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Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Science. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Δευτέρα 12 Ιανουαρίου 2015

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft arrives at space station

The unmanned Dragon capsule owned by private U.S. firm SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday morning for its fifth commercial resupply mission to the orbiting laboratory, U.S. space agency NASA said.

The spacecraft was successfully captured by a robotic arm operated by U.S. astronaut Barry Wilmore inside the ISS at 5:54 a.m. EDT (1054 GMT), 18 minutes ahead of schedule, as the two flew over the Mediterranean Sea, NASA said.

Dragon, which was launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday, carried about 2.5 tons of supplies and payloads, including materials to support 256 scientific experiments in space.

The scientific payloads included an instrument that will evaluate the clouds and tiny particles in the Earth's atmosphere to potentially decipher important clues for climate change and aid in weather forecasting on the Earth.

The spacecraft is also loaded with several biological experiments that will take advantage of the microgravity environment unavailable on the Earth to advance medical knowledge.

  • One of the projects will study fruit flies' immune systems as a model for the human immune system, to explore how spaceflight can make organisms more susceptible to disease, especially since microbes can become more virulent in space.
  • Another project will grow proteins inside a 10-centimeter cube in weightlessness to research a suspected cause of Alzheimer's and similar brain ailments in people.

Dragon will remain connected to the ISS for more than four weeks before departing for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of California.

This is the fifth operational cargo delivery mission for SpaceX to the ISS. The company's 1.6-billion-U.S.-dollar contract with NASA requires at least a dozen cargo delivery flights in all.

Besides SpaceX, NASA has also signed a deal with another private company called Orbital Sciences Corp. to supply cargo to the ISS.

Orbital's first two flights went smoothly, but the third failed when the company's Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff in late October. 

 Xinhua - china.org.cn

Σάββατο 10 Ιανουαρίου 2015

US Dragon Spacecraft Blasts Off to ISS, Falcon 9 Rocket Landing Fails

The US spacecraft Dragon with 1.6 tons of supplies for the International Space Station (ISS) was successfully launched Saturday from Cape Canaveral in Florida, NASA said on its website.

The Dragon spacecraft was brought into the orbit by the Falcon 9 carrier-rocket. After completing the task, the first stage of the carrier-rocket was expected to land on a huge platform installed in the ocean off the coast of Florida.
According to US media reports, Falcon 9 crashed into the platform and broke into pieces, making it impossible to use the rocket in the future.

  • The first stage of SpaceX's Flacon 9 rocket failed to make a soft landing at the ocean platform after separating from the spacecraft Dragon, chief executive of SpaceX private developer said Saturday.

"Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho. Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced," Elon Musk said via Twitter.
Musk earlier stated that in case of successful landing, his company would be able to use the rocket's booster stage multiple times, which would change the economics of space flights completely.....................http://sputniknews.com/science/20150110/1016737710.html

Τρίτη 6 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Launch of Dragon supply ship to ISS postponed due to bad weather (NASA)

The launch of the American resupply spaceship Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) has been postponed due to the bad weather conditions.

“Launch of SpaceX's fifth resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida was scrubbed for this morning,” NASA reported on Tuesday. Cargo on board the Dragon spacecraft includes supplies, science investigations and NASA's CATS instrument.

Another launch attempt will be made at 05:09 am, local time (13:09, Moscow time) on Friday.

The Dragon spaceship marks SpaceX’s fifth resupply mission to the ISS under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to deliver 20,000 kg (44,000 pounds) of cargo to the station during a dozen Dragon cargo spacecraft flights through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.

The unmanned cargo freighter is loaded with more than 5108 pounds (2317 kg) of scientific experiments, technology demonstrations, crew supplies, spare parts, food, water, clothing and assorted research gear for the space station.


Πέμπτη 20 Νοεμβρίου 2014

On World Philosophy Day, UN lauds role of dialogue, diversity in multicultural world

UN,  20 November 2014 – The head the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today marked the twelfth edition of World Philosophy Day with a widespread appeal for dialogue in diversity, adding that only by embracing the intellectual pluralism of our global society can the foundations of a truly global community be laid.

“Philosophy is an invaluable ally that draws on reflexive reasoning and engagement in dialogue, to open our minds to a wide variety of opinions and views,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in her messasge for the Day, which this year in on the theme “Social Transformations and Intercultural Dialogue.”

“Such a shift of focus is crucial in a world of rising diversity,” Ms. Bokova continued. “This is both the foundation on which tolerance and peace rest and a means of releasing the creative energy that drives societies forward, while respecting human rights.

World Philosophy Day has been observed every third Thursday of November since 2002, with the aim of making philosophical reflection accessible to all – professors and students, scholars and the general public – thereby enlarging the opportunities and spaces for the stimulation of critical thinking and debate.

This year, the Day is being celebrated with a number of events, including roundtables, debates and concerts, held in Paris, where UNESCO is headquartered, and at other venues around the world.

In addition, a roundtable discussion in Paris will see the launch of the Philosophy Manual, a South-South Perspective which UNESCO describes as an innovative tool designed to facilitate the discovery of philosophical texts from Africa, the Arab region, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, while also promoting their full understanding through a critical apparatus which enables easily adapted educational use.

Related 2013:

Παρασκευή 14 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Philae may not have energy to send results to Earth, says ESA

Europe's robot lab Philae may not have enough power to send to Earth the results of today's drill into the surface of its host comet, mission scientists have said.

"We are not sure there is enough energy so that we can transmit" the data, lander manager Stephan Ulamec said at a press conference webcast from European Space Agency (ESA) ground control in Germany.
Scientists are to decide whether to try a risky drilling procedure to enable an exploration probe to examine samples from the surface of a comet before its batteries run out.

The probe on Wednesday floated away from its planned landing site after harpoons designed to hold it down on the comet failed to deploy.
It is now resting precariously on two out of three legs in the shadow of a cliff on the comet.
  • The lack of light means the probe, dubbed Philae, would not draw sufficient energy to operate on its solar panels as hoped once its batteries run out.
  • The ESA team are also uncertain of its exact position, making it difficult to "hop" the probe into a better position using its landing gear.
The probe was supposed to drill into the surface of the celestial body after landing, but its unstable position and the comet's weak gravitational pull means there is a risk it could bounce off if the drill is deployed.
Despite the landing setbacks, the mission has achieved many breakthroughs, including the first time a spacecraft has followed a comet rather than just whizzing past and the first time a probe has landed on a comet.
Comets are of interest to scientists because they are remnants from the formation of our solar system, over 4.6 billion years ago.
These masses of ice and rock have preserved ancient organic molecules like a time capsule and may provide insight into how planets and life evolved.
Even if Philae is unable to drill into the surface to analyse samples, the Rosetta spacecraft will follow the comet until at least the end of 2015, even as it passes closest to the sun on its orbit.


Τετάρτη 12 Νοεμβρίου 2014

The Rosetta comet landing has made history (Space probe, Philae, reaches comet’s surface first time in history)

After 10 years of hard work and one nerve-wracking night, the Rosetta mission has made history by landing on the surface of a comet.

The lander Philae was confirmed to touch down on the surface of the comet more than 300 million miles away at 11:05 a.m. Eastern. Now, scientists expect it to send a panoramic image home and begin analyzing the comet for scientists back on Earth.

Philae is already transmitting scientific data back home, but we're still waiting to see whether the probe is in a stable position. Until we know it's anchored tight, it could roll onto its back and never get back up.

Tensions were high in the European Space Agency's German mission control center, especially as the landing window approached. Because the comet that Philae landed on is so far from Earth, there's a communications delay of 28 minutes. So as the minutes ticked by, the Rosetta team knew that Philae had already either landed or failed — and there was nothing they could do but wait for the data to reach them. Those following the video online were nearly as desperate for news, and Twitter became a sounding chamber of anticipation and excitement.

But a few minutes after 11 a.m., the stern, cautious expressions of the mission control team melted into smiles. And just like that, the world swiveled from anxiety to elation: Philae was on the surface of the comet and ready to do some science.
For the first time in the history of space exploration a research probe has reached the surface of a comet.
The robotic lander Philae of the European Space Agency separated from the spacecraft Rosetta and landed on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 500 million kilometers away from the Earth.
Philae separated from the Rosetta spacecraft at 11:35 Moscow time.

 The journey from Rosetta to the comet’s surface lasted about seven hours.

Rosetta and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which was discovered in 1969 by Soviet astronomers Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko, now lie about half way between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, rushing towards the inner Solar System at nearly 55,000 kilometers per hour, the ESA said.
Rosetta will follow the comet for more than a year to provide a detailed scientific study of the Solar System body.

Researchers examine bottom of strange crater in N Siberia

Russian researchers for the first time have reached the bottom of the strange large crater on the Yamal Peninsula, northwest Siberia, the press service of the regional government told TASS.

Scientists went on the third expedition to the crater on November 10. They managed to take samples of the ground and ice.
It is located four kilometers away from a gas pipeline and at a considerable distance from gas fields. Human activities could not cause the cave-in, the press service said.
During the summer, scientists could not examine the bottom because ground continued to collapse in the crater.
On the last expedition, researchers reached the depth of 200 metres despite the strong wind with gusts of up to 20 m.sec.

Specialists will study the chemical composition of the samples.
Scientists say the crater may be filled with water in a few years and become a small lake, such as many others in Yamal. It is proved that some of them appeared in such cave-ins. But scientists still do not know definitely how the craters were formed, the press service said.
The next expedition is planned for April 2015.

  • The chairman of the board of the Tyumen Scientific Society of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, academician Vladimir Melnikov, said the craters were formed in Yamal in 2012 and 2013 as a result of the climate warming.
Frozen ground began to melt. At some places, it became less thick, and shale gas came out through it. Shale gas is found along the entire sub-Arctic shelf. Supposedly, it caused the formation of the crater, Melnikov said.

Δευτέρα 10 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Manned Space Capsule With Three ISS Astronauts Lands in Kazakhstan

A manned space capsule of Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft with a crew of three astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) has landed in Kazakhstan, the Russian Mission Control Center told RIA Novosti Monday.

Maksim Suraev (Roskosmos), Reid Wiseman (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and Alexander Gerst (European Space Agency) have returned to the Earth and are currently being evacuated from the descent vehicle.

"Space generation" of fruit flies will land together with the crew. They were raised as part of the study on the impact of zero gravity on the development of highly organized forms of life and are of particular value for science.

Soyuz spacecraft carrying a trio of crew members docked automatically with the International Space Station on May 29. A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the Soyuz TMA-13M capsule blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

During their 167-day stay on board the ISS, the astronauts carried out spacewalks and scientific experiments.

(RIA Novosti)

Τετάρτη 8 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Fault line discovered under New Zealand capital

The fault, referred to informally as the Aotea Fault, ran in a northeasterly direction for about 2 km under the harbor, and scientists said Wednesday it had yet to be identified on land.

They believed at least two significant earthquakes had occurred on the fault in the last 10,000 years.

The Aotea Fault, capable of moderate to large quakes in the order of magnitude 6.3 to 7.1, was part of a series of several dozen geological faults in the Wellington region, according to the government's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science).

The fault did not appreciably increase the overall ground- shaking hazard in the New Zealand capital, GNS scientist Russ Van Dissen said in a statement.

"Any ground-shaking that this fault could produce is already considered in Wellington's seismic hazard calculations. So it is already accounted for in the building code," he said.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand issued a statement saying the discovery was unlikely to have any impact on insurance premiums for homeowners and businesses.
Source:Xinhua -  globaltimes.cn

Τετάρτη 6 Αυγούστου 2014

Rosetta space probe makes historic rendezvous with comet

European scientists announced the historic rendezvous on Wednesday between a comet and the Rosetta spacecraft after a 10-year, six billion-kilometre (3.7-billion-mile) chase through the solar system.

The scout Rosetta has now become the first envoy to orbit one of these wanderers of the solar system in deep space, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

Scientists and spectators at ESA’s mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, cheered after the spacecraft successfully completed its final thrust to swing alongside comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

ESA chief Jean-Jacques Dordain says the probe’s rendezvous with 67P is an important milestone in Rosetta’s life.

The goal of the mission is to orbit 67P from a distance of about 100 kilometres (60 miles) and observe the giant ball of dust and ice as it hurtles toward the sun. If all goes according to plan, Rosetta will drop the first ever lander, a robot chemistry lab, onto a comet in November.

Scientists hope this will help them learn more about the origins of comets, stars and planets.

Orbital entry was triggered by a small firing of her thrusters, lasting just six minutes and 26 seconds, starting at 0900 GMT on Wednesday, it said.

“This burn will tip Rosetta into the first leg of a series of three-legged triangular paths about the comet,” it said.

