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        NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer Helps Confirm Nature of
    Dark Energy
    Posted: 2011-08-02 12:01:15 UTC-07:00
    PASADENA, Calif. -- A five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies, stretching back seven billion
    years in cosmic time, has led to one of the best independent confirmations that dark energy
    is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds. The survey used data from NASA's
    space-based Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Anglo-Australian Telescope on Siding
    Spring Mountain in Australia.

    The findings offer new support for the favored theory of how dark energy works -- as a
    constant force, uniformly affecting the universe and propelling its runaway expansion. They
    contradict an alternate theory, where gravity, not dark energy, is the force pushing space
    apart. According to this alternate theory, with which the new survey results are not
    consistent, Albert Einstein's concept of gravity is wrong, and gravity becomes repulsive
    instead of attractive when acting at great distances.


            Gliese 581d: A Habitable Exoplanet?
    Posted: 2011-08-02 12:00:59 UTC-07:00
    Gliese 581d: A Habitable Exoplanet?
    Source: CNRS press release




    Alien Life
    Posted: 05/20/11
    Summary: A new computer model that simulates possible exoplanet climates indicates that
    the planet Gliese 581d might be warm enough to have oceans, clouds and rainfall. Gliese
    581d is likely to be a rocky planet with a mass at least seven times that of Earth.


           Local Scientists Produce First Aerogel in Space
    Posted: 2011-08-02 12:00:45 UTC-07:00
    First Space-Produced Aerogel Made on Space Sciences Laboratory Rocket Flight
    June 19, 1996: Aerogel is the lightest solid known to mankind, with only three times the
    density of air. A block the size of a human weighs less than a pound. Because of its amazing
    insulating properties, an inch-thick slab can safely shield the human hand from the heat of a
    blowtorch. A sugar-cubed size portion of the material has the internal surface area of a
    basketball court. As the only known transparent insulator, Aerogel is a supercritically dried
    gel sometimes referred to as "frozen smoke".


           Space Sciences Laboratory Hosts Bill Nye, the Science Guy
    Posted: 2011-08-02 12:00:30 UTC-07:00
    October 16, 1996

    This week, the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Space Sciences Laboratory are hosting
    Bill Nye, The Science Guy, as their crew from Seattle films for an upcoming episode of the
    PBS television series. Taping in SSL will occur on Wednesday, October 16 and Thursday,
    October 17.
    Areas of science from the laboratory that will be featured on an upcoming episode of Bill Nye
    include Aerogel, "cool telescopes" such as BATSE and the AXAF Calibration Facility, the
    SSL Solar Vector Magnetograph, and the 105-meter drop tube for microgravity
    experimentation.
    The program will also feature a dive in the Marshall Neutral Buoyancy Simulator, the large
    tank in which the Hubble Space Telescope repair missions are rehearsed by astronauts, as
    well as a visit to the Space Station Assembly facility.


        First Space-Produced Aerogel Made on Space Sciences
    Laboratory Rocket Flight
    Posted: 2011-08-02 12:00:16 UTC-07:00
    October 8, 1996: Results are now beginning to become available from the April 3, 1996
    rocket flight to produce the first space-made Aerogel. As described in the June 19, 1996
    Aerogel Headline , Aerogel is the lightest solid known to mankind, with only three times the
    density of air. Aerogel, because of its appearence is sometimes referred to as "frozen
    smoke". Aerogel produced on the ground typically displays a blue haze or has a slight
    cloudiness to its appearence. This feature is believed to be caused by impurities and
    variations in the size of small pores in the Aerogel material. Scientists are trying to eliminate
    this haze so that the insulator might be used in window panes and other applications where
    transparency is important.
           Fall Science Meeting Highlights Tethered Satellite Results
    Posted: 2011-08-02 12:00:01 UTC-07:00
    October 15, 1996

    Scientists attending the Fall 1996 meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be treated
    to three special sessions covering scientific results obtained from the reflight of the Tethered
    Satellite System (TSS-1R). The conference will take place on December 18 and 19 in San
    Francisco, California.
    The TSS-1R science mission was conducted on space shuttle flight STS-75 at the end of
    February 1996. During the flight, the Tethered Satellite was deployed to a distance of 12.3
    miles (19.7 km) and science data was collected aboard the satellite, the space-shuttle
    orbiter, and from a network of ground stations monitoring the earth's ionosphere.
    Five hours of tethered operation yielded a rich scientific data set. These data include tether
    current and voltage measurements, plasma particle and wave measurements, and visual
    observations for a variety of pre-planned science objectives. During the flight the conducting
    tether connecting the Orbiter to the satellite was severed, and large currents were observed
    to be flowing between the satellite and the Orbiter during the break event.
    Further scientific data were obtained from the instruments on the satellite after the break,
    when the science and NASA support teams were able to capture telemetry from the satellite
    during the overflight of NASA tracking stations.


           Unique telescope to open the X(-ray) Files
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:59:45 UTC-07:00
    Artist's concept of AXAF in orbit., The nested mirrors are at center behind the dotted circles.
    The finest set of mirrors ever built for X-ray astronomy has arrived at NASA's Marshall Space
    Flight Center for several weeks of calibration before being assembled into a telescope for
    launch in late 1998.

    The High-Resolution Mirror Assembly (HRMA), as it is known, will be the heart of the
    Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) which is managed by Marshall Space Flight
    Center. HRMA was built by Eastman Kodak and Hughes Danbury Optical Systems. In 1997-
    98, they will be assembled by TRW Defense and Space Systems into the AXAF spacecraft.
    AXAF is designed to give astronomers as clear a view of the universe in X-rays as they now
    have in visible light through the Hubble Space Telescope.

    Indeed, one of the Hubble's recent discoveries may move near the top of the list of things to
    do for AXAF. Hubble recently discovered that some quasars reside within quite ordinary
    galaxies. Quasars (quasi-stellar objects) are unusually energetic objects which emit up to
    1,000 times as much energy as an entire galaxy, but from a volume about the size of our
    solar system.


           MSFC Earth-Sun Studies Featured at AGU
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:59:13 UTC-07:00
    AGU
    December 13, 1996
    Fountains of electrified gases spewing from the Earth into space and pictures of the aurora
    during the day will be highlighted by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) annual winter
    conference in San Francisco Dec. 15-19.
    AGU is one of the largest scientific bodies in the world and takes in everything from
    earthquakes to solar flares - including work by scientists at Marshall Space Flight Center's
    Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) to understand what drives the aurora borealis and causes
    space storms that can black out cities.
    At at three sessions during the AGU meeting, Marshall scientists will present their results in
    several papers, written with colleagues from other institutions, from the Thermal Ion
    Dynamics Experiment (TIDE) and the Ultraviolet Imager (UVI), two of several instruments
    aboard the Polar spacecraft launched in 1996.


          Free-Floating Planets May Be More Common Than Stars
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:58:58 UTC-07:00
    May 18, 2011: Astronomers have discovered a new class of Jupiter-sized planets floating
    alone in the dark of space, away from the light of a star. The team believes these lone worlds
    are probably outcasts from developing planetary systems and, moreover, they could be twice
    as numerous as the stars themselves.
    "Although free-floating planets have been predicted, they finally have been detected," said
    Mario Perez, exoplanet program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "[This has]
    major implications for models of planetary formation and evolution."
    The discovery is based on a joint Japan-New Zealand survey that scanned the center of the
    Milky Way galaxy during 2006 and 2007, revealing evidence for up to 10 free-floating planets
    roughly the mass of Jupiter. The isolated orbs, also known as orphan planets, are difficult to
    spot, and had gone undetected until now. The planets are located at an average
    approximate distance of 10,000 to 20,000 light years from Earth.


          Super Storm on Saturn
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:58:42 UTC-07:00
    May 19, 2011: NASA's Cassini spacecraft and a European Southern Observatory ground-
    based telescope are tracking the growth of a giant early-spring storm in Saturn's northern
    hemisphere so powerful that it stretches around the entire planet. The rare storm has been
    wreaking havoc for months and shooting plumes of gas high into the planet's atmosphere.
    5079614395198588

          Solar Storm Warning
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:58:28 UTC-07:00
    March 10, 2006: It's official: Solar minimum has arrived. Sunspots have all but vanished.
    Solar flares are nonexistent. The sun is utterly quiet.
    Like the quiet before a storm.
    This week researchers announced that a storm is coming--the most intense solar maximum
    in fifty years. The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National
    Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50%
    stronger than the previous one," she says. If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst
    of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958.
    That was a solar maximum. The Space Age was just beginning: Sputnik was launched in
    Oct. 1957 and Explorer 1 (the first US satellite) in Jan. 1958. In 1958 you couldn't tell that a
    solar storm was underway by looking at the bars on your cell phone; cell phones didn't exist.
    Even so, people knew something big was happening when Northern Lights were sighted
    three times in Mexico. A similar maximum now would be noticed by its effect on cell phones,
    GPS, weather satellites and many other modern technologies.
    Right: Intense auroras over Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1958


           NASA Events
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:58:14 UTC-07:00
    NASA Events


           Review: Eee Pad tablet transforms into laptop
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:58:00 UTC-07:00
    (AP) -- The tablet computers that compete with the iPad have mostly been uninspiring. The
    Eee Pad Transformer stands out with a design that isn't just copied from the iPad: It's a
    tablet that turns into a ...


