Science Saturday: Clouds, Clones, & Cars

Today in Science Saturday, we bring you stories on the space shuttle
, the Hubble telescope, killer clouds, and cloned meat. Mmmm-mmm,
good! Click more for, well… more.

Atlantis takes flight February 7th
NASA has announced that, after a two-month delay, the space shuttle Atlantis will launch for an eleven-day mission to the International Space Station on February 7th. The spaceflight, which was delayed due to fuel sensor glitches, is scheduled to launch at 2:47pm EST. Its mission: to deliver the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory. As a result of this new launch date, a planned February 14th launch for the shuttle Endeavor has been pushed back to mid-March. The Endeavor was unavailable for comment, but a representative says the shuttle is not happy with the schedule change. See for more.

Are we there yet?

Next stop: Hubble
Atlantis‘ next spaceflight in August will be a mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. This week NASA announced details on the eleven-day mission which will include five spacewalks to install upgrades and the attempted repair of two major instruments that should extend the telescope’s operational life until 2013, at the least. This will be the last time NASA will launch a mission to service the Hubble. The mission was scrubbed originally, but after outcry NASA put a repair mission back on the schedule. See NASA for more.

Hubble gets one more tune up

A bad case of gas…
The latest threat to our descendents is, believe it or not, gas. An immense cloud of gas from the great reaches of the galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way. Filled with enough hydrogen to power a million suns, the cloud spans 11,000 light years in width and 2,500 light years in length. Scientists speculate that the cloud is a remnant of the formation of the Milky Way and predict that it should collide with our galaxy in about, oh, 20 to 40 million years. When the collision occurs, though, the result could be a sudden formation of many potentially massive stars that would go supernova pretty quickly. For the record, supernovae equal big booms, which probably won’t be healthy for our planet. See for more.

Shouldn’t have opened that Andromedan Taco Bell franchise

Driverless cars to become a reality?
It’s been a long time coming, and it may just be ten more years away. The good folks at General Motors (GM) are looking into producing cars that drive (and even park) themselves. Their hope is to have these long-awaited driverless vehicles on the market by 2018. The cars will even come with an optional manual driving mode for those times when you don’t trust a computer to not run over that kid running in the street. "This isn’t science fiction," says the vice president of research and development at General Motors. Well, for at least the next ten years, it is. See MSNBC for more.

The alcoholics future best friend

Attack of the Clone-burgers!
In the near future, our Whoppers and Big Macs may be CLONES! As early as next week, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) is expected to declare that food made from cloned livestock is safe to eat. This could effectively give a major boost to those biotech companies trying to make businesses out of cloning livestock and would take selective breeding to the next level. The problem is that many consumers do not trust food from cloned animals and are against such products. So the FDA will basically be saying "It’s okay to eat, should you change your minds." That may be a while. See The Wall Street Journal for more.


Source of antimatter cloud revealed
There’s a mysterious cloud of antimatter in space and for years scientists have been trying to figure where the heck it came from. Now, they have their answer. Neutron stars and black holes (the usual suspects) are believed to be the culprits. These destructive forces tore apart a number of stars, creating antimatter. The discovery was made using the ESA’s orbiting gamma-ray observatory “Integral.” For a far more scientific and migraine-inducing description of this process (as well as an explanation of what antimatter actually is), see the ESA Site.

ESA’s Integral has found enough Antimatter to run the Enterprise for a long time

Gadget of the Week…Microsoft Surface
One of the great innovations in Star Trek The Next Generations was the multi-use control surfaces all over the ship. Now Microsoft is bringing those surfaces closer to reality. At CES this week they showed off their new ‘Surface’ technology.


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what I admire most…is your humility

and I really want a microsoft surface desk…now please

Leave Endeavor alone!

anyways, great article!

who does Atlantis think it is , just bumping Endeavor like that ! well i never !. And hmm i would eat clone meat , i mean its right they are just taking selective breeding to the next level.

This table is ridiculous, imagine a busy day at the store… Now how many of these devices would they need for all the customers??? I can see the lines forming , it’s taking a lot of time to buy a phone…

What’s wrong with eating meat from clones? There is no difference…

“mmmmm… clones” That’s just good comedy :-)

Maybe those Bussard scoops on the nacelle’s bow should have been described as being used to scoop up any stray antimatter positrons in the galaxy, thus explaining why the E rarely has to refuel antimatter and gets around the problem of manufacturing the stuff. Seems crazy that they are there to scoop up matter as only a tiny amount is needed in the reaction process. Maybe once we get out there, we find all the fuel we need only by traversing vast distances, kind of self perpetuating. Fascinating….

Forget the Star Trek trailer …
the Hubble mission trailer is all I need.

They configure it?
And you pick it up
a week later?
Thats way too slow
for me. They need
to get the bugs out
if this system first.
A huge lapse in technology if
its something that they can talk
about but not do on the spot.

A good steak is a good steak, cloned or not. If it tastes that nice, let’s have it twice!

11… Listen to the video again.

I’m more worried about the RFID being used to track where people go. RFID in your drivers license or money. Remember Minority Report, where No matter where Tomcat went, he was greeted by computers? No thanks, although it would certainly cut down on shoplifting if, as you walked with hidden products through a door, it automatically charged your account.

20 to 40 million years?!?! Crap, time to move.

As for cloned meat… as long as it grills up, I’ll probably eat it.

Microsoft surface. Silly gimmick. What store is going to let people take a phone and leave then unattended?

Cloned meat? Well, an inevitable step. Those that make the money from the “consumers” (remember when we used to be people?) hate variety. Much more efficient when everything is the same. And they’re winning too. That’s why almost wherever you go in the world you’ll see an ever growing swarm of bloated, brainwashed zombies stuffing McBland burgers down they’re throats while they’re local cuisine is slowly forgotten. What a future.

Interesting set of news. My favorite? Microsoft Surface. I like! I want..

Were were there not supermassifs black holes in that 4. season episode of TNG? I think that I recall that — possibly does it have something to do with the new film?

Is this, what space shuttle Atlantis investigates?

— Manrum (Manöverrum)

yeahhhh… bring on the clones – im hungry!

Bmw already has a driverless car. It not availible for purchase but it works.

The space shuttle needs to be replaced by a much more efficient and reliable vehicle. I continue to be amazed by the fact that the SR-71 was operational at Mach 3 and 80,000 feet plus and the X-15 was flying into space in the 1960s; and now in 2007 NASA can’t get the shuttle off the ground half the time due to technical glitches.
Cars that drive themselves would be a good idea-since countless motorists tend to do everything BUT drive their car nowadays.

#21 – “The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain…….” ;-)

If they clone all the artery-clogging goodness out of it, I wonder if a steak will still taste like steak?

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

Microsoft is desperately trying to appear relevant. Surfaces is their feeble answer to the iPhone and iPod touch interface.

This is yet more proof Microsoft’s total cluelessness. I wonder what Apple technology they’ll imitate next…

Another GUI to learn??!!

I’ll still with my optical mouse and XP. So dependable.

Well, as long as there’s a massive quantity of antimatter out there, we just have to spend the next…. 20,000 years getting there. Then it’ll only take a few days to get back.

Food is food is food. Cloned or not, who cares. If a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger tastes like a good burger, I don’t care.

Poor Endeavor. That bastard Atlantis…. who does it think it is, Enterprise?!

I hit a squirrel earlier today… will the driverless cars bring back that poor squirrel, I think not! Though, I am curious if they’ll dodge small animals. If they do, they need to install inertial-dampeners.

Hubble is okay. Though, it’s getting old. It could go for a refit. Then maybe it’s time for another telescope to take over.

20-40 million years?! That’s practically tomorrow! I’ve been around for that time to the power of a lot.

My existance = T^(a lot)

#23-Vulcanista: “If they clone all the artery-clogging goodness out of it, I wonder if a steak will still taste like steak?”

How can you clone someting out? A clone has the same genotype as the original, nothing is changed.

20-40 million yeas seems a lot. From a Mankind-point-of-view. We’re only a couple of thousand years old. On the other hand, 30 million years just half the time that separates us from the dinosaurs. Looking at it that way, it seems awfully short.

Better start saving some money to buy a spacecraft. You never know when you’ll need one…

(on a second thought, maybe we can buy one of those crappy shuttles for a bargain?) :-)

Why don’t they just clone the muscle tissue? That way there’s no cruelty involved. No animal, just meat.

Cloneing don’t you think that it may have flaws and those flaws will kill us someday. It’s genetic engineering, look how Khan turned out.

OK, Khan’s not a clone but both are genetic engineering.

Food is just stored energy at the end of the day. Also it’s not genetic engineering, its duplication.


It’s duplication using genetic engineering.

Also the big bang’s A MYTH!!!!!!!

My sentence needs some fixing.

OK, it’s duplication but it’s by using genetic engineering.

the big bang and evolution are just myths created to go againest the bible

Finally someone who agrees with me.

29. Alex – January 13, 2008

“20-40 million yeas seems a lot. From a Mankind-point-of-view. We’re only a couple of thousand years old.”

Mankind has been evolving for millions of years… not a couple thousand.

two thousand years ago, rome was “The center of the world” and a guy named Jesus was making waves (and walking on some)

#37 Tpol
Yes, everything’s is a conspiracy. Perhaps God’s days are just a little longer than ours…hmmm?

31. Mark 2000 – January 13, 2008
“Why don’t they just clone the muscle tissue? That way there’s no cruelty involved. No animal, just meat.”

Sorry….this isn’t a TNG replicator or a steak in a test tube. You still have to raise and slaughter the animal.

I’d be interested to know how you thought it was going to work..?

So Tpol whats your real name.

Is it Jolene Blalock?


Tpol i’m no vulcan.

jbtw: I agree with TrekkyStar and Tpol, too.

But ore importantly, I want the table top computer. I would find a way to install an LCARS-esque interface into it.

If it is are you in the new movie?

Go LCARS!!!!!!!!!! One step closer to Star Trek

Lethal gas clouds: NIMBY!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista |:-|

Trekkystar, TPol, etc
banned for one week for spamming and spoofing

Ah, the aging shuttle fleet. What a shame.
Soon I’tll be back to rockets, capsules, & splashdowns again.
Oh well, it works for the Russians.
What happened to the future??
I guess it lies in slabs of cloned cow muscle.