Month: August 2019 Page 1 of 18

Manned vs Unmanned Space Exploration Part 1

first_img Designed for space travel, new device can collect, analyze liquid as it passes by planets Image: Jack Web Space TelescopeFuture robotic missions promise to deliver even more crucial data to widely divergent fields. TRW is now building Hubble’s successor, the Jack Web Space Telescope (formally the Next Generation Space Telescope). Slated for launch in 2010, it will be placed in L2 orbit – a much better position to study the stars. At L2, or Lagrange Point 2, it needs only one simple shield instead of the complicated cooling system required by Hubble because of its nearness to earth. It will also be out of range of the space shuttle should anything go wrong as did on the Hubble mission.As computers become more capable and reliable, robots of greater complexity will be built to handle even the most challenging assignments. The time for humans to explore space may have come…. And, indeed, may have gone forever. Probably the best example of a possible future for human space flight is the recent Russian policy of taking on paying guests – the first space tourists. Already 2 people have paid the $20 million dollar price tag to visit the International Space Station. So instead of a laboratory for cutting edge science, it may become a multibillion dollar Ramada Inn.What is plainly obvious is robotic space explorers are here to stay. Humans may have to look for different roles to play in space.To be continued… Read Part 2by Chuck Rahls, Copyright 2005 This article explores the pros and cons of both types of space exploration and hopefully will spark more discussion of this complex and highly political issue.Unmanned Missions – going where no man has gone before – and maybe never willRobotic space exploration has become the heavy lifter for serious space science. While shuttle launches and the International Space Station get all the media coverage, these small, relatively inexpensive unmanned missions are doing important science in the background.Most scientists agree: both the shuttle (STS – Space Transport System) and the International Space Station are expensive and unproductive means to do space science. NASA has long touted the space station as the perfect platform to study space and the shuttle a perfect vehicle to build it. However, as early as 1990, 13 different science groups rejected the space station citing huge expenses for small gains.Shuttle disasters, first the Challenger followed by Columbia’s catastrophic reentry in February, 2003, have forced NASA to keep mum about crewed space exploration and the International Space Station is on hold. The last important media event promoting manned flight was Senator John Glenn’s ride in 1998 – ostensibly to do research on the effects of spaceflight on the human body, but widely seen by scientists as nothing but a publicity stunt.Since each obiter launch cost $420 million dollars in 1998, it was the world’s most expensive publicity campaign to date. Proponents say the publicity is needed to support space program funding. Scientific groups assert the same money could have paid for two unmanned missions that do new science – not repeat similar experiments already performed by earlier missions.Indeed, why do tests on the effects of zero gravity on humans anyway when they can sit comfortably behind consoles directing robotic probes from Earth? Space is a hostile place for humans. All their needs must be met by bringing a hospitable environment up from a steep gravity well, the cost of which is enormous. The missions must be planned to avoid stressing our fragile organisms. We need food, water and air requiring complicated and heavy equipment. All this machinery needs to be monitored, reducing an astronaut’s available time to carry out experiments. Its shear weight alone reduces substantially the useful payload. Explore further Watching the Apollo landings on the moon as a child I could hardly have imagined I was seeing the end of an era – that of manned exploration of space. Shuttle trips to low earth orbit not withstanding; the human race has stopped reaching for the stars – with manned missions, of course. Now, the new explorers are robots. Will they be the ultimate space traveler? Or will man, with all faults and flexibility, take back this role?center_img The space shuttle is a hopelessly limited vehicle. It’s only capable of reaching low earth orbit. Worse, the space station it services is placed in the same orbit – one that is not ideal for any type of space science. Being so close to the Earth, gravity constantly tugs at the station making it unstable for fabrication of large crystals – part of NASA’s original plans but later nixed by the American Crystallographic Association. To date, more than 20 scientific organizations worldwide have come out against the space station and are recommending the funds be used for more important unmanned missions.NASA has gone so far as to create myths about economic spin-offs from manned spaceflight – the general idea being the enormous expense later results in useful technology that improves our lives. Items like Velcro, Tang and Teflon – popularly believed to have come from the space program or invented by NASA. There is only one problem: they did not.Shuttle launches are expensive: very expensive. Francis Slakey, a PhD physicist who writes for Scientific American about space said, “The shuttle’s cargo bay can carry 23,000 kilos (51,000 lbs) of payload and can return 14,500 kilos back to earth. Suppose that NASA loaded the Shuttle’s cargo bay with confetti to be launched into space. If every kilo of confetti miraculously turned into gold during the return trip, the mission would still lose $270 million.” This was written in 1999 when a shuttle flight cost $420 million.Currently, it’s estimated that just the shuttle program average cost per flight has been about $1.3 billion over lifetime and about $750 million per launch over its most recent five years of operations. This total includes development costs and numerous safety modifications. That means each shuttle launch could pay for 2 to 3 unmanned missions.While recent failures have more than quadrupled success rates for unmanned missions, they still have managed to keep space programs alive – not just for the US, but Russia, Japan and China as well.Mars Pathfinder and Mar Exploration Rovers have succeeded beyond the expectations of their designers and continue to deliver important data to earthbound scientists.When the successful Deep Impact mission smashed into comet Temple 1 in July, 2005 it released a cloud of debris that may help understand comet formation and composition. Citation: Manned vs. Unmanned Space Exploration (Part 1) (2005, November 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Is quantum Internet search on the way

first_img Seth Lloyd, a researcher at MIT, believes that a new architecture for QRAM could be used to not only reduce the energy wasted by RAM, but also be used for completely anonymous Internet search. “My colleagues and I were interested in protocols for quantum Internet search,” he tells “And we were also interested in what we could do with even a rudimentary quantum Internet. But first you have to develop this quantum RAM.”Lloyd worked with Vittorio Giovannetti at the NEST-CNR-INFM in Pisa, Italy, and with Lorenzo Maccone at the University of Pavia, in Pavia, Italy, to put together a system that would work as QRAM. They even called researchers and developers at Texas Instruments to see if their idea is feasible. The results of their efforts are published in Physical Review Letters: “Quantum Random Access Memory.”“Our design is based on a bucket brigade sort of design,” Lloyd says. He explains that the design came about when he and his colleagues were trying to figure out how to make QRAM work based of classical RAM design. “There is just too much decoherence in classical RAM architecture. Too much for the quantum states to remain intact.”Lloyd explains how classical RAM works: “Lets say you have a gigabyte of RAM. That means you have one billion memory slots, each with an address. When you wan to access one, an address is given, let’s say it is about 30 bits long. The first bit will throw two switches, the next will throw four, and so on until a billion switches are thrown at once.”“The conventional design is incredibly wasteful. And it is susceptible to noise and interference. We saw that this wasn’t going to work at all in terms of quantum RAM,” Lloyd continues. He and his colleagues set to work on their bucket brigade design. “It is a sneakier way to access RAM,” he explains. “In the same gigabyte RAM, we send the first bit of the address along a path. Once the first layer is accessed, the next bit comes, following the path of the first bit, until it reaches the second layer. The third bit then traces the two paths before it. In this way, all the bits of the address only interact with two switches.”There are problems with this set-up, however. Even though the experts at Texas Instruments agree that it would work, they point out that the energy saved using QRAM would not offset the larger energy problems associated with classical computing. Besides, Lloyd admits, the QRAM set-up is a little slower than the RAM. “You’d have to be willing to make that trade-off.” That brings Lloyd back to the idea of quantum Internet search. “If you had a quantum Internet, then this would be useful,” he points out. “This offers a huge decrease in energy used and an increase in robustness.” The other interesting aspect is the possibility of completely anonymous Internet search. Not even your service provider would know who you are or what you search for.This all sounds very nice, but is it something that could be implemented in the near future? Lloyd sees the potential, since immediate implementation isn’t possible. “We’re working on setting up an experiment with optics to show how this would work.” But the real issue is setting up an infrastructure that could support a quantum Internet.“For a quantum Internet to work,” Lloyd explains, “we need what is called dark fiber. In some places, this is already being used for classical communications. But we would need more of it, and the necessary quantum switching structure is only just now being developed.”If Lloyd is right, the next few years could be very interesting in terms of quantum technology and communications.Copyright 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of Citation: Is quantum Internet search on the way? (2008, May 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from In classical computing, random access memory (RAM) is needed to make things “work.” But it is subject to a certain level of energy loss. But what if you could create low-energy quantum access memory (QRAM) that would not only work in terms of quantum computing, but that could also be applied to classical computing?center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Discovery in Guatemala finds oldest royal Mayan tomb

