protoplanets. These protoplanets would then have enough mass to collect any nearby gases and eventually form full sized planets and over time this would have formed the solar system as we know it today.
proto-star to T-Tauri type star and ultimately into a main sequence type G2V (Yellow Dwarf) star. These shockwaves are thought to cause gases to move away from the star and form regions of high enough density to cause them to contract. The first of these shockwaves would have formed the outer planets of Pluto, Uranus, and Neptune, very soon after the birth of the Sun. Jupiter, Saturn and the Asteroid belt could have formed in the next series of less powerful shockwaves about half a million to a million years apart. The inner rocky planets of Mars, Earth, Venus and Mercury forming later in the least powerful and last set of shockwaves.
In the final days of the 20th century, office cubicles and children's playrooms around the world were beset by an invasion of the cuddliest kind. Furby, the robot hamster-owl thing that ate, slept, sang, danced, talked in its own language and, eventually, learned English. Boy, did it talk! Retailing for $35, first year sales of the mechanical little chatterbox saw second-hand prices spike to $300 as Furby became the must have toy for Christmas.
Now they’re back! And ‘better’ than ever. Sporting new emotive LCD eyes, adaptable personalities, and companion apps, Hasbro is looking to reignite 1998’s Furby Fever all over again. Is the world ready to revive the robot rodent? Prices on the new 2012 model of Furby have already risen from $55 to $75 on Amazon.
We dedicate this Weekend Watchlist to those cuddly, cute, entertainingly inane robots of past and present, the Furbies.
In with the new and out with the old! Here’s Hasbro’s official product reveal for the 2012 Furby.
Looking for a good Japanese RPG for your iOS device to curl up with with over the weekend? Boy, are you in luck! Adventure Bar Story is now on sale for the low, low price for free (down from the very worthwhile cost of $3).
This is a full featured RPG ported from the PSP with a neat twist. Rather than saving the world, you’re out to save your sister’s tavern from a hostile takeover. During the day, you’ll venture forth slashing up monsters in search of ingredients. In the evening, you’ll take all those tasty monster parts and mix them together to make the tavern’s products to sell the next day. You’ll also need to save a few dishes for yourself and your companions as character progression is tied to the food you cook and eat.
I’ve spent a good deal of time with this one over the past several months and while it never quite lives up to the full potential of its concepts, it is an enjoyable romp with very nice 2D artwork. The game doesn’t have native iPad support but, aside from an oversized virtual button, looks great on Apple’s tablet.
No required in-app purchases and a 40 hour RPG for free? Get it now on iTunes.
25 million downloads! That’s a whole lotta Angry Birds! I wonder what the electricity bill is for serving 25 million app downloads… Well, it can’t be that much because Google Play is celebrating with a sale so you can download even more for a whole lot less.
“Every day you’ll be able to choose from a collection of apps from some of the world’s top developers including Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Rovio, runtastic, Full Fat and more. And all for just 25 cents. We’ll also be offering some special collections like 25 movies you must own, 25 banned books, 25 albums that changed the world and our 25 top selling magazines, all at special prices.”
Remember last year when we featured brainwave monitoring robotic cat ears that moved according to your mood? Well, they were a big hit! Now inventor Neurowear is back with the Shippo, a tail that wags when you’re happy. Moreover, the Shippo features smartphone and social network integration allowing your every emotion to be spammed to your Farmville friends!
Whether you called it by its original title UFO: Enemy Unknown or by the more common rebranding of X-Com, Mythos Games’ 1994 strategy classic captured the heart of nearly every PC gamer. Players of the era spent dozens of hours building their global secret military in an attempt to save the world from a surprise alien invasion. This modern retelling of The War of the Worlds achieved a brilliant dual-level strategy as you built bases and intercepted UFOs around the world in between turn-based tactical battles against these foes from the unknown.
