Volume 48 – September 30, 2012
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Spectacular or Not?
You might have heard that on Tuesday a comet was discovered beyond the orbit of Jupiter. The comet's orbital trajectory places it very close to the sun some time at the end of the November 2013. This much is for certain but there are also speculations on a spectacular celestial event, one that would guarantee a closeup of the bright event to Earthlings on Northern Hemisphere for a few months!
The comet was observed by the Santel reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) in Russia and has been designated as C/2012 S1. Although it seems to have been nicknamed Comet ISON. Comet ISON, appears to have originated from the hypothetical cloud of frozen comets that surround the solar system.
Although there may not be any certainty on a bright celestial event resulting from the comet's approach to the sun, but one thing that everyone agrees on, is its approach to Earth. Comet ISON doesn't come remotely close to us. To learn more, please visit:
X PRIZE Foundation is well-known for its mission to bring about radical breakthroughs and to inspire change and revitalization through their different challenges. Their widely known past challenges have been: the Ansari X Prize for Suborbital Spaceflight, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE and the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE.
Today the foundation is even more busy developing challenges like a better tuberculosis diagnostic tool, as well as considering ideas such as preserving biodiversity, developing clean aviation fuels, energy storage and sustainable housing and carbon sequestration. Meanwhile X PRIZE has recently partnered with Robin Hood to fight poverty in New York City and still has 4 active and ongoing competitions:
- Archon Genomics X PRIZE: "The Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts® is an incentivized prize competition that will award $10 million to the first team to rapidly, accurately and economically sequence 100 whole human genomes to a level of accuracy never before achieved. The 100 human genomes to be sequenced in this competition will be donated by 100 centenarians from all over the world." " Sequencing the genomes of the 100 Over 100 presents an unprecedented opportunity to identify those "rare genese" that protect against diseases, while giving researchers valuable clues to health and longevity." To learn more, please visit: http://genomics.xprize.org/
- Google Lunar X PRIZE: In September 2007 Google Lunar X Prize was announced to be "a robotic race to the Moon". The goal is for private companies from around the world to "compete to land a privately funded robotic rover on the Moon that is capable of completing several mission objectives, including roaming the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending video, images and data back to the Earth." To learn more, please visit: http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/
- Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE: In January 2012, X PRIZE and Qualcomm Foundation announced the launch of the $10 million prize. the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE is "a global competition to revolutionize healthcare. In this competition, teams will leverage technology innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence and wireless sensing to make medical diagnoses independent of a physician or healthcare provider." To learn more, please visit: http://www.qualcommtricorderxprize.org/
- Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE: In May 2012, the X PRIZE Foundation and Nokia announced the launch of the Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE, "a global competition to stimulate the development of a new generation of health sensors and sensing technologies that can drastically improve the quality, accuracy and ease of monitoring a person's health. Improvements in these technologies will empower individuals to effortlessly monitor and collect their own real-time health date, providing both consumers and healthcare providers convenient access to critical information whenever and wherever they need it." To learn more, please visit: http://www.nokiasensingxchallenge.org/
Curiosity Update: In a televised program, on September 27, NASA announced that Curiosity has found evidence of a previous stream on Mars. They believe the data points to the fact that a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence of the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence -images of rocks containing ancient stream bed gravels- is the first of its kind. Further studies will ascertain the speed and distance of the stream flow, its depth, elemental composition of the material left behind.
To learn more about this and other new discoveries, please visit:
Hubble Goes to the eXtreme: Like photographers assembling a portfolio of best shots, astronomers have assembled a new, improved portrait of mankind's deepest-ever view of the universe. "The eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen. XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before." said Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 (HUDF09) program. The universe is 13.7 billion years old, and the XDF reveals galaxies that span back 13.2 billion years in time. To learn more, see photos and watch videos, please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/xdf.html
Cutting-Edge Technology and NASA's Hurricane Mission: NASA's Hurricane mission is now a reality thanks to their cutting-edge technology. NASA and other scientists are currently flying a suite of state-of-the-art, autonomously operated instruments that are gathering difficult-to-obtain measurements of wind speeds, precipitation, and cloud structures in and around tropical storms. The technology involves many different components such as: a new advanced aircraft, different advanced measurement devices, a laser system, a dropsonde system and more. To learn more and see photos, please visit:
My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer: a book by Anousheh Ansari and Homer Hickam.
In her memoir, Anousheh recalls her long path to success and to achieving her dream. To learn more about the book, please visit: http://www.anoushehansari.com/book/
To find a book signing, please check the upcoming appearances section of this newsletter.
To obtain a copy please visit: