nanotube aerogel.




The researchers think that the material might be useful in electronics, inside chemical reactors, and to detect toxic substances. Traditional aerogels are made from silica, metal oxides, and other materials. Making an aerogel from carbon nanotubes has been tried before and is difficult to do.


The researchers that created the new material started with a liquid solution of carbon nanotubnes and then removed the liquid from the wet gel leaving behind the aerogel with a huge surface area. If all the nanotubes inside a one-ounce cube were unraveled and laid side to side and end to end they would cover three football fields.


RR Auction sells off some really cool space memorabilia with Astronaut autographs

By: Array

I was born too late to be part of the golden age of space flight. The first thing I remember about space was the Challenger disaster when I was in grade school. I think it was cool that with the tech of the era we were able to put men on the moon. If you are a fan of auctions and the golden age of space flight, you can get your hands on some really cool space related items, if you have the loot.




The coolest item in the auction in my book is the little American flag that went to the moon on Apollo 11. The flag is mounted on a special card and has autographs by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. The card is autographed by Armstrong to a sports shop owner from Texas named Rooster Andrews.


Apparently, Rooster was an astronaut pal. You can also get yourself an autographed 60's Playboy centerfold pic that orbited the Earth if that is more your style. There are all sorts of items in the auction including some really old freeze-dried food.


Google send an Android into Space - no one hears it scream

By: Array

Google have sent their mascot, the Android, into space. The 30, 000m trip was done with a Nexus S and recorded various data with it's GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer.



A few super-powers of the Nexus S were found in the process. The Nexus S can function up to an altitude of 18, 000m and temperatures of as low as -50c.


Voyager 1 to exit our solar system soon

By: Array

NASA's Voyager 1 began it's journey in 1977 leaving Earth for the unknown. It has been surfing the solar winds for this entire time taking pictures along it's journey and slowly updating it's Facebook status update.


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It's now on it's way out of our solar system and nearing the edge of the Heliopause (the official edge of our solar system). Voyager 1 is currently a staggering 10-billion miles away and it issuing out "solid zeroes" which means it's not detecting any more outward movement from solar winds.


Continue reading 'Voyager 1 to exit our solar system soon' (full post)

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