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UK satellite to make movies from space

UK satellite to make movies from space

Science
A British satellite has gone into orbit on an Indian rocket to acquire full-colour, high-definition video of the surface of the Earth. The demonstrator is expected to pave the way for a series of at least 15 such spacecraft, which will be operated by the Guildford-based company Earth-i. The small, low-cost UK mission was one of 31 payloads riding on the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. It lifted off from the Satish Dhawan spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.Controllers made first contact with the UK satellite as planned within a few hours.The spacecraft is a pre-production model. If it performs well over the coming months, its manufacturer, SSTL, also in Guildford, will proceed with Earth-i's first batch of five operational spacecraft. The contract for these platforms was signed in November....
How flowering plants conquered the world

How flowering plants conquered the world

Science
Scientists think they have the answer to a puzzle that baffled even Charles Darwin: How flowers evolved and spread to become the dominant plants on Earth. Flowering plants, or angiosperms, make up about 90% of all living plant species, including most food crops.In the distant past, they outpaced plants such as conifers and ferns, which predate them, but how they did this has has been a mystery.New research suggests it is down to genome size - and small is better."It really comes down to a question of cell size and how you can build a small cell and still retain all the attributes that are necessary for life," says Kevin Simonin from San Francisco State University in California, US.'Abominable mystery'Hundreds of millions of years ago, the Earth was dominated by ferns and conifers. Then, ab...
ULA launches spy satellite from California

ULA launches spy satellite from California

Science
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The third time was the charm for United Launch Alliance and its twice-delayed NROL-47 mission.After ULA was forced to delay proceedings on Wednesday and Thursday, the space company successfully launched its Delta IV rocket at 5:11 p.m. ET, 2:11 p.m. local time, on Friday.A ground system helium problem caused blastoff to be delayed by more than hour.The blastoff and initial phases of the rocket's flight were a success."Payload fairing jettison," ULA tweeted, before concluding its coverage of the mission.Because the mission involved the deployment of a spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, ULA ended its coverage of the flight early.Friday's launch was originally supposed to happen on Wednesday, but was pushed to Thursday due to high winds. Thursday's att...
Changes in jet stream since 1960 responsible for uptick in extreme weather

Changes in jet stream since 1960 responsible for uptick in extreme weather

Science
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Scientists have identified a link between jet stream variability during the last half-century and increases in extreme weather in Europe, including storms, flooding, drought, heatwaves and wildfires.Using tree rings from the British Isles and Mediterranean, scientists at the University of Arizona sussed out late-summer weather patterns across Western Europe going back nearly three centuries, to 1725."We find that the position of the North Atlantic Jet in summer has been a strong driver of climate extremes in Europe for the last 300 years," Valerie Trouet, a scientist at Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, said in a news release.The work of Trouet and her colleagues helped provide context for modern observations of the jet stream's seasonal patterns. Their data -- p...
Female engineers set for success

Female engineers set for success

Science
Fewer than one in 10 engineers in the UK are female - the lowest percentage in Europe, according to the Women's Engineering Society. Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with nearly 30%. Here, two pioneering female engineers at Oxford University explain what drives them.Priyanka Dhopade was named as one of the top 50 Women in Engineering Under 35 in 2017, as chosen by the Women's Engineering Society. She grew up in Canada, where she studied for a degree in aerospace engineering. She completed a PhD at Monash University in Melbourne before moving to Oxford in 2013.As a child I was very interested in aeroplanes, and how things fly in space - I wanted to be an astronaut. My parents suggested engineering, because it's quite practical. I could use my enthusiasm and my skills to do something that's ...