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Written by Frank Devlon. Posted in Science

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Hayabusa 2 asteroid mission blasted off GMT Dec. 3 from the country's Tanegashima Space Center, where the local time at liftoff was 1:22 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3. If all goes well, the spacecraft should return samples of the asteroid 1999 JU3 to Earth in late 2020, JAXA officials said.
The Hayabusa-2  probe will use explosives to make a hole on the asteroid to collect surface materials.
The propulsion of choice for science fiction writers has become the propulsion of choice for scientists and engineers at NASA. The ion propulsion system's efficient use of fuel and electrical power enable modern spacecraft to travel farther, faster, and cheaper than any other propulsion technology currently available.


Hayabusa 2’s target asteroid, 1999 JU3, is about 900 meters (3,000 feet) in diameter and generally circles the Sun between the orbits of Earth and Mars, rotating with a period of about seven and a half hours. - See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/hayabusa-2-asteroid-bound-12032014/#sthash.mzSaf6fO.dpuf 

(162173) 1999 JU3: C-type asteroid
Size: about 900 meters (3,000 feet)
a = 1.1896212 AU
Period (around sun) = 1.30 years
Period (around itself) = 7.6 hours
Discovered 1999-May-10 by LINEAR at Socorro (704)

The German Aerospace Center built a small lander called MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) for the mission in a cooperation with the French space agency CNES. The MASCOT carries an infrared spectrometer, a magnetometer, a radiometer and a camera, and is capable of lifting off of the asteroid to reposition itself for further measurements.

Xenon is a chemical element with symbol Xe and atomic number 54. It is a colorless, dense, odorless noble gas, that occurs in the Earth's atmosphere in trace amounts.

The Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) is a small drop-off explosively formed penetrator, consisting of a 2.5 kilogram (5.5 lb) copper projectile and a 4.5 kilogram (10 lb) shaped charge. It will be dropped off Hayabusa 2; the low gravity leaves the spacecraft enough time to maneuver to the opposite side of the asteroid.

Ion thrusters are currently used for stationkeeping on communication satellites and for main propulsion on deep space probes. Ion thrusters expel ions to create thrust and can provide higher spacecraft top speeds than any other rocket currently available.

What Is an Ion?

An ion is simply an atom or molecule that is electrically charged. Ionization is the process of electrically charging an atom or molecule by adding or removing electrons. Ions can be positive (when they lose one or more electrons) or negative (when they gain one or more electrons). A gas is considered ionized when some or all the atoms or molecules contained in it are converted into ions.

Plasma is an electrically neutral gas in which all positive and negative charges--from neutral atoms, negatively charged electrons, and positively charged ions--add up to zero.

Plasma exists everywhere in nature; it is designated as the fourth state of matter (the others are solid, liquid, and gas). It has some of the properties of a gas but is affected by electric and magnetic fields and is a good conductor of electricity.

Plasma is the building block for all types of electric propulsion, where electric and/or magnetic fields are used to push on the electrically charged ions and electrons to provide thrust. Examples of plasmas seen every day are lightning and fluorescent light bulbs.

The conventional method for ionizing the propellant atoms in an ion thruster is called electron bombardment.

The majority of NASA's research consists of electron bombardment ion thrusters. When a high-energy electron (negative charge) collides with a propellant atom (neutral charge), a second electron is released, yielding two negative electrons and one positive ion.

An alternative method of ionization called electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) is also being researched at NASA.

This method uses high-frequency radiation (usually microwaves), coupled with a high magnetic field to heat the electrons in the propellant atoms, causing them to break free of the propellant atoms, creating plasma. Ions can then be extracted from this plasma.

Modern ion thrusters are capable of propelling a spacecraft up to 90,000 meters per second (over 200,000 miles per hour), 324 000 Km/h.

To put that into perspective, the space shuttle is capable of a top speed of around 18,000 mph.

Written by Frank Devlon. Posted in People, companies or projects

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Jeffrey (Jeff) Preston Bezos
Born in January 12, 1964.
Receiver of:
Phi Beta Kappa

Founder and chief executive of:


Founded in July 5, 1994 in Seattle, Washington, U.S.

World's largest online bookstore

Registered on NASDAQ stock market

Market Value 1995 $ -40,000
Market Value 2014 $ 150,334,251,520

Jeff's mother, Jackie was still in her teens when jeff was born. Her marriage to Jeffery’s father lasted little more than a year.

She remarried later with
a guy by name Miguel Bezos when Jeffrey was five years old. Jeffrey 's stepfather, Miguel Bezos, was born in Cuba and was  migrated to America alone at age 15. 

