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Earth engulfed by a solar storm that could disrupt GPS & power grid

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aurora

By NewsGram Staff Writer

A huge solar storm that could disrupt the power grid and GPS, as well as result in making beautiful auroras visible to people has been reportedly found to be engulfing the earth.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), what was most likely a blast of magnetic plasma, shot out of the sun on Sunday, traveling faster than usual, bringing with it the biggest solar storm, perhaps since March.

Scott Kelly, an American astronaut who is currently on the International Space Station tweeted about the auroras.

I’ve never seen this before- red #aurora. Spectacular! #YearInSpace pic.twitter.com/j2DVejt974

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 22, 2015

Day 87. The red curtain of an #aurora closes on another day. Good night from @space_station#YearInSpace pic.twitter.com/NUyJkGKy9y — Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 22, 2015

Yesterday’s #aurora was an impressive show from 250 miles up. Good morning from @space_station#YearInSpace https://t.co/wZJOxrD0EQ

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 23, 2015

Occurrence of solar storms is caused when the sun shoots out a big burst of gas and magnetic fields. They then travel through the solar system and hit Earth.

They can cause huge disruption when they hit the Earth, but their force and effects vary. What also varies is the ability of different parts of the world to deal with these disruptions, based on their geographical set up and other factors like insulation from disasters.

As reported by a UK based website, the storm arrived on Monday afternoon and was likely to last up to a day or even longer.

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Super Shoes: Step in your shoes and it will tell you where to Go

smrtGRiPS comes with a similar concept in which bicyclists get to know the directions using a special handlebar grip that connects to a device via Bluetooth

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easyjet supershoes. Image Source: Gizmag.com

What if you’ve never been to a place and missing on the amazing views by just looking at the GPS navigation system on your smartphone? Fret no more, there is a super solution to this.

EasyJet, a European airline company is working on a concept named smart shoes. They named it “Sneakairs” in which the vibrations will be sent to to the wearer’s feet when it’s time to make a turn. This is one of the latest attempts at a tactile navigation tool.

Watch this :

In a video published the company they have said that “Synchronize your shoes with your phone, choose your destination, put your phone away and enjoy the views”.

The mechanism of this shoe is quite simple. If one needs to make a right turn his right shoe will vibrate. Similarly, if he wants to go left then his left shoe will vibrate. More importantly, if someone has missed the turn, then both the shoes will vibrate twice. That will indicate that you need to go back and rectify your footsteps. Lastly if it vibrates 3 times that will mean that you have reached your destination.

This is built with a miniaturized Arduino clone (an open source hardware). It has a Bluetooth module along with a tiny motor which vibrates every time. Bluetooth helps in connecting this with your device.

This computer hardware fits into a smart shoe prototype called Sneakairs, unveiled recently by European airline easyJet. The shoes help walkers find their way around through directional vibrations. easyJet
This computer hardware fits into a smart shoe prototype called Sneakairs, unveiled recently by European airline easyJet. Image source: easyJet

Coming to the navigation system, it uses Google Maps API to create it’s on pedestrian navigation app. This GPS will run as the background process. So one easily put his/her phone away. No need to constantly look for the directions. However, no official date of release has been decided yet by the company.

This isn’t a new project. Several trials have been done in the past. Anirudh Sharma, a researcher in Banglore, India, designed a vibrating navigation device built into a shoe to help blind people. In 2014, Sharma along with his partner Krispian Lawrence announced that it’ll be available for every person. They named their shoes ‘Lachal‘.

Another researcher at the MIT named Dhairya Dand developed a similar concept called “SuperShoes”. Those were insoles that could be tucked into a regular pair of shoes . Dand said on his website “The shoes are based on a tickling interface, Left toe tickles – turn left, right toe tickles – turn right, no tickle – keep going, both tickle repeatedly – reached the destination, both tickle once – recommendation, both tickle twice – a reminder.”

Similar is the concept with smrtGRiPS in which bicyclists get to know the directions using a special handlebar grip that connects to a device via Bluetooth. The left grip will vibrate to turn left and so does the right grip when a right turn needs to be made.

We are living in a generation where haptic feedback isn’t enough. The Apple Watch has also a feature of haptic direction. With these new innovations one day we’ll get them in our feet, wrists and hands too .

