3 comments on “This Week in Science: September 20th, 2015

  • Once the ACS has been installed, the public trials will get underway in Milton Keynes, with the pods being driven initially in manual mode – allowing them to map and ‘learn’ their environment. They will then begin to operate in autonomous mode, but with a trained operator still remaining in each pod, ready to take back control of the vehicle if necessary. The pods will have a maximum capable speed of 15 mph (24km/h) but will be limited electronically depending upon the environment they are travelling in (for example, moving more slowly in congested areas).

    It sounds like they have picked the right environment for these pods!!!

    My daughter used to work in Milton Keynes, but moved north earlier this year, because she was fed-up with sitting in commuter traffic jams before and after work!

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  • NASA Confirms that Enceladus has a Subsurface Ocean

    What was discovered by earlier probes to Jupiter and Saturn and has now been followed up by New Horizons, Cassini, etc. is that many planets and moons in the Solar System are geologically active, with eruptions of various liquids and gases through vents on their surfaces – These can be lava as on Venus and Earth, (or in the past the Moon and Mars), or they can be cryo-volcanism erupting water, methane, liquid nitrogen etc. in the outer solar-System. Crust structures and volcanism, are all matters of temperature, heat flows, and mechanical forces.

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  • Here is some ground-breaking news on astronomy!


    UK researchers have signed the contract that will lead to the development of one of the first instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope.

    The E-ELT will be the biggest optical and infrared observatory ever constructed, with a primary mirror just short of 40m across.

    This will tease apart the colours of distant galaxies to determine the properties of those objects.

    The deal will see Oxford University lead the project, with Prof Niranjan Thatte at the helm, while assembly of the instrument will take place at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh.

    Harmoni’s consortium draws on the talents of companies and institutions across Europe, with major contributions from France and Spain.

    “Last week, we signed the German-led camera, Micado. And the (Dutch-led) mid-infrared instrument, Metis, which is also paid out of construction funds – we will sign that next Monday.

    The telescope will be placed atop Cerro Armazones, a mountain in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

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