When Miguel married Jeffrey’s mother, the family moved to Houston, Texas. After few years there Jeff attended River Oaks Elementary school in Houston from 4th to 6th grade.

After another few years the Bezos family acquired a 101 km² ranch in Cotulla. Jeff showed intense and varied scientific interests at an early age.


He rigged an electric alarm to keep his younger siblings out of his room and maintain his privacy. He converted his parents' garage into a laboratory for his science projects. The family moved to Miami, Florida, where Jeff attended MiamiPalmetto Senior High School.

While in high school, he attended the Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida; Jeff entered Princeton University, planning to study physics, but soon returned to his love of computers and graduated with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering.

At beginning of July 1995 Jeff set up a test website he called Amazone and later connected three Sun microstations computers on tables he'd made out of doors from Home Depot for less than $60 each. When the test site was up and running, Jeff asked 300 friends and acquaintances to test it. The code worked seamlessly across different computer platforms.

On July 16, 1995, Jeff Bezos opened his site Amazon to the world, and told his 300 beta testers to spread the word. In 30 days, with no press, Amazon had sold books in all 50 states and 45 foreign countries. By September, it had sales of $20,000 a week.

Jeff and his team continued improving the site, introducing such unheard-of features as one-click shopping, customer reviews, and e-mail order verification. The business grew faster than Jeff or anyone else had ever imagined.

When the company went public in 1997, skeptics wondered if an Internet-based start-up bookseller could maintain its position once traditional retail heavyweights like Barnes and Noble or Borders entered the Internet picture.

Two years later, the market value of shares in Amazon was greater than that of its two biggest retail competitors combined, and Borders was striking a deal for Amazon to handle its Internet traffic.

Jeff Bezos continually emphasized the "Six Core Values: customer obsession, ownership, bias for action, frugality,

high hiring bar and innovation." "Our vision," he said, "is the world's most customer-centric company. The place where people come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online."

Amazon moved into music CDs, videos, toys, electronics and more. When the Internet's stock market bubble burst, Amazon re-structured, and while other dot.com start-ups evaporated, Amazon was posting profits.

Amazon.com ended 2006 with annual sales over $10.7 billion. Today, Jeff Bezos live north of Seattle, and are increasingly concerned with philanthropic activities.

"Giving away money takes as much attention as building a successful company," he has said. In 2007, Bezos announced that Amazon would be producing a new handheld electronic reading device called the Kindle.

The device uses "E Ink" technology to render text in a print-like appearance, without the eyestrain associated with television and computer screens.

On January 15, 2009, Amazon was the UK's favorite music and video retailer, and came third in overall retail rankings.

Amazon's international webites:
Canada |  United Kingdom |  Germany |  Japan |  France |  China

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Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Voyager 1 lunched on September 5, 1977 also from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Traveling at speeds of over 35,000 miles per hour (56 000 Km/h).
 A total of 11,000 workyears was devoted to the Voyager project through the Neptune encounter.
A total of five trillion bits of scientific data had been returned to Earth by both Voyager spacecraft at the completion of the Neptune encounter. This represents enough bits to fill more than 7 000 music CDs.
The sensitivity of the deep-space tracking antennas located around the world is truly amazing. The antennas must capture Voyager information from a signal so weak that the power striking the antenna is only 10 exponent -16 watts (1 part in 10 quadrillion).
A modern-day electronic digital watch operates at a power level 20 billion times greater than this feeble level.
Each Voyager spacecraft comprises 65,000 individual parts. Many of these parts have a large number of "equivalent" smaller parts such as transistors. One computer memory alone contains over one million equivalent electronic parts, with each spacecraft containing some five million equivalent parts.
Since a color TV set contains about 2500 equivalent parts, each Voyager has the equivalent electronic circuit complexity of some 2000 color TV sets.
Voyager 1 Golden Record (5 HOURS) (at 50 sec, and 16.05 min in Farsi and 15.37 in Swedish)
The Voyager 1 mission. INFORMATION ON THE AUDIO FILES: The audio files "494-AAB" and "495-AAB" are parts one and two of the Golden Record, flown aboard the Voyager spacecraft.
Where the solar system ends?
One opinion is that the boundary is where the Sun’s gravity no longer dominates – a point beyond the planets and beyond the Oort Cloud. This boundary is roughly about halfway to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. Traveling at speeds of over 35,000 miles per hour, it will take the Voyagers nearly 40,000 years, and they will have traveled a distance of about two light years to reach this rather indistinct boundary.
Voyager 1 and 2 electrical power (fuel)
The two Voyager spacecraft are supplied by Radioisotope Power Systems and Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) that provided approximately 470 w of 30 volt DC power at launch.
Due to the natural radioactive decay of the Plutonium fuel source, the electrical energy provided by the RTGs is continually declining. At the beginning of 2008, the power generated by Voyager 1 had dropped to ~ 285 w and to~ 287 w for Voyager 2.
As the electrical power becomes less and less, power loads on the spacecraft must be turned off in order to avoid having demand exceed supply. As loads are turned off spacecraft capabilities are eliminated.
The two Voyager spacecraft continue to operate, with some loss in subsystem redundancy, but still capable of returning science data from a full complement of VIM science instruments. Both spacecraft also have adequate electrical power and attitude control propellant to continue operating until around 2025 when the available electrical power will no longer support science instrument operation. At this time science data return and spacecraft operations will end.
Signals to reach to earth: Currently, Voyager 1 is about 131 AU (as in Dec. 2014), or 19,597,321,101 km away from the Earth.
Entering these numbers and the speed of light, or 299,792,458 Km/s. And one Astronomical Unit (AU) is 149,597,871 km, we get the about 65 000 seconds or about 18 hours for the signal to reach earth.
Location: Voyager 1 and 2 are currently in the "Heliosheath" (The heliosheath is the region of the heliosphere beyond the termination shock. Here the wind is slowed, compressed and made turbulent by its interaction with the interstellar medium. Its distance from the Sun is approximately 80 to 100 astronomical units (AU) at its closest point).

The radio communication system of Voyager 1 and 2 was designed to be used up to and beyond the limits of the Solar System during the extremely long flight of this space probe.

The communication system includes a 3.7 meter diameter parabolic dish high-gain antenna to send and receive radio waves via the three Deep Space Network stations on the Earth.
What is the Heliosheath?

The heliosheath is the region of the heliosphere beyond the termination shock. Here the wind is slowed, compressed and made turbulent by its interaction with the interstellar medium. Its distance from the Sun is approximately 80 to 100 astronomical units (AU) at its closest point.

These modulated waves are placed in the S-band (about 13 cm in wavelength) and X-band (about 3.6 cm in wavelength) which provided a bit rate as high as 115.2 kilobits per second when Voyager 1 was at the distance of Jupiter from the Earth, and many fewer kilobits per second at larger distances.

The Voyager 1 communication is received on Earth by the Deep Space Network (DSN):

NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) has been in partnership with Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 since 1977, providing daily communications support to the two very distant spacecraft. The excellent partnership continues as the Voyager twin spacecraft explore the regions of our universe near the area where the solar wind meets the interstellar winds – areas never before explored by human-made objects.

Because of the enormous distances and the resultant weak signals from the spacecraft, the large antennas and the very sensitive receivers of the DSN are required to provide the necessary communications capabilities. The DSN is the world's largest and most sensitive spacecraft communications network.

It consists of three deep space communications complexes located approximately 120 degrees of longitude apart around the world: at Goldstone, California; near Madrid, Spain; and near Canberra, Australia. This placement permits continuous communication with a spacecraft.

Communications delay:

Radio communications travel at the speed of light, or 299,792,458 Km/s. And one Astronomical Unit (AU) is 149,597,871 km. The quoted 131. AU (Dec. 2014) is Voyager 1's distance it travelled as it navigated through our Solar system, and not the distance from the Earth on that date, so we'll first have to find an accurate distance from the Earth, and do our calculations on the time it takes for its signals to reach the Earth after we find that information.

JPL has a convenient web page with exact current Voyager's distance from the EarthIt also provides the calculation for how long it takes the light from the Sun to reach it, but that's not exactly what we need (we want the time to reach the Earth with the speed of light).

We could make a shortcut in our calculations, since the Sun is on average 1 AU away from the Earth, but that would result in some margin of error due to the Earth not necessarily along the direct path between Voyager 1 and the Sun (it could be closer, or farther, depending on the time of the year and the Earth's position in the orbit around the Sun).

So let's do our own calculations; Currently, Voyager 1 is about 131 AU (as in Dec. 2014), or 19,597,321,101 km away from the Earth. Entering these numbers and the speed of light in our calculator (distance divided by speed of light, after we do unit conversion from kilometers to meters), we get the about 65 000 seconds or about 18 hours for the signal to reach earth.


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RobCab offers a versatile logistics system for hospitals, using fully autonomous mobile robots, RCab300 and a comprehensive logistics management system, HoLoS for efficient operation of any size of fleet of robots. http://www.RobCab.com

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Train fans have experienced the speed of super-fast maglev trains, during test runs for members of the public in central Japan. One hundred passengers whizzed along a 42.8km (27 mile) route between the cities of Uenohara and Fuefuki, reaching speeds of up to 500km/h (311mph).

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