first_imgA drawing of the incense burner found in a tomb, ~350 BC. The tri-lobed forehead symbol is a marker of the Jester god. Drawing: Fernando Alvarez / Holmul Archaeological Project Rare early Mayan portrait is found Excavating under a wealthy home, the team, led by Dr. John Tomasic, Research Associate at the University of Kansas, discovered a lid leading to a tunnel of about 16 inches wide. Following the tunnel, they discovered a chultan, orstorage chamber, where a burial was performed.Within this storage chamber they discovered a body they believe to have been a man in his fifties who was reasonably healthy when he died. Within the chultan they also discovered a collection of seven ceramic containers, including the piece that signified the royal find. An incense burner with the “jester god headdress” symbol, a known symbol of royalty, was found alongside the body.The pottery found comes from the period when Mayan ceramics began to change to that of the deep red color, dating this find back to 350BC. Radiocarbon dating of a bone sample from the body confirms this date, making this find the oldest royal Mayan tomb ever discovered.Until this discovery, the oldest Mayan ruler to be discovered was found in San Bartolo in 2005 and was dated back to 100BC. The discovery in San Bartolo was also found underneath a home and not within a pyramid temple which is common with the Mayan rulers of a later period. This discovery shows that the Mayan idea of rulers and their civilization had been in place much longer than had originally been believed by scholars. Tomasic and his team believe that continuing to excavate under more homes in the area may reveal more of these royal burials. Explore further ( — At the recent Society for American Archaeology meeting in Sacramento, California, archaeologist Michael Callaghan from the University of Texas presented his team’s findings from the ancient site of K’o (now modern-day Guatemala) and what they believe to be the oldest known royal Mayan tomb.center_img © 2010 Citation: Discovery in Guatemala finds oldest royal Mayan tomb (2011, April 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Sony announces WhiteMagic new LCD screen that uses half the power

first_img © 2011 For the most part, most LCD displays use just three backlit pixels – Red, Green and Blue (RGB) to create one dot of color on the screen; the various colors are produced by filtering the light that comes from behind each of the three pixels to varying degrees, creating a mix. With this new panel, however, Sony has introduced a fourth pixel, which is pure white, and serves to double the brightness of each dot, not by increasing the power of the backlighting, which would necessitate the use of more battery power, but by simply allowing more viewable white light to pass through the White pixel which when combined with the filtered Red, Green or Blue pixels, results in twice as much light passing through each dot on the panel, resulting in a brighter image overall.Previous attempts to do the same thing resulted in the Red, Green and Blue pixels being overpowered by the White pixel with a resultant washed out look (less contrast) on the panel. Sony has solved that problem by developing an algorithm, which runs in a special chip, that it says allows for images as sharp and clear as current RGB displays.The display, which due to the extra pixel in each dot means 1/3 more pixels in total (640*480*4=1.2 million of them) are used, comes in two modes; standard mode is where the panel dims the backlighting to reduce battery power requirements by half, producing an image that is approximately the same brightness as current displays. Outside mode is where the backlighting is returned to “normal” producing an image that is twice as bright as regular LCD displays.Devices with such a panel could help users with the familiar problem of having difficulty seeing what is on their phone or camera screen when outside in the sun. Conversely, by dimming the backlighting when indoors, the panel should greatly extend battery life. Sony says the new panel should be ready for shipment by October, possibly in time for camera or phone makers to add the new panel to their wares in time for Christmas. ( — Sony has announced via its webpage the development of a new type of LCD display that uses either half as much power as current same-size LCD displays, or the same amount of power, but doubles the brightness. Called WhiteMagic, the new LCD screen, currently just 3 inches diagonally, achieves these results by employing a third, white pixel to create images on a screen. Explore further The ‘White Magic’ LCD module featuring the newly-developed ‘RGBW method’center_img Sony unveils 3D and color e-paper displays at this week’s SID 2011 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Sony announces ‘WhiteMagic’ – new LCD screen that uses half the power (2011, August 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Physicists use blind quantum computing to verify results of quantum computer


