Exploration

  • Spooky Spaceflight
    Once derided by Einstein as "spooky action at a distance", quantum entanglement could hold out the promise of a novel means of space propulsion, perhaps even making interstellar travel feasible.
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  • Countdown Meets Perfect Storm
    The early Monday morning launch of the first orbital mission to Mercury encountered a difficult weather pattern that scrubbed what operators call an 'instantaneous' launch window. Although the mission will extend to seven years until 2011, only twelve seconds are available to time
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  • The Doodle Gig
    How is the search for life elsewhere reflected culturally in symbols that we recognize daily? One signpost invented to characterize the 'state of the internet' is the occasional change in the logo of the world's most popular search engine. How that doodle has come to
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  • Amplified Intelligence
    Will machines make humans smarter or just more dependent on our calculators, car navigators, and kitchen conveniences? Dr. Ken Ford of the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition reclassifies several key problems in developing smarter machines into a category called, "Amplified Intelligence".
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  • Moonrise: The Next Frontiers
    Two new missions have been advanced as part of the New Horizons flights, one to return a moon sample from the lunar south pole, the other to test if Jupiter sports a rocky core.
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  • New Worlds of Words
    A dictionary like no other in the world, the Oxford English Dictionary has been described as "among the wonders of the world of scholarship". This week, the OED announced the term, astrobiology, among its latest new entries.
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  • Farmer Droids
    The practicality of inexpensive robots opens a host of worldly applications, whether tending a cornfield or testing for bugs. Just as in the film Star Wars, there may be a future role for autonomous robots to tend the farm while farmers blast off for
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  • Hubble Comes to Home Computers
    The Hubble Space Telescope releases imagery data in a file format called FITS, which has previously not be directly accessible in some of the more popular home computer image software. A new plug-in released by the European Space Agency's Hubble team changes a computer to
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  • Light This Candle
    In the early days of the astronaut program, scientists weren't sure if the human body could survive space flight. In Neal Thompson's engaging biography of Alan Shepard, "Light This Candle," he writes of the extreme tests astronauts had to undergo in order to prove
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  • Fantastic Nano-Voyage
    For both scientists and artists in the field of nanotechnology, making tiny airplanes and flower-like designs on scales smaller than the width of a human hair showcases the large promise of thinking small.
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  • I Want My Sci-TV
    Americans love science in their movies and TV shows, yet recent reports indicate we are losing our scientific dominance to the rest of the world. Can science-themed entertainment get Americans off the couch and into the lab?
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  • Moon to Mars: What’s Beyond?
    A blue-ribbon Presidential Commission has released its research findings on how best to get exploration initiatives aligned to a future moon or Mars agenda. Their results highlight the educational potential and the significance of living off the land as humans go where robots have pioneered.
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  • The Tool Guy: Red Whittaker Responds
    Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute has spawned advanced robots for exploration, with Red Whittaker often the one directing them into volcanoes or along the ocean floor. Whittaker responds to the questions from the Presidential Commission considering how best to explore the moon and Mars.
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  • Andrew Cheng: One Giant Leap on an Asteroid
    Dr. Andrew Cheng, 2001 project scientist for the first robotic landing on an asteroid, takes up the question: Should humans try to land on what many consider our nearest and best solar system targets, the asteroids?
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  • The Bigger Picture: Minutes from a meeting about the use of media to promote space exploration
    Testifying before the Presidential blue-ribbon commission plotting trips to the moon and mars offers a chance to evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly--in other words, to take note of the big picture.
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