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Submission + - Mysterious piece of space junk to hit Earth

schwit1 writes: A piece of unidentified space junk, discovered in a long elliptical orbit going out far beyond the Moon, has been calculated to hit the Earth over the Indian Ocean on November 13.

WT1190F was detected by the Catalina Sky Survey, a program aimed at discovering asteroids and comets that swing close to Earth. At first scientists didn’t know what to make of this weird body. But they quickly computed its trajectory, after collecting more observations and unearthing 2012 and 2013 sightings from telescope archives, says independent astronomy software developer Bill Gray, who has been working to track the debris with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

WT1190F travels a highly elliptical orbit, swinging out twice as far as the Earth-Moon distance, Gray says. Gray’s calculations show that it will hit the Earth at 6:20 UTC, falling about 65 kilometres off the southern tip of Sri Lanka. Much if not all of it will burn up in the atmosphere, but “I would not necessarily want to be going fishing directly underneath it,” Gray says.

What makes the object interesting is that they don’t know when it was launched or how it got in the orbit it is in. It could even be something from the Apollo lunar missions.

Submission + - Machine turns dirt into durable, fireproof building bricks (inhabitat.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Chicago-based company has developed an amazing machine that transforms dirt into durable building bricks. The Liberator is a large compressed earth brick press that makes it possible for almost anyone create building materials wherever they are needed. This technology would enable anyone to build a house that is essentially bulletproof, fireproof, and soundproof.
Communications

Submission + - 45 year old modem used to surf the web (hackaday.com) 3

EdIII writes:

[phreakmonkey] got his hands on a great piece of old tech. It's a 1964 Livermore Data Systems Model A Acoustic Coupler Modem. He recieved it in 1989 and recently decided to see if it would actually work. It took some digging to find a proper D25 adapter and even then the original serial adapter wasn't working because the oscillator depends on the serial voltage. He dials in and connects at 300baud. Then logs into a remote system and fires up lynx to load Wikipedia. Lucky for [phreakmonkey] they managed to decide on a modulation standard in 1962. It's still amazing to see this machine working 45 years later.

Although impractical for surfing the Internet today, there is something truly cool about getting a 45-year old modem to work with modern technology. The question I have, is what is the oldest working piece of equipment fellow Slashdotters have out there? I'm afraid as far back as I can go is a Number Nine Imagine 128 Series 2 Graphics card on a server still in use at my house which only puts me at about 14 years.

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