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Submission + - The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program announces its 2012 awards. (

juanergie writes: "NASA has selected the 2012 fellows for its "Innovative Advanced Concepts" program, from the article: "These selections represent the best and most creative new ideas for future technologies that have the potential to radically improve how NASA missions explore new frontiers," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Through the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, NASA is taking the long-term view of technological investment and the advancement that is essential for accomplishing our missions. We are inventing the ways in which next-generation aircraft and spacecraft will change the world and inspiring Americans to take bold steps."

The fellows are listed in:"


Experts Puzzled By Bright Spot On Venus 107

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that astronomers are puzzled by a strange bright spot which has appeared in the clouds of Venus, first identified by US amateur astronomer Frank Melillo on 19 July and later confirmed by the European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft. 'I have seen bright spots before but this one is an exceptionally bright and quite intense area,' says Melillo. The bright spot has started to expand since its first appearance, being spread by winds in Venus' thick atmosphere. Scientists are unsure as to what is causing the spot. 'An eruption would have to be quite energetic to get a cloud this high,' said Dr. Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin. Furthermore, at a latitude of 50 degrees south, the spot lies outside the region of known volcanoes on Venus. Another potential source for the bright spot are charged particles from the Sun interacting with Venus' atmosphere. It's also possible that atmospheric turbulence may have caused bright material to become concentrated in one area. 'Right now, I think it's anybody's guess,' adds Limaye."

Comment It has always been the case (Score 1) 135

Let us remember that the entire world was created from microscopic life forms, not by computers. The life forms learned from the environment and evolved in ways which even the most sophisticated computer would have an impossible time understanding. Let us remember that computers are, by a long shot, not the most efficient problem solvers. For instance, no computer can recognize patterns as well as a human being. The control system governing a hummingbird flight is way more advanced than that of the greatest and mightiest fighter airplane.

Computers are not problem solvers - they merely automate repetitive procedures or, at best, algorithmically apply a set of rules to a given problem -- Nature has always been more potent than computers.

I am impressed they can solve a simple problem with bacteria though. Maybe I should stop brushing my teeth and let the bacteria in my mouth say something intelligent.



Submission + - NASA's LRO photographs Apollo landing sites

juanergie writes: "Apollo landing sites have been photographed by NASA's Lunar Reconnisance Orbiter, from the article:

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, was able to image five of the six Apollo sites, with the remaining Apollo 12 site expected to be photographed in the coming weeks.


Comment NASA's credibility (Score 1) 222

As an Space Program advocate, I certainly hope they find them-- the public needs to trust NASA again; knowing that NASA can keep track of its mission assets would be the very basic start.

Whoever found the tapes (if they really were found) should not feel disappointed about not breaking the news him or herself. It is a shame they were lost in the first place, and finding them is nothing to feel proud about. I cannot imagine loosing my baby in the supermarket and then feeling like a real smart, witty person for finding her two years later.

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