Science & Technology


Lunar Dust Detector Instrument Opportunity Added to SALMON


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Stand Alone Missions of Opportunity Notice (SALMON), is intended to provide opportunities for science and technology investigations on space flight missions that advance the high priority science, technology, and exploration objectives of NASA's four Mission Directorates. This five-year omnibus Announcement of Opportunity (AO) incorporates Program Element Appendices (PEAs) for general Mission of Opportunity (MO) proposal opportunities as well as focused proposal opportunities for specific flight opportunities.

Evil Rays

Skyhook tracking merges real GPS, Wi-Fi

GPS iPhone

Skyhook Wireless on Monday launched a new map positioning system that will potentially solve many of the problems associated with GPS navigation today. While the company has already designed a system that can alternate between real GPS and rough triangulation using cellular towers and Wi-Fi, a new method nicknamed XPS 2.0 can combine multiple services at once to find a position even in poor conditions.

Eye 1

Google to give advertisers web-tracking data

Google will today expand its offering to advertisers by unveiling a service which lets them track which websites their target audiences are visiting.

A new tool called AdPlanner is expected to offer advertisers a range of statistics - including demographic details - about particular websites, which in turn could be used to target advertising more effectively, it was reported.

The service, which is due to be announced this evening, signals Google's intention to ramp up its advertising business, which to date has focused on placing adverts next to search queries conducted on the web.


Asteroid And Comet Threat Is A Challenge To Mankind

ST. PETERSBURG -- The asteroid and comet threat is a real challenge to mankind in the 21st century, and it is described as "space terrorism", Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported Saturday quoting the Director of the Institute of Applied Astronomy Andrei Fenkelshtein, as saying.

Speaking at the regional Itar-Tass centre, Fenkelshtein said: "This phenomenon is well studied from the scientific point of view even though speculations continue to revolve around the event that occurred one hundred years ago."

In his opinion, what happened in Southern Siberia is "a serious warning to the earthlings.

Filkenshtein, who is also the correspondent member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the risk of a new event like the Tunguska explosion is assessed as quite plausible now that scientists have detected potential killer Asteroid Apophis just half a million kilometers from Earth, which is an infinitesimally small distance by astronomical standards.


Tanzania holds meteorite with clues on solar system birth

A Tanzanian renowned physicist cum astronomer, Dr Noorali Jiwaji has challenged the government to work out modalities for scientific study of a rare type of meteorite which scientists say landed in Tanzania in 1938.

Dr Noorali Jiwaji who is a Lecturer in Physics and Head of Department of ICT in the Faculty of Science Technology and Environmental Studies at the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) has said Tanzania has competent chemists, biochemists and geologists to undertake the research.


New Nano Technique Significantly Boosts Water Boiling Efficiency

Copper nanorods
A scanning electron microscope shows copper nanorods deposited on a copper substrate.

Whoever penned the old adage "a watched pot never boils" surely never tried to heat up water in a pot lined with copper nanorods.

A new study from researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows that by adding an invisible layer of the nanomaterials to the bottom of a metal vessel, an order of magnitude less energy is required to bring water to boil. This increase in efficiency could have a big impact on cooling computer chips, improving heat transfer systems, and reducing costs for industrial boiling applications.


Water traces on Mercury

Instruments aboard a Maryland-built spacecraft that soared past the planet Mercury in January have provided a real surprise: traces of water molecules in the hot little world's extremely thin atmosphere, scientists reported yesterday.


Einstein Was Right, Astrophysicists Say

Researchers at McGill University's Department of Physics -- along with colleagues from several countries -- have confirmed a long-held prediction of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, via observations of a binary-pulsar star system.

Their results will be published July 3 in the journal Science.

Pulsars are small, ultradense stellar objects left behind after massive stars die and explode as supernovae. They typically have a mass greater than that of our Sun, but compressed to the size of a city like Montreal. They spin at staggering speeds, generate huge gravity fields and emit powerful beams of radio waves along their magnetic poles.

©Daniel Cantin, Darwin Dimensions. McGill University


UK: Astronomy projects hit by £80m cuts

An £80 million hole in funding for physics and astronomy was closed yesterday with the decision to cut or reduce involvement in a range of national and international projects.

The cuts were announced by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) after months of controversy over which projects should pay the penalty for the shortfall.

Among the projects to lose their funding are Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network which observes the Sun, and Astrogrid, a virtual observatory. British involvement with BaBar, an American-based study into the differences between matter and antimatter, and Integral, a satellite with the most sensitive gamma ray observatory in space, will come to an end.

Several other projects have had their planned funding reduced including ExoMars, a European Space Agency scheme to land a probe to search for signs of life on Mars, and Minos, which investigates some of the world's tiniest particles.


Spacecraft MESSENGER settles debates and makes new discoveries about planet Mercury

Scientists have argued about the origins of Mercury's smooth plains and the source of its magnetic field for more than 30 years. Now, analyses of data from the January 2008 flyby of the planet by the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft have shown that volcanoes were involved in plains formation and suggest that its magnetic field is actively produced in the planet's core.

Scientists additionally took their first look at the chemical composition of the planet's surface. The tiny craft probed the composition of Mercury's thin atmosphere, sampled charged particles (ions) near the planet, and demonstrated new links between both sets of observations and materials on Mercury's surface. The results are reported in a series of 11 papers published in a special section of Science magazine July 4.