Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Extrasolar Planet Could Harbor Life 308

BlueMorpho writes with a link to a article about a recently discovered extrasolar planet that may be able to harbor 'life as we know it.' Orbiting around the star Gliese 581 is a small rocky ball that might have the same liquid ocean and drifting continent configuration we're familiar with. The find may be unique in all of space exploration as this planet appears to be within a habitable band of temperatures for life, and is categorically not a gas giant. "The bottom line is exciting ...The conditions for life could be there, but is life itself? As yet, there's no way to know unless the planet has spawned beings that are at least as clever as we are. As part of the SETI Institute's Project Phoenix, we twice aimed large antennas in the direction of Gliese 581, hoping to pick up a signal that would bespeak technology ... Neither search turned up a signal."

Orbital Express Launches Tonight 137

airshowfan writes "When a geosynchronous satellite is launched into space, no human ever gets to touch it again. This means that, other than for minor software issues, there is no way to fix it if it breaks, so it has to work perfectly, almost autonomously, for 20 years non-stop. There is also no way to refuel it once it's out of thruster fuel, the reason why it can't last more than 20 years even if it gets to that mark working very well, with batteries and solar cells still going, which is often the case. If only there were a robotic spacecraft in geostationary orbit that could change broken satellite components and refuel those older satellites, then satellites would be a lot less risky and would last a lot longer. Does this robotic spacecraft mechanic sound like science fiction? It launches tonight."

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson