|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
Российские и американские ученые планируют запустить космический парусный корабль, работающий только на солнечной энергии. 15-ти метровый парус сделан в виде веера и покрыт зеркальной пленкой. Впервые подобный проект появился еще в 1924 году, более чем за 30 лет до первого успешного запуска ракеты в космос.
American and Russian scientists are planning the ultimate in fuel-economy travel: they hope to launch a space sailing ship driven only by the pressure of sunlight later this year. Cosmos 1, an unfurled fan of 15 metre sails, each far thinner than a rubbish bag but stiffened and coated with mirror material, could be launched from a Russian nuclear missile submarine.
Sail in place of warhead
A rocket designed during the cold war to attack Britain or the U.S. will be fired from beneath the Barents Sea, in northern Russia, with the furled sail in place of its warhead. The Russians will use a second piece of cold war rocketry — designed to take spy satellites out of orbit — to push the spacecraft to its ideal orbit of 800 km, far above the last wisps of the earth's atmosphere. Then it will unfurl its sails. According to theory, as the solar rays hit the mirrored surface of the sails and then bounce away, they will exert pressure. Even in the pure vacuum of space this pressure will be barely perceptible: five millionths of the push exerted, for instance, by an apple in the palm of a hand.
But under this lighter-than-featherweight touch, the spacecraft will begin to move. The 100kg object will accelerate at a barely measurable fraction of a millimetre per second, but will gain speed with every second in the sun. By the end of the first day it will have increased its velocity by 160 km per hour. In 100 days, it could reach 16,000 km per hour.
Cosmos 1 is a venture by the Planetary Society — an independent international group of enthusiasts and space veterans — backed by a film and television company called Cosmos Studios and working with the Russian Academy's space research, Russian contractors and the Russian navy.
Obviating rocket fuel
Space sailing ships were first proposed in 1924, more than 30 years before the first successful rocket launch. Rocket fuel is the biggest single cost in a space mission, and the U.S., European and Japanese space agencies all have solar sailing projects. The first to go up, however, will be an entirely private venture. A suborbital test in 2001 failed, but only because the third stage of the rocket failed to separate. The Cosmos 1 team had hoped to launch last year, and then again earlier this year. Launch could still slip to early 2005. "We had a couple of setbacks in difficulties with the radio system development, and the software testing took longer than planned," said Louis Friedman, the director of the Planetary Society, who once worked on a NASA solar sail project. "Also the Russians, with our agreement, kept adding capabilities to the spacecraft. Progress isn't really slow — developing anything new is a complex process in which hope always exceeds reality."
The best hope is that once launched, Cosmos 1 will spiral away from Earth for a month: proof that theorists got their sums right. The sails could be adjusted like helicopter blades to alter flight direction and speed. Solar sails are, for the moment, the only hope for interstellar missions. Although far slower than a chemically powered rocket, a space clipper would continue to accelerate as long as there was sunlight.
A thing of beauty
A craft like Cosmos 1 could reach Pluto in five years. The fastest orthodox mission planned so far would take nine years. Ann Druyan, wife of the late astronomer and writer Carl Sagan, said: "If Cosmos 1 succeeds it will be visible throughout much of the world to the naked eye, a signal flare of hope for the wise use of science and high technology. Over the past four years I've imagined Cosmos 1's vast silvery sails unfurling in space countless times. If it does come to pass, it will be a thing of beauty and a milestone of progress on the long human journey to the stars".
Copyright © 2004, The Hindu
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News-Medical.Net / Sunday, 5-Sep-2004
Yellow glasses save vision
Blue light destroys certain structural elements in the eye, as was revealed by the Russian research team. The mechanism of this effect was studied, and protective measures were offered.
Группа российских ученых под руководством академика Михаила Островского обнаружила, что синий цвет – точнее, синяя часть спектра – разрушает некоторые структурные элементы глаза. Для нейтрализации вредного воздействия созданы очки янтарного цвета, которые не только защищают глаза, но и улучшают зрение.
The work was supported jointly by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE). Frankly, the results arising from the long-term study conducted by the team headed by Academician Michael Ostrovsky are rather upsetting. Blue colour of the sky, sea, blue shadows on the snow, radiant blue of thaw water puddles in spring - all that turns out to be bad for our eyes. Probably, dazzling glow of blue diamonds and sapphires is harmful too, though this influence is not very widespread.
