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Comment And the higher solar panel does better... (Score 1) 410

Looking at TFA, the pictures show the solar "tree" is a foot or two higher than the conventional solar array, which is barely a couple of inches off the ground - so is it really so surprising that it performed much better when the sun was lower?

It's a neat idea though and would love to see the kid continue with it :)

Comment HF (Score 5, Interesting) 187

I've been able to track a lot of aircraft movements on Shortwave/HF radio from Ireland - and it's surprising just how much information still goes out over unencrypted links. Friday night, there was a marked increase in French AWACS and support aircraft activity - and then on Saturday other frequencies came alive with a whole host of NATO aircraft; for instance RAF Transports, Tankers, Surveillance, Strike and Fighter aircraft. Some aircraft discussed the targets they'd hit, the ordinance they had used and their current bearings and distance from Benghazi. There have been some intriguing transmissions - for instance aircraft operating at altitudes which are beyond their published service ceilings and voices co-ordinating movements from countries whose governments voiced opposition to the NFZ. Over the years frequency hopping and encryption have reduced the number of military transmissions to be read and understood on HF, but clearly there's still interesting ones out there. On a tangent - an Israeli Numbers Station , designated E10 and famous for lending the title to a Wilco album amongst other things, stopped transmitting on March 1st of this year - given the recent events in Egypt, it's interesting timing.

Comment Actually... (Score 5, Informative) 142

JAXA is not at all certain that it is bringing a "hunk" or much at all of Itokawa back with it. The firing mechanism which was meant to fire a bullet into the asteroid malfunctioned. They're just hoping it picked up enough residue. After the various mishaps this spacecraft encountered, it's been a good effort to get it home.

NASA Astronomers To Observe Hayabusa's Fiery Homecoming 142

coondoggie writes "NASA said that a group of its astronomers will have a front row seat in Australia to watch the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa's high-speed, fiery return to Earth. It is bringing with it a hunk of the asteroid Itokawa. The spacecraft is expected to land in an unpopulated area of Australia at approximately midnight locally, or 7 am PDT, on Sunday, June 13. Some 30 NASA astronomers will be flying onboard a specially equipped DC-8 with instruments that can monitor Hayabusa's reentry."

Submission + - Japanese H-IIA launches with Ikaros and Akatsuki (

JoshuaInNippon writes: At 6:58 in the morning of May 21, 2010 (JST), a JAXA H-IIA rocket was successfully launched from southern Japan. After about 27 minutes of flight, the rocket reached space and sent off its cargo, including a Venus probe named Akatsuki, an experimental solar sail spacecraft named Ikaros, and several small satellites. The success of both Akatsuki and Ikaros could help bring important information on Earth's mysterious sister planet and on near future, cost effective space travel.

Comment H-series looks like existing concepts... (Score 1) 459

The MIT H-series looks rather like the Boeing X-48B: Regarding the D-series - is it using ducted Propfans? - I couldn't find any information. The biggest problem with the Propfan technology appeared to be the noise produced by blades spinning at near or above supersonic speed. But it didn't seem insurmountable and ducting would seem like an obvious place to start in order to mitigate it. Although obvious to someone who has no aerospace training whatsoever, probably means "obviously stupid" in engineering terms.

NASA's Space Balloon Smashes Car In Australia 174

Humunculus writes "Of more worldly issues, NASA's latest multimillion-dollar stratosphere-bound balloon launch has gone horribly wrong and crashed into a car, turning it over and narrowly missing two elderly people who were observing the launch. The payload fared worse, reportedly being smashed into a 'thousand pieces.'"

Comment Re:Nice (Score 1) 347

The digital back was just one suggestion - I accept that there would be inherent compromises and that it's quite possibly not even a viable option. The other suggestion was a new design manual DSLR, which is perhaps somewhat more likely. I'm 26, so I don't think my preference for manual cameras is one grounded in nostalgia - I just prefer the simple interface, I prefer not having to wade around two dozen buttons on the cameras exterior. I'm happy without the bells and whistles.

Comment Re:Nice (Score 1) 347

I'm just surprised nobody has done it yet. A manual-everything camera seems to be the best way to teach photography skills, but perhaps I'm just living in the past. My little Pentax MX SLR, dating from the 70's, still compares favourably in terms of size and weight with modern DSLRS and I just enjoy the straightforward interface more than any DSLRs I've tried.

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