China plans to launch the world’s first ‘artificial moon’

October 29, 2018 by  
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A private aerospace institute in China has announced its ambitious plan to launch an “artificial moon” into stationary orbit above the city of Chengdu. Referred to as an “illumination satellite,” the new moon would serve as a sunlight reflector to provide a nighttime and backup light source for residents in the Sichuan province city. The venture — still obscure due to a lack of information — was first reported by Chinese newspaper People’s Daily in mid October. Since then, there have been many conflicting reports and figures on how the new moon would operate — or if it even could. Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd. and head of Tianfu New District System Science Research Institute, said the artificial moon has been under development and testing for a few years and “is now nearly ready to launch.” Related: California plans to launch its own satellite to monitor air pollution There have been no accounts of what the stunt-double moon actually looks like or if it has any official support from the government or financial backers. Both experts and the general public have expressed widespread skepticism and even ridicule at the announcement. If the 2020 project does succeed, Wu claimed that two additional moons could be ready for orbit by 2022. “By then, the three huge mirrors will divide the 360-degree orbital plane, realizing illuminating an area for 24 hours continuously,” he said. The project aims to help Chengdu save money and electricity on street lamps and provide a reliable light source during blackouts caused by natural disasters and grid malfunctions. According to the aerospace center’s figures, a whopping $173 million ($1.2 billion yuan) could be saved on streetlights yearly for illuminating even a small portion of 19 square miles (50 sq km). The cost of illuminating the whole city? Well, in the long run, it’s certainly less than putting a moon in space, according to Wu. Dr. Matteo Ceriotti, a professor of space systems engineering, said the project is feasible and not as silly as it sounds. “Think of this as sort of an investment,” he explained to BBC . “ Electricity at night is very expensive, so if you could say, have free illumination for up to 15 years, it might work out better economically in the long term.” Recent social media backlash against the Chengdu moon has centered around the issue of animal protection. While Harbin Institute of Technology Director Kang Weimin insists that the fake moon “should not affect animals’ routines,” because its light would be similar to a “dusk-like glow,” other scientists disagree. Despite his agreeable response to the project, Ceriotti said, “It will disrupt the night cycle of nature [if the light is too strong], and this could possibly affect animals.” Wu insisted that the aerospace company’s technology could dim and brighten the moon. The light, which has the ability to reflect a beam “eight times” brighter than the moon, could also be timed. All in all, the few and contradicting details surrounding the project makes it uncertain whether the new moon will launch successfully in 2020. While experts debate whether or not it should be launched in the first place, those in Chengdu are probably looking upward, wondering whether or not they’ll miss this night sky — one that might never look the same again. Via BBC , China Daily  and  People’s Daily Images via Spencer Arquimedes and Mike Petrucci

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China plans to launch the world’s first ‘artificial moon’

Bill Gates-backed startup will give you real-time video of nearly anywhere on Earth

April 27, 2018 by  
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Start-up EarthNow is aiming to bring us real-time video taken from space  of any point on our planet. Backed by such high-profile supporters as Bill Gates and Airbus, EarthNow promises to boldly go where no one has gone before through a proposed “constellation” of satellites that will offer clients their pick of locations and angles from which to capture real-time video of Earth. EarthNow promises the delivery of video with only a one-second delay, without the need to wait for any satellite to be in range due to a comprehensive network that covers the entire planet at any given time. According to EarthNow, the system will one day let us “instantly create “living” 3D models of a town or city, even in remote locations,” observe conflict zones and react in real time, and catch forest fires the minute they start. In its very early stage at the moment, EarthNow intends to initially focus on “high-value enterprise and government customers,” offering services such as weather monitoring, tracking illegal fishing or poaching, or surveillance of conflict zones. Although there is no defined timeline for creating a prototype and testing the system, EarthNow is nonetheless making moves to bring its vision into reality. Thanks to its collaboration with  OneWeb founder Greg Wyler, EarthNow will be able to build its system using a significantly improved version of OneWeb’s satellite network. “Each satellite is equipped with an unprecedented amount of onboard processing power, including more CPU cores than all other commercial satellites combined,” said EarthNow in a press release . Related: Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth Though EarthNow is targeting larger clients to start, its objective is ultimately to share the Earth with all of its inhabitants.  “EarthNow is ambitious and unprecedented, but our objective is simple; we want to connect you visually with Earth in real-time,” said EarthNow CEO and founder Russell Hannigan in a statement . “We believe the ability to see and understand the Earth live and unfiltered will help all of us better appreciate and ultimately care for our one and only home.” Via Tech Crunch Images via Earth Now

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Bill Gates-backed startup will give you real-time video of nearly anywhere on Earth

