NASA selects tiny research satellites for future

NASA selects tiny research
satellites for future missions
Washington : NASA
has selected more than
dozen small research
satellites that could fit
in the palm of your hand
to fly in space on future
rocket launches.
nanosatellites are small
but pack an outsized
research punch.
They will enable
demonstrations, education research and science missions and will
study topics ranging
from how the solar system formed to the
demonstration of a new
radiation-tolerant computer system, the US
space agency said in a
The 14 CubeSats
selected are from 12
states and will fly as
aboard rockets planned
to launch in 2016, 2017
and 2018.
They come from universities across the
NASA field centres.
As part of the White
House Maker Initiative,
NASA is seeking to
leverage the growing
community of spaceenthusiasts to create a
nation that contributes
to NASA’s space exploration goals.
The aim is to launch
50 small satellites from
all 50 states in the next
five years. (IANS)
App that delivers
lost key via post
New York : Remember the hardship you had to
undergo the last time you lost your car's keys while
several kilometres away from home? Now, you can
prevent the re-run of that incident with the help of an
New York-based KeyMe is trying to ease that
annoying and costly mistake by changing how we
duplicate our keys. Its iOS app lets users take a photo
of their key and upload it to the cloud to print a new
one on the fly, reported CNET.
"We've made hundreds of thousands of keys,"
Michael Harbolt, KeyMe's vice president of marketing, was quoted as saying.
KeyMe has almost two dozen automated locations
in the greater New York City area, as well as a few
scattered around in states like Florida, Arizona and
All one has to do is take a photograph of their home,
office or car key. The app then uploads that image to
the company's system. A press of a button tells the app
to deliver the key to the user in the mail.
Even easier, one can travel to one of KeyMe's
kiosks and have a new key printed in less than a
Part of KeyMe's security measures against quick
scans of other people's keys involve asking users to
photograph both sides of the key and to use a blank
white sheet of paper in the background.
Can thieves abuse this? No, says the company.
KeyMe requires a fingerprint to use its kiosk, an email account to sign up and a credit card and address
to print a new key.
"We haven't had one instance of our keys being used
in a crime," Harbolt reassured. (IANS)
Tapeworms fight to
control shared host
London : If two tapeworms infect the same host and find
themselves at cross-purposes, they may actively sabotage
each other in a competition to seize control, new research
For the study, Nina Hafer and Manfred Milinski from the
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Ploen,
Germany, infected small crustaceans called copepods with
These live in copepods and then move to fish for their
next life-cycle stage.
The team found that when two tapeworms in the same
copepod were ready to move hosts, they combined to make
the copepod even more active than a single parasite would.
But when an older tapeworm was sharing a host with a
younger one, the older animal always won out.
The younger tapeworms failed to influence their hosts at
all when in conflict with their older brethren, and did not
lower the activity compared with hosts infected with only
one parasite. "This suggests that the older parasite is "sabotaging" the younger one's activity," Hafer said.
The older parasite even won out when it was in competition with two younger individuals.
According to Frank Cezilly, who studies host-parasite
interactions at the University of Bourgogne in Dijon,
France, the work is interesting.
However, "it could be sabotage but it could be just that
the younger parasite can't overcome [pre-existing] manipulation by the older parasite," he concluded.
The report was published in the journal Evolution.
Haryana to launch IT
mass literacy scheme
Chandigarh :To achieve
the goal of 'Digital
Haryana' and keep pace
with rapidly evolving
technologies, the Haryana
government will launch
Technology (IT) mass literacy scheme (Digital
Saksharta Abhiyaan), to
make the people of the
state digitally literate.
A spokesman of the
electronics and information technology department said Sunday that
under the programme,
training would be imparted to 1.10 lakh people in
five selected blocks by
picking up one person
from every eligible
household. The pro-
gramme will begin in
March. "One block each
in Gurgaon, Faridabad,
Panchkula districts has
been selected for the programme," he said.
"Under level-1, training
would be imparted to
make a person IT-literate
and enable him to operate
a computer or digital
access devices, send and
receive e-mails, and surf
the internet for information. Under level-2, those
selected would be trained
to effectively avail themselves of various government-to-citizen and business-to-citizen services
besides basic level IT literacy," the spokesman
The main objective is to
declare the selected
blocks 100 percent digitally literate. About
20,000 beneficiaries are
to be trained under phaseI by October this year.
About 90,000 more
would be trained in level
1 and level 2 digital literacy courses over a period
of four years, he said.
The central and state
government will bear part
of the cost of training for
general category candidates while the entire cost
would be borne by the
union government in case
MOM will live on, beating
anticipated life expectancy
Bengaluru : India's first
interplanetary mission
has achieved another feat.
The Mars Orbiter Mission
(MOM), which will complete its designated life
around the Red Planet on
March 24, will have an
extended life, thanks to its
minimal fuel consumption.
The Indian Space
Research Organisation
(Isro) is likely to make an
announcement regarding
extended life in the coming days. However, how
much longer MOM will
live will be known only
after a solar eclipse in
An Isro official told
last week that MOM's
fuel consumption has
been minimal.
Confirming this on
Saturday, a senior scientist said: "As we speak,
only about a kilogram of
the 40 kg fuel it had after
insertion into the Martian
Orbit has been used up.
So yes, MOM will live
On the launch day
(November 5, 2013),
MOM had 852 kg fuel, of
which 338.9kg was used
during the launch and
about 190 kg during the
Injection manoeuvre on
Following this, there were
a few other operations
and as on September 23,
2014, the day before it
was put into the Martian
Orbit, roughly 300 kg of
fuel was left.
