Tag: manager (page 1 of 3)

Dept. of Defense Agency DARPA Confirms Thought to Computer Technology Research

New effort aims for fully implantable devices able to connect with up to one million neurons

(Note from Greg: Implantable devices does not in any way imply mechanical or physical implants are necessary. Ex-CIA scientist Dr. Robert Duncan states in his book Project: Soul Catcher, wireless implantable brain to computer technology already exists and is in use.)  


From DARPA's official website
outreach@darpa.mil
1/19/2016

A new DARPA program aims to develop an implantable neural interface able to provide unprecedented signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the human brain and the digital world. The interface would serve as a translator, converting between the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology. The goal is to achieve this communications link in a biocompatible device no larger than one cubic centimeter in size, roughly the volume of two nickels stacked back to back.

The program, Neural Engineering System Design (NESD), stands to dramatically enhance research capabilities in neurotechnology and provide a foundation for new therapies.

“Today’s best brain-computer interface systems are like two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem,” said Phillip Alvelda, the NESD program manager. “Imagine what will become possible when we upgrade our tools to really open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics.”

Among the program’s potential applications are devices that could compensate for deficits in sight or hearing by feeding digital auditory or visual information into the brain at a resolution and experiential quality far higher than is possible with current technology.

Neural interfaces currently approved for human use squeeze a tremendous amount of information through just 100 channels, with each channel aggregating signals from tens of thousands of neurons at a time. The result is noisy and imprecise. In contrast, the NESD program aims to develop systems that can communicate clearly and individually with any of up to one million neurons in a given region of the brain.

Achieving the program’s ambitious goals and ensuring that the envisioned devices will have the potential to be practical outside of a research setting will require integrated breakthroughs across numerous disciplines including neuroscience, synthetic biology, low-power electronics, photonics, medical device packaging and manufacturing, systems engineering, and clinical testing. In addition to the program’s hardware challenges, NESD researchers will be required to develop advanced mathematical and neuro-computation techniques to first transcode high-definition sensory information between electronic and cortical neuron representations and then compress and represent those data with minimal loss of fidelity and functionality.

To accelerate that integrative process, the NESD program aims to recruit a diverse roster of leading industry stakeholders willing to offer state-of-the-art prototyping and manufacturing services and intellectual property to NESD researchers on a pre-competitive basis. In later phases of the program, these partners could help transition the resulting technologies into research and commercial application spaces.

To familiarize potential participants with the technical objectives of NESD, DARPA will host a Proposers Day meeting that runs Tuesday and Wednesday, February 2-3, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The Special Notice announcing the Proposers Day meeting is available at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-SN-16-16/listing.html. More details about the Industry Group that will support NESD is available at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-SN-16-17/listing.html. A Broad Agency Announcement describing the specific capabilities sought is available at: http://go.usa.gov/cP474.
DARPA anticipates investing up to $60 million in the NESD program over four years.

NESD is part of a broader portfolio of programs within DARPA that support President Obama’s brain initiative. For more information about DARPA’s work in that domain, please visit: http://www.darpa.mil/program/our-research/darpa-and-the-brain-initiative.

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Roll Up Your Sleeves Folks: 271 New Vaccines in Big Pharma’s Pipeline

Gary Kohls, Green Med InfoAs of 2013, Big Pharma has had plans for the development of 271 new vaccines covering an array of diseases.  Into Whose Bodies Will They be Injected?“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable…for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death.” – President Ronald Wilson Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving drug companies from [...]

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Most Western Scientific Medical Research is Fraudulent

Makia Freeman, ContributorInsiders & experts say that most medical reasearch is a fraud.Fraudulent scientific research is rife throughout the world due to the power of monetary influence wielded by Big Pharma, the giant cartel of multinational pharmaceutical corporations started over 100 years ago by the Rockefellers. This fraudulent scientific research is now so widespread and pervasive it is become an open secret. There is a long list of medical journal edit [...]