Today we share a special review for a very special game. Revisiting the storytelling style from our Skyrim review, GUO is proud to present the grand space adventures of the Federation starship Otaku Childe. Staring the cast of our humble little corner of the Internet and produced by the technical wizardry of FTL’s game designers Matthew Davis and Justin Ma of Subset Games, we hope you’ll find today’s feature presentation entertaining and informative.
What follows is the True to Game accounts of the men, bugs, and cyborgs of the GUO Otaku Childe.
A tear welled up in my eye as the pirate fighter faded from sight. It’s Faster Than Light engine carried it away from the sizzling ray of our Pike Beam that would have split the ship asunder and, hopefully, allowed us to salvage the precious engine fuel we so desperately needed. Our final hope faded from sight along with it.
FTL, the sensational new starship simulator from Subset Games, is hard. Really hard. Like trying to cut through a cinderblock with a toothbrush hard. Fortunately, your buddies over here at Growing Up Otaku have become hopeless addicts of this randomized death simulator and cobbled together several of our favorite tips, tricks, and who’d-a-thunk-its in this handy-dandy strategy guide.
Cheating Death – While the concept of save game deleting permanent death is part of what makes a game like FTL so appealing to hardcore gamers, it isn’t for everyone. Using a little copy/paste magic, you can create a backup of your favorite saved games for future replays. Because you’re probably going to die. Horribly.
To create a savegame, you will need to use the “Save + Quit’ option from FTL’s menu. This will create a “continue.sav” file. Copy it and paste it somewhere safe, like your desktop. When you want to restore, copy it back. FTL’s save game file location is:
- Windows: \My Documents\My Games\Faster Than Light\
- Mac: \Users\[your user name]\Library\Application Support\FasterThanLight\
Years ago, scientists thought that space was so harsh that molecules would not form. Instead of complex molecules forming in space, they would immediately be broken apart by intense energies and cold voids. We have discovered that this is not true. Complex molecules can exist in space and now we are going to be able to detect them with the technology being implemented at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile. New technology is allowing astrochemists to speed up the process of analyzing chemicals based on their signature elecromagnetic emissions. Over 170 chemicals have already been discovered through intense study, yet the amount of time and effort put into these discoveries has been intense. With this new technology, we should be able to look at a nebula and quickly determine what chemicals are there and which are not.
If we are to investigate the universe, we don’t just want to know the distances, energies, and masses involved. We want to understand what a place is like and understanding what chemicals and molecules are there is key to this type of understanding. We need to know things like “Is there water there?”, or “Is the environment so acidic or toxic that our basis of life could never exist or survive?”. Scientists have also been able to find many of the building blocks of life just floating freely in cloudy nebulae and this type of information is essential in the understanding of how life forms. By understanding large gaseous nebulae, we can better understand the chemicals and molecules involved in the formation of stars and planets. A better understanding of the chemical composition of the universe will ultimately give us a greater knowledge of exactly what role chemistry plays on a universal scale.To be able to determine what chemicals exist in a region of space, scientists first determine the spectral lines associated with a variety of chemicals. When these chemicals undergo changes they give off radio waves in very specific frequencies. Then pictures of the region of space are taken with high precision telescopes and compared with those characteristic spectral lines. If they match up perfectly, then that chemical is present in that region of space and if they don’t match up, then they are not present. ALMA is allowing for a much more sensitive analysis of the chemical emissions and it is also allowing for a much faster analysis. This is key because recently only a few chemicals have been found per year for the last decade. We have already used this technology to understand the basic composition of the outer planets, asteroids, and comets. The knowledge that planets outside our solar system have water in their atmospheres is also due to this technology. As our ability to quickly understand what chemicals are present in our own and in distant galaxies increases, we are certainly going to obtain a greater understanding of the workings of the universe as a whole.
Yesterday was a big day for Apple fans and mobile electronic aficionados as the iPhone 5 hit retail outlets. While thousands stormed their local Apple stores on launch day, hundreds took to their local streets and shopping malls days before to ensure that they would be among the earliest of the early adopters. In this edition of the Weekend Watchlist GUO salutes those warlords of waiting, the gladiators of gotta have it, the apex of Apple fans, as we take a look at the lines and the release of the iPhone 5.
Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt counted 820 people in his line for the iPhone 5, double his count from the iPhone 4s launch. These numbers match reported preorder sales that show the iPhone 5 racking up 2 million in the first 24 hours, double the 1 million preorders for the iPhone 4s.
Here at GUO, we believe you shouldn’t have to create yet another account just to get yer two cents in. Following this philosophy, we leave the comment system open to anonymous posters. A side effect of this is that we get extra spam. Blogger’s spam filter is pretty good about filtering this stuff and it rarely reaches the public pages themselves, but it still sends the crap to my inbox anyway. For the past month we’ve had a particularly aggressive master of the mystery meat hitting the comments section. I thought I would share just a taste of the many glorious words of wisdom I’ve been privy to lately.
All of these comments were posted on The Great One’s article Duqu And Stuxnet Have Three Brothers And Their Last Name Is “Tilded” from December 31, 2011 about the evolution of the Stuxnet weaponized computer virus. All three of these comments were posted September 19, 2012. Links have been removed to protect the guilty.
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Wow! Who knew mentioning three new computer viruses would have such a profound impact? GUO, changing lives.
Tablets are great fun and add a uniquely touchy-feely new way for interacting with your media. As productivity devices… eh, not so much. Ideally you want the right tool for the right job. It’s like removing a screw with a pair of pliers. Yeah, it’s technically possible, but…
U.K. computer magazine site PC Pro was contacted recently by a local ICT coordinator at a secondary school where the staff had undergone the the switch from conventional PC laptops to iPads.
“He tells how his “image-conscious” headmaster was seduced by a scheme that allowed all the school’s staff to replace their laptop computers with an iPad 2.
Our source says staff were initially thrilled at the prospect. “Most staff are IT illiterate and jumped at the chance of exchanging their laptop for an iPad,” he writes.
Now, however: “the staff room is full of regret.”
What’s gone wrong? The biggest obstacle is that staff still cling to old documents and resources created in software such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and of course there aren’t fully-fledged versions of the Office apps available for the iPad as yet. “Some staff are needing to produce documents and resources by remoting in [to a PC] on an iPad,” our source reveals. “Trying to operate Microsoft Word using a remote app that dumps you out of the connection is a nightmare.”
Staff are also having problems transferring work to their devices. “One of the biggest problems is the storage, since you can’t connect USB memory sticks to it,” our teacher writes, adding that staff are now experimenting with Dropbox to get documents on their tablets, which raises inevitable questions about data security.”
Check out the full article at PC Pro.
Katanari Damacy holds a special place in many gamer’s hearts. The quirky ball rolling simulator placed players in the pointy purdah of the puny Prince. When The King of All Cosmos accidentally smashes all the planets of the solar system, Prince is sent to Earth. His goal? To roll up all the crap on the planet into a giant ball to make a new set of planets. It was a joy filled, nonviolent, very Japanese game the has spawned numerous sequels across a half-dozen platforms.
Now Namco Bandai’s is rolling up a whole new fan base. Shifty Look, home to video game web comics such as Dig Dug and Xevious, has launched an all new comic devoted to the Prince’s adventures on Earth simply titled Katamari.
The first installment is out now with new episodes premiering every Monday and Wednesday on Shifty Look.
The advent of home theater PCs have pushed desktop computers to smaller, more discreet form factors designed to be easily hidden from sight. And I hate it! It should come as little surprise that the computerized backbone of the GUO homestead consists of shining aluminum twin towers racked out with glowing dials, LED strips, and foot high windows revealing black lit interiors crammed full of UV reactive cable sleeving. Having survived the 90s era a boring, beige mini-towers, I love a flashy desktop computer. While I am used to being struck speechless with awe on what some intrepid DIYers have for their PC cases, this may be the first time a retail product has left me a stammering idiot full of e-peen envy.
