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Submission NASA's Resource Prospector mission could land on the moon in 2020->

MarkWhittington writes: Ever since President Obama foreswore interest in returning to the moon in his April 2010 speech at the Kennedy Space Center, lunar exploration has been on the back burner at NASA. According to a story at Space News, that may change starting around 2020 thanks to a project called RP15, the letters standing for “Resource Prospector,” a rover designed to drill into the lunar regolith and collect samples for analysis. The rover, originating at NASA Ames Research Center, was recently tested on a simulated lunar surface at the Johnson Spaceflight Center south of Houston.

RP15 was built by the same team at JSC that developed Robonaut 2, now being tested on the International Space Station, with the software being written at Ames. The tests at JSC involved the rover being controlled by engineers at NASA Ames, half way across the country in California.

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Submission Let's Not Go to Mars writes: Ed Regis write in the NYT that today we an witnessing an outburst of enthusiasm over the literally outlandish notion that in the relatively near future, some of us are going to be living, working, thriving and dying on Mars. But unfortunately Mars mania reflects an excessively optimistic view of what it actually takes to travel to and live on Mars, papering over many of the harsh realities and bitter truths that underlie the dream. "First, there is the tedious business of getting there. Using current technology and conventional chemical rockets, a trip to Mars would be a grueling, eight- to nine-month-long nightmare for the crew," writes Regis. "Tears, sweat, urine and perhaps even solid waste will be recycled, your personal space is reduced to the size of an SUV., and you and your crewmates are floating around sideways, upside down and at other nauseating angles." According to Regis every source of interpersonal conflict, and emotional and psychological stress that we experience in ordinary, day-to-day life on Earth will be magnified exponentially by restriction to a tiny, hermetically sealed, pressure-cooker capsule hurtling through deep space and to top it off, despite these constraints, the crew must operate within an exceptionally slim margin of error with continuous threats of equipment failures, computer malfunctions, power interruptions and software glitches.

But getting there is the easy part says Regis. "Mars is a dead, cold, barren planet on which no living thing is known to have evolved, and which harbors no breathable air or oxygen, no liquid water and no sources of food, nor conditions favorable for producing any. For these and other reasons it would be accurate to call Mars a veritable hell for living things, were it not for the fact that the planet’s average surface temperature is minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit." These are only a few of the many serious challenges that must be overcome before anyone can put human beings on Mars and expect them to live for more than five minutes says Regis. "The notion that we can start colonizing Mars within the next 10 years or so is an overoptimistic, delusory idea that falls just short of being a joke."

Submission NASA funded project could mine asteroids for water with sunlight->

MarkWhittington writes: One of the more precious resources that asteroid miners are going after is water, something that is in abundance on Earth and, oddly enough, in space as well but not as easily be acquired. Iron, nickel and platinum group metals will certainly be valuable, but future space travelers will need water, not only for drinking, bathing, and agriculture but for rocket fuel. A story in reports on a new asteroid mining technique being funded by NASA that would use sunlight, concentrated by mirrors, to extract water out of excavated asteroids. The process is called "optical mining."
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Submission Lockheed Martin Unveils Potential U-2 Successor ->

Zothecula writes: The U-2 spy plane was first constructed at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works in 1955 and went on to become one of the most important intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft of the Cold War. It is one of the few aircraft of its vintage still in active service with the US Air Force, but Lockheed has now unveiled details of its possible successor. Designated the TR-X, the concept aircraft is an improved, stealthier version of the 60-year-old design and could enter service in 10 years.
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Comment Re:Wrong! (Score 1) 485

Uhura sure seemed able to recognize the Christian religion on the Roman planet. Kirk sure seemed to know his way around a funeral ceremony. Remember that most of Star Trek takes place in a context (naval vessel) where one would not expect to see much religious expression. Heck, I work in the USA and don't see much religious expression while at work.