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NASA Challenges People to Come Up With Designs for Mars Habitat –





Excerpt from perfscience.com

The space agency NASA has asked public to submit designs for a Mars habitat. NASA, along with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is holding a competition to design and build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space explorations like journey to Mars.  The multi-phase 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge has been specifically designed to advance the additive construction technology that is needed to develop sustainable housing solutions for earth and beyond.  As per experts, shelter is among most basic and crucial requirement for humans but carrying bulks of material to build up a habitat during a deep space mission would unnecessarily take the place in cargo that could be used for something important.  The first phase of the competition that was announced on Saturday will run through September 27. This phase calls on participants to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3-D printing offers.  The top 30 submissions will be considered and judged. Also winners will be awarded with prize money of $50,000 at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.  Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges program manager, said, “This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of, and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it”... 
The space agency NASA has asked public to submit designs for a Mars habitat. NASA, along with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is holding a competition to design and build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space explorations like journey to Mars.
The multi-phase 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge has been specifically designed to advance the additive construction technology that is needed to develop sustainable housing solutions for earth and beyond.
As per experts, shelter is among most basic and crucial requirement for humans but carrying bulks of material to build up a habitat during a deep space mission would unnecessarily take the place in cargo that could be used for something important.
The first phase of the competition that was announced on Saturday will run through September 27. This phase calls on participants to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3-D printing offers.
The top 30 submissions will be considered and judged. Also winners will be awarded with prize money of $50,000 at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.
Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges program manager, said, “This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of, and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it”.
Furthermore the second phase of the competition is divided into two levels i.e., the (Level 1) Structural Member Competition and the On-Site Habitat Competition (Level 2).
The Level 1 focuses on the fabrication technologies that are needed to manufacture structural components from a combination of indigenous materials and recyclables, or indigenous materials alone.
On the other hand, the Level 2 challenges competitors to construct full-scale habitats using indigenous materials or indigenous materials combined with recyclables.
- See more at: http://perfscience.com/content/2141815-nasa-challenges-people-come-designs-mars-habitat#sthash.vtPiW4bW.dpuf

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Ascension Earth 2015-05-09 17:40:00




 MAY 9, 2015: USGS map shows the location of the 4.5 quake (large blue dot in Ka'u) among the many smaller quakes that occurred on the Big Island over the last two weeks.

MAY 9, 2015: USGS map shows the location of the 4.5 quake (large blue dot in Ka'u) among the many smaller quakes that occurred on the Big Island over the last two weeks. - See more at: http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2015/05/09/4-5-earthquake-shakes-big-island/#sthash.SS9H2Oiy.dpuf

