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China

Submission + - First Details of Chinese Spacecraft's Asteroid Encounter

the_newsbeagle writes: Chinese aerospace engineers have revealed, for the first time, details about their Chang’e-2 spacecraft’s encounter with the asteroid Toutatis last month. They have plenty to boast of: The asteroid flyby wasn’t part of the original flight plan, but engineers adapted the mission and navigated the satellite through deep space.

Exactly how close Chang'e-2 came to Toutatis is still unclear. The article states that the first reports “placed the flyby range at 3.2 km, which was astonishingly—even recklessly—tight. Passing within a few kilometers of an asteroid only 2 to 3 km in diameter at a speed of 10 730 meters per second could be described as either superb shooting or a near disaster.” If the Chinese spacecraft did pass that near, it could provide a “scientific bonanza” with data about the asteroid’s mass and composition.

Comment more detail needed (Score 1) 85

I think you may be asking for the impossible. Well maybe not. I think that your question needs more details. The following information would be useful:
  • What you are mounting on the equatorial mount? Is it a telescope or a camera? How big of a telescope?
  • What are you trying to photograph

If you are trying to photograph deep sky objects through a mid sized telescope, I don't think you will find a mount in your budget range, unless you can get one used off of ebay or some such. The tabletop equatorial mount might be appropriate if you're just doing the sky. However, for a telescope, just the motors for a good equatorial drive will set you back $100 or more....

If you are only trying to photograph planets or the moon, you won't need any tracking ability to get spectacular photographs.

Comment Re:But what about the massive environmental damage (Score 1) 325

Actually, Lithium is one of the least abundant elements in the universe, at least in terms of elements that don't decay radioactively. Quoth wikipedia:

Though very light in atomic weight, lithium is less common in the solar system than 25 of the first 32 chemical elements.

The lack of lithium in the universe is one of the great unsolved mysteries in astronomy.

Science

Darwin's Voyage Done Over, Live 147

thrill12 writes "Almost 178 years ago, Charles Darwin set sail in the HMS Beagle, to do the now famous explorations that formed the basis for Darwin's On The Origin Of Species. Now, a group of British and Dutch scientists, journalists and artists set sail again to redo the voyage of the Beagle. This time, they are taking modern equipment with them and they have live connections through Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Flickr. As they re-explore, and (re)discover, we can join that 8-month-long trip, live over the internet."

Comment Re:Back in the day... (Score 3, Interesting) 629

Actually, they still sell logic chips and miscellaneous electronic components, albeit fairly well-hidden in the back of the store. I had a last minute idea for a project for a summer camp group I was leading last week and was able to pick up all the components I needed from RadioShack. Admittedly, the selection isn't what it used to be, but it's still there when you have a sudden pressing need for resistors, LEDs, transistors and capacitors....

Who knows what this "rebranding" will do for that section of the store....

Comment Old news.... (Score 5, Informative) 146

This is not a new idea. Actually, this idea has been thought about before and dismissed. The researchers referenced propose using millisecond radio pulsars for navigation. This is a poor idea from an engineering standpoint because it requires having a large collecting area of radio dishes in order to get an apporpriate signal level.

A better idea, which is currently being researched, and was suggested four years ago (at least the earliest I recall it being mentioned) was using x-ray pulsars, which require much smaller collecting area. See for example this thesis on the subject.
Movies

Decent DVD-Ripping Solution For Linux? 501

supersloshy writes "I'm a user of Ubuntu Linux and I have been for a little while now. Recently I've been trying to copy DVDs onto a portable media player, but everything I've tried isn't working right. dvd::rip always gets the language mixed up (for example, when ripping 'Howl's Moving Castle,' one of the files it ripped to was in Japanese instead of English), Acidrip just plain isn't working for me (not recognizing a disc with spaces in its name, refusing to encode, etc.), Thoggen is having trouble with chapters (chapter 1 repeated twice for me once), and OGMRip has the audio out of sync. What I'm looking for is a reliable program to copy the movie into a single file with none of the audio or video glitches as mentioned above. Is there even such thing on Linux? If you can't think of a decent Linux-based solution, then a Windows one is fine as long as it works."
The Courts

Has Microsoft's Patent War Against Linux Begun? 644

Glyn Moody writes "Microsoft has filed a suit against TomTom, 'alleging that the in-car navigation company's devices violate eight of its patents — including three that relate to TomTom's implementation of the Linux kernel.' What's interesting is that the intellectual property lawyer behind the move, Horacio Gutierrez, has just been promoted to the rank of corporate vice president at Microsoft. Is this his way of announcing that he intends going on the attack against Linux?"
Space

Submission + - Satellites collide->

Geoffrey.landis writes: "We've been launching satellites for fifty years now, and for the first time, two satellites collided. Tuesday at about noon, an Iridium communications satellite and a defunct Russian satellite collided an altitude of 790 kilometers (491 miles) above northern Siberia, creating a cloud of debris. The international space station does not appear to be threatened by the debris, they said, but it's not yet clear whether it poses a risk to any other military or civilian satellites."
Link to Original Source
Space

Submission + - Two Satellites Collide in Orbit

DrEnter writes: According to this story on Yahoo, two communications satellites collided in orbit, resulting in two large clouds of debris. The new threat from these debris clouds hasn't been fully determined yet. From the article:

The collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be nonfunctioning. Each satellite weighed well over 1,000 pounds.

This is the fifth spacecraft/satellite collision to occur in space, but the other four were all fairly minor by comparison.

The Courts

Palin E-mail Hacker Indicted 846

doomsdaywire writes "A University of Tennessee student who is the son of a Memphis legislator has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of hacking Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail. [...] If convicted, [David C.] Kernell faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three-year term of supervised release. A trial date has not been set."

Real Programs don't use shared text. Otherwise, how can they use functions for scratch space after they are finished calling them?

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