India finds water on moon By Martin J
HUA HIN, Thailand - India's
Chandrayaan-1 probe and data from two other
spacecraft confirm the presence of water on the
moon. Fine layers of "water" particles were found
in lunar soil, the discovery was also made from
samples brought back from the Apollo missions.
However, scientists could not rule out that the
moisture identified earlier could have got into
samples on their return to Earth.
first mission to the moon - made as half the
country suffers from drought and struggling
farmers commit suicide amid the weakest monsoon in
seven years - has proved a success, as remote
instrumentation sensing electromagnetic radiation
emitted by minerals confirmed the genuine presence
of water on the lunar surface. The readings
intensified towards the poles and were backed up
by data from two other spacecraft, the US's National
Aeronautics and Space
Administration's Deep Impact probe and the
US-European Cassini satellite.
quantities are small, yielding around a liter of
water from a cubic meter of soil, but they could
prove crucial for any future colonization efforts.
This week's discovery, which was reported by the
Indian Space Research Organization, may spark
further interest in lunar exploration, although it
is unlikely that we will be able to go fishing
there any time soon.
India this week
launched a satellite that will study the Earth's
oceans from orbit. The Polar Satellite Launch
Vehicle lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space
Center on India's east coast on Wednesday, its
payload the 958-kilogram Oceans 2 satellite, which
will spend the next five years observing the
planet's oceans and atmosphere.
Internet The big debate of the
week has been about net neutrality, a term that
refers to equal treatment of Internet traffic by
Communications Commission (FCC) chief Julius
Genachowski proposes to introduce plans that would
prevent Internet service providers (ISPs)
interfering with the free flow of information and
applications across their networks. Major
providers in the United States such as Verizon,
AT&T and Comcast would be barred from
deliberately slowing certain web traffic or
technologies that are usually in competition with
their own services. An example of such would be
cable TV versus TV over the Internet.
Guidelines on publicizing the way carriers
manage their Internet traffic were also included
in the proposal. This would be very useful for
consumers, who at present get the hidden surprises
after they have signed a contract.
broadband policy principles were introduced in
2005 by the FCC: to encourage broadband deployment
and preserve and promote the open and
interconnected nature of the public Internet,
consumers are entitled to:
Access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
Run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law
Connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.
Competition among network providers, application and service providers, and
The restrictions on traffic manipulation and publication of management policies
by ISPs are considered to be the fifth and sixth principles which would apply
to both wired and wireless carriers. US President Barack Obama has issued his
support for the net neutrality rules, which will be voted on by a five-panel
commission in the coming weeks.
The push for more powerful graphics-processing continued this week as AMD
released the long-awaited Radeon HD 5800 series. This, the first fully
supported DirectX 11 graphics card, will come in two flavors; the HD 5870 and
5850, both sporting a gigabyte of GDDR5 memory. The graphics cards will retail
at US$400 and $300 respectively and will be marketed towards enthusiasts or
power users, who will be primed for the latest games titles.
Intel is touting its next big thing at the Intel Developers Forum this week, as
the company progresses towards 22 nanometer manufacturing. The company is
phasing out its 45 nanometer processors in favor of 32 nm units, which will go
into production this year, while rival AMD is still producing 65 nm chips.
Essentially, the lower the nanometer measure, the higher the number of
transistors that can be squeezed onto a chip. Moore’s Law dictates that the
number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit
has doubled about every two years; it is the foundation of everything that
Intel does. The trend has continued for over 50 years and is likely to do so
until at least 2015.
Nintendo stole the limelight at the Tokyo Games Show this week by announcing
the first price cut for its leading games console, Wii, since the product was
launched in November 2006.
The move came in response to a decline in sales and price drops for competing
consoles Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The 20% reduction puts the price of a Wii
at US$199 in the US. Similar cuts will be made for the European and Japanese
markets. The Wii is already the winner in the battle of the gaming consoles and
from October 1, at $100 less than Sony's PlayStation 3, it should remain in top
Martin J Young is an Asia Times Online correspondent based in Thailand.