Famed PC enclosure maker Lian Li is showing off two variants of its upcoming (and unoriginally named) PC-CK101 desktop PC case. And it’s a choo-choo train!
The PC-CK101 case is built for mini-ITC motherboards and has just enough space for two hard drives, one 3.5” and one 2.5”. The system is cooled by a 120mm fan and includes a 300w power supply. Two variants will be available. The stationary model pictured above is stunning enough, but just wait till you see what the deluxe version does:
Both models are coming “soon” with an expected retail price of $229/£160 for the stationary version and £265/$379 for the moving one. If you’re feeling lucky, Lian Li is holding a contest over on their Facebook page for a chance to win one. As for myself, I’m off to find the Mrs’ credit card. She’s been really good at hiding it ever since I preordered that battlemech.
Imagine my surprise when I (Finally!) blundered my way through to the end of Subset Games new “spaceship simulation real-time roguelike-alike”, FTL, while gathering some extra screenshots for our review. In light of the random nature, difficulty, and potential for unexpected, fiery, and very permanent death, I figured I would post some screenshots and strategy tips gleaned from my fortuitous victory. I don’t claim to have a foolproof solution, or even much experience, as this was only the second time I had even seen the Rebel Flagship, but forewarned is forearmed. Especially when one bad choice can send you back to square one.
SPOILER ALERT: The following post contains screenshots and detailed information from the endgame of FTL. Those wishing to savor every surprise for themselves should stop reading and go play it themselves now.
Without further ado…
House feel a little empty these days? Missing the pitter-patter of little feet accompanied by the sickeningly squishy sounds of an Adam gathering syringe being plunged into corpses? Need the bellowing, mechanical whale song of one of gaming’s most iconic and terrifying enemies to serenade you to sleep? Well, you’re out of luck because these amazing life-sized recreations of Big Daddy and Little Sister from gaming masterpiece, Bioshock, don’t make any noise. Fret not, dear readers. What these icons of awesome lack in racket, they more than make up for in awe-inspiring geek cred.
Just in time for that unforgettable Halloween spread you’ve been dreaming of, you get more than seven feet of Big Daddy and over three and a half feet of Little Sister for eBay’s bargain Buy It Now price of $6,490. Shipping is estimated at an additional $1,449. Rapturous!
While we’re dreaming, how much is that Gordon Freeman in the window? The one with the waggley crowbar?
Talk about chewing up your spare time! Mobigame’s Zombie Tsunami manages to throw an unforgettable twist on both the overused zombie theme and infinite runner genre. Zombie Tsunami features the same basic framework seen in other similar titles: You character runs automatically across a scrolling landscape at an ever increasing pace while your job is to tap and hold to make it jump over various obstacles and pitfalls. There is no end state or win condition. Just go as far as you can and try again later. It’s a perfect, 2-minute formula for mobile devices that has made infinite runners such a staple since Canabalt. So what makes ZT stand out? Company.
NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program has handed out several grants for $100,000 each recently. Among these are proposals to use water to line spaceships outer walls to increase radiation shielding while using osmosis to clean the water (Water Walls), moving between moons primarily using gravity fields and no propellant (MAGNETOUR), and a plane that is shaped like a throwing star that rotates 90degrees and uses another set of wings for advanced supersonic flight. While I found all of these concepts interesting, there is also a project that plans on launching a 3D printer into outer space so that it can print out large formation objects like antenna dishes while in orbit (SpiderFab). This would allow for objects that are up to 1 kilometer across that couldn’t be launched conventionally due to the additional weight requirements on the rocket.
