NASA and Japan have teamed to give a better view of the planet. Working with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the US space agency made a digital topographic map with 1.3 million images taken by the Terra satellite with the Japanese ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) and were then pieced together. The map covers more than 99% of Earth’s land mass and fills in details that may have been missed by the space shuttle Endeavor alone.
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NASA would like you to come up with a name for their new Node 3 and cupola, which houses a robotic workstation to control that giant arm. They prefer something along the lines of Unity or Harmony and, by the same token, would prefer you not name it something too common. Vote for your choice in their poll or suggest your own before March 20. The name will be announced in April and Endeavor will delivering “Fred” this December.
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Epson has hopped on the Blu-ray express with the Endeavor. They have announced an upgraded desktop ST120 with a Core 2 Duo P8400 (2.26GHz), 1GB of RAM, 80GB HDD and a Blu-ray burner. It also features Digital TV Tuner MonsterTV HDUS, HDMI out and a GM45 Express chipset. Upgradeable to 320GB or a Core 2 DUO P8600, T9400 or T9600, the diminutive Japanese PC carries a price of ¥137500 (~$1543.00.)
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The Endeavor finally made it back home to NASA’s spaceport Friday. Forced to take a detour when coming home Nov. 30 because of a nasty storm at Kennedy Space Center, it ended up at California’s Edwards Air Force Base where it met up with more bad weather. The space shuttle was finally attached to the top of a modified jumbo jet to make the flight back. The trek cost a whopping $1.8 million. For that amount of money, we think it should have retired in (mostly) sunny California.
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Sanrio drags out another Hello Kitty creation with its new laptop. The Epson Endeavor NH2100 has a 15.4-inch TFT WXGA display, Intel’s Celeron 540(1.86GHz) CPU, Windows Vista Home Premium, 1GB RAM, 80GB ATA/5400rpm HDD, DVD-ROM/CD-RW, and IEEE 802.11b/g wireless LAN and Ethernet connectivity. Choose one of the two model designs and expect to pay 147,000 yen ($1,410.00) towards the end of the month in Japan. We wonder if Paris Hilton will want one after reading that she had a Hello Kitty Doll designed with her likeness.
With all that fuss about the recent Endeavor launch, we just couldn’t resist this ZFlyer Hand Command. This astronaut is no ordinary toy. You can lead it around since it has stabilizing rotors and sensors. It will then recharge on its base unit in 10 minutes for another 7 minute flight. We don’t know if it will make it all the way up to the Space Station, but maybe it will meet the returning paper airplane half way. The ZFlyer will become available March 30 and you can pre-order for £17.99 (~$36.00.)
Read More | Toyology
When we last told you about Dextre, he was about to be launched to the ISS via Endeavor. It seems that all did not go well with the bot, who decided to sleep in a bit longer. It turns out that a cable design flaw wouldn’t allow power to turn him on. The astronauts finally got him up and running, then attached his hands to his arms and his arms to his torso. No one is sure yet about the reason for the dilemma since it wasn’t apparent in pre-flight testing, but NASA promises a thorough investigation.
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When Endeavor takes off this week, it will have more than a paper airplane and space boomerangs for the astronauts to play with. Dextre (for dexterous) will have to be built once he arrives on the ISS, for he is 12 feet tall with multi-jointed 11 foot arms. Costing about $200 million, he is tele-operated and will attend to some of the station repair jobs. Apparently the Canadian bot has a sensitive touch and precise control even without legs.
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Can a boomerang work in space? That’s precisely what astronaut Takao Doi will find out when Endeavor takes off March 11. Doi is bringing two paper ones created by Yasuhiro Togai, a champ at the sport and space fanatic who taught him how to throw them. Although he believes they will not return, he wondered how they would react without gravity in the ISS. One is 13cm and the other is 20cm. It will be interesting to see if they are tested at the same time as the paper airplane we told you about a couple of months ago.
Read More | Pink Tentacle