Critical climate record satellite program at risk after Congress slashes funding

November 6, 2017 by  
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Scientists all over Earth depend on sea ice data from United States military satellites . But one of those satellites recently broke down – and only three aging ones remain. Even worse, the United States Congress  said a new backup probe had to be dismantled because they reportedly didn’t want to pay to keep it in storage. Almost four decades of essential  Arctic and Antarctic sea ice satellite measurements could soon be disrupted. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) puts together a sea ice record used by scientists worldwide with satellite information. That record is at risk, as a new satellite can’t be launched until at least 2023, according to scientists. Related: Total sea ice levels on Earth lower than ever before recorded Satellites have aided scientists in measuring Earth’s dramatically shrinking sea ice. Over the years, America’s Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) has overseen the building of eight F-series satellites monitoring sea ice, but now just three aging probes, DMSP F16, F17, and F18, are operating. And they’re starting to drift out of their orbits. The satellites have lifespans of up to five years – but these three are over eight, 11, and 14 years old. F19 is the satellite that broke, and should have been replaced with F20, which was being stored by the United States Air Force . But it was dismantled in 2016 after Congress cut funding for the program, according to the Scientific American. The Air Force reportedly spent $518 million on F20. NSIDC satellite remote sensing expert David Gallaher said, “This is like throwing away the medical records of a sick patient. Our world is ailing and we have apparently decided to undermine, quite deliberately, the effectiveness of the records on which its recovery might be based. It is criminal.” Scientific American said a Japanese satellite is collecting sea ice data – but it was designed to last five years and is already five years old. A Chinese satellite might offer an alternative – and experts will discuss options at a December meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Via The Guardian and Scientific American Images via Depositphotos

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Critical climate record satellite program at risk after Congress slashes funding

Elon Musk wants to build a rocket that can fly you from New York to Shanghai in 30 minutes

September 29, 2017 by  
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Imagine being able to travel from New York to Shanghai in just 30 minutes. If Elon Musk succeeds with his newest plan, a trip of this kind will soon be possible. During Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. , the entrepreneur revealed his ambition to build the “BFR” – a rocket that could transport anyone anywhere on the planet within 60 minutes. Musk, who has long dreamed of founding a human colony on Mars , is willing to use his own personal assets to fund the futuristic technology. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); LIVE: Elon Musk reveals his latest plans for colonizing Mars. Posted by Bloomberg Technology on Thursday, September 28, 2017 “If we are going to places like Mars , why not Earth?” said Musk at the 68th International Astronautical Congress, which took place in Adelaide, Australia. Towards the end of Musk’s presentation, an animation played on the screen behind the tech entrepreneur, showing dozens of people getting on a high-speed ferry in New York, boarding the BRF on a platform in the water, then jetting to Shanghai in about 30 minutes. Musk wrote on Instagram: ”Fly to most places on Earth in under 30 mins and anywhere in under 60. Cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft . Forgot to mention that.” Reportedly, the BFR will contain 40 cabins capable of “ferrying” approximately 100 people at a time. The 46-year-old has admitted in the past that “the major fundamental flaw” in his plans is the financing aspect. With a net worth of approximately $21 billion, the entrepreneur isn’t averse to using his own personal assets to develop the technology. However, money for the BFR will also be raised via contracts with commercial satellite operators, who can use the BFR to carry satellites to orbit, as well as crew and cargo to the International Space Station . Related: Elon Musk sets tentative date for Tesla Semi truck unveiling Musk is also ambitious to send an unmanned “Red Dragon” spacecraft to the red planet in 2018. Though the initial plan has changed, the new goal has the craft landing on Mars in 2022, followed by crewed missions in 2024. Via Bloomberg Images via TEDx , Pixabay

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Elon Musk wants to build a rocket that can fly you from New York to Shanghai in 30 minutes

Satellites verify San Francisco’s leaning Millennium Tower is sinking

December 1, 2016 by  
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‘Leaning tower’ isn’t a moniker most people want attached to an inhabited skyscraper , but that’s what people are calling the 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco. And for good reason. The European Space Agency recently unveiled (ESA) satellite data which shows not only that the tower is leaning, but it’s sinking – and a lot faster than engineers previously thought. ESA’s Sentinel-1 satellites gathered the data showing the tower filled with luxury condominiums is sinking at a rate of around two inches each year. According to KTVU, that number is about twice what engineers expected. The Millennium Tower has sunk 16 inches since it opened in 2009. Related: New NASA study reveals just how fast New Orleans is sinking Why is the tower sinking? Although ESA says the exact cause is not yet known for sure, “it is believed that the movements are connected to the supporting piles not firmly resting on bedrock.” ESA scientists could see the tower’s movement through combining several radar scans from the satellites. According to ESA, “The technique works well with buildings because they better reflect the radar beam.” The scientists could map other areas in the Bay Area using the satellite data. They saw some buildings were moving along the Hayward Fault, and even noticed an uplift of land near Pleasanton. They think replenished groundwater may have resulted in the uplift. The San Francisco information will benefit researchers as they scrutinize subsidence in other cities of the world. Millennium Tower developers say it’s safe for inhabitants to stay in the leaning tower. But earlier in November, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit against developers as they did not tell buyers the tower is sinking “much faster than expected.” Via KTVU Images via Wikimedia Commons and Copernicus Sentinel data (2015-16)/ESA SEOM INSARAP study/PPO.labs/Norut/NGU

