Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Апрель 2011 г.
Дайджест за другие годы
2011 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь
    С Байконура запущена ракета-носитель "Союз-ФГ" с кораблем "Гагарин" ("Союз ТМА-21"), на борту которого в полугодовую командировку на Международную космическую станцию (МКС) отправилась новая экспедиция. Корабль получил имя в честь 50-летия со дня полета в космос Юрия Гагарина.

Fifty years ago this month, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human ever to fly in space. And he has just gone back - if in name only.
Today (April 4), Russia launched three spaceflyers aboard a Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft that has been christened "Gagarin" to honor cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and his historic flight, which took place on April 12, 1961. The Soyuz blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:18 p.m. EDT (4:18 a.m. April 5 local time) from the same launch pad used during Gagarin's historic flight.
The Soyuz "Gagarin" is carrying two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut to the International Space Station, where they will join three spaceflyers already there, rounding out the orbiting lab's Expedition 27. Docking is set for Wednesday, April 6. The Soyuz's booster rocket was decorated in grand style for the flight, with a larger-than-life likeness of Gagarin gracing its metal hull, along with the cosmonaut's name and a big, bold "50".
"This is the first time that, that vehicle will be named after someone, and as soon as we learned that this would be the case, especially that Yuri Gagarin's name will be used to name a Soyuz spacecraft, we were very happy," said cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev, who is commanding the Soyuz TMA-21 flight and is making his first trip to space. "I believe this is a very important event and we are very proud of our country, as well as for our cosmonautics."
First human in space
Gagarin's flight marked a stinging defeat for the United States in its escalating Cold War space race with the Soviet Union. And it reopened wounds first inflicted by the Soviets' surprise launch of Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite, in October 1957.
But those were different times. Today, 50 years later, the Soviet Union no longer exists, and Russia and the U.S. have been longtime partners in human spaceflight. Russia launched the first piece of the International Space Station into orbit in 1998, and NASA followed with the outpost's first U.S. module soon after.
So NASA astronauts and officials don't begrudge the Russians their celebration.
"We're always happy to see our partners succeed and mark significant milestones," said NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries. NASA astronaut Ron Garan - who is the American flying aboard the "Gagarin" - voiced similar sentiments.
"It really is just an incredible honor to be a part of this anniversary," Garan said in a recent NASA interview. "I truly believe that on April 12, 1961, humanity became a different species. I mean, humanity was no longer bounded … to the confines of Earth on that day." [Biggest Revelations of the Space Age]
NASA has other reasons of its own to celebrate April 12.
"It also happens to be the 30th anniversary of the first [space] shuttle mission, so we'll of course be marking that," Humphries told SPACE.com.
While Gagarin's name lives on, the man himself died tragically young. His plane crashed during a military training mission in 1968, killing the cosmonaut at the age of 34.
Station's new crew
The Soyuz "Gagarin" was originally set to launch March 29, but a glitch with its radio communications system pushed the flight back to April 4. The spacecraft will carry Samokutyaev, Garan and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko, who is making his first spaceflight.
The new crew will meet up with the orbiting lab's current residents - cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, and European spaceflyer Paolo Nespoli.
Kondratyev, Coleman and Nespoli have been on the station since December and are scheduled to return to Earth next month, while the "Gagarin" crew - and the spacecraft itself - will return home in September, NASA officials said.
Gagarin's lasting legacy
In 1961, Gagarin launched inside a spherical Vostok capsule, orbited Earth once, then parachuted to a landing 108 minutes later in a Russian field.
The accomplishment was a serious blow to American pride. On May 5, 1961 - less than a month after Gagarin's flight - the U.S. countered with a manned mission of its own, sending Alan Shepard up in a Freedom 7 spacecraft.
The Expedition 27 spaceflyers will therefore get a special opportunity: marking the 50th anniversaries of Gagarin's and Shepard's flights - as well as the space shuttle's 30th anniversay - while zipping around the Earth at about 17,500 mph (28,163 kph).
"I think [it] is really going to be amazing," Garan said. "It's such an honor."
While Shepard flew in space in May 1961, he didn't reach Earth orbit. His 15-minute suborbital flight splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean just 302 miles (486 km) downrange of his Florida launch site. The United States didn't send an astronaut to Earth orbit until John Glenn's Friendship 7 mission in February 1962.

