Mar. 24th, 2009
Oops: Colbert wins space station name contest- msnbc.com
Colbert fans, at the urging of their favourite comedian, have won NASA's contest for what to name the next space station module, beating out the next favourite, "Serenity", by 40,000 votes. NASA reserves the right to refuse the winning name and will announce their decision in April.
Life-friendly worlds may snap, crackle and pop - space - 24 March 2009 - New Scientist
Scientists propose the it may be easier to detect the exoplanets by their magnetospheres than using optical methods because auroras produce radio signals that could be detected from earth. The catch is that we would need a space-based radio telescope 100 times as sensitive as anything currently being planned. Magnetospheres would help to preserve atmospheres and oceans so are believed to be a good indicator that complex life might exist there.
Atomic construction yields punchier power store - tech - 15 March 2009 - New Scientist
University of Maryland researchers have developed a new type of electrostatic capacitor that could replace batteries in some future devices. The new capacitor is, in fact, 10 billion nano-capacitors covering an area 50 nanometres across. The resulting system can discharge quickly (a 1 kg capacitor can deliver 1 megawatt) and has a storage capacity approaching that of supercapacitors (2500 joules per kilogram). They hope to use this device as part of a battery-capacitor hybrid.
Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: If superconducting sheets reflected gravitational waves...
University of California researchers claim that superconducting sheets can reflect gravitational waves, which might provide an alternative explanation for the anomalous Gravity Probe B measurements. The only other explanation, other than mechanical error, has been that the probe is detecting the fundamental graininess of time; although, technically, the graininess explanation has only been applied to measurement noise from the Geo600 which is being constructed for use with the Gravity Probe B.