By Shyamantha Asokan NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian companies that built most of the parts for the country's recently launched Mars mission are using their low-cost, high-tech expertise in frugal space engineering to compete for global aerospace, defence and nuclear contracts worth billions. India's Mangalyaan spacecraft was launched last month and then catapulted from Earth orbit on December 1, clearing an important hurdle on its 420 million mile journey to Mars and putting it on course to be the first Asian mission to reach the red planet. The venture has a price tag of just 4.5 billion rupees ($72 million), roughly one-tenth the cost of Maven, NASA's latest Mars mission. Those firms with proven space know-how will find themselves with the advantage as India, the world's biggest arms importer, shells out $100 billion over a decade to modernise its military with the country favouring local sources.
Posted on 8 December 2013 | 9:18 pm
Thirty years of shrinking Arctic sea ice has boosted extreme summer weather, including heat waves and drought, in the United States and elsewhere, according to a study published today (Dec. 8) in the journal Nature Climate Change. The new study — based on satellite tracking of sea ice, snow cover and weather trends since 1979 — links the Arctic's warming climate to shifting weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere's midlatitudes. "The results of our new study provide further support and evidence for rapid Arctic warming contributing to the observed increased frequency and intensity of heat waves," said study co-author Jennifer Francis, an atmospheric scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Changes in the Arctic can perturb midlatitude weather in such regions as the United States, Europe and China because temperature differences between the two zones drive the jet stream, the fast-moving river of air that circles the Northern Hemisphere, explained lead study author Qiuhong Tang, an atmospheric scientist at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research in Beijing.
Posted on 8 December 2013 | 3:54 pm
By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists have produced hydrogen by accelerating a natural process found in rocks deep below the Earth's surface, a short-cut that may herald the wider use of what is a clean fuel, a study showed on Sunday. Used in rockets and in battery-like fuel cells, hydrogen is being widely researched as a non-polluting fuel, but its use is so far hampered by high costs. A few hydrogen vehicles are already on the roads, such as the Honda FXC Clarity and Mercedes-Benz F-Cell, and more are planned. Researchers in France said aluminum oxide speeded up a process by which hydrogen is produced naturally when water meets olivine, a common type of rock, under the high temperatures and pressures found at great depths.
Posted on 8 December 2013 | 12:20 pm
The remains of a wealthy estate, with a mosaic fountain in its garden, dating to between the late 10th and early 11th centuries have been unearthed in Ramla in central Israel. "It seems that a private building belonging to a wealthy family was located there and that the fountain was used for ornamentation," Hagit Torgë, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. Fountains from the Fatimid period were mostly found around the center of the Old City of Ramla called White Mosque, Torgë added.
Posted on 8 December 2013 | 11:56 am
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — For more than a decade, people walking along Great Lakes beaches have come upon a heartrending sight: dozens, or even hundreds, of dead loons, gulls and other waterfowl — victims of food poisoning that paralyzed their muscles and eventually caused them to drown.
Posted on 8 December 2013 | 11:09 am
A planet-hunting NASA spacecraft has detected no sign of moon-size black holes yet in the Milky Way galaxy, limiting the chances that such objects could make up most of the "dark matter" that has mystified scientists for decades. It remains so mysterious that scientists are still uncertain as to whether dark matter is made of microscopic particles or far larger objects. The consensus right now is that dark matter consists of a new type of particle, one that interacts very weakly at best with all the known forces of the universe except gravity. As such, dark matter is invisible and mostly intangible, with its presence only detectable via the gravitational pull it exerts.
Posted on 8 December 2013 | 11:05 am
Researchers say that finding suggests that quality and safety may be the true motivating factors behind these purchase decisions. According to the BCG research, U.S. millennials are receptive to this type of marketing and are more likely than nonmillennials to purchase items associated with a particular cause, such as "Made in America."
Posted on 8 December 2013 | 5:43 am
A classified U.S. spy payload rocketed into orbit from California on an Atlas 5 launcher Thursday (Dec. 5), joining the nation's eyes and ears in the sky to supply intelligence to the government's national security agencies. The satellite is owned by the National Reconnaissance Office, but government officials do not disclose the identities of the NRO's spacecraft, only saying the payload will serve national security purposes. But independent satellite-watchers believe the spacecraft will join the NRO's fleet of spacecraft with radars to penetrate cloaks of clouds and darkness and reveal what adversaries are doing regardless of weather or time of day. The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:14:30 p.m. PST Thursday (0714:30 GMT;
Posted on 7 December 2013 | 3:55 pm
STOCKHOLM (AP) — One of this year's Nobel Prize laureates says learning how to handle failure is key to becoming a successful scientist.
Posted on 6 December 2013 | 1:42 pm
To find extraterrestrial life, be it microbes or intelligent life, scientists need telescopes capable of detecting Earth-like planets in Earth's neighborhood and ways to detect biological signatures of life or signs of alien technology. "This is the first time in human history we have the technological reach to find life on other planets," Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at MIT, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing today. "Astrobiology has become a crosscutting theme of all NASA space science endeavors," and continued funding is important, said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D., Texas). The Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets outside Earth's solar system, including 10 that are Earth-size and lie within their star's habitable zone.
Posted on 6 December 2013 | 6:09 am