 bigislandvideonews.com


Magnitude-4.5 earthquake shakes Big Island of Hawaii; people around isle report light shakingNAʻALEHU – A magnitude-4.5 earthquake located in the Kaʻū District shook the Island of Hawaii on Saturday, May 9, at 2:18 a.m., HST.  The quake was centered 5 miles north of Naʻalehu at a depth of 6 miles, according to Wes Thelen, the Seismic Network Manager for the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. There were three aftershocks (magnitudes 1.6, 1.5, 1.4) of the earthquake were recorded as of 3:30 a.m., HST. Scientists say additional aftershocks are possible and could be felt.  Over 70 reports claimed to feel the earthquake within an hour of the event. Light shaking has been reported across the island. At these shaking intensities (Intensity IV), damage to buildings or structures is not expected, scientists said.      Over the past 30 years, the area north of Nāʻālehu has experienced 6 earthquakes, including today’s event, with magnitudes greater than 4.0 and at depths of 5–13 km (3.1–8.1 mi). This area of Kaʻū is a seismically active region where a magnitude-6.2 earthquake occurred in 1919. Areas adjacent to this morning’s event experienced earthquakes of magnitudes 6.0, 7.1, and 7.9 in 1868.      The depth, location, and recorded seismic waves of today’s earthquake suggest a source on the large fault plane between the old ocean floor and overlying volcanic crust, a common source for earthquakes in this area. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory   The earthquake caused no detectable changes in Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, on Mauna Loa, or at other active volcanoes on the Island of Hawaiʻi, says USGS. A magnitude-3.1 earthquake that occurred in Kīlauea Caldera about one minute before the magnitude-4.5 earthquake was unrelated to the Naʻalehu event.  The Big Island has been experiencing elevated seismicity beneath Kīlauea’s summit and upper East and Southwest Rift Zones the past few weeks.
NAʻALEHU – A magnitude-4.5 earthquake located in the Kaʻū District shook the Island of Hawaii on Saturday, May 9, at 2:18 a.m., HST.
The quake was centered 5 miles north of Naʻalehu at a depth of 6 miles, according to Wes Thelen, the Seismic Network Manager for the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. There were three aftershocks (magnitudes 1.6, 1.5, 1.4) of the earthquake were recorded as of 3:30 a.m., HST. Scientists say additional aftershocks are possible and could be felt.
Over 70 reports claimed to feel the earthquake within an hour of the event. Light shaking has been reported across the island. At these shaking intensities (Intensity IV), damage to buildings or structures is not expected, scientists said.
Over the past 30 years, the area north of Nāʻālehu has experienced 6 earthquakes, including today’s event, with magnitudes greater than 4.0 and at depths of 5–13 km (3.1–8.1 mi). This area of Kaʻū is a seismically active region where a magnitude-6.2 earthquake occurred in 1919. Areas adjacent to this morning’s event experienced earthquakes of magnitudes 6.0, 7.1, and 7.9 in 1868.
The depth, location, and recorded seismic waves of today’s earthquake suggest a source on the large fault plane between the old ocean floor and overlying volcanic crust, a common source for earthquakes in this area. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
The earthquake caused no detectable changes in Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, on Mauna Loa, or at other active volcanoes on the Island of Hawaiʻi, says USGS. A magnitude-3.1 earthquake that occurred in Kīlauea Caldera about one minute before the magnitude-4.5 earthquake was unrelated to the Naʻalehu event.
The Big Island has been experiencing elevated seismicity beneath Kīlauea’s summit and upper East and Southwest Rift Zones the past few weeks.
- See more at: http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2015/05/09/4-5-earthquake-shakes-big-island/#sthash.SS9H2Oiy.dpuf

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The Messenger of fate: NASA spacecraft smashes into planet Mercury

Excerpt from usatoday.comIts fuel tanks empty and its options gone, NASA's Messenger spacecraft smashed into planet Mercury on Thursday afternoon after valiantly fighting off the inevitable.Engineers calculated that the spacecraft, traveling a scorc...

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IBM advances bring quantum computing closer to reality



ibm research jerry chow
 
Research scientist Jerry Chow performs a quantum computing experiment at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Jon Simon/IBM


Excerpt from computerworld.com
By Sharon Gaudin

IBM scientists say they have made two critical advances in an industrywide effort to build a practical quantum computer, shaving years off the time expected to have a working system.

"This is critical," said Jay Gambetta, IBM's manager of theory of quantum computing. "The field has got a lot more competitive. You could say the [quantum computing] race is just starting to begin… This is a small step on the journey but it's an important one."

Gambetta told Computerworld that IBM's scientists have created a square quantum bit circuit design, which could be scaled to much larger dimensions. This new two-dimensional design also helped the researchers figure out a way to detect and measure errors.
Quantum computing is a fragile process and can be easily thrown off by vibrations, light and temperature variations. Computer scientists doubt they'll ever get the error rate down to that in a classical computer.


Because of the complexity and sensitivity of quantum computing, scientists need to be able to detect errors, figure out where and why they're happening and prevent them from recurring.

