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Posts Tagged ‘SciTech’

Giant Chinese 3D printer builds 10 houses in just 1 day (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 28, 2014

Screenshot from YouTube user ChinaViewTVcreenshot from YouTube user Chin

A private company located in eastern China has printed ten full-size houses using a huge 3D printer in the space of a day. The process utilizes quick-drying cement, but the creators are being careful not to reveal the secrets of the technology.

China’s WinSun company, used a system of four 10 meter wide by 6.6 meter high printers with multi-directional sprays to create the houses. Cement and construction waste was used to build the walls layer-by-layer, state news agency Xinhua reported.

“To obtain natural stone, we have to employ miners, dig up blocks of stone and saw them into pieces. This badly damages the environment,” stated Ma Yihe, the inventor of the printers. Yihe has been designing 3D printers for 12 years and believes his process to be both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

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Attempt to jam Russian satellites carried out from Western Ukraine

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 15, 2014

satellite.si

RT: An attempted radio-electronic attack on Russian television satellites from the territory of Western Ukraine has been recorded by the Ministry of Communications. It comes days after Ukraine blocked Russian TV channels, a move criticized by the OSCE.

The ministry noted that “people who make such decisions” to attack Russian satellites that retransmit TV signals, “should think about the consequences,” Ria reports. The ministry did not share any details of the attack. Read the rest of this entry »

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Satellite Wars: China unveils ‘cheaper’ answer to GPS

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 28, 2012

navigation-photo-beidou-facebookcom.nChina’s rapidly-expanding rival to GPS, called BeiDou, has become available to customers across Asia-Pacific for the first time. It aims to claim a fifth of the satellite services market in the region in just three years.

Previously, the satellite constellation was only used by the country’s military and government services. Now, it is being commercialized.

“The services now available include positioning, navigation, timing and short messages for China and surrounding areas. We hope BeiDou conquers 15 to 20 percent of the satellite services market in the Asia Pacific by 2015,”BeiDou spokesman Ran Chengqi announced at a press conference in Beijing, reported by Xinhua news agency.

China says that as it expands worldwide, the state-funded navigation system will bring in revenues of more than $60 billion a year.

At the moment, a user receiving BeiDou’s signal can determine their position to within ten meters. Most civilian GPS users are given positional data that is out by no more than 2 meters, but BeiDou’s makers say their services will be much cheaper than those of the US-government owned GPS.

BeiDou, which is the Chinese term for the Big Dipper star, is also expanding at an impressive rate, meaning it will soon be able to bridge the performance gap. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reaching for the stars or false dawn? Russia says next-gen spacecraft design ready

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 27, 2012

russianspacewebcom-user-zak-image.nRussia’s halting attempts to build a next generation spacecraft have received a boost after a leading constructor announced that it has completed the design of a new prototype. But seasoned space watchers await specifics before popping their corks.

“We have finished the design of the new spaceship. We took into consideration that the new craft has to be able to travel not only to the International Space Station (ISS), but also to the moon,” said Vitaly Lopota, the chief of RSC Energia, the Russian space industry’s primary spacecraft builder.

The proposed spacecraft is commonly known as PPTS (or Prospective Piloted Transport System) and RSC Energia won the tender to build it in 2009. Initially, 2015 was named as the date of the first test flight, but that was then shifted to 2018. Now, Lopota has brought the test date forward again.

“We are currently working on the first full-size model. The first test flights should take place in 2017,” he announced during a press conference in Moscow.

Currently, Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, uses a modernized Soyuz spacecraft, a basic design that flew its first mission in 1967, to deliver cosmonauts to the ISS.

On paper, PPTS sounds like a significant upgrade, although all design information is preliminary and has not been finalized by the designers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Superhumans, supercities and supercomputers: US intelligence’s vision of 2030

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 13, 2012

2030Things are about to get a little weird. This according to the National Intelligence Council, at least, a US-based coalition of spy agencies that has just released its predictions for what’s in store for the Earth in 2030.

