If you go outside on August 22nd and start waving at the sky for a few consecutive months*, chances are you might be able to spot yourself on Google Maps in the near future.
On that date, Virginia-based company GeoEye will launch the GeoEye-1 satellite from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. When it reaches its orbit, GeoEye-1 will start snapping photos of Earth – and it will do so fast. The satellite can take high-resolution photos of an area the size of Texas within a day.
GeoEye-1, holding an ultra high-resolution digital camera attached to a massive telescope, will be able to take clear images of objects just 20 inches across – a huge improvement over Google Earth’s current 3-foot resolution. At this resolution, we should soon be able to see the shapes of people in online maps – but still not license plates. Read more »
Tags: camera, geoeye, photography, satellite, space
You know all those movies where space travelers are asleep and don’t age a bit while they fly around the galaxy? They’re in suspended animation, and it turns out that this state may actually be possible.
We don’t know how, but scientists discovered that small doses of hydrogen sulfide (found in sewer gas) put lab mice into a state of metabolic suppression within minutes. The mice were able to return to normal within 30 minutes of being able to breathe regular air again.
The scientists don’t know if this will work on humans, although we doubt any human testing will be performed for a while as this is a dangerous thing to toy with. It would be great to see this finding give humans the ability to enter suspended animation and make long space voyages possible. [via Gizmodo]
Tags: space, star trek, suspended animation
DARPA is funding research at the University of Wisconsin at Madison aiming to develop an energy-efficient, heat-resistant mechanical nanocomputer.
The scientists are essentially trying to create a mechanical version of today’s silicon computer chips that’s able to perform in extreme environments such as space, car engines, and battlefields. Instead of using transistors and other electrical components, a mechanical nanocomputer would rely on gates, pillars, levers, and pistons to perform calculations.
The mechanial parts mean that this computer is more rugged and can operate at much higher temperatures. It also uses less energy, mainly due to the fact that it doesn’t need a power-hungry cooling system as it produces very little heat unlike its electrical counterpart.
Although mechanical computer designs have been around for a while, this is the first attempt to squeeze such a computer into a tiny package. Imagine itty bitty parts moving inside of your cell phone when it needs to calculate something. Although this new tech probably won’t be used in our gadgets, it could prove to be very valuable in demanding space and military applications.
Tags: chip, darpa, efficient, mechanical nanocomputer, space, university of wisconsin
Richard Branson showcased today a model of the spaceship he hopes will be the first to take passengers into space on a regular basis. The SpaceShipTwo, as it is dubbed, will begin test flights later this year.
“Two thousand eight is going to be the year of the spaceship. We’re excited about this, and everything it will do,” said Branson.
Virgin Galactic, part of Branson’s Virgin Group, already has 200 people signed up and $30 million in deposits for the rides. What does a flight into space cost you? A measly $200,000. The trips are expected to take about two and a half hours with five minutes of weightlessness.
Let’s hope they get this thing perfected soon so that prices can start falling. I, for one, am excited for a vacation to the moon. Pics after the jump. Read more »
Tags: branson, flight, space, space travel, spaceship, spaceshiptwo, virgin, virgin galactic