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Space

+ - Unusual space object, approaching Earth->

Submitted by xp65
xp65 (988513) writes "An unusual space body with parameters similar to a man-made object will approach Earth on Wednesday at a distance about three times less than the moon's orbit. The object, named 2010 AL30, will fly by Earth at a distance of at least 128,000 km (about 80,000 miles) at 12:48 GMT. As it is some 10-15 meters long, there is no chance it will directly impact the planet."
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Science

+ - Aussie quantum experiment challenges Einstein->

Submitted by mask.of.sanity
mask.of.sanity (1228908) writes "Australian scientists have completed ground-breaking research using quantum computing that will challenge, among scientific principles, the theory of quantum mechanics.

A joint experiment between the University of Queensland (UQ) and Harvard University, the first of its kind to apply quantum mechanics to chemistry to predict molecular reactions, could have huge implications for science. It used a 2 qubit (quantum bit), "toy" experiment that is expected to form the basis of experiments using hundreds of qubits — more than the entire computational capacity of the planet — inside of 50 years.

UQ physics professor Andrew White, a co-author of the project, said the existence of quantum computing means that either quantum mechanics is wrong, or the Church Turing Thesis, which underpins computer science, is flawed.

“If the Church Turing Thesis is wrong, that’s really big news; or it means that quantum computing will turn out to be impossible for a fundamental reason, or that a fast classical factoring algorithm exists,” White said, referring to a theory by MIT assistant professor Scott Aaronson that the only way to prove the probability of quantum mechanics is to build a quantum computer.

“If you asked [the inventors of the diode] what good they have done, they might have said they can shrink a computer to the size of a living room, but they would never have guessed what computers would become – this is where we are at."

Due to the nature of science, the ramifications of the experiment are essentially unknown, however, White postulates that it could be used to predict the outcome of chemical reactions, albeit without the inherent randomness that is absent in controlled computer simulations. White said a 300 qubit register can store more information than the number of particles in the universe."

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Science

+ - Should Dolphins Be Treated As 'Non-Human Persons'?-> 3

Submitted by krou
krou (1027572) writes "Should dolphins be treated as 'non-human persons'? Behavioural studies indicate dolphins think of the future, have self-awareness, and distinct personalities, complex social structures 'with individuals co-operating to solve difficult problems or to round up shoals of fish to eat, and with new behaviors being passed from one dolphin to another'. This and more has led two scientists, zoologist Lori Marino and Diana Reiss, professor of psychology at the City University of New York, to claim that this understanding of dolphins may 'mean it [is not] ethical to keep dolphins in aquatic amusement parks for our entertainment, or to kill them for food'. Thomas White, professor of ethics and business at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, has gone so far as to claim that dolphins should be treated as "non-human persons". Would /.'ers agree? What are the implications of such a move?"
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Mars

Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes 128

Posted by timothy
from the older-I-get-the-wetter-mars-was dept.
Matt_dk writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."
Space

Astronomers Discover 33 Pairs of Waltzing Black Holes 101

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the teach-them-to-foxtrot dept.
Astronomers from UC Berkeley have identified 33 pairs of waltzing black holes, closing the gap somewhat between the observed population of super-massive black hole pairs and what had been predicted by theory. "Astronomical observations have shown that 1) nearly every galaxy has a central super-massive black hole (with a mass of a million to a billion times the mass of the Sun), and 2) galaxies commonly collide and merge to form new, more massive galaxies. As a consequence of these two observations, a merger between two galaxies should bring two super-massive black holes to the new, more massive galaxy formed from the merger. The two black holes gradually in-spiral toward the center of this galaxy, engaging in a gravitational tug-of-war with the surrounding stars. The result is a black hole dance, choreographed by Newton himself. Such a dance is expected to occur in our own Milky Way Galaxy in about 3 billion years, when it collides with the Andromeda Galaxy."
Mars

+ - Mars images reveal evidence of ancient lakes->

Submitted by Matt_dk
Matt_dk (1306071) writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."
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Space

+ - Russia planning to save Earth from Asteroid impact-> 1

Submitted by xp65
xp65 (988513) writes "An asteroid will surely collide with Earth in the 2030s, says Anatoly Perminov, the director of the Russian Federal Space Agency. He referred to Apophis, an asteroid that he said was almost three times as large as the Tunguska meteorite. On June 30, 1908 the Tunguska blast flattened 80 million trees, destroying an area of around 2,150 sq km (830 sq miles). “No nuclear explosions [will be carried out], everything [will be done] on the basis of the laws of physics,” he said. The Russian space official also said after having considered the project, Russia could invite experts from Europe, the United States and China to join it."
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Moon

