Archive for 12/28/2011

Hydro International –

On 27th December 2011, Chinese officials confirmed that the country’s Beidou satellite navigation system was operational, albeit mainly in China, and on track to meet the goal of offering free, global coverage by 2020.

At a press conference, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said that Beidou is providing location data and SMS messaging using a network of ten satellites currently in orbit, and another six launches are planned for 2012.

Once fully operational, they should cover most of the Asia/Pacific region, and will form the backbone of a global system of over 30 satellites that should be in place by 2020.

According to Ran Cheng of China Aeriospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Beidou service would be free to all and said that the Chinese would be working on interoperability with the US GPS system, Russia’s GLONASS and the forthcoming EU Galileo network.

An initial version of the interface control documentation has been published online.

He said that the initial service was operating within 25 metres accuracy between 84 degrees to 160 degrees east longitude, 55 degrees south latitude to 55 degrees north latitude, at velocity accuracy of 0.8 metres per second and within 50 nanoseconds for timing.

Around 100,000 users are using the service so far, and accuracy will be brought down to 10 metres by next year.

Full story…

Jason Major – 

The hunt for elusive neutrinos will soon get its largest and most powerful tool yet: the enormous KM3NeT telescope, currently under development by a consortium of 40 institutions from ten European countries.

Once completed KM3NeT will be the second-largest structure ever made by humans, after the Great Wall of China, and taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai… but submerged beneath 3,200 feet of ocean !

KM3NeT – so named because it will encompass an area of several cubic kilometers – will be composed of lengths of cable holding optical modules on the ends of long arms.

These modules will stare at the sea floor beneath the Mediterranean in an attempt to detect the impacts of neutrinos traveling down from deep space. Successfully spotting neutrinos – subatomic particles that don’t interact with “normal” matter very much at all, nor have magnetic charges – will help researchers to determine which direction they originated from.

That in turn will help them pinpoint distant sources of powerful radiation, like quasars and gamma-ray bursts.

Only neutrinos could make it this far and this long after such events since they can pass basically unimpeded across vast cosmic distances.

“The only high energy particles that can come from very distant sources are neutrinos,” said Giorgio Riccobene, a physicist and staff researcher at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics.

”So by looking at them, we can probe the far and violent universe.”

Full story…

Waikato Times – 

Bad weather has pushed a team of Kiwi trans Tasman rowers back over the same spot for the third time.

The quartet of Team Gallagher Tasman rowers made up of Nigel Cherrie, James Blake, Waikato man Andrew McCowan and Berka have been battling brutal weather in the Tasman since leaving Sydney on November 27.

The rowers have also been contending with berka’s foot infection which put him off rowing duties for a few day from last Friday.

“For the last few days I haven’t been able to put any weight on the foot let alone row,” said Berka, a 37-year-old economics professor at Lincoln University in Wellington.

Berka has been injecting antibiotics intravenously after oral antibiotics didn’t help and took to rowing with a plastic bag over his foot to keep out water.

The team are raising money to help build the world’s biggest man made coral reef off the northern coast of Borneo, just east of Semporna.

The reef, in the shape of a nautilus, will providea home and hunting ground for a vast diversity of marine species.

Full story…

Mike Schuler – 

A Russian Captain has been fined for failing to stop his vessel and help passengers off the riverboat, Bulgaria, that sank while cruising on Russia’s Volga River in July, according to a report from The Moscow Times.

The captain, Yury Tuchin, was fined $4,600 but avoided jail time for his role in the incident.

The incident occured on July 10, 2011 when the riverboat, overloaded with more than 200 passengers, sank during a storm killing 122 people.

An investigation into the incident found that the ship sank after water flowed into 38 portholes that were left open.

The report also found that the vessel was heavily overloaded, a poorly trained crew and failing to inform navigation traffic controllers of the cruise were to blame.

Tuchin is the fifth person to be charged in connection to the incident.

Others included the general director of the company that rented the cruise boat, the river fleet inspector who certified that the Bulgaria was fit to sail, and two senior transport inspectors that allowed the company to carry passengers despite the vessel lacking the appropriate license.

Full story…

Hydro International –

A recent mission marked the completion of a five-year collaboration between the United States and Canada to survey the Arctic Ocean.

The bilateral project collected scientific data to delineate the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the coastline, also known as the extended continental shelf (ECS).

According to Deborah Hutchinson, Ph.D., geologist with the USGS and U.S. science lead and liaison on board CCG Ship Louis S. St-Laurent, the amount and quality of the data collected as part of these joint Arctic missions met and often exceeded the expectations set each year.

The U.S. has an inherent interest in knowing, and declaring to others, the exact extent of its sovereign rights in the ocean as set forth in the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

For the ECS, this includes sovereign rights over natural resources on and under the seabed including energy resources such as: oil and natural gas and gas hydrates; “sedentary” creatures such as clams, crabs, and corals; and mineral resources such as manganese nodules, ferromanganese crusts, and polymetallic sulfides.

The 2011 joint Arctic mission spanned nearly six weeks in August and September and was the fourth year to employ flagship icebreakers from both countries, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent.

Full story…