Sunday, January 15, 2006

News & Updates for Sunday

Stardust capsule returns to Earth: Time capsules
The US Stardust probe (by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, cost $212 million) released the capsule as it flew back to Earth after a 3 billion-mile (4.7 billion km) trip. The Stardust spacecraft released the 101lb (45kg) capsule at 0557 GMT as it looped past the Earth on its return from deep space to land on a military base southwest of Salt Lake City. The Stardust probe began its seven-your voyage Feb. 7, 1999, launched from Cape Canaveral atop a Boeing Delta 2 rocket by Lockheed Martin under a $91.2 million contract.

"Stardust could provide a new window into the distant past," said Dr Simon Green of the PSSRI.
"Because these particles have come from inside a comet we know that essentially the particles haven't been heated since they became part of the comet, because the comet is made of ice," he told the BBC News website.

"That means that they contain information about the conditions that were present when they were incorporated into the comet. "That time was four-and-a-half thousand billion years ago, back when the Solar System formed, so what we hope to know from these particles is essentially what the Solar System looked like at that time, and essentially what we're all made of."

On which military base did the returning capsule land?
What would be the most startling discovery you can conceive?
What would be the least significant discovery the stardust could bring?
How will that compare to what, if anything, is actually discovered?

"What's often very telling about the history of a little particle is looking at the elements that are not very abundant, isotope ratios, or looking for traces of organic material. Those are only there in very small amounts." said principal investigator Don Brownlee of the University of Washington at Seattle.

The prospects of nanotechnology were forcefully and convincingly put forward by Richard Feynman when in 1959 he was addressing a convention of the American Physical Society at Caltech. He tried to visualise - what would happen if we could arrange the atoms one by one the way we want them? One aspect of the development of nanotechnology, as Feynman visualised more than four decades ago, is the power of manipulating and controlling things in the molecular scale.

Related innovations already include the scanning probe microscope, the scanning tunnelling microscope and atomic force microscope. These are capable of creating pictures of individual atoms or moving them from place to place. Innovations already include the scanning probe microscope, the scanning tunnelling microscope and atomic force microscope. These are capable of creating pictures of individual atoms or moving them from place to place. Nanostructured materials utilize the new techniques in electron beam and ion beam fabrication, molecular beam epitacy, nano-print lithography, projection electron microscopy etc. Thesse devices permit atom-by- atom manipulation for advanced studies quantum effect electronics, spin electronics and micromechanical systems. Now do you understand why the capsule landed in a military base?

UPDATE: Al-Zawahiri Safe, for Now
Two Pakistani intelligence officials said that Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has a wife from a local tribe, had been invited to a dinner in Damadola village to mark last week's Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, but apparently changed his mind. One of the officials said al-Zawahiri had sent some aides instead and investigators were trying to determine whether they had been in any of the three houses that were destroyed in the air strike. The bodies of seven foreigners had been taken from the village, which lies about four miles from Afghanistan. The interrogation of Abu Farraj al-Libbi, a senior al Qaeda figure arrested in a northwestern Pakistan town last May, produced the tip that al-Zawahiri had in recent months visited the tribal region of Bajur where Damadola is located.

Al-Libbi is accused of masterminding two assassination attempts on Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in December 2003 that killed 17 other people. He was interrogated in Pakistan and later handed over to the United States. The attack could not have been timed nor executed so precisely without updated intelligence from within the Bajur region. Obviously, Pakistanis suspect Mushrraf agrred to the strike.

The FBI anticipates performing DNA tests on the victims of a purported CIA airstrike in Pakistan that apparently targeted al-Qaida's second-in-command, a law enforcement official said Saturday. Up to 11 extremists were believed to be among the dead, according to unidentified Pakistani officials quoted in news reports.


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