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Better Earth

Earth's rotation may account for wayward spacecraft



boeing wideband global SATCOM satellite
©Unknown
Ark

Ancient Tomb Found on Greek Island

ATHENS, Greece - Road construction on the western Greek island of Lefkada has uncovered and partially destroyed an important tomb with artifacts dating back more than 3,000 years, officials said on Wednesday.
Star

Evidence Confirms Electric Comet Model

It appears that predictions made by Wal Thornhill and the Electric Comet model are being quickly confirmed, whether mainstream astronomers like it or not. In the end, it seems nature will be the arbiter of which model is the most accurate and predictive.
Snowman

New Method to Estimate Sea Ice Thickness

Scientists recently developed a new modeling approach to estimate sea ice thickness. This is the only model based entirely on historical observations.

The model was developed by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.

Using this new technique, the thickness of Arctic sea ice was estimated from 1982 to 2003. Results showed that average ice thickness and total ice volume fluctuated together during the early study period, peaking in the late 1980s and then declining until the mid-1990s. Thereafter, ice thickness slightly increased but the total volume of sea ice did not increase.
Pistol

Introducing the world's smallest gun that fires deadly 300mph bullets - but is just TWO inches long

Meet the pistol that fits in your pocket - and packs a hell of a punch.

The SwissMiniGun is the size of a key fob but fires tiny 270mph bullets powerful enough to kill at close range.

Officially the world's smallest working revolver, the gun is being marketed as a collector's item and measures just 2.16 inches long (5.5cm). It can fire real 4.53 bullets up to a range of 367ft (112m).

The stainless steel gun costs £3,000 although the manufacturers also produce extravagant, made-to-order versions made out of 18-carat gold with customised diamond studs which sell for up to £30,000.

Image
©National Pictures
At just over two inches long it is the world's smallest gun - but the 300mph bullets it fires mean it is still deadly
Star

Mars and Venus are surprisingly similar

Using two ESA spacecraft, planetary scientists are watching the atmospheres of Mars and Venus being stripped away into space. The simultaneous observations by Mars Express and Venus Express give scientists the data they need to investigate the evolution of the two planets' atmospheres.

Scientists call this work comparative planetology. Mars Express and Venus Express are so good at it because they carry very similar science instruments. In the case of the Analyser of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA), they are virtually identical. This allows scientists to make direct comparisons between the two planets.

Image
©ESA - D. Ducros
An artist's impression of Mars Express. The spacecraft left Earth for Mars on 2 June 2003. It reached its destination after a 6-month journey, and has been thoroughly investigating the planet since early 2004.
Star

Spitzer's Eyes Perfect For Spotting Diamonds In The Sky

Diamonds may be rare on Earth, but surprisingly common in space -- and the super-sensitive infrared eyes of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope are perfect for scouting them, say scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

Using computer simulations, researchers have developed a strategy for finding diamonds in space that are only a nanometer (a billionth of a meter) in size. These gems are about 25,000 times smaller than a grain of sand, much too small for an engagement ring. But astronomers believe that these tiny particles could provide valuable insights into how carbon-rich molecules, the basis of life on Earth, develop in the cosmos.

Image
©NASA/JPL-Caltech
This artist's concept shows a multitude of tiny diamonds next to a hot star. Diamonds are abundant in space.
Star

Beautiful death-star could threaten Earth



Binary star
©Unknown

The Earth may be in the firing line when one of the sky's most beautiful objects explodes, according to University of Sydney astronomer Peter Tuthill.

Dr Tuthill discovered the elegant rotating pinwheel system, named WR104, eight years ago in the constellation Sagittarius. It includes a highly unstable star known as a Wolf-Rayet, widely regarded by astronomers as ticking bombs - the last stop in a star's life before a cataclysmic supernova explosion.

"When it finally explodes as a supernova, it could emit an intense beam of gamma rays coming our way", says Dr Tuthill, whose work is published in the latest edition of the Astrophysical Journal.
Ladybug

Plants Evolving to Self Destruct

The relentless advance of urban sprawl across the planet is forcing plants to spread fewer seeds which could place them at even greater risk of extinction.

* Self destructing palm tree found in Madagascar
Info

Windmill With A Twist Can Provide Fresh Water From Seawater Directly

A traditional windmill which drives a pump: that is the simple concept behind the combination of windmill/reverse osmosis developed by the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in The Netherlands.

In this case, it involves a high-pressure pump which pushes water through a membrane using approximately 60 bar. This reverse osmosis membrane produces fresh water from seawater directly.

windmill seawater
©Delft University of Technology
The first prototype has been built and is already working at a location near the A13 motorway near Delft. This prototype is to be dismantled and transported to Curaçao the first week of March. There the concept will be tested on seawater.
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