June 6, 2016

Uncertain Future for Arecibo Telescope (Source: Phenomena)
Tucked into a sinkhole in the Puerto Rican jungle, the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope scans the skies for signs of distant galaxies, elusive gravitational waves, and the murmurs of extraterrestrial civilizations nearly 24 hours a day. For more than a half-century, whether those waves traveled to Earth from the far reaches of our universe or much closer to home, the Arecibo Observatory has been there to catch them.

But the enormous telescope, with a dish that stretches 1,000 feet across, may not be around for much longer. On May 23, the National Science Foundation, which funds the majority of Arecibo’s annual $12 million budget, published a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement related to the observatory’s future.

The most extreme option, which could include explosively demolishing the giant dish, might affect such things as ground water, air quality, and ecosystems – thus the importance of studying the environmental impact of potential futures, especially ones that involve shutting the telescope’s eyes. (6/4)

Kajima to Develop Automated Construction Machinery for Building on Mars, Moon (Source: Nikkei)
Japan's Kajima plans to develop fully automated construction machinery for building facilities on Mars and the moon for long-term human stays. The major Japanese construction company will team up with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The machinery should be ready to build a facility to accommodate four to six people on the moon in around 2030 and on Mars in around 2040. (6/6)

Former NASA Chief Launches AI Startup (Source: Mrket Wired)
After a decade of under-the-radar research and development with private funding totaling $100 million, Dan Goldin, the world-renowned innovator who led NASA throughout its renaissance in the 1990s, today announced the launch of KnuEdge Inc., a fundamentally groundbreaking neural technology innovation company.

It has already achieved $20 million in revenue and is actively engaged with elite hyperscale computing companies and Fortune 500 firms in the aerospace, banking, healthcare, hospitality and insurance industries.

"We are not about incremental technology. Our mission is fundamental transformation," said Dan Goldin, Founder and CEO of KnuEdge. "We were swinging for the fences from the very beginning, with intent to create technologies that will in essence alter how humans interact with machines, and enable next-generation computing capabilities ranging from signal processing to machine learning." (6/6)

India's New Space Shuttle -- Cheaper Than SpaceX? (Source: Fox Business)
t's been five years since America retired its Space Shuttle program. Five years in which American astronauts have been forced to rent rides on Russian rockets for up to $82 million a head. But now, after five long years, the space shuttle program has finally been reborn ... in India.

A small, currently unmanned Space Shuttle lookalike, India's Space Research Organisation built RLV for just $14.2 million -- less than a quarter the cost of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. RLV's first iteration is a 21-foot long, 1.75-ton prototype that has already proved capable of reaching speeds of Mach 5.0 and heights of 39 miles above Earth's surface, then returning to splash down at a preplanned position in the Bay of Bengal.

It's sized at about two-thirds the length of Boeing's military drone space shuttle, the X-37. Later versions of RLV will grow in size (and attempt to land on runways). Ultimately, India expects to produce a production version 120 feet in length in 2030. That would be four times the size of Boeing's X-37, but still only about 70% of the size of NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour. (6/6)

Space Club Invites Nominations for Lifetime Achievement, Rising Star (Source: NSCFL)
Nominations for the National Space Club Florida Committee 2016 Lifetime Achievement and Rising Star awards are now open. The deadline is July 15. Each year the National Space Club Florida Committee recognizes deserving individuals who make significant contributions to the U.S. space program.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors those with lifelong service, while the Rising Star Award seeks to honor someone who is very early in his or her career. Nominees for either award can come from government, military, commercial, or government contractor organizations and be submitted by individuals or organizations. 

Click here to submit a nomination for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and here to submit a nomination for the Rising Star Award. (6/5)

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