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NASA

Hints of Life Found On Saturn's Moon Titan 227

Calopteryx writes "New Scientist reports that in 2005, researchers predicted two potential signatures of life on Titan. Now, thanks to research done with the help of the Cassini spacecraft, both have been seen, although non-biological chemical reactions could also be behind the observations. NASA's writeup has further details: 'One key finding comes from a paper online now in the journal Icarus [abstract] that shows hydrogen molecules flowing down through Titan's atmosphere and disappearing at the surface. Another paper online now in the Journal of Geophysical Research maps hydrocarbons on the Titan surface and finds a lack of acetylene. This lack of acetylene is important because that chemical would likely be the best energy source for a methane-based life on Titan, said Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., who proposed a set of conditions necessary for this kind of methane-based life on Titan in 2005. One interpretation of the acetylene data is that the hydrocarbon is being consumed as food. But McKay said the flow of hydrogen is even more critical because all of their proposed mechanisms involved the consumption of hydrogen.'"
Space

Impact On Jupiter Observed By Amateur Astronomers 53

Omomyid and other readers send in the news that the bright flash of an impact on Jupiter has been observed — and caught on film — by amateur astronomers. That WMV is from amateur Christopher Go. Here's Anthony Wesley's video (45 MB AVI; the site is already overloaded). In the larger video you can see the impact lasting for a couple of seconds, and a good deal of structure is visible. The amateurs report that no dark debris field developed around the impact site in the time before it rotated out of sight; this may indicate that the impactor burned up high in Jupiter's atmosphere. Soon professional astronomers, and possibly Hubble, will be on the job.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft launches Win7 for ARM compacts (ibtimes.com)

Johnson writes: Microsoft yesterday launched its latest incarnation of Windows Embedded operating system aimed at tablet, media and portable PC's — Windows Embedded Compact 7. Windows Embedded CE is an operating system for Tablet PC's and other media/portable devices, that aren't suited to fully fledged PC's which often consume more resources and/or require high-powered processors.
The Military

Air Force Wants Reusable Fly-Back Rockets 94

FleaPlus writes "The Air Force is initiating a pathfinder program to develop a first-stage rocket booster capable of gliding back to a runway so it can be easily reused. Lockheed Martin has already launched a secretive prototype, and a Cal Poly team has a prototype based on Buzz Aldrin's Starcraft/StarBooster design (video). The Air Force estimates such a booster could cut launch costs by 50% over the current Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets, and could also offer a rapid surge/replacement capability if combined with reusable spacecraft like the recently launched X-37B. Initial test flights are planned for 2013."
Hardware

Installing Linux On ARM-Based Netbooks? 179

An anonymous reader writes "I am sure that many other Slashdotters have noticed an increase in ARM-based netbooks over the past several months. For example, the Augen E-Go. It is a widely touted theory that it is impossible to install Linux on one of these notebooks, replacing the commonly installed Windows CE operating system. The sub-$100 netbooks carry decent specs, including 533MHz ARM processor; 128MB DDR RAM; and a 2GB Flash drive, as well as most expected netbook components (USB, Wi-Fi, etc.). I find it hard to believe that a computer with these specs is impossible to hack and install Linux to, but Google searches have been largely unsuccessful in finding proper information. Do any Slashdot readers have experience in installing ARM Linux distros to these cheap netbooks like this? If so, what distros do they recommend?" (In particular, I wonder if anyone can comment on Ubuntu on ARM.)
Censorship

Submission + - Facebook considers censoring content in Pakistan (goodgearguide.com.au) 1

angry tapir writes: "Facebook may consider making content that is considered objectionable by Pakistan inaccessible to users in the country. "We are analyzing the situation and the legal considerations, and will take appropriate action, which may include making this content inaccessible to users in Pakistan," Facebook said in a statement. It comes after Pakistan censored YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia and Facebook."
AMD

AMD Undercuts Intel With Six-Core Phenom IIs 361

EconolineCrush writes "As Slashdot readers are no doubt aware, Intel's latest 'Gulftown' Core i7-980X is an absolute beast of a CPU. But its six cores don't come cheap; the 980X sells for over a grand, which is more than it would cost to build an entire system based on one of AMD's new six-core CPUs. The Phenom II X6 line starts at just $200 and includes a new Turbo capability that can opportunistically raise the clock speed of up to three cores when the others are idle. Although not as fast as the 980X, the new X6s are quick enough to offer compelling value versus even like-priced Intel CPUs. And the kicker: the X6s will work in a good number of older Socket AM2+ and AM3 motherboards with only a BIOS update."
Earth

Underwater Ocean Kites To Harvest Tidal Energy 203

eldavojohn writes "A Swedish startup has acquired funding for beginning scale model trials of underwater kites, which would be secured to a turbine to harness tidal energy for power. The company reports that the kite device allows the attached turbine to harvest energy at 10 times the speed of the actual tidal current. With a 12-meter wingspan on the kite, the company says they could harvest 500 kilowatts while it's operational. This novel new design is one of many in which a startup or university hope to turn the ocean into a renewable energy source."
The Internet

Submission + - Publishers Join Forces Against Open Access (linux.com)

Xenographic writes: "The American Association of Publishers announced the creation of the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine. This new partnership, PRISM, will lobby against open access to scientific research on the grounds that science has less integrity when you don't have to pay outrageous fees for access to important journals. They are especially against bills like the Federal Research Public Access Act which could cause a decline in their sales numbers and an "undermining of copyright holders." Y'arr, matey."
Space

Submission + - Japan launches lunar orbiter mission Friday

Sooner Boomer writes: "Japan launched its first lunar probe on Friday, nicknamed Kaguya after a fairy-tale princess, in the latest move in a new race with China, India and the United States to explore the moon. The rocket carrying the three-metric ton orbiter took off into blue skies, leaving a huge trail of vapor over the tiny island of Tanegashima, about 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo, at 10:31 a.m. (9:31 p.m. EDT) as it headed out over the Pacific Ocean. The mission consists of a main orbiter and two baby satellites equipped with 14 observation instruments designed to examine surface terrain, gravity and other features for clues on the origin and evolution of the moon. Read the article or see Japanese Space Agency home page (in English) China has plans to launch an orbiter later this year, with unmaanned rover lander mission scheduled for 2010. India and the US also have orbiter missions scheduled for next year."
Space

Photonic Laser Thruster Promises Earth to Mars in a Week 413

serutan writes "Using lasers to drive spaceships has been a subject of interest for many years, but making a photonic engine powerful enough for practical use has been elusive. Dr. Young Bae, a California physicist, has built a demonstration photonic laser thruster that produces enough thrust to micro-maneuver a satellite. This would be useful in high-precision formation flying, such as using a fleet of satellites to form a space telescope with a large virtual aperture. Scaled up, a similar engine could speed a spacecraft to Mars in less than a week."
Power

Submission + - Smallest gas turbine engine in the world 1

SK writes: "A gas turbine engine measuring 10 cm in diameter and 15 cm in length, small enough to hold in one hand has been developed by a study group led by Tohoku University, Japan. The group succeeded in running such a small gas turbine engine and demonstrated the complete cycle for the first time in the world. The study group is working toward practical use of such a gas turbine engine as power sources of autonomous robots for disaster rescue and relief, and personal transportation vehicles indispensable in the aged (Japanese) society."

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