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writes: Soyuz TMA-11, carrying a crew of three returning from the ISS, unexpectedly followed a high-G ballistic re-entry trajectory and ended up landing 300 miles off-course. The crew, including Commander Peggy Whitson and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, are reportedly in good health. Soyuz capsules have previously saved the lives of the crew even after severe malfunctions that might have lead to the loss of a less robust vehicle.
writes: It's Yuri's Night once more, time to celebrate the first human in orbit, the first flight of the shuttle, and manned and unmanned spaceflight past present and future. At a time when NASA's Science Mission Directorate is adjusting after the abrupt resignation of Alan Stern after the fiasco over withdrawn funding cuts that threatened the MER Mars rovers, it's good to celebrate the amazing achievements of the last decade, and look forward to some forthcoming spectaculars. It's the best excuse for a beer until Phoenix landing night — six weeks and counting!
writes: Business Week covers the soaring demand for power and cooling capacity in data centres — electricty consumption for US data centres more than doubled between 2000 and 2006. Among the other stats: for every $1 spent on computing equipment in data centers, an additional 50 cents is spent each year to power and cool them; and half the electricity used goes on cooling. Iceland, with it's cool climate and cheap power galore, is courting big users like Google and Microsoft as a future DC location. (Can't help thinking they're gonna need a bigger cable first, though...)
writes: The current head of space science at NASA, Alan Stern, has unexpectedly resigned. Stern has been doing sterling work since joining last year, coaxing life back into projects that had been mothballed for budgetary reasons (cost overruns on Mars Science Laboratory, due for launching next year, in particular.) This coincides with the idea floated the other day of mothballing the Spirit MER rover to save a paltry $4m — which was hastily withdrawn 24 hours later.