Most of the cost of designing objects in space is incurred in the engineering of the objects to survive the launch. Objects are routinely subjected to forces of up to and over 4G’s – or 4 times the gravity of the Earth - and this doesn’t include the shaking and vibration that is routine. This additional engineering of the objects includes additional packing and strengthening of objects to survive launch, increasing the weight of the object to the launched. Rockets also have a limited amount of space available inside the launch fairings, which limits the size of the payload to be launched. SpiderFab hopes to be able to launch a space capable 3D Printer and enough printer materials to be able to print out structures that are many times the size of what we are able to launch today even with our largest and most capable rockets. This not only includes antenna but also trusses, mounting structures, solar panels, and radiators while achieving 30x mass reductions or 10 to 100 times the size of conventionally launched structures. Structures this large could easily rival the size of Earth’s largest radio telescope, the 1,000ft Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico (shown on left).
So how will these ultra large structures benefit us in the future? Planet finding and some other telescope missions would benefit greatly from having much larger antenna as well as allowing for high bandwidth communications for satellites and exploration vehicles, which would allow for more constant communication with better detail. We will have to build another Space Station in the near future, as the I.S.S. is nearing the end of it’s useful life. If we can 3D Print out all of the trusses, solar panels, and radiators then we could possibly make it twice as big while also half of the cost in less time. Just about any space vehicle or satellite could benefit from being able to launch delicate equipment from Earth to meet up with complex structural components already in orbit in space. 3D Printers can replicate the intricate shapes and detail that are needed as shown in these 3D Printed airplane structures shown on right. The only reason that this hasn’t been used in the past is because 3D Printing is a new tool in science that has yet to be applied to real world problems. We can cheaply 3D Print shoes, logos, prosthetics, guns, and drugs so we should be able to print large portions of spaceships, especially if it lowers costs and improves capabilities so dramatically that it makes a dramatic shift in our future in space for the better.
Certainly one of the scariest and most exciting events happening in the world right now is the
launch of the new iPhone 5 erupting of Guatemala’s Volcán del Fuego. Hours before the first news broke over the airwaves, the Twitterverse lit up with with Instagram pics, tweets of evacuation, and amateur video footage as Antigua’s small, grumpy, mountain neighbor popped its top. One of the first videos to hit the Internet was from YouTuber archilareina.
Just when you thought it was safe to die with dignity on the battlefield, along comes Aleksandr Semenov with Russian patent #2399858. What is patent #2399858? Well… you know those monkeys at the zoo…
“Aleksandr Georgievich Semenov's patented idea solves the problem of waste buildup inside the tightly packed quarters of a tank, by loading the poop into artillery shells which can then be fired at the enemy. Semenov says that this serves a dual purpose. It gets rid of the foul waste, while also demoralizing the enemy.”
Now, more than ever, war is dirty business.
Nintendo will begin selling Wii U in the United States starting November 18! Two different bundles will be available:
The “Basic Set” for the Wii-U will come with white colored hardware and cost $300. This package contains the Wii-U system (duh!) with 8GB of internal storage, the tablet-like Wii-U GamePad, a stylus, IR sensor bar, AC adapters for both the system and GamePad, and an HDMI cable.
The “Deluxe Set” comes with black colored hardware for $350. This model of the Wii-U contains 32GB of internal storage. You get all the hardware included in the basic set plus stands for both the Wii-U and GamePad. You’ll also score a charging cradle for the GamePad and the Nintendo Land game. In addition, you’ll be enrolled in Nintendo’s Deluxe Digital Promotion service that gives you points for every digital download you purchase that may be exchanged for bonus content to be unveiled at a later date.
The Wii-U retains backwards compatibility with “nearly all of your existing Wii games.” The Wii Remote and Nunchuck controllers from the original Wii are still compatible with the new Wii-U. The system includes are web browser, NFC tech allowing objects to communicate with the Wii-U GamePad (think Skylanders), and Nintendo TVii that “enables you to find, watch, and engage with TV shows, movies and sports programming, all from the Wii U GamePad. You can search for programs across Wii U Video Entertainment, TV channels and your own TiVo DVR.”
Software will ship on proprietary Nintendo formatted optical disks capable of holding 25GB.
For more information, check out Nintendo.com/wiiu/
Welcome to the pilot episode of Ad Copy Analysis! Advertising is everywhere. It’s in our videos, on our busses, and in our news. Heck, thanks to a joint partnership between Apple and the Internet, advertising IS the news. Sadly, this constant demand for plugs and bullet points has apparently outstripped the supply of talent available. Fearing customers will not purchase products based on their own merits, marketing firms have apparently turned to automated Mad Lib generators to supply them with sloppy, nonsensical strings of gobbledygook with which to peddle their wares.
Today we highlight one such victim: Marvel’s new mobile game, Avengers Initiative: A swipe-based beat-em-up for Android and iOS with more advertising powered jargon than they know what to do with. As you might expect from an Avengers title, you only get to play as The Hulk.
Holy buzzword ‘splosion, Ad-Man! So… what we’re getting is some super-powerfully uncooked combat. Fortunately, the heat from those “blazingly fast controls” should cook it thoroughly. Remember kids, never eat combat that isn’t fully cooked.
As for “hybrid tactical action”… um… part “tactical” and part “action”? Hybridized! So… like a Tom Clancy game, I guess. Breach, bang, and clear, Hulk!
There were some interesting take-aways from Apple’s big press conference today. Naturally there was a whole slew of drool inducing gadgets on display, but between the lines we see some strange changes in the philosophy of the world’s largest electronics manufacturer.
Apple can’t keep a secret anymore
Nearly every rumor about the new iPhone line turned out to be true. From the resized 16x9 widescreen display to the new dock connector, the rumor mill one-upped every Apple selling point. Is this due to the change in the company’s leadership or just a symptom of our constantly connected world? Could this be the end of Apple’s legendary secrecy?
Apple’s sleek, unobtrusive design is yesterday
The iPhone 5 continues the tradition of Apple’s flagship device as a elegant slab, but have you seen what happened with the iPod line?
While the choice of colors in a nice addition (and a good idea considering the device’s target demographic), what is going on with that white insert? And it’s not just a mismatching front inset, but on the bottom and back as well. A unified color scheme would have created a wonderfully stylish appearance, especially with the matching home screen colors on the Nano line. A quick glance at the black Nano on the far left gives a tantalizing glance at what could have been. Is this bold retro styling or an eyesore?
As tacky as the white insert on the Nanos appears, it pales in comparison to what happened with the new iPod Touch.Once again we see the same mismatched white front bezel, but the real atrocity is on the back of the device.
See that round, silver, button-looking thing in the bottom left corner? What do you think that’s for? Wrong!
It’s a peg for attaching a a giant wrist strap dubbed “The Loop”. Even without the strap attached you’ll be hounded by that silver peg as prototype cases already show cutouts to support The Loop even if you don’t.
Apple no longer interested in a unified user experience
The move to a widescreen format for the iPhone 5 and 5th generation iPod Touch may have been a inevitable one, but there is little doubt as to the headache this will cause app developers and consumers. Apple has stated that older 4x3 formatted applications will run with side boxing to ensure compatibility, but what about software moving forward? Apple developers are, at least for the next couple of years, forced to create two separate interfaces for their UIs. The inability to stretch older apps to fill the new screen will also put pressure on devs to get those new interfaces out ASAP. Early adopters are the most demanding and most outspoken consumers alive. Gripes from these tech pundits can cause damage to the reputation of… well, anything, as they are frequently parroted across the Internet.
Round buttons on an iOS device. This small, inconsequential change speaks volumes about the the company’s lack of standardization across platforms. Would this change in an introductory level Apple experience have been allowed to go to market under Steve Job’s watch?
Today shows some very different trends in Apple’s design philosophy from what we have become accustomed to since its renaissance with the release of the iPhone. It also marks the first full product cycle since the company’s founding visionary departed. Is this a minor stumble sure to be corrected in next year’s inevitable retread or a sign that, without the guiding hand of Steve Jobs, Apple has lost sight of the aspects that made it such a successful and interesting company to watch?
