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Personal Stargazing Guide

A new application of GPS technology is making star-gazing more accessible. The telescope manufacturer Meade’s mySKY handheld digital astrolabe uses a GPS sensor and a magnetic compass to identify celestial objects.

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Phoenix Rises Above Mars

The first mission intended to “touch and examine water on Mars,” was launched by NASA in August of 2007. The Martian probe Phoenix was scheduled to land in May 2008 near the Martian North Pole. From this location, the Phoenix mission involves direct observation of the water cycle, assessing the history of water on Mars and its effect on weather.

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Land a Lunar Rover, Win Money

A new X PRIZE competition, sponsored by Google, began in 2007. The Google Lunar X PRIZE is a $30 million competition designed to stimulate entrepreneurial activity and investment. The prize will be awarded to the first team able to land a privately funded robotic rover on the lunar surface capable of roaming 500 meters and sending still images, video, and other data back to Earth.

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Deep Space Probes from the Far East

In 2007, a number of robotic probes and planetary landers were launched as several nations developed their space exploration programs. Among these launches were the first lunar orbiters from Japan and China.

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Eye-tracker for Surgeons

University of Pittsburgh researchers have found another solution to the problem of limited bandwidth in telemedicine. A device that tracks the focal point of a surgeon’s eyes has enabled the team to isolate the area of interest in an image.

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Sending Sonograms Through Space

New technologies for decreasing the bandwidth requirements for telemedicine were developed in 2007. More bandwidth, or more efficient use of available bandwidth capacity, opens more types of medical care to telemedicine applications.

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How Bad is Pollution in China?

ESA satellites have been used to monitor air pollution levels in a number of studies, including the measurement of gaseous pollutants in India, and nitrogen dioxide emissions during a traffic restriction event in Beijing, China.

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Space Sensors Measure Aerosol Concentrations

In 2007, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health tested the ability of satellite sensors to measure ground-level aerosol concentrations. Aerosols include the smallest debris resulting from burning fossil fuels. These small particles can be the most dangerous to public health because they are easily absorbed into the blood stream through the lungs.

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