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Fly Me To Which Moon? 183

Hugh Pickens writes "NASA and the European Space Agency are expected later this week to settle an ongoing debate on whether to send a robotic mission to Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's moon Titan. Both are difficult places to get to — a mission to either would cost several billion dollars/euros to build and execute — and both have become alluring targets in the quest to learn whether Earth alone supports life. On the one hand, Europa is believed to have liquid oceans beneath its frozen crust which (on Earth at least) are a source of life-supporting chemistry. Scientists would like to scan Europa's surface for bits of material that may have seeped up from beneath the ice. 'Imagine if there were microbes entrained in material that has exuded onto the surface of Europa and they've been sitting there for maybe three million years,' says planetary scientist Dr. Brad Dalton. On the other hand, Titan has two enticing features in the search for life: liquids on the surface, and a thick atmosphere that can be used to slow down a spacecraft and help put it into orbit. Titan's surface water is locked into the crust as ice, but scientists suspect there may be a subsurface ocean where water mingles with ammonia. The mission will not get to the launch pad before 2020. 'It's unfortunate that there has to be a decision,' says NASA/JPL astrobiologist Dr. Kevin Hand. 'It's important to go to both. They are both such amazing and tantalizing worlds in terms of finding life.'"
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - E-Racing

mcgrew writes: "The AP (via Yahoo) has a story about electric cars — but these aren't Priuses.

The KillaCycle runs on 990 lithium-ion battery cells that feed two direct current motors, generating 350 horsepower. The bike accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just under a second — faster than many professional gas-powered drag motorcycles and within striking distance of the quickest bikes that run on nitromethane. With that hyper-potent racing fuel, riders can get to 60 mph in 0.7 seconds.

Bill Dube, KillaCycle's owner and designer, likens the sleek, hulking bike to an oversized household appliance.

"This is like a giant cordless drill with wheels," said Dube, who designs pollution measurement instruments for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
They are close to breaking some nitromethane records."

Submission + - Top-Ten List for Affective Project Management (

Dan Shappir writes: "I come from a software development background and have been doing software project management for a decade now. This transition has not always been easy. Based on my own experience as a manager and the books and articles I've read on the subject, as well as the presentations I've attended and webcasts I've listened to, I've come up with a personal Top Ten list of tips and suggestions for affective software project management. This list is by no means exhaustive or conclusive — I've intentionally kept it short and succinct. Hopefully my list will help out other developers making this transition get up to speed."

Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without giant listings; we would find it hard to use them. -- D.M. Ritchie