Walking with fluttering heart

first_imgPayal Jain launched her Autumn/Winter 2012 couture collection at a south Delhi five star. The fash frat of Delhi registered their attendance at the event. We spotted Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Monisha Bajaj, Anil Lepps, Leena Singh, Poonam Bhagat and model Amit Ranjan at the show. Here are snapshots.last_img

Outsiders are welcome

first_imgLet’s get together to celebrate art that requires no definitions. If you have ever felt creative and drawn, sculpted or made music, you can join the  Outsider Art fair that kick starts tomorrow at The Outsiders Art Centre, Shanti Niketan. Fransisco Gareiri, a contemporary outsider artist from Metz, France will be present at the fair as the chief guest. The fair will have exhibition cum sale, a workshop for registered candidates, a seminar and film shows on outsider art.  Outsider art is referred to the works of artistes outside the mainstream or self-taught artistes.  A group of unsung artistes and all those who have talent but no degree, guru, gallery or platform can grasp this opportunity. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Outsider art has an annual home in New York at the Outsider Art Fair, where 34 galleries from all over the world participate. The fair is also hold in Britain, France and all over America. The world recognises the ‘Rock Garden’ as an example of Outsiders Art by Nek Chand. The organisers felt the need to bring to fore the creativity of other Indian outsiders whose art is from the heart and in very innovative medioms. The owner and artist of the Outsider Arts Centre, Shubhadarshini Singh realised the mystery of creativity when she was ill and between jobs herself and the journey from there to finding other self taught artists made her determined to find them closer home. She says, ‘I want everybody to discover the beauty of turmoil behind a sad, detached or disturbed person, through encouraging that person to allow his creative compulsions crawl out into art that is unique: The Outsider Art.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe primary objectives behind starting the Outsider Art Movement is to promote dignity, well-being and self-determination of people suffering mental distress. Art fairs like these will not only provide them a welcome break from their monotonous schedules but also expose them to their own lurking abilities through the medium of art. Founded by Sandy Smith in 1993, the Outsider Art Fair soon became a critical and commercial success. Recognised for its maverick spirit, the fair played a vital role in building a passionate collecting community as crowds flocked annually to New York’s Puck Building, the event’s original site during its first 15 years.last_img read more

Imagination flying high

first_imgInternational Aviation Conclave presents Anti Gravity – an exhibition on aviation art conceptualized by artiste Ankur Rana.  The Exhibition is first of its kind in the Aviation Industry. It highlights different forms of expression by envisioning the challenges the Industry has gone through since beginning till now. Development co-operation is taking place under global conditions that are very different from those of 50 years ago. The exhibition is being held at International Aviation Conclave at the Capital’s Pragati Maidan from December 11-13. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Participating artistes are Ankur Rana, Rajesh Ram, Ramesh Kumar, Manish Barodia, Durga Kainthola, Saudamini Mishra, Vijit Sharma, Harish Oja, Sonal Varshneya, Radha Dhaka, Biswajit Das. This “high art” and the colorful, rich and memorable experiences have been put together by artistes to create an exhibition worthy of “Aviation” in India’s first International Aviation Conclave. This Aviation Art show is conceptualized by artist Ankur Rana with a series of Artworks on aviation with some of his associated artists. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAnkur Rana’s maps out in his various paintings that new relationships can be built between the past and present, between miles across the globe, between different races and cultures – by Foreign Direct investment and Bi-lateral Trade in the Aviation Industry. His planes on various canvases showcase the ancient and modern planes. Rana’s skyscapes highlight realistic forms of airplanes since inception. His visualization goes not only beyond the bygone years but also highlight the progress made in recent years of spacecrafts. He explores both the interior and exterior of his place. These skyscapes reflect what we all experience during air journey and through these he walks you through that real feeling. The different forms, compositions of colors jostle for prominence. One can feel the anti-gravitational force in Rana’s visuals!The work of Vijit Sharma– spread out and sorted on to the canvas – has a three dimensional effect, while “Udaan” an etching by Sonal Varshney, connects with the role that aviation plays in the travel industry. There is lot of hope, anxiety and joy in her work. The Wooden Airplanes sculpted by Saudamin Mishra take us beyond its work. Their inner energies reflect that growth of the country’s economy and that bilateral trade is important and dependent on monies. Hence, the artist’s planes are full of currency patterns (the US Dollar and the Indian Rupee), which possess a narrative of their own! Harish Ojha’s acrylic on canvas “Victory” contains symbolism from his experience of seeing a plane in day-to-day life. while the  steel sculpture by Ramesh Ram “Dream Cloud” focuses on a child’s dream to rise high like the clouds.  The bronze figurine shows her wings upwards – ready to alight and look beyond. Radha Dhaka’s work “Wings of Desire” depict we all want to achieve our desires by using the wings of thought to fly higher. On the other hand Durga Kainthola’s painting has a background of Doughlas DC-4 Aircraft which portrays one of the first postage stamps of Independent India in 1947 and was meant to be put on foreign airmail letters only. Where: International Aviation Conclave, Hall No-7, ITPO, Pragati MaidanWhen: On till December 13last_img read more