Top officials from ESA will be were at mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, waiting for the signals to start and stop this crucial final operation to be safely received by ground monitoring stations, 22 minutes later.

The “pyramidal” orbits will put the craft at a height of about 100 kilometres (60 miles) above the comet, said Sylvain Lodiot, Rosetta’s flight operations manager. Each leg of the triangle will be around 100 kilometres and take Rosetta between three and four days to complete.

The arrival will mark a key moment of the boldest project ever undertaken by ESA—a 1.3-billion-euro ($1.76-billion) investigation into one of the enigmas of the solar system.

Comets are believed by astrophysicists to be ancient ice and dust left from the building of the solar system around 4.6 billion years ago. This cosmic rubble is the oldest, least touched material in our stellar neighbourhood.

Understanding its chemical ID identity and physical composition will give insights into how the planets coalesced after the sun flared into light, it is hoped.

t could also determine the fate of a theory called “pan-spermia,” which suggests comets, by smashing into the infant Earth, sowed our home with water and precious organic molecules, providing us with a kickstart for life.

Navigational feat

Rosetta was poised to meet up with Comet “C-G” more than 400 million kilometres from where it was launched.

Getting there has been an unprecedented navigational exploit. Launched in March 2004, the three-tonne craft has had to make four flybys of Mars and Earth, using their gravitational force as a slingshot to build up speed.

It then entered a 31-month hibernation as light from the distant Sun became too weak for its solar panels. That period ended in January with a wake-up call sent from Earth.

The spacecraft is named after the famous stone, now in the British Museum, that explained Egyptian hieroglyphics, while its payload Philae is named after an obelisk that in turn helped decipher the Rosetta stone.

The four-kilometre comet is named after two Ukrainian astronomers who first spotted it in 1969.

(FRANCE24 with AP and AFP)


Παρασκευή 11 Ιουλίου 2014

Fracking: Major Scientific Document Shows Why NY Fracking Moratorium Is Imperative

Less than two weeks ago, local communities triumphed over the fracking industry in a precedent-setting case decided by the New York Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas production within municipal borders.

While the court decision is a victory for the two towns, many New Yorkers continue to rally and push for a statewide fracking moratorium. In this vein, Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY) today released a major resource to the public, including public officials, researchers and journalists—the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking................................http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/10/major-scientific-document-ny-fracking-moratorium-imperative/


Κυριακή 8 Ιουνίου 2014

La NASA a testé un système de transmission de données laser

 L'agence spatiale américaine a testé avec succès une nouvelle technologie de transmission de données laser. 

Les nouvelles technologies, selon les scientifiques, peuvent transmettre des informations à l'aide d'un faisceau laser focalisé de mille fois plus rapidement que les technologies classiques utilisant les ondes radio.

  • Dans le cadre de cette expérience, les scientifiques ont envoyé à plusieurs reprises à l'ISS une vidéo en haute résolution.

 L’envoi de chaque copie à une distance de 418 km (de l'ISS à la Californie) a pris environ 3,5 secondes. Il faut 10 minutes en utilisant des ondes radio pour avoir le même résultat.

Τετάρτη 21 Μαΐου 2014

Scientists: Rising Sea Levels Threaten NASA Space Centers

U.S. scientists say global warming is forcing NASA to build seawalls near major flight and research centers along the U.S. coasts.

A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists says rising sea levels are the greatest threat to the historic Kennedy Space Center, along the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. It says other NASA facilities already have faced costly damage from erosion and hurricanes.

NASA says it is essential that launching pads be located near water if a test flight has to be aborted in mid-air or a technical problem forces astronauts to make an emergency return to Earth.

Other key NASA facilities are located along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.

The report says rising seas threaten other historic sites, including colonial Boston, Hawaiian state parks, and Liberty Island in New York Harbor.
Some reporting by AFP

Σάββατο 10 Μαΐου 2014

China to end mandatory animal testing for cosmetics

Protecting the rights of animals has become a big issue in many countries, Chinese law currently requires all cosmetics products to be tested on animals -- meaning some international brands have stayed out of the mainland. But the Chinese Government says that from this summer, cosmetics companies will be able to choose whether or not to test on live animals. Ahead of the move, Chinese scientists are now learning about alternative test methods.

Cosmetics are big business in China.

