Posted December 9, 2013 By David Kolle
An amazing sequence of images beamed back by the Cassini space probe in orbit around Saturn reveals a roiling mass of geometrically-shaped cloud.
The colour-filtered footage shows a monstrous jet stream bouncing around a 6 cornered formation on the ringed planet’s north pole.
With winds of more than 320km/h, the storm is some 32,000km wide. That’s wider than two Earths.
But it is the stark, enormous hurricane at the eye of the storm pattern that has scientists buzzing.
The first clues of the storm’s existence were revealed when the Voyager probe buzzed by in 1981. It’s been raging, mysteriously, ever since.
NASA says there is no other storm like it in the solar system. And there are plenty of other great storms out there – take Jupiter’s similar-sized Red Spot for example.
“The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable,” said a Cassini team member. “A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades – and who knows – maybe centuries.”
The images were captured over a 10-hour period in 2012. NASA has only just finished processing some 16 different frames into a collage that shows the eerie, bubbling swirl.
The pictures are in false-colour, deliberately accentuating the features captured in a spectrum ranging from the ultraviolet to the infra-red.
NASA is hoping to capture a closer view in 2017 when summer returns to the northern regions of Saturn.
Filed in NASA, Science, Space | Tagged: Cassini–Huygens, Earth, Jet stream, Jupiter, NASA, planets, Saturn, Science, scientists, Space, Voyager program
Posted December 6, 2013 By David Kolle
A Californian company has developed a robotic security guard called they’ve called the K5 Autonomous Data Machine.
The machine is designed to act as a safety measure and crime-deterrent for neighbourhoods, private businesses and schools.
Dubbed ‘Robocop-on-wheels’, and slightly resembling R2-D2 from Star Wars, was created as a result of the Sandy Hook school shooting. It’s mission is to reduce crime by 50 per cent.
“We founded Knightscope after what happened … you are never going to have an armed officer in every school,” says William Santana Li, a co-founder of the company.
The K5′s weapons to fight crime and deter criminals are a “video camera, thermal imaging sensors, a laser range finder, radar, air quality sensors and a microphone.” All these are intended to alert you should it find anything out-of-the-ordinary as it patrols a “pre-planned route”.
Mr. Li envisions the K5 to have wireless access to a data server where it could recognise faces and license plates to identify crooks in the act. He even goes one-step further into Hollywood fantasy by expressing a desire to employ “precog” – a crime-prediction process seen in the movie Minority Report.
Knightscope’s website states the data collected from the K5 sensors is processed through their predictive analytics engine, combined with existing business, government and crowdsourced social data sets, and subsequently assigned an alert level that determines when the community and the authorities should be notified of a concern.
K5 is supposedly available at a minimum wage rate but the question of privacy is raised as its ‘pervasive surveillance’ in public places could infringe on privacy rights.
Posted December 3, 2013 By David Kolle
The CEO of Amur Minerals wants to mine for nickel and copper in Siberia where threatening winters and lack of decent roads make it tough to haul in equipment. Best option, a zeppelin.
The other alternative for the explore ration company would need to spend some where around $US150 million to build a 350 km road to truck in heavy construction gear, Chief Executive Officer Robin Young said in an interview.
Peter Hambro, executive chairman of gold producer Petropavlovsk, said he invested in a maker of the airships and foresees the mining industry adopting them.
“To build a bridge to take a Toyota Land Cruiser isn’t horrifically expensive,” Hambro said. “To build a bridge that will take Caterpillar 777 is very, very expensive,” he said, referring to the 87-tonne dump truck used in mines. Read the remainder of this entry »