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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 0 declined, 2 accepted (2 total, 100.00% accepted)


+ - ESA's Herschel mission: the end is near

Submitted by Trapezium Artist
Trapezium Artist (919330) writes "The European Space Agency's far-infrared space observatory, Herschel, will soon run out of its liquid helium coolant, ending observations after more than three years of highly successful scientific operations. Predictions by ESA engineers are that Herschel will run out of helium later in March, at which point its instruments will warm up, rendering them effectively blind.

Herschel was launched in 2009 along with ESA's Planck satellite to the Sun-Earth L2 point, roughly 1.5 million kilometres from Earth. At that location, the Sun and Earth remain along a more or less constant vector with respect to a spacecraft, meaning that it can cool to very low temperatures behind a sunshield. At such a large distance from Earth, however, there is no way of replenishing the coolant, and Herschel will be pushed off the L2 point to spend its retirement in a normal heliocentric orbit.

With the largest monolithic mirror ever flown in space at 3.5 metres diameter and three powerful scientific instruments, Herschel has made exciting discoveries about the cool Universe, ranging from dusty starburst galaxies at high redshifts to star-forming regions spread throughout the Milky Way and proto-planetary disks of gas and dust swirling around nearby young stars. And with an archive full of data, much of it already public, Herschel is set to produce new results for years to come."

+ - Urban explorers: you can't talk to each other for a decade-> 1

Submitted by Trapezium Artist
Trapezium Artist (919330) writes "Four friends apprehended exploring the disused Aldwych station in London's Underground are faced with an "anti-social behaviour order" (ASBO) which would forbid them from talking to each other for a full 10 years. The so-called "Aldwych four", experienced urban explorers, were discovered in the tunnels under the UK's capital city a few days before last year's Royal Wedding and the greatly increased security measures in place led to their being interviewed by senior members of the British Transport Police. Nevertheless, once their benign intentions had been established, they were let off with a caution. However, following an accident caused by another, unrelated group of urban explorers in the tunnels a few months later, Transport for London applied to have ASBOs issued to the Aldwych four. These would forbid them from any further expeditions, from blogging or otherwise publicly discussing any exploits, and even from talking with each other for the 10 year duration of the order. One could argue about the ethics of urban exploration, but this nevertheless seems like an astonishingly heavy-handed over-reaction by TfL."
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