23,019 research outputs found

    Masks and Modernities

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    Ecosystem simulation

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    Design, construction and testing of the Communications Technology Satellite protection against spacecraft charging

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    Detailed discussions are presented of the measures taken on the Communications Technology Satellite (CTS or Hermes) which provide protection against the effects of spacecraft charging. These measures include: a comprehensive grounding philosophy and implementation; provision of command and data line transmitters and receivers for transient noise immunity; and a fairly restrictive EMI specification. Ground tests were made on materials and the impact of these tests on the CTS spacecraft is described. Hermes, launched on 17 January 1976 on a 2914 Delta vehicle, has successfully completed 10 months of operations. Anomalies observed are being assessed in relation to spacecraft charging, but no definite correlations have yet been established. A list of conclusions with regard to the CTS experience is given and recommendations for future spacecraft are also listed

    Five or six step scenario for evolution?

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    The prediction that (due to the limited amount of hydrogen available as fuel in the Sun) the future duration of our favourable terrestrial environment will be short (compared with the present age of the Earth) has been interpreted as evidence for a hard step scenario. This means that some of the essential steps (such as the development of eukaryotes) in the evolution process leading to the ultimate emergence of intelligent life would have been hard, in the sense of being against the odds in the available time, so that they are unlikely to have been achieved in most of the earth-like planets that may one day be discovered in nearby extra-solar systems. It was originally estimated that only one or two of the essential evolutionary steps had to have been hard in this sense, but it has become apparent that this figure may need upward revision, because recent studies of climatic instability suggest that the possible future duration of our biologically favourable environment may be shorter than had been supposed, only about one Giga year rather than five. On the basis of the statistical requirement of roughly equal spacing between hard steps, it is argued that the best fit with the fossil record is now obtainable by postulating the number of hard steps to be five, if our evolution was exclusively terrestrial, or six if, as now seems very plausible, the first step occurred on Mars.Comment: 11 pages Late