IBM says its advancement takes the first step in that process.
"It tells us what errors are happening," Gambetta said. "As you make the square [circuit design] bigger, you'll get more information so you can see where the error was and you can correct for it. We're showing now that we have the ability to detect, and we're working toward the next step, which would allow you to see where and why the problem is happening so you can stop it from happening."

Quantum computing is widely thought to be the next great step in the field of computing, potentially surpassing classical supercomputers in large-scale, complex calculations. 

Quantum computing would be used to cull big data, searching for patterns. It's hoped that these computers will take on questions that would lead to finding cures for cancer or discovering distant planets – jobs that might take today's supercomputers hundreds of years to calculate.

IBM's announcement is significant in the worlds of both computing and physics, where quantum theory first found a foothold.

Quantum computing, still a rather mysterious technology, combines both computing and quantum mechanics, which is one of the most complex, and baffling, areas of physics. This branch of physics evolved out of an effort to explain things that traditional physics is unable to.

With quantum mechanics, something can be in two states at the same time. It can be simultaneously positive and negative, which isn't possible in the world as we commonly know it. 

For instance, each bit, also known as a qubit, in a quantum machine can be a one and a zero at the same time. When a qubit is built, it can't be predicted whether it will be a one or a zero. A qubit has the possibility of being positive in one calculation and negative in another. Each qubit changes based on its interaction with other qubits.

Because of all of these possibilities, quantum computers don't work like classical computers, which are linear in their calculations. A classical computer performs one step and then another. A quantum machine can calculate all of the possibilities at one time, dramatically speeding up the calculation.

However, that speed will be irrelevant if users can't be sure that the calculations are accurate.

That's where IBM's advances come into play.

"This is absolutely key," said Jim Tully, an analyst with Gartner. "You do the computation but then you need to read the results and know they're accurate. If you can't do that, it's kind of meaningless. Without being able to detect errors, they have no way of knowing if the calculations have any validity."

If scientists can first detect and then correct these errors, it's a major step in the right direction to building a working quantum computing system capable of doing enormous calculations. 

"Quantum computing is a hard concept for most to understand, but it holds great promise," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "If we can tame it, it can compute certain problems orders of magnitude more quickly than existing computers. The more organizations that are working on unlocking the potential of quantum computing, the better. It means that we'll see something real that much sooner."
However, there's still debate over whether a quantum computer already exists.

A year ago, D-Wave Systems Inc. announced that it had built a quantum system, and that NASA, Google and Lockheed Martin had been testing them.

Many in the computer and physics communities doubt that D-Wave has built a real quantum computer. Vern Brownell, CEO of the company, avows that they have.

"I think that quantum computing shows promise, but it's going to be quite a while before we see systems for sale," said Olds.
IBM's Gambetta declined to speculate on whether D-Wave has built a quantum computing but said the industry is still years away from building a viable quantum system.

"Quantum computing could be potentially transformative, enabling us to solve problems that are impossible or impractical to solve today," said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, in a statement.

IBM's research was published in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature Communications.

quantum computing infographics ibm

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Will new ruling finally free Lolita after 40 years in captivity at Miami Seaquarium?



Excerpt from seattletimes.com

A decision to list the captive orca Lolita for federal protection is expected to set the stage for a lawsuit from advocates seeking the whale’s release.

Seattle Times staff reporter



A Puget Sound orca held for decades at Miami’s Seaquarium will gain the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act, a move expected to set the stage for a lawsuit from advocates seeking the whale’s release.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Wednesday the decision to list Lolita as part of the southern resident killer whales of Puget Sound, which already are considered endangered under the federal act. 

Whale activists, who petitioned for this status, have long campaigned for Lolita’s return to Puget Sound. They hope the listing will provide a stronger legal case to release Lolita than did a previous lawsuit that centered on alleged violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

“This gives leverage under a much stronger law,” said Howard Garrett of the Whidbey Island based Orca Network, which hopes a San Juan Island cove will one day serve as the site for Lolita to re-enter the wild.

NOAA Fisheries officials on Wednesday described their decision in narrow terms, which set no broader precedents. It does not address whether Lolita should be released from the Seaquarium.
“This is a listing decision,” said Will Stelle, the NOAA Fisheries regional administrator for the West Coast. “It is not a decision to free Lolita.” 

Aquarium officials have repeatedly said they have no intention of releasing the orca. 

“Lolita has been part of the Miami Seaquarium family for 44 years,” said Andrew Hertz, Seaquarium general manager, in a statement. 

“Lolita is healthy and thriving in her home where she shares habitat with Pacific white-sided dolphins. There is no scientific evidence that ... Lolita could survive in a sea pen or the open waters of the Pacific Northwest, and we are not willing to treat her life as an experiment.”

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are found in many of the world’s oceans. The southern resident population, which spends several months each year in Puget Sound, is the only group listed in the U.S. under the Endangered Species. 

The three pods in the population were reduced by captures by marine parks between 1965 and 1975, NOAA says. Among them was a roundup in Penn Cove where seven whales were captured, including Lolita. 

The southern resident pods now number fewer than 80. Possible causes for the decline are reduced prey, pollutants that could cause reproductive problems and oil spills, according to NOAA Fisheries.
Under the Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to cause a “take” of a protected orca, which includes harming or harassing them.
Wednesday, NOAA officials said holding an animal captive, in and of itself, does not constitute a take. 

Orca activists are expected to argue in their lawsuit that Lolita's cramped conditions result in a prohibited take.

There is “rising public scorn for the whole idea of performing orcas,” said Garrett, who hopes Seaquarium will decide to release Lolita without a court order. 

But NOAA officials still have concerns about releasing captive whales, and any plan to move or release Lolita would require “rigorous scientific review,” the agency said in a statement.
The concerns include the possibility of disease transmission, the ability of a newly released orca to find food and behavior patterns from captivity that could impact wild whales.

NOAA said previous attempts to release captive orcas and dolphins have often been unsuccessful and some have ended in death.

Garrett said the plan for Lolita calls for her to be taken to a netted area of the cove, which could be enlarged later. She would be accompanied by familiar trainers who could “trust and reassure her every bit of the way,” he said. 

The controversy over releasing captive whales has been heightened by the experience of Keiko, a captive orca that starred in the 1993 movie “Free Willy,” about a boy who pushed for the release of a whale.

In 1998, Keiko was brought back to his native waters off Iceland to reintroduce him to life in the wild. That effort ended in 2003 when he died in a Norwegian fjord. 

Garrett, who visited Keiko in Iceland in 1999, said he was impressed by the reintroduction effort, and that there was plenty of evidence that Keiko was able to catch fish on his own.

“The naysayers predicted that as soon as he got into the (Icelandic) waters he would die, and wild orcas would kill him,” Garrett said. “He proved that 180-degrees wrong. He loved it.”

Mark Simmons, who for two years served as director of animal husbandry for the Keiko-release effort, has a different view. He says Keiko never was able to forage for fish on his own, and that he continued to seek out human contact at every opportunity. 

Simmons wrote a book called “Killing Keiko,” that accuses the release effort of leading to a long slow death for the orca, which he says lacked food and then succumbed to an infection.

“It’s not really the fact that Keiko died, but how he died,” Garrett said Wednesday.

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Robots Can Learn to Perform Tasks by “Watching” YouTube Videos


http://www.darpa.mil/uploadedImages/Content/NewsEvents/Releases/2015/MSEEresearchers.png
University of Maryland computer scientist Yiannis Aloimonos (center) is developing robotic systems able to visually recognize objects and generate new behavior based on those observations. DARPA is funding this research through its Mathematics of Sensing, Exploitation and Execution (MSEE) program. (University of Maryland Photo)

From darpa.mil

January 29, 2015

DARPA program advances robots’ ability to sense visual information and turn it into action  

Robots can learn to recognize objects and patterns fairly well, but to interpret and be able to act on visual input is much more difficult.  Researchers at the University of Maryland, funded by DARPA’s Mathematics of Sensing, Exploitation and Execution (MSEE) program, recently developed a system that enabled robots to process visual data from a series of “how to” cooking videos on YouTube. Based on what was shown on a video, robots were able to recognize, grab and manipulate the correct kitchen utensil or object and perform the demonstrated task with high accuracy—without additional human input or programming.  

“The MSEE program initially focused on sensing, which involves perception and understanding of what’s happening in a visual scene, not simply recognizing and identifying objects,” said Reza Ghanadan, program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Offices. “We’ve now taken the next step to execution, where a robot processes visual cues through a manipulation action-grammar module and translates them into actions.”

Another significant advance to come out of the research is the robots’ ability to accumulate and share knowledge with others. Current sensor systems typically view the world anew in each moment, without the ability to apply prior knowledge.

“This system allows robots to continuously build on previous learning—such as types of objects and grasps associated with them—which could have a huge impact on teaching and training,” Ghanadan said. “Instead of the long and expensive process of programming code to teach robots to do tasks, this research opens the potential for robots to learn much faster, at much lower cost and, to the extent they are authorized to do so, share that knowledge with other robots. This learning-based approach is a significant step towards developing technologies that could have benefits in areas such as military repair and logistics.”

The DARPA-funded researchers presented their work today at the 29th meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The University of Maryland paper is available here: http://ow.ly/I30im

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Mountain-sized asteroid to fly by Earth Monday


web1_S042334990-300.jpg


Excerpt from reviewjournal.com
By AMANDA BARNETT
CNN


A big asteroid will fly by Earth on Monday, but NASA says don’t worry — we’ll be safe.

The asteroid is called 2004 BL86. It’ll come about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Earth, or about three times as far away as the moon at 11:19 a.m. ET, according to NASA.

You’re wondering, doesn’t this happen all the time? Yes and no. There are lots of asteroids that pose a threat to Earth — about 550 as of January 22. None are predicted to hit anytime soon.
But asteroid 2004 BL86 (yes, we also wish it had a catchier name) is big — about a third of a mile (a half-kilometer) in size. It will be the closest known asteroid this large to pass near Earth until 2027, that’s when an asteroid called 1999 AN10 flies by us.

“While it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more,” Don Yeomans, the recently retired manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a NASA press release.

This asteroid is also interesting because you might be able to see it with strong binoculars or backyard telescopes. That’s a rare opportunity for most of us.

If you don’t have binoculars or a scope, you can watch from the comfort of your computer on The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0.
The asteroid was discovered on January 30, 2004, by a telescope of the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey in White Sands, New Mexico.

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Microsoft to help NASA scientists virtually explore Mars with HoloLens





Excerpt from tech.firstpost.com


The US space agency has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a new software that will enable scientists to work on Mars virtually using a wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens.

Developed by Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, the software called OnSight will give researchers a means to plan and, along with the Mars Curiosity rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet, the US space agency said in a statement.

“OnSight gives our rover scientists the ability to walk around and explore Mars right from their offices,” said Dave Lavery, program executive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission at Nasa Headquarters in Washington, DC.

OnSight will use real rover data and extend the Curiosity mission’s existing planning tools by creating a 3D simulation of the Martian environment where scientists around the world can meet. Program scientists will be able to examine the rover’s worksite from a first-person perspective, plan new activities and preview the results of their work firsthand.

“We believe OnSight will enhance the ways in which we explore Mars and share that journey of exploration with the world,” added Jeff Norris, JPL’s OnSight project manager.