The NIC released on Monday “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,” an 140-page report that brings together the best brains within the intelligence sector to find out what we might expect a few decades down the road. Given the current rate of growth in technology and medicine, the marvels considered in the NIC report shouldn’t come as all too surprising. Only 18 years down the road, however, the ideas being pitched by the people behind the report might not be as much science fiction as soon-to-be-reality. It also might very well be predictive policy making.

“We are at a critical juncture in human history, which could lead to widely contrasting futures,” Council Chairman Christopher Kojm writes in the report.

With the next few years ripe for experiment, the future is “malleable,” Kojm suggests, making no time like the present to start perfecting space-age advances once thought to be out of this world. On the contrary, though, the NIC seems to think cyborg civilians and instant super-cities are thing of the not-so-distant future.

“Our effort is to encourage decision-makers, whether in government or outside, to think and plan for the long term so that negative futures do not occur and positive ones have a better chance of unfolding,” the Council writes. That influence might be a bit impressive for some, though, as it includes suggestions for the world of tomorrow that will be necessary to advance them human race in order to make use of dwindling resources as populations expand around the globe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran to take US to international court over intercepted spy drone

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 6, 2012

US-TECHNOLOGY-UNMANNED SYSTEMS DEMO-SCANEAGLEIran has threatened international legal action against Washington over its alleged interception of a US spy drone. Tehran claims it has evidence of illegal spying on Iran’s nuclear program to present to an international court.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Tuesday that Tehran now has proof of the presence of US spy drones over Iranian territory.

“We had formally protested such actions by the US and had announced that we would defend our borders by any means possible,” Salehi told national media. International law forbids the violation of national borders, which Tehran had warned the US against before, “but unfortunately they did not comply,” he said.

“We will use this drone as evidence to pursue a legal case against the US invasion at relevant international bodies,”the Iranian FM said.

In a video broadcast on Iran’s Press TV on December 4, a US ScanEagle drone recently intercepted over the Persian Gulf by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was not visibly damaged. If the drone was manufactured by Boeing subsidiary Insitu, the lack of damage indicates it was not shot down, but was ‘hooked’ intact and brought to the ground.

IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, who made the official announcement on the drone’s capture, did not specify the exact date it had been intercepted.

One year ago, Tehran was reluctant to go to an international court when Iranian electronic warfare specialists managed to take control of the top-secret US RQ-170 ‘Sentinel’ stealth drone on a mission above the northeastern Iranian city Kashmar. The Sentinel was hacked and forced to land on an Iranian airfield, and then captured intact on December 4, 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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NASA seeing red: $2.5 billion Mars rover to dig for proof of life

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 8, 2012

An artist's conception of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. (AFP Photo / NASA)

An artist’s conception of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. (AFP Photo / NASA)

NASA’s make-or-break Mars mission has entered its landing phase on Monday morning. While the Curiosity rover attempts to land using a never-attempted sky crane, engineers back on Earth have no control over the pre-programmed sequence.

The touchdown is scheduled for 5:31 GMT.

NASA engineers will have to wait at least 14 minutes before learning the fate of Curiosity. That is if the Odyssey orbiter circling Mars is at the right spot in the sky to catch the rover’s signal. If not, it could take up to eight hours to get the final answer on the rover’s fate.

The $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory “could arguably be the most important event in the history of planetary exploration,” said Doug McCuistion, director of Mars exploration at NASA’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

The trickiest part of the mission, currently on its 8 months since launching in 2011, is the landing. Not only does it involve delivering the NASA’s largest-ever one-ton payload safely to the Martian surface, it will also attempt a new kind of landing sequence involving a guided entry, a supersonic 16-meter parachute, firing eight rocket thrusters during the descent and, finally, the sky crane.

