WORK FROM THE JUNGLE:
The Amazon in Brazil is known as one of the remote places on Earth, harbouring peoples who've had little to no contact with the rest of the world. Extreme Project Brazil though is helping to bring GSM and 3G to the Amazon jungle, with the help of two masts donated by Ericsson. Solar panels and wind generators supplement the generators needed to power things. This means that even remote peoples can get online. Mobile access is also helping villagers reach medical services, education and business opportunities, while improving adult literacy and lowering infant mortality rates. The power of communication really shouldn't be underestimated.
A WEATHER EYE: The European satellite MetOp-B launched recently into an 800 Km high polar orbit. Its mission is to monitor atmospheric humidity, wind speeds over the ocean, levels of ozone and solar activity and other data relevant to weather forecasting. The instruments are powered by a solar array, and were developed by NASA and other agencies. More satellites; more data. Even people in the jungles of the Amazon need better weather forecasts. PhysOrg explains. Check out the video.
LONG RANGE COMPUTING: NASA relies on the Deep Space Network to help control its deep space missions. The DSN is a network of huge satellite dishes in California, Spain and Australia. But with so much going on at the moment the network is becoming overloaded. That's why one suggestion is to build a supercomputer and radio dishes on the far side of the moon. A lunar base could help ease the load on the Earth-based network and also be used in combination with Earth's telescope for very-long-baseline interferometry. Great idea. Now, where's the electricity coming from? Gizmodo has more.
TURN TO MARS: Sir Richard Branson is setting up short commercial flights into space that start soon. He also plans in his lifetime to help get people on their way to inhabiting Mars, though he didn't reveal any specific plans. Every journey starts with a thought. CBS News elaborates.
OLD NEWS: The Dark Energy Camera in Chile has just come online to survey galaxies at the farthest reaches of the observable universe. Astronomers expect to observe galaxies so far away the light left them when the universe was only half its current age. Capturing 570 megapixels per image, the camera holds 74 CCDs specially sensitive to the redshifted light from distant galaxies and stars. 5 lenses are uniquely shaped to correct optical aberrations, with the largest around 1 metre across. The camera has a 2.2 degree field of view — large enough to record an image of the sky around 20 times the size of the Moon as it appears to us here on Earth. With a world so focused on News it's good to see some are looking to the 'olds'. Dark Energy Survey spills.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz