Friday, March 18, 2011

NASA's spacecraft first ever to enter into orbit around Mercury...!

A well-traveled NASA probe made history Thursday, becoming the first spacecraft ever to enter into orbit around Mercury.    NASA's Messenger spacecraft fired its main thruster in a 15-minute orbital insertion burn Thursday night to slow down by about 1,900 mph (3,058 kilometers), enough to enter Mercury's gravitational influence and settle into orbit around the planet.
About an hour after the 8:54 p.m. ET engine burn, it was official: Messenger was in a looping, 12-hour orbit around the solar system's innermost planet.
Mercury now has an artificial satellite, for the first time ever.
NASA's Messenger probe in orbit around Mercury.

Over the next 12 months, Messenger will map Mercury's surface in unprecedented detail and investigate the planet's composition, magnetic field, geologic history and thin, tenuous atmosphere, among other features. Scientists hope the probe helps them better understand what makes the tiny planet tick.
For more authorised info: MSNBC

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Google to launch its own social network in May...!

Google is likely to launch its own social network in May. According to technology blog, 'The Next Web', the search engine giant will unveil Google Circles at its Google I/O conference in San Francisco, reports the Daily Mail.

It is believed the network will allow users to selectively share content with people who are members of different social circles in their lives.

Users will be able to filter what content is shown to which group. However, Google yesterday denied reports that the network is to launch at the South by Southwest technology event, currently taking place in Austin, Texas.

The company also refused to confirm or deny any plans for a social network website.

For more authorised info : Economic times
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Future "Facebook search" makes little nervous to Google...!

With the recent approval of an automatic "curated" search patent, Facebook could well be moving into Google's territory and making it at least a little nervous as the social network's 600 million users (and growing) could use the algorithm to find answers to their burning questions amongst their FB friends, rather than go outside of it.
The patent, "Visual tags for search results generated from social network information," which was approved about a month ago, gives Facebook the ability to generate search results and rank them according to a link's popularity within a person's group of FB friends. The more friends a person has, the more likely to get somewhat meaningful results. But even those with fewer than several hundred friends could benefit since Facebook can expand the definition of a person's social network to include a few degrees of separation.
The invention provides still another technique to improve the relevance of search results. According to an embodiment of the invention, search results, including sponsored links and algorithmic search results, are generated in response to a query, and are ranked based on the frequency of clicks on the search results by members of social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation from the member who submitted the query. The predetermined degree of separation is equal to one if the click activities of only the friends of the member who submitted the query are to be examined.
Search sounds limited, but it isn’t when you realize that many activities on the Web could be said to involve search and clicking a like button could be said to clicking a link. Want to buy a book? You search for a title at a reseller like Amazon (AMZN) or Barnes & Noble (BN). Want to read something? Here’s a list of articles, voted by your connections, no matter what publication created the content. Want to buy something? Here are the recommended items and where you can purchase them.
The patent turns a social network and its relations into a way to augment search of any type. Given the frustrations many have with being overwhelmed by search results, Facebook has a potential huge advantage over search companies. It may also have locked down a monetarily valuable aspect of social network data that none of its direct competitors have capitalized on. This is one strategically brilliant company.
For more Authorised info : MSNBC

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lost city of Atlantis, found after the 'Tsunami'..!

A US-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago in mud flats in southern Spain.

"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.

"It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a University of Hartford, Connecticut, professor who lead an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.
To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspected submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis.

The team of archeologists and geologists in 2009 and 2010 used a combination of deep-ground radar, digital mapping, and underwater technology to survey the site.

Freund's discovery in central Spain of a strange series of "memorial cities," built in Atlantis' image by its refugees after the city's likely destruction by a tsunami, gave researchers added proof and confidence

Atlantis residents who did not perish in the tsunami fled inland and built new cities there,
 The team's findings will be unveiled on Sunday in "Finding Atlantis," a new National Geographic Channel special.

While it is hard to know with certainty that the site in Spain in Atlantis, the "twist" of finding the memorial cities makes him confident Atlantis was buried in the mud flats on Spain's southern coast.

Greek philosopher Plato wrote about Atlantis some 2,600 years ago, describing it as "an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules," as the Straits of Gibraltar were known in antiquity. Using Plato's detailed account of Atlantis as a map, searches have focused on the Mediterranean and Atlantic as the best possible sites for the city.
For more authorised info: Timesofindia
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Supermoon may cause extreme disaster on March 19th..!

The world could be in for a bumpy ride next week when the moon will make its closest approach to Earth in almost 20 years, say experts.
According to them, the astronomical event - "extreme supermoon" - may trigger earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other disasters.
An "extreme supermoon" occurs when the Earth's natural satellite reaches its absolute closest point. On March 19, the moon will be only 221,556 miles away - the first extreme super - moon in nearly 20 years

Previous supermoons - or "lunar perigees" - happened in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005. Each year had extreme weather events.
however... A moon can't cause a geological event like an earthquake, but it will cause a difference to the tide. If that combines with certain weather conditions, then that could cause a few problems for coastal areas.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life has been detected on 3 meteors..We're not alone!

Life has been detected on three meteorites in the form of tiny fossilized bacteria by a NASA scientist.

Neighbors? (Picture courtesy: dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com)
Findings have also shown that these bacteria don't belong to our planet. The research has opened doors for several speculations, including that the very base of existence of life on earth may have begun elsewhere in the solar system. However, a confirmation on the same is awaited. 

Astrobiologist, Richard Hoover, based at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, has spent his years in the study of microscopic life-forms that can survive extreme environments such as glaciers, permafrost and geysers. His observations state that microfossils similar to cyanobacteria – blue-green algae (pond scum) have been traced on the unearthed corners of the meteorites. In a report published in Reuters, Hoover stated that typical of earthly bacteria, these too had lots of carbon and zero nitrogen  in them. Nitrogen in these, however, is suspected to have turned into gaseous form over the years of its existence.

However, the relic of we having neighbors in the universe isn't an exclusive one. In 1996, life on Mars was indicated after NASA presented a 4-billion year old meteorite that was found in Antarctica.

It now remains to be researched further to really know if we’re alone, or not!
For more authorised info : Tech2
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New nanoscope sees objects smaller than ever...!

What if a microscope were powerful enough to detail the inner workings of a virus hijacking a cell?
A team of University of Manchester and National University of Singapore researchers designed a nanoscope that creates the possibility of doing just that. Their work allows scientists to image objects better than before by combining the power of an optical microscope with transparent microspheres of glass.
Researchers have designed a nanoscope that combines the power of an optical microscope with transparent microspheres of glass.
The new equipment can provide clear images of objects as little as 50 nanometers wide — 20 times smaller than previous technologies. For reference, one nanometer equals one billionth of a meter.
The fact that the technology defies traditional restraints caused by the diffraction of light — or limits when light encounters objects — makes the microscope unique.
This is because microspheres, or tiny round structures, are used to redirect and amplify light lost from the process of diffraction, creating a more detailed picture of samples being imaged. Although current technologies, including electron microscopes, produce high resolution images, they only reveal the surfaces of cells and viruses, not what's occurring inside them.
Scientists say the nanoscope will allow other researchers to see what really happens when a virus hijacks a cell in real-time. It may also be used to monitor events inside of cells caused by bacteria and other microorganisms.
Using this technology, the team says it will be possible to make even smaller biological features visible in the future.
"This is a world record in terms of how small an optical microscope can go by direct imaging under a light source covering the whole range of optical spectrum," leading researcher Lin Li said in a University of Manchester press release.Theoretically, there is no limit on how small an object we will be able to see."
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