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Space

Project Icarus: the Gas Mines of Uranus 155

astroengine writes "When considering the fuel source for a fusion-powered interstellar probe, wouldn't it be a good idea to set up a colony on the moon and start pillaging the lunar surface for its helium-3 riches? Not so fast, says Adam Crowl of Project Icarus, there may be a far more viable source. What about the gas giants? Although Jupiter's gravity could pose a problem and Saturn's rings might get in the way (and forget Neptune, that place is one hell of a commute), perhaps the helium-3 in the Uranian atmosphere could be mined using atmospheric balloons?"
Hardware Hacking

Workings of Ancient Calculating Device Deciphered 268

palegray.net writes "Scientists have discovered new meaning behind the functions of the Antikythera Mechanism, which has been referred to as the oldest known analog computing device. In addition to providing a means to calculate the dates for solar eclipses, the device apparently tracked the four-year cycles of the Olympiad. From the New York Times article: 'Only now, applying high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography, have experts been able to decipher inscriptions and reconstruct functions of the bronze gears on the mechanism. The latest research has revealed details of dials on the instrument's back side, including the names of all 12 months of an ancient calendar.'"

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