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NASA turns 50 today

NASA turns 50 today

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established 50 years ago today by the aptly named National Aeronautics and Space Act. NASA began operations on October 1, 1958, with a staff of 80 spread among four laboratories.

July 29, 2008 — JR Minkel
YouTube Lecturer and Virtual Reality Expert Randy Pausch Dies at 47

YouTube Lecturer and Virtual Reality Expert Randy Pausch Dies at 47

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist whose last lecture, titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," became a viral video on YouTube, died today at the age of 47 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

July 25, 2008 — Nikhil Swaminathan
Robot dragonfly takes flight

Robot dragonfly takes flight

Researchers at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands today unveiled a small, remote-controlled aircraft weighing just 0.11 ounces (three grams) and with a four-inch (10-centimeter) wingspan--just large enough to accommodate an onboard camera.

July 23, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier
NASA plans GPS-like system for return to the moon

NASA plans GPS-like system for return to the moon

NASA has coughed up $1.2 million for a navigation system that will help astronauts find their way around the lunar surface when they return in 2020. The Lunar Astronaut Spatial Orientation and Information System (LASOIS) is designed to function  much the same way as a global positioning system (GPS).

July 22, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier
Hackers convene Last HOPE conference in the Big Apple

Hackers convene Last HOPE conference in the Big Apple

  Computer programmers, researchers and students descended on New York City's Hotel Pennsylvania today for the HOPE conference, a forum for all things related to security, including a healthy dose of sessions devoted to breaking security.

July 18, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier
A constellation of problems for shuttle's replacement

A constellation of problems for shuttle's replacement

Problems are mounting for the Orion spacecraft that is supposed to replace the retiring space shuttle fleet and carry U.S. astronauts to the moon by 2020. Among the most severe, according to a 117-page internal NASA report posted on Nasawatch.com this week: an $80-million overrun on development of a single motor; a hard-to-open hatch door; and the potential that the stack (craft and Ares 1 rocket) will vibrate itself to pieces during takeoff. Constellation's official launch date for practice flights remains March 2015, but NASA had envisioned a best-case scenario of summer 2013. An agency spokesperson told the Associated Press that in principle a launch could now occur no earlier than August 2014. Some NASA watchers say the setbacks are signs of agency mismanagement, but others say they are par for the course for an attempt to return to the moon in an era of uncertain funding.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin Corp

July 18, 2008 — JR Minkel
Gore challenge: 100 percent renewable power in 10 years

Gore challenge: 100 percent renewable power in 10 years

Former vice president Al Gore today challenged the U.S. to go from getting more than half its electrical power from greenhouse gas-spewing coal-fired power plants to getting all of it from 100 percent carbon neutral sources in a decade.

July 17, 2008 — David Biello
Happy anniversary, B-2 Stealth Bomber

Happy anniversary, B-2 Stealth Bomber

Nineteen years ago today, the U.S. Air Force flew a B-2 Spirit bomber—better known as the Stealth Bomber—for the first time. The flight came at a cost of billions of dollars, as the sophisticated technology that allows the bomber to evade radar detection required far more development than the Air Force had budgeted.

July 17, 2008 — Ivan Oransky

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