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Lead Flight Director David Oh speaks to members of the media in the Mission Control room ahead of the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity. (AFP Photo / Robyn Beck)
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Lead Flight Director David Oh speaks to members of the media in the Mission Control room ahead of the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity. (AFP Photo / Robyn Beck)

A crane hovering some seven meters in the sky after touchdown will lower Curiosity to the surface of Mars. The approach was chosen over a traditional lander or inflatable cushioning due to the size of the rover. The sky crane trick avoids risks like tilting the platform, or mechanical damage from the clouds of dust and debris kicked up by rocket engines. But the sky crane technology couldn’t be fully field-tested on Earth, since it was designed for the atmosphere and gravity of Mars. Read the rest of this entry »

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Future covered: NASA developing space-bound submarines and printable spacecraft

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 8, 2012

This composite "family portrait" from NASA's website shows Jupiter with two of its four largest moons: Io, on the top, and Europa (Photo from http://www.nasa.gov/)

This composite “family portrait” from NASA’s website shows Jupiter with two of its four largest moons: Io, on the top, and Europa (Photo from http://www.nasa.gov/)

As Curiosity takes its first steps on the surface of Mars, NASA has already decided what comes next after the rover, namely a submarine to explore Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, Europa, and a robot to land-sail across Venus.

These are among 28 futuristic projects selected by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The ambitious projects are split into the categories of Phase I, which has gathered brand new ideas to be developed from scratch, and Phase II, the survivors of 2011’s program.

The 18 winners of Phase I have been awarded $100,000 each to develop their ideas for one year. This category boasts the boldest projects including a Venus-bound craft which would “sail” the planet using electromagnetic fields.

As NIAC studies all aspects of space exploration, a certain number of its projects cover hazards of planetary missions, such as the abnormal radiation that spacemen may encounter at an on-ground station. Thus, “Water Walls”, another ambition under NIAC’s Phase I, is a concept where undesirable material like urine or fecal matter is removed from a station’s waste water and processed to act as a radiation shield.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Engineered virus which hacks & controls brain: Do you mind?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 4, 2012

Photo from wordlesstech.com

Photo from wordlesstech.com

Today, an average computer user cannot even keep the machine secured. So what will the world look like when hacking your mind becomes as easy as infecting your machine with a computer virus?

Human knowledge on DNA nanotechnology and bio-molecular computing increases exponentially with every passing year. Thus, protecting your own brain from security breaches could become the highest priority challenge of the 21st century.

Synthetic biology is becoming one of the most powerful forms of technology in the world. But many people fear that scientists’ games with the genetics of life forms could spin out of control and open the door to a new age of bio-hacking and bio-terrorism.

Natural living viruses and bacteria are not only making people sick, they also control the behavior and condition of the hosts, though without any malice. But the consequences of getting exposed to an artificially-created virus could be much more serious than a headache or a fever.

“Synthetic biology will lead to new forms of bioterrorism,” security expert Marc Goodman told the Daily Mail. “Bio-crime today is akin to computer crime in the early ’80s.”

Viruses and bacteria are manipulating the chemicals inside the human body and, by programming them to send the right agents into the brain, the bio-programmer potentially can take control over the victim’s behavior. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can a brain scan reveal how smart you are?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 4, 2012

Reuters / Sage Center for the Study of the Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara / Handout

Reuters / Sage Center for the Study of the Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara / Handout

A question has plagued scientists for years: When it comes to intelligence, what distinguishes the brains of exceptionally smart humans from the rest? New research reveals that a brain scan could offer an answer.

The brain’s mass and the size of its prefrontal cortex – a region just behind the forehead – have long been believed to play a role in intelligence. New research published in the St. Louis-based Washington University Journal of Neuroscience suggests that up to ten percent of individual differences in intelligence lie in the strength of neural pathways between the brain and the left prefrontal cortex – the region linked to personality and cognitive behaviors.

In other words, the better and more efficient the neural pathways are, the more intelligent the person is. It is a new approach for understanding human intelligence, dubbed “global brain connectivity.”

This marks the first example of solid evidence that neural connections between the left prefrontal cortex and the rest of the brain are a powerful contributing factor to human intelligence, said the study’s lead author Michael W. Cole, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in cognitive neuroscience at Washington University. Read the rest of this entry »

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New telescope to guard Earth from killer asteroids

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 1, 2012

Image from b612foundation.org

Image from b612foundation.org

Some 500,000 asteroids are circulating near-Earth space and some of them may pose a real danger to our planet. But a US company says it plans to build a telescope that will be able to watch them.

Some asteroids may collide with Earth between 2020 and 2030, and only about 10,000 out of half a million have been catalogued to date – so  time is of the essence. But the B612 Foundation is certain its future telescope called Sentinel, which may be launched into orbit around the sun in about five years, can help to chart the rest of them in less than six years of operation.

“This is going to be the definitive map of the inner solar system,” says Ed Lu, a former NASA astronaut and B612 Foundation’s CEO.

Once completed, the map will help researchers spot potentially dangerous asteroids and identify others that could be targets for mining activities, for example. The goal is to have decades of notice, Lu told Reuters.

“I think it would be embarrassing if we were to be struck by a major asteroid in the next few decades simply because we didn’t choose to do the mapping that’s needed to find these asteroids,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Brand New Ocean — on Saturn’s Moon Titan

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 30, 2012

This artist’s concept shows a possible scenario for the internal structure of Titan, as suggested by data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

A. Tavani / NASA
It really is a shame that Titan can’t slip away from Saturn late one night. The ringed planet’s most interesting moon would easily qualify as one of the solar system’s most interesting planets if it were out and orbiting on its own. Still, even as a mere back-bencher it does just fine.

Titan has long been thought of as something like a flash-frozen version of the early Earth, saturated with the hydrocarbons that first made life possible on our planet. Getting a good, close look at Titan is thus like getting a good close look at our own distant past. Just two weeks ago, data from the Cassini spacecraft, orbiting Saturn, also revealed that Titan’s surface is home to numerous methane lakes, one of them half as large as Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Now comes a paper published in the journal Science persuasively suggesting that Titan probably has a vast-globe-girdling ocean beneath it’s surface too, and unlike the methane-filled lakes above, this one is made of ordinary water. That has very big implications not just for our understanding of Titan, but for our hunt for life elsewhere in the cosmos.

(PHOTOS: The Storms of Saturn)

“The search for water is an important goal in solar system exploration,” said lead author Lucino Iess, a Cassini scientist at Sapienza University in Rome. “Now we’ve spotted another place where it is abundant.” Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s Shenzhou-9 crew returns to Earth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 29, 2012

Shenzhou

The capsule carrying the crew of China’s Shenzhou-9 spacecraft has successfully landed in the country’s Inner Mongolia region after 13 days in space. The success of the mission brings China a step closer to creating its own manned space station.

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Sky-high and abyss-deep: China’s double record-breaker

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 25, 2012

Docking in progress, CCTV video still.

Docking in progress, CCTV video still.

China has reached two technological milestones spanning great depths and heights. In the earth’s orbit, the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft manually docked a space module while under the Pacific, a Jiaolong sub dived to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

The symbolism behind the scheduling of the two historical events was far from coincidental. The three oceanographers manning the submersible during the 7,000 dive sent greetings to their three fellow “taikonauts” piloting the space capsule, wishing them luck in their mission.

The descent to a depth of 7,015 meters broke the Chinese national diving record. It was the fourth such dive in the mission, which started on June 15. The dive was conducted in heavy rain, according to a Xinhua report.

The space mission was also successful, with the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft undocking and again docking the Tiangong 1 module. For the first time, the procedure was performed manually rather than directed from the mission control center on the ground.

China became the third nation after Russia and the US to master the technology, which is crucial for the nation’s ambitious space program. The country wants to have a domestically-made manned space station operating by 2020.

The docking was the key part of the space mission. China launched the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, which carried the country’s first female astronaut, last Saturday. The mission will now continue for four more days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Secret of ageing found: Japanese scientists pave way to everlasting life

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 10, 2012

Portrait of senior couple, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan (AFP Photo/Getty Images)

                                                   Portrait of senior couple, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan (AFP Photo/Getty Images)

Japan, which already tops the world’s life expectancy list, now has another tool to cement its leading position. The country’s scientists say they have discovered a protein responsible for ageing and learnt to control it.

A group of scientists from Osaka University have found that one of the components of the human complement system is directly responsible for ageing, Russia’s ITAR-TASS quotes Japanese media on Saturday. The C1q protein, the researchers say, is to blame for human cells getting old.    Read the rest of this entry »

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