Submission Commercial crew supporters posit a conspiracy theory involving funding shortages->

MarkWhittington writes: The Space Access Society, a group that advocates for government funded, commercially operated spacecraft, examined the annual fight between supporters of the heavy lift Space Launch System and supporters of the commercial crew program in a recent communique. In the view of the SAS and other commercial crew supporters, Congress, on the behalf of the big rocket supporters, has been shorting funding for the commercial crew spacecraft in favor of the SLS. On the surface there seems to be no reason for this, as the two undertake different missions. The Space Access Society posits a conspiracy theory so immense that at first glance would seem to be in the same class as the Apollo moonlanding hoax, The SAS accuses Space Launch System supporters of trying to arrange the premature end of the International Space Station to free up funding for the big rocket and related projects.
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Submission TPP Scuttles Attempts to fix Orphan Works->

jsrjsr writes: David Post, writing at the Volokh Conspiracy blog, describes how the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty may prevent any changes to copyright law regarding orphan works.

Any provision of U.S. law that eliminated “pre-established damage” or “additional damages” for any class of works could be a violation of various TPP provisions requiring that such damages be made available, and it even appears that distribution of orphan works would have to subject the distributor to criminal copyright liability.

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Submission Is the GNU George Orwell's 1984 Doublespeak? "GNG is Not GNU" exposes details->

An anonymous reader writes: The free software foundation has claimed that free software is not about cost, but Richard Stallman has been quoted several places as saying it is in fact about cost. The GPL v2 license makes it a legal contract to offer the software "FREE OF CHARGE" and not free as in speech.

The FSF has had over 1 million dollars in their bank account back in 2001 (not considering inflation) and paid Eben Mogen $280,000 (six figure income) in 2007. Stallman has been quoted as saying "we have been so successful because we have shown we can develop software without any money".

This indeed sounds like a logical contradiction, similar to double speak (free of charge means it is not free of charge, and without money means with money). GNG is Not GNU exposes the Richard Stallman movement as a cult similar to a religion. GNG is not GNU is a recursive joke explained on the GNG website. Is the FSF a modern cult?

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Submission Dirty farm air may ward off asthma in children->

sciencehabit writes: For researchers trying to untangle the roots of the current epidemic of asthma, one observation is especially intriguing: Children who grow up on dairy farms are much less likely than the average child to develop the respiratory disease. Now, a European team studying mice has homed in on a possible explanation: Bits of bacteria found in farm dust trigger an inflammatory response in the animals’ lungs that later protects them from asthma. An enzyme involved in this defense is sometimes disabled in people with asthma, suggesting that treatments inspired by this molecule could ward off the condition in people.
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Submission Star Trek Close to Reality - NASA To Turn Hoverboards To Tractor Beans->

dkatana writes: InformationWeek reports that NASA is working on a concept to use the magnetic fields of an Arx Pax hoverboard into a device that could be use to manipulate objects in space.

With the low-Earth orbit becoming increasingly crowded, a tool to steer satellites will come handy.

"Arx Pax's hoverboard creates electric fields that generate magnetic push and pull. These fields can be manipulated with a technology Arx Pax calls Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA). The company said manipulation of these fields would make it possible to push a board off the Earth, or pull a cube satellite closer to a space ship."

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Submission Mycroft, an open-source assistant AI

Roadmaster writes: I haven't seen this mentioned on Slashdot: The Mycroft Project aims to build an open-source assistant "A.I." (similar to Siri, Cortana, Amazon Echo and friends). They want to build both the software (which will be released under GPLv3) and a Raspberry Pi-based hardware/IoT device which listens to commands and leverages the AI to perform the actions the user requested.

Their Kickstarter campaign is 5 days from finishing and is still short of their goal, so if you'd like to see this project come to fruition, drop by to learn more about it and maybe give them some support.

Submission The Only State Where Everyone Gets Free Money->

citadrianne writes: “The Alaska dividend is pretty much the closest thing the world has to a universal basic income anywhere,” Scott Santens, who is perhaps the web’s most active basic income advocate, told me. Not only that, he says, but a basic income could help citizens fight the impacts of climate change. President Obama’s recent trip to Alaska was focused on highlighting the calamity that human-induced warming is bringing to the region; perhaps we should be paying attention as well to a policy, found only here, that may help keep society stable and more equal in the face of a warmer, job-scarce future. ...

This year, the payment to every man, woman, and child (yes, children get the payment too, though it is entrusted to their guardians) is expected to surpass $2,000. The Fund, in other words, is huge.

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Neutrinos are into physicists.