+ - Signs of Life Detected on the Moon?->

Submitted by Matt_dk
Matt_dk (1306071) writes "Surendra Pal, associate director of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Satellite Centre says that Chandrayaan-1 picked up signatures of organic matter on parts of the Moon’s surface. “The findings are being analyzed and scrutinized for validation by ISRO scientists and peer reviewers,” Pal said. At a press conference Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union fall conference, scientists from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter also hinted at possible organics locked away in the lunar regolith. When asked directly about the Chandrayaan-1 claim of finding life on the Moon, NASA’s chief lunar scientist, Mike Wargo, certainly did not dismiss the idea."
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Space

+ - Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo->

Submitted by RobGoldsmith
RobGoldsmith (1341733) writes "Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne designer, Burt Rutan, today revealed SpaceShipTwo to the public for the first time since construction of the world’s first manned commercial spaceship began in 2007. SpaceShipTwo has been designed to take many thousands of private astronauts into space.

SpaceShipTwo and its mothership, WhiteKnightTwo herald a new era in commercial space flight with daily space tourism flights set to commence from Spaceport America in New Mexico. View amazing new images and read this article for all the latest information regarding the Spaceship."

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Moon

+ - China plans to launch second lunar orbiter in 2010->

Submitted by Matt_dk
Matt_dk (1306071) writes "China will launch its second lunar probe, Chang'e-2, in October 2010, and its first lunar rover before 2013, national media reported on Friday, citing a top space scientist. According to Ye Peijian, chief designer of the nation's first moon probe, the new lunar orbiter will feature "a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera on board, which has a much higher resolution than the camera on China's first lunar probe." "It will orbit 100 km closer to the moon [than the first probe] and will be equipped with better facilities. We expect to acquire more scientific data about the moon with increased accuracy," China daily quoted Ye Peijian as saying."
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Space

+ - New Zealand to Launch First Private Space Rocket->

Submitted by RobGoldsmith
RobGoldsmith (1341733) writes "Private New Zealand aerospace company Rocket Lab completed its final ground-based test today and is now ready to launch New Zealand into the space race with its Atea-1 launch vehicle. The first high altitude launch of Atea-1 is scheduled for the end of November this year. Once Atea-1 has successfully concluded the development phase it will be the first privately built rocket launched from the Southern Hemisphere to enter space. Read this article to see a new CGI movie and get more information on the launch!"
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Science

+ - Unknown Asteroid almost impacted on Earth->

Submitted by xp65
xp65 (988513) writes "A previously undiscovered asteroid came within 14,000 km of Earth last week, and astronomers noticed it only 15 hours before closest approach. On Nov. 6 at around 16:30 EST a 7 meter asteroid, now called 2009 VA, came only about 2 Earth radii from impacting our home planet. This is the third-closest known non-impacting Earth approach on record for a cataloged asteroid. The asteroid was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey and was quickly identified by the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge MA as an object that would soon pass very close to the Earth. JPL’s Near-Earth Object Program Office also computed an orbit solution for this object, and determined that it was not headed for an impact."
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Science

+ - NASA Reproduces a Building Block of Life in Lab->

Submitted by xp65
xp65 (988513) writes "NASA scientists studying the origin of life have reproduced uracil, a key component of our hereditary material, in the laboratory. They discovered that an ice sample containing pyrimidine exposed to ultraviolet radiation under space-like conditions produces this essential ingredient of life. “We have demonstrated for the first time that we can make uracil, a component of RNA, non-biologically in a laboratory under conditions found in space,” said Michel Nuevo, research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “We are showing that these laboratory processes, which simulate occurrences in outer space, can make a fundamental building block used by living organisms on Earth.”"
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NASA

+ - NASA May Drop Ares I-Y Test Flight->

Submitted by Matt_dk
Matt_dk (1306071) writes "Just one week after the first test flight test of the Ares I-X rocket, NASA says it may decide to cancel a follow-up launch called Ares 1-Y, which wasn't scheduled until 2014. Reportedly, program managers recommended dropping the flight because, currently, there isn't the funding to get an upper stage engine ready in time. Depending on whether the Obama administration decides to continue the Ares I program, this decision may be moot. Earlier this week Sen. Bill Nelson said Obama may make a decision on NASA's future path, based on the report by the Augustine Commission, by the end of November."
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