In essence, the scientists have revealed the following. Firstly, they observed the effects of main spectral components of white light on eye structures at the cellular and molecular levels. Then, it was revealed that the light is not only an information source, but also quite a powerful destructive agent. Some cells of the retina and pigmented epithelium generate free radicals upon irradiation by certain rays of the spectrum. Those structures of the eye are absolutely indispensable for normal vision, but they degrade with aging. Free radicals are highly aggressive and chemically attack healthy cells of the eye often causing irreversible changes to them. A combined effect of free radicals and oxygen is even more harmful: essential eye cells either undergo oxidation, or become glued together by chemical bonds, or get immobilized, or get damaged in some other way.
One may suppose that some natural mechanism for protection from such kinds of light-induced damages should exist, since the eye developed in course of evolution under relatively stable conditions of lightening. The research has proved that, actually, there are three protective mechanisms. Primarily, this is the lens. It normally is somewhat yellowish, hence extinguishing the most part of ultraviolet and shortest waves of the visible spectrum. Secondly, directly behind the pupil is a small yellow-coloured spot on the retina that is the area of greatest visual perception and also another natural colour filter. And, finally, the third protective structure is the pigmented epithelium.
As a result of such a "triple extinguishing", the major portion of blue light that is most harmful for the retina is filtered. With aging, the natural protective mechanisms weaken and fail to perform properly. In case of a disease of the retina, irreversible damages caused by blue light are especially dangerous. In such a situation, the scientists propose certain aid for the eyes. Knowing the wave lengths particularly harmful for eyes, the researchers designed special glasses that are analogous to the natural colour-filtering structures of the eye. Such glasses have an amber colour, from light to dark yellow, depending on the intensity of sunlight and the degree of eye damage.
It is curious that such glasses not only protect eyes, but also strengthen the vision. This phenomenon is familiar to professional photographers that often use yellow colour-filters in order to obtain a more precise image.
Project Manager Michael Ostrovsky told our correspondent that his team in co-operation with colleagues from the Upper Volga Company have made two trial series of glasses and performed their technical testing. By the present time, they have completed the design of medicinal colour-filtering glasses for retina dystrophy patients and colour-contrast glasses to be prescribed in case of significant loss of vision. Clinical tests will be performed in the nearest future. Both inventions are now assessed by experts from the Committee for New Medical Equipment of the Health Ministry of Russian Federation. The inventors are sure that such glasses should be available for all people.
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ternova.com. / lundi 6 septembre 2004
La Région Limousin noue un partenariat avec la région russe de Kalouga
Губернатор Калужской области Анатолий Артамонов и председатель Регионального совета Лимузена Жан-Поль Денано подпишут соглашение о сотрудничестве в области экономики и технологических исследований. Это соглашение, равно как и посещение французских предприятий, является частью программы визита в Лимузен российской делегации 4-8 сентября.
Le gouverneur de la Région de Kalouga (Russie), Anatoly D. ARTAMONOV et le Président du Conseil régional du Limousin, Jean-Paul DENANOT, signeront une convention de coopération le mardi 7 septembre 2004 à 11 heures en salle d'Assemblées de l'Hôtel de Région.
"L'objectif de cette convention est de fixer le cadre d'un processus de coopération à moyen et long terme entre ces deux régions partenaires, de saisir des opportunités économiques et d'assurer de bonnes conditions pour les transferts de technologies" explique-t-on à l'Agence Régionale de Développement (A.R.D.) à l'origine de ce nouveau programme de développement.
Distante de Moscou, d'à peine 130 km, la région de Kalouga (1,5 million d'habitants), est la cinquième région de la Fédération de Russie quant aux effectifs des personnels engagés dans la recherche et l'innovation.
La région de Kalouga qui abrite la "première ville des sciences de la fédération de Russie", OBNINSK, est dotée d'une base scientifique solide et de centres de recherche très réputés, notamment le centre de recherche physico-énergétique (FEI), le centre de radiologie médicale, une succursale de l'Institut physico-chimique, les centres de recherche "technologia", spécialisé, entre autres, dans les matériaux composites, et différents instituts de météorologie agricole, de radiologie et d'aéroécologie. Les principaux secteurs de performance de la ville d'Obninsk sont ainsi le nucléaire (civil, scientifique et médical), les matériaux composites, les systèmes de simulation, et l'hydrométéorologie.
La signature de cette convention de coopération entre la Région Limousin et la Région de Kalouga ne sera toutefois qu'un moment dans un programme plus vaste de cette nouvelle visite en Limousin d'une délégation de la région Russe qui se déroulera du 4 au 8 septembre. Dans le cadre de ce séjour la délégation conduite par Anatoly ARTAMONOV - gouverneur de la région de Kalouga - et Nikolai LUBIMOV - ministre de l'économie de la région - rendra visite à différentes entreprises comme Madrange, Cerlase, Ceramic Wistra, la coopérative viticole "Mille et une Pierres", Transplumes ainsi que la Pôle de Lanaud et la Technopôle ESTER.