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    Лауреатами Международной премии "Глобальная энергия" стали российский ученый - академик Филипп Рутберг и профессор Университета Беркли (Калифорния) Артур Розенфельд.

A Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Philipp Rutberg and a US Professor Arthur Rosenfeld have won the Global Energy international prize for this year, says the RIA Novosti news agency in a report.
The prize has been awarded in Russia since 2003 for outstanding energy research.
Philipp Rutberg was awarded for developing energy plasma technologies. Arthur Rosenfeld is known for his innovation and technological research in the field of construction of energy-efficient buildings.

© 2005-2011 Voice of Russia.
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    EurekAlert / 4-Apr-2011
    Russian Tatyana Rautian to be honored with top seismology prize, the Reid Medal
    Russian researcher advanced seismological understanding in former Soviet Union
    • Nan Broadbent, Seismological Society of America
    Всемирно известному сейсмологу, бывшему ведущему сотруднику Института физики Земли АН СССР Татьяне Глебовне Раутиан, ныне живущей в США, присуждена медаль имени Гарри Филдинга Рейда. Сейсмологическое общество Америки вручает эту награду за выдающийся вклад в сейсмологию.

San Francisco, April 5, 2011 - A heavyweight in the field of seismology who drove research efforts in the former Soviet Union, Tatyana Glebovna Rautian will be honored with the Seismological Society of America's Reid Medal, which recognizes contributions to science and society, at the organization's annual meeting held April 13-15 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Often called "The Charles Richter of the former Soviet Union" and "generator of ideas," Rautian has dedicated her life to the development of seismology and science in central Asia. She is widely recognized as a pioneer in the study of earthquake source, in the quantification of the seismic coda and in the discrimination of nuclear explosions from earthquakes.
Rautian studied physics at the University of Leningrad in the late 1940s and early 1950s. She turned her attention to seismology in 1951 when she and her husband, Vitaly I. Khalturin, left the urban research centers of Moscow and Leningrad behind to establish a seismograph station near Garm in the mountains of Tajikistan.
Establishing the research station wasn't easy. In those days, roads were nearly impassable, electricity was only produced by private generators and modern plumbing had yet to appear. Over the 35 years they spent there, Rautian and Khalturin raised five daughters, helped build a seismological observatory that was the world center of earthquake prediction research in the 1960s and 1970s, and worked to train an entire generation of seismologists studying the seismically active areas of Soviet Central Asia.
Isolated from modern technology and seismological literature published in the west, Rautian presented her "energy scale," which estimated the energy radiated by an earthquake, and in contrast to the Richter scale, sought to link magnitude value directly to the energy radiated by the earthquake. The theoretical work was accompanied by the development of a practical set of nomograms used by Soviet scientists for earthquake location and energy determination. Soviet scientists through much of the latter half of the 20th century relied on "Rautian's energy scale" to quantify the size of an earthquake.
Living for four decades surrounded by the Pamir and Tien Shan mountains, Rautian was treated to a dizzying array of seismic sources that surrounded the research facility where she worked in Garm. Her work involved painstaking analysis of thousands of seismograms. She determined magnitudes, measured spectra, determined attenuation factors and analyzed source characteristics for the thousands of earthquakes recorded by Garm's network of seismographs each year. Most of her work was published in Russian-language monographs that were largely inaccessible to scientists outside the Soviet Union.
Rautian's second area of contribution to seismology relates to using coda waves to study the seismic source and the attenuation of seismic waves. Her work was parallel to that carried out by Kei Aki and others in the U.S. during the same time period and brought important new observational insights to the topic.
Rautian was also active in facilitating exchanges in the 1970s between American and Soviet scientists. She and her husband moved to the U.S. in 1993, spending extended research terms at Indiana University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where they continued work on seismic coda and developed new research devoted to distinguishing nuclear explosions from earthquakes. They also interacted with dozens of scholars, students and collaborators from other institutions, providing a fresh perspective for many American seismology students.
SSA is a scientific society devoted to the advancement of earthquake science. Founded in 1906 in San Francisco, the Society now has members throughout the world representing a variety of technical interests: seismologists and other geophysicists, geologists, engineers, insurers, and policy-makers in preparedness and safety.

