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Aug 27, 2020

New Ground Station Brings Laser Communications Closer To Reality

Posted by in category: satellites

Optical communications, transmitting data using infrared lasers, has the potential to help NASA return more data to Earth than ever. The benefits of this technology to exploration and Earth science missions are huge. In support of a mission to demonstrate this technology, NASA recently completed installing its newest optical ground station in Haleakala, Hawaii.

The state-of-the-art ground station, called Optical Ground Station 2 (OGS-2), is the second of two optical ground stations to be built that will collect data transmitted to Earth by NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD). Launching in early 2021, this trailblazing mission will be the linchpin in NASA’s first operational optical communications relay system. While other NASA efforts have used optical communications, this will be NASA’s first relay system using optical entirely, giving NASA the opportunity to test this method of communications and learn valuable lessons from its implementation. Relay satellites create critical communications links between science and exploration missions and Earth, enabling these missions to transmit important data to scientists and mission managers back home.

egg-looking optical telescope dome

Aug 27, 2020

New $115 Million Quantum Systems Accelerator to Pioneer Quantum Technologies for Discoveries That Benefit the World

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Berkeley Lab-led center to catalyze U.S. leadership in quantum information science, and strengthen the nation’s research community to accelerate commercialization.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $115 million over five years to the Quantum Systems Accelerator (QSA), a new research center led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) that will forge the technological solutions needed to harness quantum information science for discoveries that benefit the world. It will also energize the nation’s research community to ensure U.S. leadership in quantum R&D and accelerate the transfer of quantum technologies from the lab to the marketplace. Sandia National Laboratories is the lead partner of the center.

Total planned funding for the center is $115 million over five years, with $15 million in Fiscal Year 2020 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. The center is one of five new Department of Energy Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers announced today (August 26, 2020).

Aug 27, 2020

South Africa to Build USD266 Million Space Hub: Promises Six Satellites

Posted by in categories: satellites, sustainability

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa has sourced for a R4.4 billion (USD260 million) investor funding at the sustainable infrastructure development symposium. The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) will receive R3 billion (USD177 million) to develop and design up to six satellites in the next four years. The total funding will incubate South Africa’s Space hub. This information was disclosed by the CEO of SANSA, Val Munsami.


South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa has sourced for a R4.4 billion (USD260 million) investor funding at the sustainable infrastructure development symposium. The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) will receive R3 billion (USD177 million) to develop and design up to six satellites in the next four years. The total funding will incubate South Africa’s Space hub.

This information was disclosed by the CEO of SANSA, Val Munsami.

Continue reading “South Africa to Build USD266 Million Space Hub: Promises Six Satellites” »

Aug 27, 2020

Study leads to potential for new treatment approach to Alzheimer’s

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension, neuroscience

Research looking at a possible new therapeutic approach for Alzheimer’s disease was recently published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation. The paper out of the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) is titled “Therapeutic Trem2 activation ameliorates amyloid-beta deposition and improves cognition in the 5XFAD model of amyloid deposition”. The work looked at targeting inflammation by using an antibody. Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias have no disease-modifying treatments at this time and represent a looming public health crisis given the continually growing aging population.

The paper explains that current therapeutic approaches to the treatment of Alzheimer’s focus on the major pathological hallmarks of the disease which are and neurofibrillary tangles. They are the requirements for a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the authors say there has been an explosion of genetic data suggesting the risk for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease is driven by several other factors including neuroinflammation, membrane turnover and storage, and .

In this study the researchers focused on triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cell-2 (TREM2). “TREM2 was identified several years ago as a gene that, when there’s a mutation, significantly increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The field thinks that this mutation reduces the function of the receptor, so we hypothesized that targeting TREM2 to increase its function might be a valid treatment for Alzheimer’s,” explained Donna Wilcock, SBCoA associate director.

Aug 27, 2020

SpaceX, ULA line up 3 rocket launches in 2 days but will it happen?

Posted by in category: space travel

« It’s going to be a busy three days on the Space Coast with three rocket launches scheduled for a history-making line up but to make this triple-header happen, the weather and rocketry must align.

“It could be a historic event for us this week,” 45th Space Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Doug Schiess said Wednesday, later adding,” It’s a busy week for the team and we’re looking forward to it.”

The last time Florida saw three launches in one week was in 2001, according to Schiess… See More.

Continue reading “SpaceX, ULA line up 3 rocket launches in 2 days but will it happen?” »

Aug 27, 2020

Submarine could explore seas of huge Saturn moon Titan

Posted by in category: space travel

Researchers have been crafting a concept mission that would send a submarine to Saturn’s huge moon Titan, which sports lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons on its frigid surface.

Aug 27, 2020

FCC Grants OneWeb Market Access for 2,000-Satellite Constellation

Posted by in categories: business, satellites

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted OneWeb ‘s market access to expand its Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) satellite constellation to 2,000 satellites with a V-band payload in addition to its Ku- and Ka-band constellation. OneWeb petitioned to add a V-band payload to the 720 satellite Ku- and Ka-band constellation approved by the FCC in 2017, proposing 1,280 additional V-band satellites operating at a nominal altitude of 8,500 km.

According to the FCC order, OneWeb must launch and operate 50% of the maximum number of proposed space stations, or 1,000 satellites, by Aug. 26, 2026. The remaining satellites must be launched and operated by Aug. 26, 2029. OneWeb currently has 74 satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).

“We are pleased to hear the FCC granted our V-Band application. The V-band is critical for next generation satellite broadband services. OneWeb looks forward to the future growth opportunities this approval will enable as we commercialize our spectrum and execute on our mission to bring low latency connectivity to communities, governments, businesses, and people in the U.S. and around the world,” a OneWeb spokesperson said Wednesday.

Aug 27, 2020

Cessna makes history by taking off and landing with no one aboard. Here’s how

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Reliable Robotics, created by two Space X veterans, plans unmanned air cargo deliveries within two years.

Aug 27, 2020

The US military is trying to read minds

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, computing, Elon Musk, military, neuroscience

Elon Musk’s Neuralink will likely show off its design for a brain-computer interface Friday evening. The concept it unveiled last summer involves surgically implanting it into the brain to detect the activity of neurons. The US military also wants to develop a brain-computer interface, as we explain in this story from October. But here’s the kicker: no surgery required—and the device could be put on and taken off like a helmet or headband.


In August, three graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University were crammed together in a small, windowless basement lab, using a jury-rigged 3D printer frame to zap a slice of mouse brain with electricity.

The brain fragment, cut from the hippocampus, looked like a piece of thinly sliced garlic. It rested on a platform near the center of the contraption. A narrow tube bathed the slice in a solution of salt, glucose, and amino acids. This kept it alive, after a fashion: neurons in the slice continued to fire, allowing the experimenters to gather data. An array of electrodes beneath the slice delivered the electric zaps, while a syringe-like metal probe measured how the neurons reacted. Bright LED lamps illuminated the dish. The setup, to use the lab members’ lingo, was kind of hacky.

Continue reading “The US military is trying to read minds” »

Aug 27, 2020

#ThrowbackThursday is from the #NASA archives featuring an important official letter that is on the level for my new book that I am writing featuring fellow Freemason Astronaut Buzz Aldrin

Posted by in category: space

The Freedom of Information Act process is filled with lots of bureaucratic red tape, however, I feel confident that the #FOIA will be fruitful for declassified information properly vetted for the public first by Uncle Sam. Thanks to the fine folks at NASA — National Aeronautics and Space Administration.