S-Words – 7/21/15

On this update of the latest science related news; a base on the far side of the moon, University researchers demonstrate Wi-Fi over UHF and, all the new Pluto knowledge we’ve gained in the past week.

The ESA’s Head Just Dropped a Proposal to Build a Village on the Moon

From iO9

The European Space Agency’s brand new head. Johann-Dietrich Woerner first made mention of the proposal in an interview with the BBC saying “We should look to the future beyond the International Space Station.”  “This Moon village should mean partners from all over the world contributing to this community with robotic and astronaut missions and support communication satellites.”

But, before we get too excited, Woerner goes on to explain that this village would come at a cost: our Mars plans. Instead of NASA’s aim to reach Mars.  He said “The Americans are looking to go to Mars very soon – and I don’t see how we can do that – before going to Mars we should test what we could do on Mars on the Moon.”

More at http://io9.com/the-esas-new-head-just-dropped-a-proposal-to-build-a-vi-1718518756

Rice tests wireless data delivery over active TV channels

From Rice University News and Media

Engineers have demonstrated the first system that allows data transmissions over UHF channels during active TV broadcasts. If the technology were incorporated into next-generation TVs or smart remotes, it could significantly expand the reach of so-called “super Wi-Fi” networks in urban areas.

Image courtesy of news.rice.edu

Unlike the higher frequency signals used for existing Wi-Fi hotspots, UHF signals carry for miles and are not blocked by walls or trees. Because of these advantages, wireless data hotspots that use UHF are often referred to as “super Wi-Fi.”  This new technology would require no coordination with or changes to legacy TV transmitters. Instead, TV signals are broadcast as normal and the Wi-Fi system actively monitors whenever a nearby TV is tuned to a channel to avoid interfering with reception.

More at http://news.rice.edu/2015/07/13/rice-tests-wireless-data-delivery-over-active-tv-channels-2/

Your Guide to Pluto: Everything We’ve Learned From New Horizons So Far

From iO9

  • We finally have an accurate measurement of the dwarf planet’s size: 2,370 kilometers (1,473 miles) in diameter, give or take 20 kilometers. This makes it the largest dwarf planet, and the undisputed King of the Kuiper Belt.
  • It has a polar cap of methane and nitrogen ice, with more methane unevenly distributed across the surface of the dwarf planet.
  • In all the close-up images released so far of the Tombaugh Regio, we haven’t seen a single crater. Instead of an ancient, inert rock, we’ve found a icy world with active processes creating fresh surfaces within the past 100 million years. (That’s younger than the Appalachian Mountains!)
Image courtesy of iO9
  • We’ve found a mountain range equivalent to the Rockies, and vast weirdly-textured plains. The rugged mountains are made of hard ice, possibly water ice which approximates the strength at rock at Pluto’s frigid temperatures. The textures on the plains are most likely caused by either thermal contraction during cooling, or upwelling from subsurface convection.
  • The atmosphere of Pluto is also producing surprises. The dwarf planet has an ionized tail like a comet, produced by nitrogen from its atmosphere leaking into the solar wind. The rate of escape is staggering: it’s possible 450,000 kilograms (500 tons) of gas are escaping the little world into space every hour. Whatever it turns out to be, it’s producing a massive bubble of ionized particles around Pluto.

More at http://space.io9.com/a-guide-to-pluto-everything-weve-learned-from-new-hori-1718799253

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Dave Nelson

Dave Nelson

Originally from Minnesota in the United States, Dave has lived all over.  He currently makes his home in Ottawa, Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife and stepdaughter.  Dave works as an on-air announcer at Boom 99-7 (CJOT.) One of his first sci-fi memories was that of watching Star Trek the original series in reruns on Sunday mornings so, as you can imagine, that made quite the impression and was one of the inspirations for founding the Galactic Netcasts network in 2011. You can hear Dave on The Alien Invasion, The SciFi Geeks Club and Weird World Weekly podcasts. Follow him on Twitter @davenelsonvoice