ALSO READ:

-by Pritam

Pritam is pursuing engineering and is an intern at NewsGram.Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen

 

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ISRO Chief Kiran Kumar is thrilled to create India’s own space shuttle

The idea to make reusable rockets a reality is to cut down the cost of access to space by at least 10 times

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ISRO Chief Kiran Kumar. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The stepping stones of ISRO (Indian space research organisation) were laid by none other than our own beloved Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. After deploying its own GPS system through NAVIC, ISRO (India’s version of NASA) is all set to achieve another milestone in the field of space and technology. India is going to launch its own indigenous Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). According to indianexpress.com if this attempt becomes a success then the cost of access to space will decline significantly by 10 times.

What does RLV mean ?

RLV is a mechanism of launching which intends to bring down the cost of launch. Initially, a series of technology demonstrations will take place followed by the testing of HEX-01 (also called winged body). ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar explains the whole mechanism of this upcoming experiment. He further elucidates that HEX-01 will be launched from Sriharikota Island. After coming back from space it will be guided by satellites and radars to make it land in the Bay of Bengal. However, the final winged body will land on Sriharikota Islands only (i.e. on land only).

Vikas engine of ISRO, Wikimedia commons
Vikas engine of ISRO, Wikimedia commons

  • K Sivan, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram said “These are just the first baby steps towards the big Hanuman leap. The final version will take at least 10-15 years to get ready since designing a human-rated reusable rocket is no kid stuff.
  • Apart from America, no other superpowers have attempted operational flights.
    • The US flew its space shuttle 135 times and then retired in 2011. It is said that it lost its capacity afterwards to send astronauts into space.
    • Russians made only a single space shuttle called ‘Buran’ which flew into space once in 1989.
    • French and Japanese made some experimental flights, though.
    • However, Chinese have never even attempted a space shuttle.
  • Indian space shuttle or RLV-TD began its construction nearly 5 years ago. Our government has invested nearly RS 95 Crores in this project. The capability of the vehicle to survive a re-entry at velocities more than that of a supersonic range will be tested by the flight. That is the reason this experiment has also been named as Hyper Sonic Experiment (HEX). Later RLV will be tested for another return flight experiment. After successful completion of these experiments, ISRO will plan the final configuration of the upcoming Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV).
  • Scientists have even developed a material called ‘Indian space plane’. This will help in protecting the exterior surface of the shuttle from the friction caused heat while entering earth’s atmosphere (this temperature goes up to 5000-700 degrees Celsius). This thermal coating failure was the reason due to which the American space shuttle (Columbia) crashed which lead to the death of Kalpana Chawla in 2003. Hence, ISRO is emphasising on the thermal management.
  • Scientists have worked hard in making this dream come true. ISRO’s aim is to have its own ‘swadeshi space shuttle’. Sooner or later the RLV will be renamed as ‘Kalyanam’ after India’s famous former president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (a legendary aeronautical engineer and rocket scientist) who dreamt of making India into a developed nation.

Former President - Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Wikimedia commons
Former President – Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wikimedia commons

  • Given the vast potential which lies within our very own ISRO, we all hope this project becomes a success where all other superpowers have failed.
  • Even though the whole world is silent in attempting winged flights, ISRO’s main motto behind all this is bringing down the overall cost of building space infrastructures. This way scientists at ISRO believe that their capability will increase significantly.

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-Prepared by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata.

You can reach the author at @pritam_gogreen

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ISRO to develop replacement GPS for better accuracy

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Kolkata: India’s indigenous position determination system being developed by national space agency ISRO will serve as a “replacement GPS” for the public with enhanced access in remote areas, an official said here on Saturday.

It will also aid in navigation and monitoring of fleet (trucks and ships) movement, the official added.

“We will have our own position determination system using our own navigation constellation, the IRNSS series which will be operational by middle of next year. It is a kind of replacement GPS,” said Deviprasad Karnik, the director, publication and public relations, ISRO.

“The US is offering the GPS navigation. IRNSS is indigenous”, he added while talking to reporters here on the sidelines of a lecture on India’s Space mission and use of Space Technology as a solution to Sustainable challenges of Kolkata at Birla Industrial and Technological Museum.

Four of the seven satellites in IRNSS constellation (IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D) are in orbit. Remaining three satellites (IRNSS-1E, 1F and 1G) are targeted for launch during January 2016 to March 2016, he said.

“Once the constellation is completed, we need some time to establish the accuracy part, validation and other things. The advantage is that the navigation range has been designed to span around 1,500 km radius around India,” he said.

“GPS is not available at all places. Signal is weak in remote areas but our own signal will be available in remote areas with better accuracy.”

As an example of the app-based positioning service, Karnik said, it will help in effective management of fleet movement.

“Monitoring and effective management of fleet of trucks or ship monitoring will be done through spacecraft. For example, for ships the system can inform which route will be more effective. That will save time and fuel,” he said.

(IANS)

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