           Google Music: Definitely beta
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:57:46 UTC-07:00
    Google has been accused of overusing the "beta" tag on products it releases early. But with
    its new music service - Music - the beta tag is mandatory. It's still pretty raw, judging from my
    experience with it today.


           Microsoft trying to take another bite of the Apple?
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:57:23 UTC-07:00
    t was recently announced that Apple, assessed at $150 billion, surpassed Google as the
    world’s most valuable brand. This comes a year after overtaking Microsoft as the globe’s
    most valuable technology ...


           Google works to close security loophole in Android
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:57:09 UTC-07:00
    Google is in the process of updating its Android operating system to fix an issue that is
    believed to have left millions of smartphones and tablets vulnerable to personal data leaks. ..


           NASA sees Tropical Storm 04W's thunderstorms grow quickly
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:56:54 UTC-07:00
    This TRMM satellite 3-D image shows that some thunderstorm towers near TSO4W's center
    of circulation were punching up to heights of over 16 km (~9.9 miles) above the ocean's
    surface. Credit: Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce


    Tropical Storm 04W formed from the low pressure System 98W this morning in the
    northwestern Pacific. NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite watched
    the towering thunderstorms in the center of the tropical storm grow to almost 10 miles (16
    km) high as it powered up quickly.


           Galaxies
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:56:40 UTC-07:00
    "Advanced computer techniques allow us to combine data from the individual telescopes to
    yield images with the sharpness of a single giant telescope, one nearly as large as Earth
    itself," said Roopesh Ojha at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
    The enormous energy output of galaxies like Cen A comes from gas falling toward a black
    hole weighing millions of times the sun's mass. Through processes not fully understood,
    some of this infalling matter is ejected in opposing jets at a substantial fraction of the speed
    of light. Detailed views of the jet's structure will help astronomers determine how they form.
    The jets strongly interact with surrounding gas, at times possibly changing a galaxy's rate of
    star formation. Jets play an important but poorly understood role in the formation and
    evolution of galaxies.


         Radio telescopes capture best-ever snapshot of black hole jets
    (w/ video)
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:56:27 UTC-07:00
    Enlarge
    Merging X-ray data (blue) from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with microwave (orange)
    and visible images reveals the jets and radio-emitting lobes emanating from Centaurus A's
    central black hole. Credit: ESO/WFI (visible); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (microwave);
    NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)
    (PhysOrg.com) -- An international team, including NASA-funded researchers, using radio
    telescopes located throughout the Southern Hemisphere has produced the most detailed
    image of particle jets erupting from a supermassive black hole in a nearby galaxy.


           Display Applications
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:56:10 UTC-07:00
    Overcoming the Drawbacks of Fluorescent Lamps

    Liquid crystal display (LCD), thanks to continued improvements in resolution, response rates
    and scalability, has become the pervasive display technology for mobile phones, monitors,
    notebooks, HDTVs and other consumer electronics. Since LCD panels are transmissive and
    emit no light of their own, they require a backlight to provide illumination. Commonly, LCD
    backlighting units (BLUs) employed cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs), similar to those
    used for commercial overhead lights, as their light source. However, CCFLs have a number
    of drawbacks. They require a high voltage power supply and generally are the highest power
    consuming component in large format displays and HDTVs. CCFLs contain mercury which
    has special disposal requirements and faces increasing limits on its use in many countries.
    Also, the space needed by CCFLs constrains how thin an LCD panel can be made. And as
    CCFLs are a tube-based technology, they are usually the first component to fail in an LCD
    display.


          XDR™ Memory Architecture
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:55:56 UTC-07:00
    XDR™ Memory Architecture

    The Rambus XDR™ memory architecture is a total memory system solution that achieves an
    order of magnitude higher performance than today's standard memories while utilizing the
    fewest ICs. Perfect for compute and consumer electronics applications, a single, 4-byte-
    wide, 6.4Gbps XDR DRAM component provides 25.6GB/s of peak memory bandwidth.
    Key components enabling the breakthrough performance of the XDR memory architecture
    are:
    XDR DRAM is a high-speed memory IC that turbo-charges standard CMOS DRAM cores
    with a high-speed interface capable of 7.2Gbps data rates providing up to 28.8GB/s of
    bandwidth with a single device.


