FullBandwidth writes: MIT biological engineers have created a programming language that allows them to rapidly design complex, DNA-encoded circuits that give new functions to living cells.
Using this language, anyone can write a program for the function they want, such as detecting and responding to certain environmental conditions. They can then generate a DNA sequence that will achieve it.
"It is literally a programming language for bacteria," says Christopher Voigt, an MIT professor of biological engineering. "You use a text-based language, just like you're programming a computer. Then you take that text and you compile it and it turns it into a DNA sequence that you put into the cell, and the circuit runs inside the cell."
FullBandwidth writes: The folks over at Spaceflight101.com did some post-processing on publically-available telmetry, and concluded that "Atlas V dodged a bullet earlier this week when launching the Cygnus OA-6 cargo craft on a resupply mission to the International Space Station, coming much closer to a launch failure than initially let on by launch vehicle manufacturer and operator United Launch Alliance."
FullBandwidth writes: A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 successfully launched a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station March 22, the second such mission in less than four months. The Cygnus is carrying more than three tons of cargo for the International Space Station, including crew supplies, vehicle hardware and experiments. That payload includes experiments ranging from an advanced 3-D printer to a flammability test that will be performed in the Cygnus after it leaves the station.
FullBandwidth writes: Orbital ATK, which makes rocket propulsion systems, has determined the cause of the exploding Takata air bags blamed for at least 10 deaths and 139 injuries worldwide. The culprit is a combination of the propulsion chemical used, high humidity and moisture. Specifically, the Orbital ATK team determined the factors contributing to the air bag ruptures are the following:
The presence of pressed phase stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant that does not contain a moisture-absorbing component;
Long term exposure to high temperatures;
Air bag assembly that does not adequately prevent moisture intrusion in high humidity.
“Orbital ATK’s root cause analysis is backed by 20,000 hours of testing and analysis by experienced engineers, scientists and technicians,” said Bob Wardle, senior director of technology programs in Orbital ATK’s propulsion Systems Division.
FullBandwidth writes: ASA has awarded three cargo contracts to ensure the critical science, research and technology demonstrations that are informing the agency’s journey to Mars are delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) from 2019 through 2024. The agency unveiled its selection of Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia; Sierra Nevada Corporation of Sparks, Nevada; and SpaceX of Hawthorne, California to continue building on the initial resupply partnerships with two American companies.
FullBandwidth writes: Urban planners in Virginia are trying to make bicycling safer, but they're hampered by a lack of statistics about who's riding where. Alec Gosse rides his bike to work at a Charlottesville company that analyzes data, and he recently completed a PhD in civil engineering. He and other graduate students created software that could review video from those ubiquitous traffic cameras, identify and count bikes. Gosse suspects this software could be refined to make cycling safer by recording close calls and fixing problems with road design and signage to reduce the risk of accidents.
FullBandwidth writes: Two Virginia aerospace players, Arlington-based Alliant Techsystems and Dulles-based Orbital Sciences, are merging to create a $5 Billion (US) venture. The companies announced the merger in a joint announcement Tuesday. ATK is also spinning off its lucrative hunting gear segment into a separate company.
FullBandwidth writes: Seems like some intrepid slashdotters are always getting scoops on the soon-to-be-released handhelds (phones, tablets). What's the best way to get technical information and release dates? Apparently in the US, the vendors have to submit a certain amount of documentation that then gets published on the fcc.gov website, but I'm not sure if many of us have time to pore over that site. Are there reliable sites or RSS feeds dedicated to what's the bleeding edge of mobile computing?
FullBandwidth writes: A while back we reported on the DARPA Space Surveillance Telescope, though loyal slashdotters were divided on exactly what astronomers would be looking for. DARPA now makes it clear that the telescope will "enable wide-field views of objects in geostationary orbit" in support of the Air Force mission of "tracking satellites and other objects in Earth orbit and reporting that information to U.S. Strategic Command."
FullBandwidth writes: "The protective nose cone of an Orbital Sciences Corp. Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA's Glory environmental research satellite apparently failed to separate after launch Friday, preventing the spacecraft from achieving orbit in a $424 million failure. It was the second nose cone failure in a row for a Taurus XL rocket following the 2009 loss of another environmental satellite."
FullBandwidth writes: The venerable search engine Altavista, for some years part of Yahoo but appearing as a separate site, seems to have been suddenly melded into Yahoo. Typing a query in the search box on www.Altavista.com returns results that look identical to the Yahoo search results, excepting the Altavista logo in place of the Yahoo logo. Trying any query from the "advanced" Altavista search (www.Altavista.com/web/adv) simply forwards you to the main Yahoo search screen, without even copying over your query terms. For those of us who steadfastly refuse to go mainstream (i.e. Google), this is indeed a sad day.
FullBandwidth writes: Paper-thin batteries that can be printed onto greeting cards or other flexible substrates have been demonstrated at Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems in Germany. The batteries have a relatively short life span, as the anode and cathode materials dissipate over time. However, they contain no hazardous materials.