Until now, the fourth-largest cosmetics market in the world has mainly relied on animal-testing to ensure consumer safety.

Each year, some 300-thousand live animals undergo painful testing in Chinese laboratories. But the Government now wants to adopt alternative methods, that have proven track records in other countries.

"Alternative methods use complicated techniques and need more international cooperation." Dr. Cheng Shujun, Guangdong Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said.

Global institutes and experts can help us build advanced labs and improve our experimental ability.

Each year millions of animals, such as mice, rabbits and monkeys are tested worldwide for scientific purposes.

The new regulation will allow both Chinese and foreign companies operating on the Mainland the option to avoid animal testing, if they use ingredients that have already been tested as safe.

Until now, Chinese scientists have had limited access to non-animal testing techniques and facilities. But China is now set to learn from international expertise, and become better equipped.

  • In-vitro and other non-animal techniques will be widely used.

"This alternative method training is very helpful. We mainly focus on experimental practice." Kang Hua, Researcher of Zhejiang Food and Drug Inspecton Inst. said.

The country is rolling out the welcoming mat to companies that refused animal testing and couldn’t get a slice of China’s cosmetics pie.


Τετάρτη 7 Μαΐου 2014

New technology could consign submarine periscope to history

The submarine periscope may become a thing of the past, due to a new technology developed by a team from the Technion, Israel's institute of technology.

The "virtual periscope" technology, which enables accurate rendition of above-surface and airborne objects from underwater, was introduced at an international conference on computational photography, held in Santa Clara, California, last weekend.
Called “Stella Maris” (Stellar Marine Refractive Imaging Sensor,) the underwater imaging system uses technology developed for astronomy to counter blurring and distortion caused by layers of atmosphere when viewing stars. The technology gets around the inevitable distortion caused by water-surface waves when using a submerged camera.

The system consists of a camera, a pinhole array to admit light (a thin metal sheet with precise, laser-cut holes), a glass diffuser, and mirrors. Sunrays are projected through the pinholes to the diffuser, which is imaged by the camera, beside the distorted object of interest. The latter is then corrected for distortion.

“When the water surface is wavy, sun-rays refract according to the waves and project onto the solar image plane,” explains Associate Professor Yoav Schechner, of the Technion Department of Electrical Engineering. “With the pinhole array, we obtain an array of tiny solar images on the diffuser.”

When all of the components work together, the Stella Maris system acts as both a wave sensor to estimate the water surface, and a viewing system to see the above-surface image of interest through a computerized, “reconstructed” surface.

The virtual periscope may have potential uses in addition to submarines, where they could reduce the need for traditional periscopes that have been in use for more than a century, according to the developers.

Submerged on the sea floor, Stella Maris could be useful for marine biology research, where viewing and imaging both beneath and above the waves simultaneously is important. Stella Maris could, for example, monitor the habits of seabirds as they fly, then plunge into water and capture prey.
Science & Medicine Israel News | Haaretz

Τετάρτη 23 Απριλίου 2014

La lumière de la Lune pourrait remplacer l'éclairage public (chercheurs suédois)

Des chercheurs suédois proposent de modifier la surface de la Lune en vue de renoncer à l'utilisation de l'éclairage public.

Le projet consiste à créer sur la surface du satellite de la Terre des territoires spéciaux qui reflèteraient les rayons du Soleil. Cela permettrait de rendre le ciel nocturne aussi clair que durant la journée.

Les chercheurs estiment que cela contribuera à économiser l'énergie électrique et diminuera les volumes de CO2 rejetés dans l'atmosphère.

Par contre, on ne sait pas comment modifier la surface de la Lune.


Πέμπτη 3 Απριλίου 2014

Scientists Warn NASA on Ethics of Space Travel

The US space agency NASA plans to send humans to an asteroid and Mars, eventually. But a group of prominent U.S. scientists says right now, any deep space mission will be too dangerous, based on NASA's minimum safety requirements. And engineering capabilities and understanding of the effects of long-term cosmic radiation exposure will not advance sufficiently within the next five years to change that assessment.
After a study of long-duration space travel, sponsored by NASA, the panel of scientists from the National Academy of Sciences says the space agency should consider ethics while designing standards for future long missions.