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Spacecraft found on Mars – and it’s ours




Computer image of the Beagle 2


Excerpt from skyandtelescope.com
By Kelly Beatty  


On December 25, 2003, a British-built lander dropped to the Martian surface and disappeared without a trace. Now we know what happened to it.  It's hard to overstate how valuable the main camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been. The craft's High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, uses a 20-inch (0.5-m) f/24 telescope to record details on the Martian surface as small as 0.3 m (about 10 inches). 

Beagle 2 seen from orbit by HiRISE
An overhead view of Beagle 2's landing site on Isidis Planitia shows a bright reflection from the long-lost spacecraft. Apparently it landed safely on December 25, 2003, and had begun to operate when it failed. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded this image on December 15, 2014. NASA / JPL / Univ. of Arizona / Univ. of Leicester - See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/beagle-2-lander-found-on-mars-01192015/#sthash.5KSZ8V6W.dpuf


Primarily it's a powerful tool for studying Martian geology at the smallest scales, and NASA scientists sometimes use it to track the progress (and even the arrivals) of their rovers. Beagle 2 on Mars  The clamshell-like Beagle 2 lander weighed just 30 kg, but it was well equipped to study Martian rocks and dust — and even to search for life. Beagle 2 consortium  But the HiRISE team has also been on a years-long quest to find the remains of Beagle 2, a small lander that had hitchhiked to the Red Planet with the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. It descended to the Martian surface on Christmas Day in 2003 and was never heard from again. Space aficionados have debated its fate ever since. Did parachute failure lead to a crash landing? Did strong surface winds flip the saucer-shaped craft upside down? Did the Martians take it hostage?  Now, thanks to HiRISE, we know more of the story.  
An overhead view of Beagle 2's landing site on Isidis Planitia shows a bright reflection from the long-lost spacecraft. Apparently it landed safely on December 25, 2003, and had begun to operate when it failed. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded this image on December 15, 2014. NASA / JPL / Univ. of Arizona / Univ. of Leicester 


Images taken in February 2013 and June 2014 of the landing area in Isidis Planitia showed promising blips near the edge of each frame. A follow-up color view, acquired on December 15th and released three days ago, show a bright spot consistent with Beagle 2. The fully-opened lander would have been less than 2 m (6½ feet) across, so the craft is only barely resolved. Apparently the spacecraft made it to the surface intact, opened its clamshell cover, and had partially deployed its four petal-shaped solar-cell panels before something went awry. Beagle 2 seen from orbit by HiRISE  

One encouraging clue is that the bright reflection changes position slightly from image to image, consistent with sunlight reflecting off different lander panels. Two other unusual spots a few hundred meters away appears to be the lander's parachute and part of the cover that served as a shield during the 5½-km-per-second atmospheric descent...


