Even with the shuttle now history, NASA has a major deadline looming. By presidential order, the space agency has to be ready to launch a manned mission to another asteroid by 2025. The logistical hurdles to be overcome in the 14 years has many NASA brains both thrilled and anxious.
The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world's 20 best-selling drugs, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix. Generic competition will decimate sales of the brand-name drugs and cut costs to patients and companies that provide health benefits.
In a broad new cybersecurity strategy released Thursday, the Defense Department formally declared cyberspace a new warfare domain. As part of the plan, the Pentagon is developing more resilient computer networks so the military can continue to operate if critical systems are breached or taken down.
While Berkeley Lab's third-generation synchrotron is better known as one of the world's brightest sources of ultraviolet and X-ray light, it's roof has been, until now, a prime attractor for the sun’s energy. The 70-year-old dome is being clad in a new cool roof, which will reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere. The project is part of a mandate by Stephen Chu for all Dept. of Energy facilities.
A consortium that includes a veritable who’s-who of telecommunications and software giants have successfully placed their $4.5 billion cash bid for thousands of patents held by bankrupt telecom-equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. The patents cover technologies that include data networking, semiconductors and 4G wireless systems. Nortel won three R&D 100 Awards for its products in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
While the United States is still working out its next move as the space shuttle program winds down, China is forging ahead. This year, a rocket will carry a boxcar-sized module into orbit, the first building block for a Chinese space station. Around 2013, China plans to launch a lunar probe and place a rover on the moon, followed by a manned mission sometimes after 2020.
Even as the space shuttle Atlantis has lifted off without a back-up shuttle available for a rescue mission, NASA itself lacks an independent option for reaching space. Designs from private developers may take years to perfect, leaving Soyuz as the only way to reach the International Space Station. Some experts and even former astronauts say that’s a violation of NASA’s own design criteria.
In the early days of the shuttle program, it was promoted as a cheap, safe and reliable alternative to conventional rockets. But the United States spent more on the space shuttle than the combined cost of soaring to the moon, creating the atom bomb, and digging the Panama Canal. The benefits of the program, however, and what it did to further science and diplomacy, may be incalculable.
Scientists have come up with a possible explanation for why the rise in Earth's temperature paused for a bit during the 2000s, one of the hottest decades on record. According to a new study, the culprit was all of the airborne sulfur pollution from China's massive coal-burning. Despite the massive output of sulfur, the effect was temporary.
Since 1930, electric clocks have kept time based on the rate of the electrical current that powers them. Power companies make this happen by keeping current frequency as precise as possible, but a new experiment that would allow more frequency variation in the interest of reliability and money savings could throw off clocks in appliances by up to 20 minutes over time.
A newly signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the purchase of electricity produced by the Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP) is an important step forward for what will be one of the world’s most advanced and cleanest coal-based power plants, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
According to an extensive investigation by the Associated Press, federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards. The report claims that nuclear regulatory officials have often decided original regulations are too strict and has argued that safety margins could be eased without peril.
At a global security conference in Paris Friday, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III outlined a pilot program in which the government helps the defense industry in safeguarding the information their computer systems hold. The program will share classified threat information and the know-how to employ it with participating defense companies or their Internet service providers.
The Defense Department famously devised a space-based missile defense system in the 1980s known as "Star Wars." Now its sourcing inspiration from Gene Roddenberry’s classic storyline. The new trademarked 100-year Starship Study concept, conceived by DARPA, is offering half a million dollars to whoever has the best idea for sending people to another star.
This week, conditional loan guarantee commitments were issued for two of the biggest capacity solar power projects in North America: the Mojave Solar Project and the Genesis Solar Project. At 250 MW each, the projects would double the United States’ currently installed concentrated solar power capacity.
New research by sociologists from two universities and a medical center reports that studies in adult and embryonic stem cells are complementary. According to the researchers, incentives to use both types of cell in comparative studies are high, and banning either type of stems cells and the research involving them could have negative impacts on the other.
Intended to be the most sophisticated rover sent to the Martian surface, NASA's next-generation rover, the Mars Science Laboratory, is already over budget and behind schedule. The price tag has ballooned to $2.5 billion, auditors have found, from $1.6 million. And the project may need still more money to meet its November launch date.
One of China’s biggest, state-owned rare earths miners and producers has been given a monopoly over rare earth mining, processing, and trading in the northern part of the country. The move is an effort by the country’s government to bring the rare earths industry, which provides 97% of global supply, under tighter control.
Recent reports of record high greenhouse gas emissions and unprecedented carbon levels in the atmosphere have added a sense of urgency to the efforts of United Nations climate negotiators, who are trying to make industrial countries continue reducing greenhouse gas emissions after their current commitment expires next year.
With Wednesday's landing of Endeavour, just one more space shuttle flight remains, putting an end to 30 years of Florida shuttle launches and more than 535 million miles of orbits controlled at Houston's Johnson Space Center. Now a sense of melancholy has permeated the community that calls itself "the space shuttle family."
America's new cyber czar said Wednesday, ahead of an international cybersecurity summit in London, that international law and cooperation--not another treaty--was enough to tackle cybersecurity issues for now. Christopher Painter’s comments were in response to the urging of Michael Rake, chairman of one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, to begin forming a cyber nonproliferation treaty.
Sandia National Laboratories and supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc. are forming an institute focused on data-intensive supercomputers. The Supercomputing Institute for Learning and Knowledge Systems (SILKS), to be located at Sandia in Albuquerque, will take advantage of the strengths of Sandia and Cray by making software and hardware resources available to researchers who focus on a relatively new application of supercomputing.
After lying dormant for hundreds of millions of years, shale gas was tapped for the first time in a natural gas well in 1821. Since then, oil has taken the spotlight, but now shale gas is looked to as the energy resource of the present and future. The National Energy Technology Laboratory, which helped pioneer hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, tracks some of the technological developments in shale gas extraction.
After setting a soaring vision to land a man on the moon, President John F. Kennedy struggled with how to sell the public on a costly space program. In a scenario that echoes today, he and NASA Administrator James Webb worried about preserving funding amid what Webb calls a "driving desire to cut the budget.”
Methane hydrates are molecules of natural gas trapped in frozen water, typically in sediments within and below Arctic permafrost. The government and the oil industry are teaming up on a new well that will tap into this potentially vast resource. The twist is that they plan to do so while at the same time sequester carbon dioxide.