Cette nouvelle visite officielle en Limousin, d'une délégation de la région russe de Kalouga fait suite à différentes initiatives prises depuis deux ans par l'Agence Régionale de Développement. Une première délégation de chefs d'entreprises et d'officiels d'Obninsk, avait séjourné en Limousin au mois de juin 2003. On avait alors parlé de "perspectives de futurs partenariats". Au mois d'octobre suivant dans le cadre de l'exposition France Tech, regroupant à Moscou quelque 150 entreprises françaises, une délégation limousine, conduite par le directeur de l'Agence Régionale de Développement, Michel DELAU, avait fait le détour par Obninsk. Rencontres fructueuses puisqu'au printemps 2004 les présélections "pays de l'Est" qui se déroulaient à Obninsk, pour participer au Festival International du Webdesign se déroulant à Limoges avaient réuni pas moins d'une trentaine de concurrents. C'est d'ailleurs dans le cadre de ce festival international se déroulant à Ester Technopôle que le maire d'Obninsk, Igor MIRONOV, et le Président du Conseil Régional du Limousin, président également de l'Agence Régionale de Développement, Jean-Paul DENANOT, avaient signé un premier "protocole d'intention", suivi au mois de juillet dernier par la présence à Limoges d'une nouvelle délégation de la région de Kalouga venue participer à une journée de promotion économique baptisée "Pays Russie", conjointement organisée par la Direction Régionale du Commerce Extérieur, la Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Limoges et l'Agence Régionale de Développement.
Copyright ternova.com. Tous droits réservés 1999-2003
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ITAR-TASS / 14.09.2004
Int'l conf on energy coop of Asian countries opens in Irkutsk
14 сентября в Иркутске открылась Международная конференция "Энергетическая кооперация в Азии: межгосударственная инфраструктура и энергетические рынки". В конференции принимают участие ученые и эксперты из России, Монголии, Кореи, Японии и других стран.
IRKUTSK, September 14 (Itar-Tass) - - The international conference "Energy cooperation in Asia: interstate structure and energy markets" has opened in Irkutsk on Tuesday. Scientists and experts from Russia, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea, Japan and other countries take part in the conference.
As chairman of the conference organizing committee, director of the Institute of Power Engineering Systems of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolai Voropai said, about 50 reports embracing the whole spectrum of the main problems of the present day world power engineering are presented at the conference.
They are connected with the interstate integration of the fuel and energy complex, creation of a corresponding infrastructure and markets. Participants in the conference intend to discuss developing projects and technological decisions on the joint creation of electric lines, as well as gas and oil pipelines.
"The conference will be held within the framework of the Baikal Economic Forum which begins its work on Wednesday. And it's logical because energy cooperation is one of the basic links of the globalisation process of different states' economies," said Nikolai Voropai.
© ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved.
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Interfax / 14.09.2004
Russia needs to invest $14 bln in oil exploration in Siberia, Far East
На разработку месторождений нефти в Сибири и на Дальнем Востоке России необходимо 14 мрд. долларов, заявил в своем выступлении на 4-й международной конференции "Энергетическая кооперация в Азии: межгосударственная инфраструктура и энергетические рынки" директор Института геологии, нефти и газа Алексей Конторович.
Irkutsk, (Interfax) - Russia needs to invest some $14 billion in the exploration of oil fields in Siberia and the Far East to fill a pipeline to the Japanese coast with a branch to Daqing, in China, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Siberian branch of the Institute of Geology, Oil and Gas Alexei Kontorovich said.
"This is 2%-3% of oil sales, while foreign companies spend up to 10% on this," he said at the fourth international conference on energy cooperation in Asia, which opened in Irkutsk on Tuesday.
Existing reserves are not sufficient to fill the pipeline with 80 million tonnes per year, of which 30 million tonnes to Daqing and 50 million tonnes to Nakhodka, as originally planned, Alexander Safronov, director of the Institute of oil and gas problems in Yakutia, said at the conference. He said the degree of oil exploration in Eastern Siberia, Yakutia and the Far East is 4.4%. Of the forecast 19.15 billion tonnes of reserves, A+B+C1 accounts for 846 million tonnes and C2 for 908 million tonnes. Eastern Siberia has the largest forecast reserves of 10.19 billion tonnes and their degree of exploration does not exceed 3.8%. Oil production could reach 55 million - 61 million tonnes a year in Eastern Siberia and Yakutia by 2030. It was 0.44 million tonnes in 2003. The production level is estimated to be 5 million - 10 million tonnes in 2010 and 55 million - 60 million tonnes in 2020, Safronov said.
Fields in Krasnoyarsk territory will produce 40 million - 45 million tonnes in 2030. Production was 0.08 million tonnes in 2003. Irkutsk region and Yakutia could produce 7 million - 8 million and 8 million - 9 million tonnes respectively. Production was 0.03 million and 0.33 million tonnes respectively in 2003. The priority oil pipeline projects should be Yurubcheno-Tokhomskaya (in Krasnoyarsk territory) - Poima; Taishet - Ust - Kut; Talakan (in Yakutia) - Verkhny Chon (Irkutsk region); and also building the Ust-Kut oil loading railway terminal, Safronov said.
He also predicted that oil consumption in Eastern Siberia, Yakutia and in the Far East would be 35 million - 40 million tonnes in 2030, against 14.9 million tonnes in 2003. Oil consumption in the Asian and Pacific region will grow to 2.35 billion - 2.48 billion tonnes from 1.049 billion tonnes.
© 1991-2004 Interfax Information Services. All rights reserved
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The Taipei Times / Tuesday, Sep 14, 2004
Mathematical dilemma is solved at last ... perhaps
Одна из "семи математических задач тысячелетия", возможно, решена. Речь идет о гипотезе или задаче Пуанкаре, сформулированной французским математиком Анри Пуанкаре в 1904 году. Институт математики Клэя (Кембридж, штат Массачусетс) даже обещал за ее решение премию в миллион долларов. Сотрудник лаборатории геометрии и топологии Санкт-Петербургского отделения Математического института им. В.А. Стеклова Григорий Перельман опубликовал несколько работ, в которых предложил вариант решения задачи, хотя окончательные выводы делать еще рано.
One of the seven great unsolved mysteries of mathematics may have been cracked by a reclusive Russian who is not remotely interested in the million-dollar prize his solution could win him.
The Poincare Conjecture involves the study of shapes, spaces and surfaces and makes predictions about the topology of multi-dimensional objects. Basically, it says that a three-dimensional sphere can be used in an analogous way to describe higher-dimensional objects that are impossible to visualize. Since Henri Poincare suggested the theorem in 1904, some of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century have struggled to prove it either right or wrong. All have failed. But now the world of maths is buzzing with the news that an answer might at long last have been found.
Dr Grigori Perelman, from the Steklove Institute of Mathematics at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg, has published two papers offering a solution to a larger-scale problem called the Geometrization Conjecture. This is also concerned with geometry, and experts say that contained within it is proof that the Poincare Conjecture works. If Perelman can satisfy his peers that this is the case, he stands to win a US$1 million dollar cash prize from the Clay Mathematics Institute in the US. The Institute is offering million dollar prizes for solutions to each of the mathematical conundrums it calls the Seven Millennium Problems. But there is a more fundamental problem the general community of mathematicians needs to solve first. Perelman does not seem to be interested.
Dr Keith Devlin, a leading mathematician from Stanford University in California, explained: "He's very reclusive, and won't talk to anyone. He's shown no indication of publishing this as a paper, and he's shown no interest in the prize whatsoever."
"Has it been proved? We don't know, but there's good reason to think it has been. My guess is that in about 12 months people will start to say okay, this is right, but there's not going to be a golden moment."
Perelman published his two papers in November 2002 and March last year. A third is yet to be published. If the conjecture was proved it would have profound ramifications, he told the British Association Festival of Science at the University of Exeter.
Scientists working on the frontiers of cosmology and physics frequently deal with hyperdimensions. A solution to the Poincare Conjecture would greatly increase their understanding of the shape of the universe. "It can't fail to have enormous implications; it will just be huge." He said solving mathematical problems such as the Poincare Conjecture was more like writing a story than doing a sum, which was why it took so long.
"It's just so damn complicated, he said. It really can take two or three years to certify the thing."
Proving the Poincare Conjecture would be the first great mathematical breakthrough since Andrew Wiles solved Fermat's Last Theorem in 1994. This year, Professor Louis de Branges de Bourcia, from Purdue University in the US, claimed to have proven another of the Millennium Problems called the Riemann Hypothesis. The hypothesis is a 150-year-old theory about prime numbers - numbers that divide only by one and themselves and are considered the atoms of arithmetic. De Branges claimed to have confirmed a conjecture made by the German mathematician Bernhard Riemann in 1859 about the way prime numbers were distributed. But, unlike in the case of Poincare Conjecture, the worlds mathematicians are becoming increasingly convinced that he has got it wrong.
Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, said: "The mathematical community is skeptical whether the methods of Louis de Branges are capable of proving the Riemann Hypothesis."
If de Branges turned out to be right, it would have a dramatic impact on both global business and national security. Encrypted codes are based on the randomness of prime numbers. If a system could be found that made them predictable, no secret would be safe.
"What mathematics has been missing is a sort of maths prime spectrometer, like the machine chemists use to tell them what things are made of," said du Sautoy. "If we had something like that it would bring the world of e-commerce to its knees overnight."
Copyright © 1999-2004. The Taipei Times. All rights reserved.
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Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand / 15 September 2004
Warming a hot topic among Arctic scientists
В западной части Арктики работает совместная российско-американская экспедиция. Основная цель – изучение влияния глобального потепления именно на это район, где Берингов пролив соединяет Тихий океан с Северным Ледовитым.
ABOARD THE PROFESSOR KHROMOV: On a cloudy day in the Chukchi Sea near Alaska's northwestern coast, two marine biologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Zoological Institute pulled up a small crab that could be proof the Arctic is growing warmer.
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Boris Sirenko and Sergei Gagayev spent much of a recent voyage through Arctic waters leaning over the starboard side of their research ship, dredging the sea floor for crustaceans. The so-called graceful decorator crab, or Oregonia gracilis, had never been found anywhere near this cold northern water. "It's real evidence of warming – maybe," Sirenko said in his cabin aboard the Professor Khromov research vessel.
The duo were part of a rare joint US-Russian expedition through the western Arctic to study the impact of global warming in the only region where the two nations share a border. But it could be years before the biological, physical and chemical data are pieced together to form an accurate picture.
The narrow Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska is the only gateway where Pacific Ocean waters flow into the Arctic. Scientists are worried about dramatic loss of ice cover in the last quarter century and suspect changing climate and atmospheric pressure as well as warm ocean currents moving further north are to blame. Using satellite images, recent NASA-funded research has shown that Arctic sea ice that lasts through the summer is shrinking by 9 per cent a decade, reaching a low in 2002. This has major implications for the rest of the world as sea levels rise with the melting of glaciers on land and coastlines erode. In the Arctic, some stocks of fish and other marine life have diminished, possibly due to the changes.
Governments are agonizing over how to cut emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, thought to be speeding the warming. But here, where even in late summer the sky stays light for nearly 24 hours a day, distrust between Russia and the United States long kept exploration to a minimum.
EXPLORATION HAS LAGGED
Hence the expedition, arranged by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Russian Academy of Sciences.
"NOAA is dedicated to setting up observation networks around the world in the oceans, and the Arctic is an area that has been really under-observed in comparison to everything else," said Kathleen Crane, the agency's coordinator on the trip. There have been studies of the black, churning waters of the western Arctic, but little coordinated research bringing together several disciplines from both countries.
Twenty Russian scientists and 15 from the United States sampled zooplankton, fish and crustaceans at various depths across a huge area of the Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea. Researchers also ran high-tech pressure, temperature and organic content test of the sea in the first of what is hoped will be a series of studies.
"That's how we set it up – to be able to come back on a regular basis and to monitor and observe over a fairly long period," Crane said as she watched live images of starfish from a remotely operated Russian video camera on the Chukchi seabed. This is why no one is jumping to conclusions about the crab. Perhaps it existed undiscovered in this under-explored region for a long time, she said.
HIGH SEAS CLIMATE DEBATE
Sirenko, head of marine research at his St Petersburg institute, is sure that isn't the case. He is skeptical, though, that global warning is a recent phenomenon. He pointed to a passage from a 1952 Russian textbook describing a warming trend north of the Bering Strait. "It is a usual change of climate with humanity or without humanity," he said.
His view is only part of a huge spectrum of opinion on the hot topic, even among scientific colleagues on the Khromov. Igor Lavrenov, head of the oceanographic division at the Russian academy's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, is convinced of rising average temperatures and changing currents in the last 10 years.
"There are variations, but there is a trend," he said on the deck of the Khromov as it steamed north on a sunny evening. "In the Arctic, the biggest evidence is a reduction in the total average coverage of ice."
Russian scientists and their American counterparts dropped monitoring equipment in western waters of the Bering Strait, which will provide further clues to a high-stakes mystery. It has been a decade since instruments to gauge water temperature and currents were anchored there.
"I believe that the time will be long enough within one year to get some conclusions," Lavrenov said. "But in general, I believe that we will find some differences and the differences will be connected to the climate changing."