It’s time to put the rumors to rest and get on with the main event!
<vids removed. Sorry folks, show’s over. You can catch a replay streaming over on Apple.com>
Engadget Live Blog Video Live Streaming from Outside the Yerba Buena Center. Sorry, not embeddable
Need a text version? Check out these Live blogs:
Fresh from the “What took ‘em so long?” archives comes the Visit Japan with Hello Kitty iOS app. Officially sanctioned by the Japan Tourism Agency, this free application features Sanrio’s ubiquitous feline mascot as your personal ambassador to the Land of the Rising Sun. Shutterbugs can now take pictures with specially themed Hello Kittys in dozens of locations all over Japan thanks to the magic of GPS and augmented reality. Play paparazzi with H.Kit enough times and you’ll unlock a series of bonus wallpapers that would go great with your insanely impractical Hello Kitty themed iPhone case.
Not visiting Japan anytime soon? That’s okay, the Visit Japan with Hello Kitty app comes with more than 50 perfectly precious pink pictures to peruse. Ever wanted to see Hello Kitty dressed up like octopus balls? Boy, are you in for a treat!
Visit Japan with Hello Kitty is available for free on iPhone 3GS or newer devices via iTunes.
The app is also stated to work with iTouch 3rd gen or newer and iPads, but these machines lack the GPS needed to use the camera portion of the application.
Anyone else suddenly feel hungry for cute, fuzzy takoyaki?
The DAWN Spacecraft has finished it’s study of the asteroid Vesta and will be continuing on to study another large asteroid named Ceres in 2015. The DAWN spacecraft arrived at Vesta on July 15, 2011 and has been mapping and studying the asteroid in detail ever since. The data collected shows that Vesta resembles a small planet more than a typical asteroid and is thought to be a surviving baby planet from the birth of the solar system. This includes an iron core at the center which probably means that it had completely melted at one point in its past. The mapping also included many asteroid impacts including two large impacts near the south pole which actually caused permanent ripples throughout the asteroid.
The DAWN spacecraft uses ion propulsion which allows it to get around the solar system quite efficiently. This engine ionizes Xenon and accelerates small amounts of it at very high velocity. This allows for a small but very constant acceleration as this type of propulsion can operate for years at full thrust due to it extreme fuel conservation. The acceleration produced is similar to the amount of force that a piece of paper exerts on your hand if you were holding it and that’s why it’s going to take until 2015 before it can reach Ceres. While this type of propulsion isn’t ideal for transporting humans from one place to another quickly, it’s ideal for maximizing travel around the solar system by robotic missions with no time limit.
While the asteroid belt isn’t a major planet, it does offer opportunities. We have been able to test out the ion drive on a long mission which will allow us to improve future versions. Studying large asteroids and dwarf planets in detail help us understand the formation of our solar system and other planetary systems that we are discovering. Asteroid mining is a future possibility so knowledge of asteroids and their minerals is essential for development of future plans. It may even one day be possible to set up outposts on large asteroids like Vesta to enable travel to the outer solar system. The DAWN spacecraft has only finished it’s first steps in solar system exploration so we’ll have to wait and see what new wonders it can show us.
The biggest tech news this week has to be Amazon’s announcement of their new line of Kindle Fire tablets. With four separate models running the gamut from awesome ($159 tablet!) to the absurd ($600 tablet on AT&T?), there’s certainly a lot to talk about. And Europe finally gets to order some this time!
Before we begin our Feature Presentation, here’s a quick recap of the new members of Amazon’s ever growing Kindle family:
All of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablets ship plastered full of ads at no charge in the U.S. Sadly, our European friends will just have to make due with the Kindle’s stock methods of ‘content discovery’ to encourage their spending habits.
On with the show!