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    Российско-американская группа ученых выясняет, как изменения климата в северотихоокеанском регионе повлияли на миграцию людей из Сибири в Северную Америку.

ORILLIA - Dr. Florin Pendea brims with enthusiasm when asked about his Siberian dirt.
"I dug this with my bare hands," the goateed-academic tells an inquiring visitor.
The soil in question is a moist column of chocolate-colored peat, excavated from a peninsula in Russia's far east last summer.
Thousands of years old, it contains important evidence of climate change and the impact of volcanic eruptions that once choked the air with ash.
Today the peat sits on a metal table in a third-floor lab at Lakehead University's Orillia campus, where Pendea is an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies.
At his side is Dr. Vera Ponomareva, a senior scientist from the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Together they belong to an international study focusing on how the changing climate of the northern Pacific region led Siberian populations to migrate to North America.
"This will be just one grain in a sea of sand … but it is an important grain," Pendea says of their research.
Ponomareva motions toward an inch-wide strip of light-colored soil, situated deep in the column of excavated earth.
It is a layer of volcanic ash, the result, she says of a sizeable blast.
"This was a large eruption," she says, estimating the material to be about 5,000 years old.
Researchers hope to learn how the region's changing climate impacted the nomadic hunter/gatherers who frequented the area.
"There were periods of time when there were no populations (in the area), at least no populations that left any trace," she adds.
Peat is decomposed plant matter, and pollen found in the captured earth tells its own story, offering researchers insight into the kinds of plants that dominated the landscape during specific periods.
"It will tell you what kind of vegetation there was at the time," says Rebecca Fraser, a Lakehead student and research assistant.
Data culled from this study and others will help researchers better understand climate change and its implications for the future.
"When people say climate change is coming, it is not a Nostradamus prediction," Pendea says.

© Copyright Metroland 2011.
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    The Voice of Russia / Apr 7, 2011
    Landysh to help Japan defeat radiation
    Interview with Sergey Antipov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Safe Nuclear Energy Development, Russian Academy of Sciences
    Идут переговоры об отправке российского плавучего комплекса по переработке жидких радиоактивных отходов "Ландыш" для использования в работах по ликвидации аварии на АЭС "Фукусима".