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Satellites verify San Francisco’s leaning Millennium Tower is sinking

Danish city becomes world’s first to power water treatment plant with sewage

December 1, 2016 by  
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The Danish city of Aarhus is on the cusp of becoming the first city in the world to use energy created from household wastewater and sewage to power its water treatment facilities . The Marselisborg Wastewater Treatment Plant expects to generate more than 192% of the energy it needs to run the plant, which supplies fresh water to 200,000 nearby residents. The excess electricity will be used to power water pumps to distribute the clean water and, if there is any electricity left, it will be funneled back into the utility grid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P4G0HP08iQ The water treatment facility’s approach to turning sewage into usable electricity centers around biogas . Wastewater and sewage are processed in digesters filled with bacteria, which breaks down the organic materials. Kept at a steady 100.4°F (38°C), the waste produces biogas (mostly methane, although some other gases are also present) that is burned to generate both electricity and heat. While this process is used at many wastewater treatment plants as a means to burn off harmful greenhouse gas emissions , none have attempted to harness that electricity for reuse on such a scale until now. Related: Copenhagen now has more bikes than cars The sewer-power upgrades at Denmark’s Marselisborg Wastewater Treatment Plant cost around $3.19 million to install. Aarhus Water officials believe the new system will pay for itself in just five years’ time thanks to reduced maintenance costs and the added benefit of selling excess electricity back to the power grid. Meanwhile, other cities in Denmark (like Copenhagen) and elsewhere in the world are looking for ways to duplicate the Aarhus system so they too can reap the benefits of recycled wastewater energy. Via New Scientist Images via Aarhus Water

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Danish city becomes world’s first to power water treatment plant with sewage

Earth911TV: How To Recycle Your Satellite Dish

August 27, 2015 by  
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When you’re done with your satellite dish because you’re moving or you’ve decided to cut the cord, or whatever reason, what do you do with it? Leave it there? Recycle it? Send it back? It’s confusing! Let’s break it down on today’s Earth911 TV! No…

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Earth911TV: How To Recycle Your Satellite Dish

Pocket-Sized Lantern Connects You to the World Even When There’s No Internet Service

November 28, 2014 by  
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An estimated 4.3 billion people around the world don’t have internet access. In times of natural disasters, internet and phone connections also frequently fail. Lantern is a pocket-sized device designed to bring connectivity to those without internet access, using satellite-broadcast radio waves. The company behind Lantern, Outernet, aims to provide users with an anonymous, portable library that constantly receives free data from space. The device is currently acing its Indiegogo campaign , so read on for details on becoming an early adopter. Read the rest of Pocket-Sized Lantern Connects You to the World Even When There’s No Internet Service Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anonymous internet use , device , emergency response , FM radio , green gadgets , indiegogo campaign , internet , internet connectivity , lantern , Outernet , pocket sized , radio waves , Satellite , Solar Power , Technology , tiny devices , wi-fi , worldwide internet

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Pocket-Sized Lantern Connects You to the World Even When There’s No Internet Service

This is the Highest-Resolution Video of Earth Ever Created, and it’s Gorgeous (VIDEO)

November 21, 2014 by  
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The Russian Elektro-L weather satellite sits 25,000 miles above the Indian Ocean, where it creates an astonishing 121 megapixel image of the Earth every 30 minutes. James Tyrwhitt-Drake from the University of Victoria in Canada has used these images to create a 4K timelapse video of our planet, and the result is pretty hypnotic. Read the rest of This is the Highest-Resolution Video of Earth Ever Created, and it’s Gorgeous (VIDEO) Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 4k , earth , elektro-l , geostatic satellite , high resolution video , james tyrwhitt-drake , planet earth , timelapse , University of Victoria , weather satellite

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This is the Highest-Resolution Video of Earth Ever Created, and it’s Gorgeous (VIDEO)

Journalist to Film Factory Farms from Above Using Drones to Get Around Ag Gag Laws

July 8, 2014 by  
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Footage of what happens on factory farms has horrified people in the past, so much so that several states have made it illegal to document livestock operations. But investigative journalist, Will Potter hopes to get around the “ag gag” laws by using drones to photograph the farms from the air. But he needs help raising the finances to undertake the project so he can pay for the equipment, legal expenses, video production and other equipment he needs to make a short documentary, create an e-book and document abuses at factory farms. His Kickstarter campaign (which ends today) has already raised $48,000, with a promise to match all donations above $45,000. Read the rest of Journalist to Film Factory Farms from Above Using Drones to Get Around Ag Gag Laws Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ag , documentary , drone , factory , farm , feedlot , food , footage , gag , henner , journalist , kickstarter , laws , livestock , mishka , operation , potter , safety , Satellite , will

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