In an open letter, they say NASA should not send humans on trips outside low Earth orbit lasting longer than 30 days without strict adherence to the existing health standards and that the rule should be broken only in rare and extenuating circumstances.
They present six principles upon which the ethics of deep-space travel should be based.
First among them, preventing any harm to astronauts, from vision impairments, loss of bone minerals, radiation exposure and the psychological impact of extended space travel.
Also, the missions should benefit society while balancing those potential benefits with the risk of harm.

Astronauts should be able to decide whether they want to participate in the planned missions with full equality of opportunity, and NASA should take full responsibility for the astronauts' health care during missions and for the rest of their lives.
The scientists say that NASA's health standards should be based upon the most relevant and up-to-date evidence. 

The National Academy of Sciences comprises four national science academies, which provide the policymakers, public and the private sector with independent and objective, evidence-based advice. 


Δευτέρα 31 Μαρτίου 2014

UN court rules against Japan’s whaling activities in the Antarctic

UN, 31 March 2014 – The United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled against Japan in a case involving charges by Australia that the country was using a scientific research programme to mask a commercial whaling venture in the Antarctic.
The Hague-based UN judicial arm ordered a temporary halt to the activities, largely involving fin, humpback and minke whales, finding that the Japanese Whaling Research Programme under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA II) is “not in accordance with three provisions of the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).”

In May 2010, Australia instituted proceedings alleging that Japan was pursuing a large-scale programme of whaling under JARPA II, and was in breach of its ICRW obligations, as well as its other international obligations for the preservation of marine mammals and the marine environment.
In its application, Australia requested that the ICJ order Japan to “end the research programme, revoke any authorizations, permits or licences allowing the programme’s activities; and provide assurances and guarantees that it will not take any further action under the JARPA II or ‘any similar programme until such programme has been brought into conformity with its obligations under international law.”
Though Japan rejected the charges and countered that its scientific research programme was in line with treaty obligations, 12 of the 16 World Court Judges found that the country was in violation of three ICRW Schedule provisions and, following Australia’s request, ordered that the country “revoke any extant authorization, permit or license to kill, take or treat whales in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits” for that programme.
The Court noted that there are three additional aspects of JARPA II which “cast further doubt” on its characterization as a scientific research programme: the open-ended time frame of the programme; its limited scientific output to date; and the lack of cooperation between JARPA II and other domestic and international research programmes in the Antarctic Ocean.
“Even if a whaling programme involves scientific research, the killing, taking and treating of whales pursuant to such a programme does not fall within Article VIII unless these activities are ‘for purposes of’ scientific research,” explained the ICJ in a press release today, adding that it found no evidence of such purpose in JARPA II.
Judgments handed down by the ICJ are final and binding on the parties.

Δευτέρα 23 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Lander and rover ready to perform exploration tasks.

video cctv
This was the fifth time the rover and the lander took photos of each since they arrived eight days ago. Scientists in Beijing have been processing them and say scientific tasks can now begin.

"Ten pictures have been taken at five spots so far, and all of them are better than we expected. The rover has moved in a semi-circle around the lander. Afterwards, they will begin to conduct scientific explorations of the geography and geomorphology of the landing spot and nearby areas, and materials like minerals and elements there. 

We will also explore areas 30 meters and 100 meters beneath the lunar soil. The exploration will continue longer than we planned, because all the instruments and equipments are working very well," said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China Lunar Probe Program.



Δευτέρα 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Οι πόλοι της Γης μετακινούνται λόγω (και) της κλιματικής αλλαγής

Οι γεωγραφικοί πόλοι της Γης αλλάζουν σιγά-σιγά θέση υπό την επίδραση και της κλιματικής αλλαγής, καθώς εξαιτίας της λιώνουν οι πάγοι της Γης, με συνέπεια να μεταβάλλεται ελαφρώς ο άξονας περιστροφής του πλανήτη μας, σύμφωνα με νέες εκτιμήσεις Αμερικανών επιστημόνων. Η ανακάλυψη σημαίνει πως πιθανώς είναι δυνατό να παρακολουθεί κανείς την εξέλιξη της κλιματικής αλλαγής παγκοσμίως, μέσω καταγραφής της θέσης του Βορείου Πόλου.
Οι ερευνητές, με επικεφαλής τον κινεζικής καταγωγής Τζιανλί Τσεν του πανεπιστημίου του Τέξας, που έκαναν τη σχετική ανακοίνωση στο ετήσιο διεθνές συνέδριο της Αμερικανικής Ένωσης Γεωφυσικής στο Σαν Φρανσίσκο, σύμφωνα με το "New Scientist", έδειξαν ότι το λιώσιμο των πάγων επηρεάζει την κατανομή της μάζας στην επιφάνεια της Γης. Αυτό, με τη σειρά του, μεταβάλλει ανεπαίσθητα τον άξονα περιστροφής του πλανήτη μας, κάτι που έχει επιβεβαιωθεί από επιτόπιες μετρήσεις και στους δύο πόλους.