On December 25, 2003, a British-built lander dropped to the Martian surface and disappeared without a trace. Now we know what happened to it.
It's hard to overstate how valuable the main camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been. The craft's High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, uses a 20-inch (0.5-m) f/24 telescope to record details on the Martian surface as small as 0.3 m (about 10 inches). Primarily it's a powerful tool for studying Martian geology at the smallest scales, and NASA scientists sometimes use it to track the progress (and even the arrivals) of their rovers.
Beagle 2 on Mars
The clamshell-like Beagle 2 lander weighed just 30 kg, but it was well equipped to study Martian rocks and dust — and even to search for life.
Beagle 2 consortium
But the HiRISE team has also been on a years-long quest to find the remains of Beagle 2, a small lander that had hitchhiked to the Red Planet with the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. It descended to the Martian surface on Christmas Day in 2003 and was never heard from again. Space aficionados have debated its fate ever since. Did parachute failure lead to a crash landing? Did strong surface winds flip the saucer-shaped craft upside down? Did the Martians take it hostage?
Now, thanks to HiRISE, we know more of the story. Images taken in February 2013 and June 2014 of the landing area in Isidis Planitia showed promising blips near the edge of each frame. A follow-up color view, acquired on December 15th and released three days ago, show a bright spot consistent with Beagle 2. The fully-opened lander would have been less than 2 m (6½ feet) across, so the craft is only barely resolved. Apparently the spacecraft made it to the surface intact, opened its clamshell cover, and had partially deployed its four petal-shaped solar-cell panels before something went awry.
Beagle 2 seen from orbit by HiRISE
An overhead view of Beagle 2's landing site on Isidis Planitia shows a bright reflection from the long-lost spacecraft. Apparently it landed safely on December 25, 2003, and had begun to operate when it failed. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded this image on December 15, 2014.
NASA / JPL / Univ. of Arizona / Univ. of Leicester
One encouraging clue is that the bright reflection changes position slightly from image to image, consistent with sunlight reflecting off different lander panels. Two other unusual spots a few hundred meters away appears to be the lander's parachute and part of the cover that served as a shield during the 5½-km-per-second atmospheric descent.
The initial images didn't just show up. They'd been requested and searched by Michael Croon of Trier, Germany, who'd served on the Mars Express operations team. Croon had asked for specific camera targeting through a program called HiWish, through which anyone can submit suggestions for HiRISE images. Read more about this fascinating sleuthing story.
"Not knowing what happened to Beagle 2 remained a nagging worry," comments Rudolf Schmidt in an ESA press release about the find. "Understanding now that Beagle 2 made it all the way down to the surface is excellent news." Schmidt served as the Mars Express project manager at the time.
Built by a consortium of organizations, Beagle 2 was the United Kingdom's first interplanetary spacecraft. The 32-kg (73-pound) lander carried six instruments to study geochemical characteristics of the Martian surface and to test for the presence of life using assays of carbon isotopes. It was named for HMS Beagle, the ship that carried a crew of 73 (including Charles Darwin) on an epic voyage of discovery in 1831–36.
- See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/beagle-2-lander-found-on-mars-01192015/#sthash.5KSZ8V6W.dpuf

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What to Do If You See a Pet Left Out in the Cold


Concerned neighbors rescued Barbie and her puppies from the snow. Scott Townsend

From humanesociety.org

It can be a crime to leave pets outside in extreme temperatures without food and shelter


Cold weather can be deadly for pets. As the temperature plummets in many parts of the country, The Humane Society of the United States sees a marked increase in the number of complaints about dogs and cats who have been left outside with no food or shelter.

We encourage you to contact local law enforcement agencies because pets left outside in extreme temperatures, especially without food and shelter, are at risk of hypothermia, frostbite and even death. Their owners are at risk of facing criminal charges.

The act of leaving a pet outside without food or adequate shelter often receives less attention than a violent attack against an animal, but neglect is a crime. "Especially in these cold months, it is important for people to bring their pets inside and for others to report neglected animals to law enforcement,” says Ashley Mauceri, HSUS manager for cruelty response, who fields these calls.


One of the most common forms of animal cruelty, cases of animals left outside in dangerous weather are investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse. Our most constant companions—dogs and cats—feel the effects of winter weather as much as we do, only they are often cast outside to weather the cold or a storm owing to a misconception that the fur on their backs will insulate them from suffering. Without proper shelter, food and water, these domesticated animals’ chances of survival in frigid temperatures is greatly decreased. Any pet owners who aren't sure what protections their pets need during cold weather can read our cold-weather advice for keeping pets safe.

While views on animal welfare vary from region to region, there are laws in place in every state to prevent needless suffering. Callers to The HSUS report numerous cases across the country of animals left out in the cold, but the organization is also working with an increasing number of law enforcement agencies that recognize the importance of intervention in these cases.


The facts


  • Animal neglect is considered a misdemeanor crime in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Felony penalties can be levied in Massachusetts and Oklahoma for any animal neglect case.
  • Felony charges can be applied in animal neglect resulting in death in California, Connecticut, Florida and Washington, D.C.

 How you can help


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