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China has launched its own online mapping service, called Tianditu.cn or 'Map World

China recently launched the state-sponsored Tianditu.cn or "Map World," the country's homegrown answer to Google Maps. While it's an impressive initial effort, the mapping system does resemble Google's a little too much, and it also performs poorly once you navigate outside of Chinese borders.  Read More

Marcel van de Burgwal's multiprocessor microchip

There was a time not so very long ago when people who wanted satellite TV or radio required dishes several feet across. Those have since been replaced by today’s compact dishes, but now it looks like even those might be on the road to obsolescence. A recent PhD graduate from The Netherlands’ University of Twente has designed a microchip that allows for a grid array of almost-flat antennae to receive satellite signals.  Read More

Image of the Venusian atmosphere at 60km over the south pole (yellow dot) using Visible an...

An unexpected measurement has been achieved with the Venus Express, a satellite currently studying the atmosphere of Venus. While the satellite was not fitted with instruments to directly measure atmosphere density, the scientists have discovered by measuring the drag as the Venus Express experiences air resistance that the atmosphere is 60 percent thinner than expected. This "working on the fly" approach could allow the scientists to extend the life of the craft allowing them to collect more data.  Read More

The XM Snap! portable in-vehicle satellite radio

Satellite radio, while probably not that popular with the owners of your local radio stations, is great for those of us who want more variety in our listening choices. This is particularly true for people who live in smaller cities, that lack the population base to support stations that feature alternative content. Not everyone is willing to shell out for an in-dash satellite radio receiver for their vehicle, however, which is where many people do the majority of their radio-listening. SIRIUS XM is addressing that issue, with its new portable, transferable XM Snap! satellite radio.  Read More

The MAGDRIVE project is tasked with developing a touchless transmission

Satellites and other spacecraft, like most machines, have parts that move against one another. Unlike most machines, however, they operate in extremely cold conditions, their power source is often very limited, and lubricating or repairing them are not exactly easy tasks. It is for these reasons that researchers at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are coordinating the three-year MAGDRIVE project – an international effort to create a mechanical transmission with no touching parts, that doesn’t need any lubrication.  Read More

Lunar Microwave Radiometer Daytime Brightness Temperature map of the Moon

The first complete microwave image of the Moon taken by Chinese lunar satellite Chang'E-1 has been revealed. Chang’E-1 is China’s first scientific mission to explore planetary bodies beyond Earth and the on-board Lunar Microwave Radiometer has made it possible for the first time to globally map the Moon in microwave frequencies. Radar observations of the Moon are unable to provide thermal information, and microwave observations taken from Earth cannot reach the far side of the moon. So Chang'E-1's (CE-1) orbit was conducted at an altitude of 200km (124 miles) and allowed it to observe every location of the moon with a nadir view and at high spatial resolution.  Read More

VuQube VQ3000 portable satellite system

When I think of camping I think of open starry skies, the sound of crickets humming in the warm summer night, talking with friends and family around the camp fire and leaving the madness of the city behind. If however, your style of camping involves dragging as many creature comforts as possible with you, the VuQube VQ3000 could well be on your wish-list. Billed as the first fully automatic, light-weight, self-contained, portable satellite system with in-motion capability, the VQ3000 promises uninterrupted satellite TV reception wherever you roam.  Read More

NASA's DASS next-gen search and rescue system will pinpoint those in distress faster

The satellite-aided search and rescue technology pioneered by NASA is credited with saving more than 27,000 lives worldwide since its inception nearly three decades ago. Now the agency has developed new technology that will more quickly identify the locations of people in distress and reduce the risk to rescuers.  Read More

The new 'microlens' (left) leverages the unique properties of nanoscale gold to 'squeeze' ...

Anyone who likes to get their gear off for a spot of naked sunbathing in the backyard may have to think twice in the future. Researchers have developed a new nanotechnology-based “microlens” that could lead to a new generation of ultra-powerful satellite cameras and night-vision devices. Thankfully, the new lens is used for infrared imaging, so the technology is more likely to be used for security and monitoring climate change and deforestation than spying on naturists boosting their vitamin D levels.  Read More

The new UK Space Agency and Space Center address the industry's rapid growth - currently t...

The UK is getting a new £40 million (US$60 million) International Space Innovation Center (ISIC) as part of the Government’s plans to support Britain’s growing space sector. The announcement came at the launch of the UK's new Space Agency.  Read More

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