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MIT building low-cost solar concentrator

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	  New ESA satellite starts operations

The European Space Agency says its GIOVE-B satellite 
transmitted its first navigation signals Wednesday. ESA 
scientists called the event a "truly historic step for 
satellite navigation since GIOVE-B (Galileo in Orbit Validation 
Element) is now, for the first time, transmitting the GPS-
Galileo common signal using a specific optimized waveform, 
MBOC (multiplexed binary offset carrier)." That waveform was 
approved in an agreement signed by the European Union and the 
United States for their respective systems, Galileo and the 
future GPS-III.  The 1,100-pound satellite that was launched 
April 27 is continuing testing for Europe's planned $5.3 billion 
global positioning system that is to become operational in 2013.
"Now with GIOVE-B broadcasting its highly accurate signal in 
space we have a true representation of what Galileo will offer 
to provide the most advanced satellite positioning services, 
while ensuring compatibility and interoperability with GPS," 
said Galileo Project Manager Javier Benedicto.

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	 MIT building low-cost solar concentrator

A team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students is 
building a prototype power concentrator with a goal of 
revolutionizing the solar energy field. Led by MIT mechanical 
engineering graduate student Spencer Ahrens, the team is 
assembling a 12-foot-square mirrored dish capable of concentrating 
sunlight by a factor of 1,000. But it's being built from simple, 
inexpensive industrial materials selected for price, durability 
and ease of assembly rather than for optimum performance. Ahrens 
said the goal is to make a dish that, in mass production, can be 
competitive in cost with other energy sources and produce heat 
for space heating and electric power at the same time. "The 
technical challenge here is to make it simple," Ahrens said. 
"We're using all commodity materials that are all in high 
production." Ahrens said the dish, in the Sun Belt, could make 
about 10,000 peak watts of heat and 3,500 peak watts of electricity.
"It's designed for long life -- we hope they will last more than 
30 years with good maintenance -- and for indigenous manufacturing 
in the developing world with minimal tooling," he said.


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	 Platypus genome provides evolution insight

U.S. and British researchers say an analysis of platypus DNA 
holds potential for advances in human disease prevention. 
Researchers said they now have a better understanding of mammalian 
evolution. "With adaptations like webbed feet to fit its aquatic 
lifestyle and the poison spurs that decorate males, the platypus 
represents for many a patchwork of evolutionary development," 
Louisiana State University officials said Wednesday in a news 
release. "Their genomic organization was strange and a little 
unexpected," LSU biologist Mark Batzer said in a statement. "It 
appeared much more bird- and reptile-like than mammalian, even 
though it is indeed classified as a mammal." Batzer said the 
research provides insight into mammalian gene regulation and 
immune systems.


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