          HDTV Applications
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:55:36 UTC-07:00
    HDTV Applications

    “The year 2010 marks a major transition period for the US LCD TV market, when consumers
    increasingly are gravitating towards sets with more advanced features.” - Riddhi Patel,
    iSuppli Principal TV Analyst
    Consumer research finds that among advanced features, HDTV buyers' top priority is picture
    quality. Capabilities such as full HD 1080p resolution, 480Hz frame rates, LED backlighting,
    3D display, and advanced image processing and motion compensation create incredibly rich
    viewing experiences. Each of these capabilities demands higher levels of memory
    bandwidth.

    In the future, consumers will expect even more. With requirements for handling multiple
    streams of 3D content, Ultra-High Definition (UHD) 4K picture resolution, 16-bit color and
    more, HDTV designers need a memory architecture that provides the highest bandwidth
    performance. However, even as functionality increases, OEMs will continue to face strong
    downward pressure on prices. Consumer focus on pricing is second only to picture quality.
    For this reason, achieving these advanced features while reducing BOM costs and
    minimizing the total number of devices used is critical.
    As a result of recent government mandates and consumers’ desire to “buy green,” OEMs
    must also significantly reduce HDTV system power. Typical HDTV power budgets must fall
    by as much as 50% by 2013 in order to meet the most stringent requirements. Key to
    addressing power reduction is the move to LED technology for LCD backlights, and
    continued improvements to power efficiency of electronics components including the image
    processors and memory subsystem.


           Gaming and Graphics Applications
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:55:08 UTC-07:00
    Gaming and Graphics Applications

    Gaming and graphics are the performance applications for processors and memory. As
    such, leading-edge technology debuts here and eventually migrates to mainstream
    computing, mobile, and consumer electronics applications over time. State-of-the-art GPUs
    deliver functionality including photorealistic game characters and environments, support for
    multiple simultaneous displays, 3D image processing and video output, and full HD 1080p
    resolution. In order to support this functionality, the number of graphics processor cores and
    transistor counts per chip are skyrocketing. High-end GPUs have over 2 billion transistors
    and more than 1000 graphics processor cores up from less than 100 just 5 years ago.
    Historically, these performance increases have come with a commensurate rise in power
    consumption. However, because of thermal, power supply and cost constraints that trend
    cannot continue. Top-of-the-line dual-GPU graphics cards and game consoles can draw as
    much as 300 watts (W) of power and must allocate a significant portion of the bill-of-
    materials (BOM) for the cooling system. While demand for higher performance will be ever
    present, power efficiency will increasingly become a first-order requirement.
    GPU’s must also be scalable to support a broad range of performance levels and price
    points. Although they are the performance drivers, high-end graphics cards make up only a
    small percentage of the overall market. A single GPU platform must be configurable through
    the use of multiple memory types, or a single memory with a wide performance range.
    The combination of these factors puts tremendous demands on the graphics memory
    system. Bandwidth requirements for next-generation gaming and graphics systems will
    exceed 500 gigabytes per second (GB/s). Meanwhile the total power budget must remain
    constant or even decrease. Similarly, price points must remain essentially unchanged for
    each of the respective performance segments.


           Mobile Applications
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:54:53 UTC-07:00
    Consumers have come to expect the entertainment experience of the living room from the
    mobile devices they carry every day. Advanced mobile devices offer high-definition (HD)
    resolution video recording, multi-megapixel digital image capture, 3D gaming and media-rich
    web applications. To pack all that functionality in a form factor that's thin, light and delivered
    with a pleasing aesthetic presents a tremendous challenge for mobile device designers.
    Chief among these challenges is the implementation of a high-performance memory
    architecture that meets the power efficiency constraints of battery-operated products.

    In order to support these advanced mobile devices, memory bandwidth will experience
    significant growth. Over the course of the next 2-3 years, mobile gaming and graphics
    applications will push memory bandwidth requirements to 12.8 gigabytes per second and
    beyond. This bandwidth must be achieved within the constraints of the available battery life
    and cost budget.


        Understanding the Energy Consumption of Dynamic Random
    Access Memories
    Posted: 2011-08-02 11:54:38 UTC-07:00
    Energy consumption has become a major constraint on the capabilities of computer systems.
    In large systems the energy consumed by Dynamic Random Access Memories (DRAM) is a
    significant part of the total energy consumption. It is possible to calculate the energy
    consumption of currently available DRAMs from their datasheets, but datasheets don’t allow
    extrapolation to future DRAM technologies and don’t show how other changes like increasing
    bandwidth requirements change DRAM energy consumption. This paper first presents a
    flexible DRAM power model which uses a description of DRAM architecture, technology and
    operation to calculate power usage and verifies it against datasheet values. Then the model
    is used together with assumptions about the DRAM roadmap to extrapolate DRAM energy
    consumption to future DRAM generations. Using this model we evaluate some of the
    proposed DRAM power reduction schemes.




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