In 1983, Russia and Japan signed an agreement on providing assistance for the disposal of nuclear arms and the respective technologies, for the purposes of disarmament. Japan provided assistance to Russia within the framework of this agreement.
As part of this cooperation, Japan allocated money, which was used to build a floating plant for the treatment of liquid radioactive waste, LRW.
It has a projected treatment capacity of up to 7,000 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste a year, but I stress that this is for low-radioactivity waste, as opposed to medium, or high radioactivity waste.
Could you explain the difference between those three levels of radioactivity?
Well, depending on the concentration of radio nuclides in the liquid, they are split into three categories. High radioactivity means that a person cannot come into contact with the liquid. Medium radioactivity liquid requires complex treatment technologies, whereas low radioactivity liquids are subject to treatment and purification. The Landysh plant is designed to treat low radioactivity LRW.
Just to explain, the principle is that liquid waste is put through various filters to get rid of hard particles first, then it is treated for liquid additives. Then it is goes through ion-exchange resins and other chemical processes, such as reverse osmosis, etc, etc. All up, this is a long and complex chain of technologies that renders water that, as the newspapers likes to say, is better quality than what's in your tap at home. Whereas everything that's pulled out throughout the process undergoes additional evaporation, leaving behind a concentrated radioactive mass, which has very fine cement added to it. This is then poured into 200 liter metal barrels. So you have these barrels with hard radioactive waste. They can be stored at designated land points without fear of radioactive materials seeping into the sea.
This plant was from the outset designed to be transportable between various areas. However, it spent its entire life at a wharf at the Zvezda plant, where it has never been moved from. So there is no question in principle as to whether or not it can be shifted to Japan, provided, of course, that it is compliant with naval requirements as regards its passage abilities - I don't know whether such tests are carried out annually. The other issue is that the composition of the waste at Fukushima needs to be compatible with the technologies at the Landysh. I've seen in the press that Japan has requested various parameters as regards the Landysh's scope for treatment. Depending on the responses provided by Russia, Japan will decide whether or not to have this facility brought over or not. The process, as I said, is quite expensive and this needs to be factored in.
Meanwhile, our own installation has been developed by the Chemical Institute of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences at a former Navy coastal technical base, which now belongs to Rosatom. This facility operates on the basis of local sorbents, unlike the imported sorbents used on the Landysh, which is why they are so expensive. So they have developed this facility which has a lower theoretical capacity but in actual fact has comparable treatment capacity in practice. Plus size-wise, it is tens, if not hundreds, of times smaller. So given the will and desire of the technical leaders of the project, there is scope to build such modules onto the Landysh. The Fukushima issue is very serious and all means should be used to solve this, and the Landysh is one of them.

© 2005-2011 Voice of Russia.
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    Зачем человеку нужен космос? В преддверии 50-й годовщины первого полета человека в космос на этот вопрос отвечают российские ученые.

