Monthly Archive for November, 2008

Forecast for Titan: Cloudy With a 90 Percent Chance of T-Storms

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University of Granada Press Release

Physicists of the University of Granada and the University of Valencia (Spain) have developed a proceeding to analyse specific data sent by the Huygens probe from Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, proving “in an unequivocal way” that there is natural electric activity in its atmosphere.

The scientific community thinks that there is a higher probability that organic molecules precursors to life could form in those planets or satellites which have an atmosphere with electric storms.

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Plans for New Russian Spaceport in Amur Progressing

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Russia IC has a brief report about plans for the country’s new launch facility:

“This November RosCosmos sent the reconnaissance commission to the Amur Region in order to specify location of the construction site for new Russian launching site “Vostochny”….Engineers will study terms of construction for first stage objects of future spaceport, aimed at preparation and launch for space crafts of scientific, social and economic, double and commercial purpose.”

Jupiter’s Rocky, Icy Core Might Be Twice as Large as Previously Believed

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University of California at Berkeley Press Release

Jupiter has a rocky core that is more than twice as large as previously thought, according to computer calculations by a University of California, Berkeley, geophysicist who simulated conditions inside the planet on the scale of individual hydrogen and helium atoms.

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Hypersonic Transports Eyed for Military Deployments

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Pentagon envisions spaceship troops
USA Today

“The Pentagon wants to rocket troops through space to hot spots anywhere on the globe within two hours, and planners spent two days last month discussing how to do it, military documents show.”

“Some critics are skeptical. The concept defies physics and the reality of what a small number of lightly armed troops could accomplish in enemy territory, said John Pike, a military analyst who runs Globalsecurity.org. ‘This isn’t even science fiction,’ Pike said. ‘It’s fantasy.’

“Private rocket pioneer Burt Rutan says the plan is technologically possible. ‘This has never been done,’ Rutan said in an e-mail. ‘However, it is feasible. It would be a relatively expensive way to get the troops on the ground, but it could be done.'”

NCsoft to Shut Down Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa in February

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Less than two weeks after Richard Garriott said he was leaving  struggling NCsoft, the gaming company announced that they will be shutting down the millionaut’s MMO game Tabula Rasa.

“Last November we launched what we hoped would be a ground breaking sci-fi MMO. In many ways, we think we’ve achieved that goal. Tabula Rasa has some unique features that make it fun and very different from every other MMO out there. Unfortunately, the fact is that the game hasn’t performed as expected. The development team has worked hard to improve the game since launch, but the game never achieved the player population we hoped for,” according to a note on the website. “So it is with regret that we must announce that Tabula Rasa will end live service on February 28, 2009.”

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NASA, ESA Consider Joint Mission to Search for Life on Jupiter’s Moons

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Hoping for Europa
Astrobiology Magazine

“There is an ocean beneath the icy crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Strange creatures could be swimming in these alien waters, but so far no missions have been sent there to investigate this possibility…”

“The Europa-Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) calls for one spacecraft to orbit Europa and another to orbit Ganymede, another large moon of Jupiter that also may have a liquid ocean locked beneath an icy outer layer.

“EJSM would be a joint mission of NASA and the European Space Agency, with ESA in charge of the Ganymede orbiter and NASA directing the Europa orbiter. Working together, the two spacecraft also would be able to conduct limited studies of the large moons Io and Callisto, as well as the planet Jupiter.”

Q&A: Ex-Astronaut Garneau Seeks to Guide Science, Space Policies from Parliament

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Garneau’s next mission: bring science to politics
CBC News

“Even before Liberal member of Parliament Marc Garneau won his riding of Westmount-Ville-Marie, the former astronaut was no stranger to politics, having served as head of the Canadian Space Agency from 2001 until 2006 and then losing a bid to win a seat in the House of Commons in the 2006 federal election.

“Now Garneau, who for years distinguished himself as a scientist and Canada’s first man in space, finds himself in an unusual position of trying to bring science and technology issues to the forefront, not as an administrator, but as a critic.

“Garneau, the Liberal party science and technology critic, will be asked to weigh in on the Conservative government’s policies on familiar topics such as space and research funding, but also, alongside new industry critic Gerrard Kennedy, on areas such as internet neutrality and copyright reform.”

Canada Makes Investment in ESA Program as it Defines New Space Policy Direction

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Canada contributes $16M to keep foothold in European space plan
CBC News

“Canada’s space agency is hoping a relatively small investment in the next European space budget will reap big rewards down the road as it tries to navigate a new direction for its satellite and space industry.

“Canada’s commitment of funds — about 10 million euros, or $15.8 million — is a tiny portion of the total sum committed, said Gilles Leclerc, the director general of space technologies at the Canadian Space Agency. But he said that contribution allows Canada to contribute to the direction of the agency and share in the resources.

“‘It’s a very modest contribution, and so the industrial return is limited, but it does give us access to a wealth of information, much of it in the form of satellite data and imagery,’ said Leclerc on Friday, a day after returning from the conference.”

Canada Looking to Make Bionic Contributions to Future Moon Flights

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Canadian-built eyes could guide lunar rovers
Canada.com

“When NASA returns to the moon, Canadian-built eyes could show its lunar rovers where to drive.

“A team from Ottawa’s Neptec Design Group, a NASA prime contractor, has just returned from two weeks of testing its new guidance system in Hawaii.

So far, the news is good. Neptec’s laser system steered a lunar rover around the barren slopes and sharp rocks 275 metres up the side of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano.”

Robotics might be Canada’s ticket to moon
Canada.com

A new super-Canadarm that’s already on the drawing board could be some lucky Canadian astronaut’s ticket for a ride to the moon.

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Russian Phobos-Grunt Mars Probe to Carry Chinese Instruments

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Hong Kong PolyU Press Release

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is working closely with the well-established Russian Space Agency in designing a state-of-the-art space tool which will be carried onboard a Russian spacecraft for the Red Planet in the 2009 Sino-Russian Space Mission – the first strategic interplanetary collaboration between China and Russia.

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