After the insertion into
the Mars orbit, MOM was
left with 40 kg of fuel and
now it has about 39 kg.
Scientists had predicted
that will all uncertainties
accounted for MOM
would need 20 kg of fuel
for six months, but it had
more than that.
Solar Eclipse
Scientists can't estimate
how much longer MOM
will live. For, it all
depends on how much
fuel MOM uses during
a solar eclipse expected to occur in the
Martian Orbit in AprilMay 2015.
"As of now, MOM is
being maintained by
ground stations. We
have control over how
much fuel to expend,
whether a manoeuvre
is required or not and
other specifics. But during the eclipse, MOM
autonomous mode and we
will have no control over
it," a senior official said.
Explaining that solar
panels on MOM currently
power a lot of sub-systems and fuel is only
being used for small autocorrections, he said:
"During the eclipse,
MOM may expend fuel to
turn the panels to position
it towards the Sun, or
even use some for repositioning itself in the orbit
and so on; we really cannot guess how much fuel
it may use."
Therefore, he said, an
accurate guess of how
much longer MOM can
stay can only be made
after the eclipse. (TOI)
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Smart robots to become
future firefighters at sea
Washington : A group
of the US engineering
students has created a
firefighting robot that
may help sailors fight
fires at sea.
(Shipboard Autonomous
humanoid robot has been
developed by Terrestrial
Robotics Engineering
and Controls Lab and
Extreme Environments,
Robotics & Materials
Laboratory at Virginia
Institute of Technology.
"It is not going to
replace navy firefighters;
it is going to assist navy
Virginia Tech doctoral
student who helped
design and build the
robot, was quoted as saying.
SAFFiR is about the
size of an adult man,
measuring five feet 10
inches tall and weighing
about 64 kg and it stands
on two "legs".
In the future, every
navy ship that leaves
port could have one of
these firefighting robots
on board, the researchers
SAFFiR was tested
several times. The bot,
which was controlled
from a distance by a
team from Virginia Tech,
successfully put out the
"We have demonstrated a real-world application for humanoid robots
that no one has done
Seminatore, a student in
mechanical engineering
at Virginia Tech who
helped create SAFFiR.
The Virginia Tech
team hopes to get the bot
to act autonomously but
for now, it will continue
to be tested as a useroperated machine.
A prototype of the bot
was unveiled recently at
the Naval Future Force
Science and Technology
Expo in Washington,
Submarine volcanoes may alter
long-term climate: Study
Volcanoes hidden under
the oceans may have a
greater influence on our
planet's long-term climate than previously
thought, a US study said.
The study found that
flare up on strikingly
regular cycles, ranging
from two weeks to
100,000 years and that
they erupt almost exclusively during the first six
months of each year,
Xinhua reported.
Previously, scientists
presumed underwater
volcanoes are Earth's
gentle giants, oozing
lava at slow, steady
rates, but the new study
said they produce maybe
eight times more lava
annually than land volcanoes.
Due to the chemistry
of their magmas, the carbon dioxide they emit is
currently at about 88
million tonnes a year, the
same as, or perhaps a little less than, from land
volcanoes, said study
author Maya Tolstoy of
Columbia University's
Lamont-Doherty Earth
Observatory in the US.
If underwater volcanoes were a little bit
more active, their carbon
dioxide output would
shoot up, Tolstoy said.
The findings suggested
that models of earth's
natural climate dynamics
and human-influenced
climate change may have
to be adjusted.
"People have ignored
seafloor volcanoes on
the idea that their influence is small - but that's
assumed to be in a steady
state, which they're not,"
said Tolstoy.
"They respond to both
very large forces, and to
very small ones, and that
tells us that we need to
look at them much more
closely." In the study,
Tolstoy and colleagues
closely monitored 10
submarine eruption sites
using sensitive new seismic instruments.
They also created new
showing outlines of past
lava flows and analyzed
some 25 years of seismic
data from ridges in the
Pacific, Atlantic and
Arctic oceans.
Sea levels drop as
water gets locked into
ice, relieving pressure on
and causing them to
erupt more.
Seismic data also suggested that undersea volcanoes pulse to life
every two weeks. That is
the schedule upon which
combined gravity from
the moon and sun cause
ocean tides to reach their
lowest points, thus, subtly relieving pressure on
volcanoes below.
"This study... may
have a long-term feedback into our whole climate system. If we are
going to protect Earth
we have to understand
how the planet functions
as a whole," Tolstoy
added.The study was
published in the US journal
Research Letters Friday.
Hubble captures rare triplemoon conjunction
Washingto : NASA's
Hubble Space Telescope
has captured the rare
occurrence of three of
Jupiter's largest moons Europa, Callisto and Io racing across the banded
face of the gas-giant planet.
Galilean moons, named
after the 17th century scientist Galileo Galilei who
discovered them with a
telescope, complete orbits
around Jupiter with durations ranging from two
days to 17 days.
They can commonly be
seen transiting the face of
Jupiter and casting shadows onto its cloud tops.
However, seeing three
moons transiting the face
of Jupiter at the same time
is rare, occurring only
once or twice a decade,
the US space agency said
in a statement.
The images were taken
with Hubble's Wide Field
Camera 3 in visible light.
The moons in these
photos have distinctive
The ancient cratered
surface of Callisto is
brownish; the smooth icy
surface of Europa is yellow-white; and the vol-
canic, sulfur-dioxide surface of Io is orange.
The apparent "fuzziness" of some of the shadows depends on the
moons' distances from
The farther away a
moon is from the planet,
the softer the shadow
because the shadow is
more spread out across
the disk. (IANS)