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India to launch new Cartosat-2, 28 foreign satellites in December

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ISRO
India to launch new Cartosat-2, 28 foreign satellites in December

India would launch its latest remote sensing satellite in Cartosat-2 series along with 28 foreign satellites riding piggy-back in December, a top space official said on Monday.

“In the next launch, we have a Cartosat along with 28 international commercial satellites, which we will launch in the second half of December,” said S. Rakesh, the Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

There will be 25 nano satellites and three micro satellites from the US and other countries as co-passengers along the space firm’s own satellite of the Cartosat-2 series, he said.

The satellites will be launched into the orbit onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Rakesh added.

The next launch will be keenly watched as it comes after ISRO’s PSLV rocket failed to deploy a spare navigation satellite on August 31. The rocket’s heat shield had failed to separate leaving the satellite inside the shield.

The Cartosat-2 is an earth observation satellite that is capable of providing high-quality images.

Imageries from Cartosat-2 series are used for cartographic, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and man-made features and other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.

The previous satellite (Cartosat-2E) in the series was launched on February 15 this year from the spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90km northeast of Chennai.(IANS)

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Humanity’s days are numbered, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will cause mass extinction, warns Stephen Hawking

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Scientist Stephen Hawking giving his views on the danger of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Scientist Stephen Hawking giving his views on the danger of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

London, Nov 3: Earth is becoming too small and humanity is bound to self-destruct, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing us as the dominant being on the planet, according to scientist Stephen Hawking.

Professor Hawking says that our time on Earth is numbered after we passed the point of “no return”.

The theoretical physicist says that developments in AI have been so great that the machines will one day be more dominant than human beings, express.co.uk reported.

He told Wired Magazine: “I fear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) may replace humans altogether. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself.

“This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”

Hawking, 75, said that humans need to leave Earth if we are to continue as a species.

He said a new space programme should be humanity’s top priority “with a view to eventually colonising suitable planets for human habitation”.

This will allow us to leave Earth and colonise another planet to ensure our survival, otherwise there will be “serious consequences”.

Professor Hawking added: “I believe we have reached the point of no return. Our earth is becoming too small for us, global population is increasing at an alarming rate and we are in danger of self-destructing.”

Last year, at the opening of Cambridge University’s artificial intelligence centre, Professor Hawking said that AI could either be the best or worst invention humanity has ever made.

“This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”

“The potential benefits of creating intelligence are huge. We cannot predict what we might achieve, when our own minds are amplified by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one – industrialisation.

“And surely we will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty. Every aspect of our lives will be transformed, In short, success in creating AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation.

“But it could also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. Alongside the benefits, AI will also bring dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many.” (IANS)

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NASA: Earth’s Ozone Hole Shrinks to Smallest Since 1988

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NASA
NASA: Earth's Ozone Hole Shrinks to Smallest Since 1988 (VOA)

Washington: The ozone hole over Antarctica shrank to its smallest peak since 1988, NASA said Thursday. The huge hole in Earth’s protective ozone layer reached its maximum this year in September, and this year NASA said it was 7.6 million square miles (19.6 million square kilometers). The hole size shrinks after mid-September.

This year’s maximum hole is more than twice as big as the United States, but it’s 1.3 million square miles smaller than last year and 3.3 million square miles smaller than 2015.

FILE - A false-color view of total ozone over the Antarctic pole is seen in this NASA handout image released Oct. 24, 2012. The purple and blue colors are where there is the least ozone. The average area covered by the Antarctic ozone hole in that year was the second smallest in two decades, at 8.2 million square miles; in September 2017, it was 7.6 million square miles.

[ FILE – A false-color view of total ozone over the Antarctic pole is seen in this NASA handout image released Oct. 24, 2012. The purple and blue colors are where there is the least ozone. The average area covered by the Antarctic ozone hole in that year was the second smallest in two decades, at 8.2 million square miles; in September 2017, it was 7.6 million square miles ].

Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said stormy conditions in the upper atmosphere warmed the air and kept the chemicals chlorine and bromine from eating ozone. He said scientists haven’t quite figured out why some years are stormier — and have smaller ozone holes — than others.

“It’s really small this year. That’s a good thing,” Newman said.

Newman said this year’s drop is mostly natural but is on top of a trend of smaller steady improvements likely from the banning of ozone-eating chemicals in a 1987 international treaty. The ozone hole hit its highest in 2000 at 11.5 million square miles (29.86 million square kilometers).

Ozone is a colorless combination of three oxygen atoms. High in the atmosphere, about 7 to 25 miles (11 to 40 kilometers) above the Earth, ozone shields Earth from ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

Scientists at the United Nations a few years ago determined that without the 1987 treaty, by 2030 there would have been an extra 2 million skin cancer cases. They said that overall, the ozone layer is beginning to recover because of the phase-out of chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans. (VOA)

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Thane (Maharashtra) to be assessed for implementing district cooling system

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Thane (Maharashtra) to be assessed for implementing district cooling system (Image:wikipedia)

Chennai, November 2, 2017: Thane in Maharashtra will be the first Indian city to be assessed for potential for implementation of district cooling system, said the Indian subsidiary of Danish company Danfoss A/S.

In a statement issued here, Danfoss Industries said: “As part of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, six cities in India including Thane, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Rajkot, Coimbatore and Bhopal have been chosen to explore District Energy systems.”

 “Thane – also part of the Central Government’s Smart Cities Mission – will be the first city to be assessed for its potential for implementation of the district energy system,” it said.

Simply put, district cooling is a system where water is chilled at a central place and is sent to various buildings via pipelines to cool indoor air using the air conditioning system there.

According to Danfoss, district cooling systems are energy efficient and would reduce total power consumption for cooling buildings.

The water is not for human consumption.

“With the Central Government’s vision to build 100 smart cities and the UN’s District Energy in Cities initiative, we are certain that the six pilot projects of District Cooling which are being launched today, will serve as an inspiration for the rest of the country,” Ravichandran Purushothaman, President, Danfoss Industries was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Danfoss has implemented both, district cooling and district heating technologies around the globe and we are now looking to showcase this expertise in India as well,” he added.(IANS)