Η αργή μετακίνηση του άξονα περιστροφής της Γης προκύπτει κυρίως από ένα συνδυασμό δύο διαφορετικών παραγόντων: του γεγονότος ότι η Γη δεν είναι απολύτως άκαμπτη και του γεγονότος ότι ο πλανήτης μας περιφέρεται σε ετήσια βάση γύρω από τον Ήλιο. Όμως κι αν υπολογισθούν αυτές οι δύο αιτίες, πάλι ένα μέρος της μετακίνησης του άξονα μένει ανεξήγητο.
Από τότε που άρχισαν οι πρώτες μετρήσεις το 1899, υπολογίζεται ότι ο γεωγραφικός Βόρειος Πόλος μετακινείται προς τα νότια με μέσο ρυθμό δέκα εκατοστών το χρόνο, κατά μήκος της γραμμής του γεωγραφικού μήκους που βρίσκεται 70 μοίρες δυτικά και η οποία διέρχεται από τον ανατολικό Καναδά.
Αυτή η αργή μετακίνηση οφείλεται επίσης στην μεταβολή της κατανομής της μάζας της Γης, καθώς ο γήινος φλοιός αργά αλλά σταθερά ανασηκώνεται συνεχώς μετά το τέλος της τελευταίας εποχής των πάγων, όταν το μεγαλύτερο μέρος τους έλιωσε κι έτσι απάλλαξε την επιφάνεια του πλανήτη από το βάρος τους. Όμως, σύμφωνα με τη νέα αμερικανική μελέτη, το 2005 υπήρξε μια ξαφνική και απρόσμενη μεταβολή, καθώς ο γεωγραφικός Βόρειος Πόλος άρχισε να μετακινείται προς τα ανατολικά πλέον και ήδη από τότε μέχρι σήμερα έχει διανύσει συνολικά 1,2 μέτρα περίπου.
Αναλύοντας στοιχεία παρατηρήσεων από τον περιβαλλοντικό δορυφόρο GRACE της NASA, που παρακολουθεί τις διαχρονικές διακυμάνσεις στο γήινο βαρυτικό πεδίο, οι ερευνητές διαπίστωσαν ότι γι’ αυτή την αλλαγή του άξονα περιστροφής προς τα ανατολικά ευθύνεται κυρίως το πιο πρόσφατο μαζικό λιώσιμο των πάγων της Γροιλανδίας, της Ανταρκτικής και των άλλων παγετώνων του πλανήτη μας, που είχε ως συνέπεια τη σταδιακή άνοδο της στάθμης των υδάτων των θαλασσών.
«Το λιώσιμο των πάγων και η άνοδος της στάθμης των θαλασσών μπορούν να εξηγήσουν το 90% της μετακίνησης προς τα ανατολικά. Η κινητήρια δύναμη γι’ αυτή την ξαφνική αλλαγή είναι η κλιματική αλλαγή» δήλωσε ο Τζιανλί Τσεν.
Σύμφωνα με τους νέους υπολογισμούς, η μεγαλύτερη συνεισφορά στην μετακίνηση του γήινου άξονα και, κατά συνέπεια, των γήινων πόλων προέρχεται από το λιώσιμο των πάγων της Γροιλανδίας, η οποία χάνει περίπου 250 γιγατόνους ετησίως. Το λιώσιμο των παγετώνων των βουνών συνεισφέρει 194 γιγατόνους και το λιώσιμο της Ανταρκτικής άλλους 180 γιγατόνους το χρόνο.
Υπενθυμίζεται ότι οι μαγνητικοί πόλοι της Γης αλλάζουν θέση με ακόμα μεγαλύτερη ταχύτητα σε σχέση με τους γεωγραφικούς.

Αγνωστο «δαχτυλίδι» ακτινοβολιας τύλιξε τη Γη


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