By timothy from Slashdot's achieving-sentience department
writes What was first thought to be a piece of debris left over from the launch of three Russian military communication satellites has turned out to be a fourth satellite capable of maneuvers: "The three satellites were designated Kosmos-2496, -2497, -2498. However, as in the previous launch on December 25, 2013, the fourth unidentified object was detected orbiting the Earth a few kilometers away from 'routine' Rodnik satellites. Moreover, an analysis of orbital elements from a US radar by observers showed that the 'ghost' spacecraft had made a maneuver between May 29 and May 31, 2014, despite being identified as 'debris' (or Object 2014-028E) in the official U.S. catalog at the time. On June 24, the mysterious spacecraft started maneuvering again, lowering its perigee (lowest point) by four kilometers and lifting its apogee by 3.5 kilometers. Object E then continued its relentless maneuvers in July and its perigee was lowered sharply, bringing it suspiciously close to the Briz upper stage, which had originally delivered all four payloads into orbit in May."
This is the second time a Russian piece of orbital junk has suddenly started to do maneuvers. The first time, in early 2014, the Russians finally admitted five months after launch that the "junk" was actually a satellite. In both cases, the Russians have not told anyone what these satellites are designed to do, though based on the second satellite's maneuvers as well as its small size (about a foot in diameter) it is likely they are testing new cubesat capabilities, as most cubesats do not have the ability to do these kinds of orbital maneuvers. Once you have that capability, you can then apply it to cubesats with any kind of purpose, from military anti-satellite technology to commercial applications.Read Replies (0)
It's Time To Revive Hypercard
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '14 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's overdue-as-open-source department
< article continued at Slashdot
>Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's not-quite-minecraft department
writes "Tao3D is a new open-source programming language designed for real-time 3D animations. With it, you can quickly create interactive, data-rich presentations, small applications, proofs of concept, user interface prototypes, and more. The interactivity of the language, combined with its simplicity and graphical aspects, make it ideal to teach programming.
Tao3D also demonstrates a lot of innovation in programming language design. It makes it very easy to create new control structures. Defining if-then-else is literally a couple of lines of code. The syntax to pass pass blocks of code to functions is completely transparent. And it is fully reactive, meaning that it automatically reacts as necessary to external events such as mouse movements or the passage of time.
The source code was just made available under the GNU General Public License v3 on SourceForge [as linked above], GitHub and Gitorious."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's rabbit-returns department
China's Chang'e 5-T1
mission to the moon has not only taken some beautiful pictures of the Earth
from the craft's perspective (hat tip to reader Taco Cowboy) but as of Friday evening (continental U.S. time) returned a capsule to Earth
. (The capsule landed in Inner Mongolia.) From the linked article: Prior to re-entering the Earths atmosphere, the unnamed probe was travelling at 11.2 kilometres per second (25,000 miles per hour), a speed that can generate temperatures of more than 1,500 degrees Celsius (2,700 degrees Fahrenheit), the news agency reported. To slow it down, scientists let the craft "bounce" off Earths atmosphere before re-entering again and landing. ... The module would have been 413,000 kilometres from Earth at its furthest point on the mission, SASTIND said at the time. The mission was launched to test technology to be used in the Change-5, Chinas fourth lunar probe, which aims to gather samples from the moons surface and will be launched around 2017, SASTIND previously said.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's public-records-are-public department
An anonymous reader writes I received some interesting mail this week from the House Majority PAC. First, a "voter report card" postcard telling me my voting record was "excellent" (I'm a good citizen!), but also letting me know that they "plan to update this report card after the election to see whether you voted". OK, so one of the Democratic Party's super PACs want me to vote, but it seems to be something of an attempt at intimidation. Today, I received a letter in which they really put the pressure on. Here are some excerpts: "Who you vote for is secret. But whether or not you vote is public record. Our organization monitors turnout in your neighborhood, and we are disappointed that many of your neighbors do not always exercise their right to vote." So why contact me instead of them? Voting is a civic duty, but it isn't illegal to abstain. That's my neighbors' business, not mine. It's one way of expressing dissatisfaction, isn't it? And if there are no candidates you wish to vote for, then why should you vote for someone you don't want? But Big Brother PAC has other ideas: "We will be reviewing the Camden County [NJ] official voting records after the upcoming election to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014. If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not." The letter is signed "Joe Fox Election day Coordinator". So what happens if I don't vote? Well, at least I got a scare this Halloween. Are PACs using similar tactics in other states?Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's now-where-am-i-going-to-store-my-incriminating-evidence department
writes with news of a Circuit Court decision from Virginia where a judge has ruled that a criminal defendant cannot use Fifth Amendment protections to safeguard a phone that is locked using his or her fingerprint
.According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint. The Fifth Amendment states that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes, but it does not extend to fingerprints in the eyes of the law, as speculated by Wired last year.
Frucci said that "giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A passcode, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keep-trying department
writes: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo has crashed. "'During the test. the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,' the company said in a statement. "The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time.'""
ABC says one person is dead, and another injured
. This was the craft's fourth powered test flight
, and its first since January.Read Replies (0)