TMC delegation meets president over poll violence in Bengal

first_imgNew Delhi: The ruling TMC in West Bengal today hit out at the opposition for spreading violence against its party workers and supporters, as it appealed President Ram Nath Kovind to outright reject the “malacious campaign” against the Mamata Banerjee government. A delegation of members of Parliament from TMC along with the alleged victims of the state panchayat poll violence, today met the president over the allegations made by the BJP regarding violence during the filing of nomination papers for the panchayat polls in the state. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights”We told the president that the complaints of the opposition parties of not been able to file nominations (for the panchayat polls) are not true. We told him that despite ideological differences, the opposition parties have ganged up against the state government and trying to destabilise the Mamata Banerjee government. “The president should know that the opposition parties are trying to spread false stories against the West Bengal government. We appealed to him to outright reject their malicious campaign and unfound allegations,” TMC senior leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay told reporters.Rejecting reports of the TMC indulging in violence during the panchayat polls, he said, “If free and fair elections are held in the state, the TMC has chances to win more seats. So we have no such intentions”.last_img read more

Top cop in trouble as Kerala CM Chandy mulls action

first_imgKerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday said “suitable action” would be taken against senior IPS officer Rishiraj Singh, who allegedly showed “disrespect” to Home minister Ramesh Chennithala by refusing to acknowledge his presence at a function and failed to even salute him.This was stated by Chandy at a meeting of UDF parliamentary party members here.Chandy said the ADGP had not only failed to salute the Minister, but his explanation for his behaviour could not be accepted. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIMLAs attending the meeting said such incidents would send “wrong signals” and cannot be accepted.The incident had occurred on Saturday when the Home Minister had arrived to attend the passing out parade of women police personnel at the Police Academy in Thrissur.ADGP Rishiraj Singh, in charge of special services and traffic, was seated on a sofa and continued to do so and did not proceed to welcome the Minister or salute him.He continued to cold shoulder the Minister even after he reached the dais and only after Chennithala left the venue, did he get up and leave. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindChennithala, who also attended on Monday’s meeting, did not say anything, sources said.  The Minister had on Sunday told reporters at Kochi that he had no complaints with regard to Singh’s behaviour.“I have no complaint against anyone in this regard. It is for the DGP to probe if his behaviour violated protocol”, the Minister had said.The ADGP’s photograph showing him seated went viral in the social media and it was alleged that he had shown disrespect by not standing up and saluting the Minister. The officer had later clarified that the Minister had entered through the back side of the venue which he had failed to notice.“The Facebook and Whatsapp postings are creating confusion among the public. When we are sitting on the dais facing the parade, the Minister entered from behind. How will we see a person who is behind us? At the parade we are supposed to get up only when the national anthem is played,” Singh had said.last_img read more

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