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NASA

Simulation of Close Asteroid Fly-By 148

c0mpliant writes "NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have released a simulation of the path of an asteroid, named Apophis, that will come very close to Earth in 2029 — the closest predicted approach since humans have monitored for such heavenly bodies. The asteroid caused a bit of a scare when astronomers first announced that it would enter Earth's neighborhood some time in the future. However, since that announcement in 2004, more recent calculations have put the odds of collision at 1 in 250,000."
The Almighty Buck

America's Army Games Cost $33 Million Over 10 Years 192

Responding to a Freedom Of Information Act request, the US government has revealed the operating costs of the America's Army game series over the past decade. The total bill comes to $32.8 million, with yearly costs varying from $1.3 million to $5.6 million. "While operating America's Army 3 does involve ongoing expenses, paying the game's original development team isn't one of them. Days after the game launched in June, representatives with the Army confirmed that ties were severed with the Emeryville, California-based team behind the project, and future development efforts were being consolidated at the America's Army program office at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. A decade after its initial foray into the world of gaming, the Army doesn't appear to be withdrawing from the industry anytime soon. In denying other aspects of the FOIA request, the Army stated 'disclosure of this information is likely to cause substantial harm to the Department of the Army's competitive position in the gaming industry.'"
Space

Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova 21

davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well as a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."
Science

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Comment My Experience With HD-DVD (Score 1) 685

I got a closeout HD-DVD player off of EBay for $40 delivered and bought it primarily to play standard DVDs on my HDTV. The HD-DVD unit reads the standard DVD at 480p just fine but outputs a 1080p signal to the HDTV via the HDMI inputs - so I'm effectively using it as a cheap scanline upconverter staying digital all the way. The result looks BEAUTIFUL, much better than letting the HDTV having to convert an analog signal from a standard cheap DVD player. Plus there are around 300 movies out there in HD-DVD format that are going for under $5 - MUCH cheaper than your average Blu-Ray disk. I am a very happy HD-DVD owner with no Blu-Ray and with the expense of the latter and free DVDs from the library, I'm going to stay that way for a long time to come.

Comment Blue Brain Actually Modeled A Neocortical Column (Score 1) 521

Read the great SEED article closely. The IBM Blue Brain project was trying to map the physical layout of the neocortical column, a standardized blob of nerve cells about a millimeter long and a fraction of a millimeter in diameter. If the brain is a machine made of modular parts, then the neocortical column is the starndard Lego used, over and over and over.
NASA

Submission + - NASA Faces International Space Station Crisis

cybrpnk2 writes: NASA is currently (if you'll pardon the pun) faced with a major crisis on the STS-120 flight to the International Space Station. At ISS, one new solar array has metal shavings from an unknown source jamming up the 10-foot diameter rotary gear that enables solar tracking. Meanwhile, a seperate older solar array that was partially re-extended in a new location has ripped and lacks the structural integrity for solar tracking either. An upcoming emergency spacewalk will have an astronaut at the end of a shaky boom applying a metal brace to the fully charged ripped array which he dares not touch directly at risk of electrocution to him or destruction to it. Failure threatens a scheduling trainwreck on upcoming flights to deliver power-hungry European and Japanese laboratory modules before President Bush's mandated 2010 Shuttle retirement.

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