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Space

Spectrum of Light Captured From Distant World 32

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-are-you-made-of dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Cosmos: "Astronomers have made the first direct capture of a spectrum of light from a planet outside the Solar System and are deciphering its composition. The light was snared from a giant planet that orbits a bright young star called HR 8799 about 130 light-years from Earth, said the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ... The find is important, because hidden within a light spectrum are clues about the relative amounts of different elements in the planet's atmosphere. 'The features observed in the spectrum are not compatible with current theoretical models,' said co-author Wolfgang Brandner. 'We need to take into account a more detailed description of the atmospheric dust clouds, or accept that the atmosphere has a different chemical composition from that previously assumed.' The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, said the ESO. Until now, astronomers have been able to get only an indirect light sample from an exoplanet, as worlds beyond our Solar System are called. They do this by measuring the spectrum of a star twice — while an orbiting exoplanet passes near to the front of it, and again while the planet is directly behind it. The planet's spectrum is thus calculated by subtracting one light sample from another."
Space

+ - 2 killed in SpaceShipTwo motor test explosion->

Submitted by RZG
RZG (27666) writes "Two people were killed and 4 were injured during a "cold fire test" of the motor for SpaceShipTwo. This obviously is a setback for Virgin Galactic and the non-government space community in general. "Aerial video of the blast aftermath showed a charred and twisted flatbed trailer attached to a truck cab with a large silver tank next to it. Large pieces of debris appeared to be strewn for hundreds of yards from the center.""
Link to Original Source
United States

+ - U.S. has lost ability to build its own roads

Submitted by
michaelmalak
michaelmalak writes "The land famous for its love of the automobile and construction of Interstates and other highways, with high-elevation tunnels, viaducts snaking through canyons, and water crossings of up to 20 miles is now outsourcing design and construction of its roads to Asia — not because it's cheaper, but because the U.S. has lost the expertise. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer regarding the newly opened span across the Tacoma Narrows, "the American steel industry had imploded, while steel-making — and the expertise needed to build suspension bridges — had moved to Asia" and "the detailed engineering and fieldwork and all the spinning and cable-wrapping equipment ... were provided by ... Japanese construction giants""
Privacy

+ - DC Madam posts clinetele phone records online

Submitted by goombah99
goombah99 (560566) writes "Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the alleged madam of the infamous Pamela Martin associates has posted online all the phone records of her clientele. According to her statement the records had been shared with the press on confidentiality but due to an unexplained lack of encryption began to circulate publicly. As a result, they decided to assure that no maliciously salted versions were in circulation, both to prevent possible harm to the people involved and to protect the integrity of the databases reputation. So it's released for anyone to have. Now the fun begins as cyber sleuths try to find the hidden gems lurking in the chaff. Apparently the news reporters did not find much in their initial mining; understandably because the records go back ten years, people use aliases, and phone numbers change."

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