The dawning of the space age opened our eyes to the universe and the planet we inhabit, and the ability of humankind to venture beyond Earth's atmosphere triggered a revolution in science - on this there was no disagreement among the Russian scientists interviewed by RIA Novosti in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight.
However, many of the scientists expressed doubts about the need for further manned flights, saying that robots are now the best way to explore space.
View from space
We live at the bottom of an immense ocean of air, protected from harmful radiation and high-energy space particles by the atmosphere and the Earth's magnetic field. But this layer of protection also presents a challenge for astronomers because it only allows a limited range of the electromagnetic spectrum through - the visible light range and some radio waves. Once we were able to propel satellites and spacecraft above the atmosphere, we could see the whole spectrum from gamma rays to long waves.
"Before we couldn't see what the universe looks like in x-ray, ultraviolet and gamma rays as well as in certain radio frequencies. Technological advances allowed us to make new discoveries - things we did not even suspect could exist," said Sergei Yazev, senior fellow at the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Siberian branch.
Igor Mitrofanov, head of the space gamma spectroscopy lab at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Space Research Institute, believes the space age marked "second revolution" in astronomy and astrophysics. Galileo led the first revolution with the invention of the first optical telescope 400 years ago.
"This was the beginning of astronomy conducted from beyond the Earth's atmosphere. We learned that there are many sources of x-ray radiation and gamma rays in space, and that interstellar space is filled with cosmic rays," Mitrofanov said.
Sergei Lamzin, deputy head of Moscow State University's Sternberg State Astronomical Institute, cited gamma-ray bursts and black holes, which can only be seen by the x-rays they emit, as examples of phenomena discovered with satellites.
Once in orbit above the atmosphere, the capabilities of ordinary optical telescopes greatly improve. "The famous Hubble telescope allowed us to see details that are extremely difficult or even impossible to see from the Earth," Yazev said.
Mitrofanov added that this advance allowed astronomers to see more of the universe than ever before and to search for planets orbiting distant stars.
Cosmic neighbors
Spaceflight revolutionized planetary science. Instead of passively observing from Earth, scientists were able for the first time to venture beyond the atmosphere with the latest technology, leading to a myriad of amazing discoveries, such as lunar permafrost and the ocean on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons.
"Spacecraft have reached all the planets in the solar system. They have been used to examine celestial bodies on the ground, collecting samples, taking high-resolution photos of the surface and recording weather data. There was a time when we could only dream of doing such things," Yazev said.
Robots only?
Most of the scientists interviewed by RIA Novosti said that there was no longer any need to send humans into space. Unmanned missions can get the job done.
"Most people in developed countries no longer feel the same patriotic excitement over manned space flights that people used to feel in 1960s and 1970s, with the possible exception of China. Today, being a cosmonaut is an extreme and dangerous profession. It is similar to being a soldier, test pilot, deep-sea submersible pilot, mountain climber and so on. The overall trend in all these professions is to keep people out of danger. Submersible robots and unmanned aerial vehicles, tanks and military machines - they are cheaper and more reliable, " said Vladimir Surdin, senior fellow at the Sternberg State Astronomical Institute.
According to Surdin, human beings cannot compete with robots in space. For example, NASA's Mars rover, Opportunity, has been on the red planet for seven years already. The robotic spacecraft Odyssey has been orbiting the planet for a decade, and Voyager spacecraft have been in use for more than three decades.
"The data-to-cost ratio of these spacecraft is hundreds of times greater than that of manned space missions," the scientist noted.
The effects of space conditions on the human body have been thoroughly studied over the past 50 years, leading Surdin to ask: "Why continue spending huge amounts of money looking into minor details if it is already clear that a manned flight to the Moon is possible while a manned flight to Mars is almost impossible?"
He believes that spending so much money on manned spaceflight is unreasonable. All major tasks are already being carried out by unmanned vehicles, which are becoming increasingly more compact. Manned spaceflight cannot be made similarly efficient.
"Human pilot needs to eat, drink and breathe. They cannot shrink down to the size of Tom Thumb. This is why I believe that the age of manned spaceflight is in its twilight," Surdin said, adding that manned spaceflight should be reserved solely for medical and biological research.
In defense of cosmonauts
Many scientists agree that space research carried out by robots is often cheaper and simpler. However, they do not agree that manned spaceflight is a thing of the past. Our ability to take circumstance-driven decisions and the flexibility of the human brain are irreplaceable in certain situations.
Igor Mitrofanov said that a robotic vehicle can easily take pressure and temperature measurements on Mars but "as missions get more complex human beings will be needed...This is why future exploration missions to the Moon and Mars will be based on an optimal balance between manned and unmanned flights."
Alexander Bazilevsky, head of the Laboratory for Comparative Planetology at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, believes that human beings are irreplaceable where "unconventional thinking" or investigation are needed.
"For example, a highly qualified exobiologist working on exposed rock on Mars may well discover an indication that life once existed there. Human beings are also the only way to investigate a tragedy at a base or colony on another planet," Bazilevsky said. Sergei Lamzin believes that only human pilots can effectively repair or replace failed equipment.
"As time goes by, increasingly complex and expensive equipment will be used in space, which will have to be assembled and tweaked while in orbit. Humans are the only option in the foreseeable future," he said.
He also believes that the race for natural resources will eventually force humankind to explore the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies. There will be flights to distant worlds regardless of the practicality.
"We will keep doing it because it is utterly fascinating," Lamzin said.
"Anyway, it should not be an either-or scenario, manned or unmanned flights. They should complement one another. How to divide the funding between the two is another matter, which depends on economic and political circumstances," Lamzin said.
Another supporter of manned spaceflight is Vladimir Kuznetsov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation.
"The use of cosmonauts in space exploration and the ability to launch manned flights at any time are crucial elements of the space exploration doctrine. We should not abandon the achievements and technology of manned space exploration, accumulated over the past 50 years.
We should build on them, and this will require that we keep planning and carrying out manned flights," Kuznetsov said.
He also believes cosmonauts will be indispensible in future efforts to establish research and transit bases on the Moon.
Sergei Yazev recounted in his interview how in the early 20th century Konstantin Tsiolkovsky believed that it was time for humankind to leave its cradle, the Earth.
"We need to explore new living environments and to learn how to feel comfortable in them. The future of humankind will depend on it," Yazev said. "This is why a continuous human presence in space - at first in orbital stations and later in fixed bases on the Moon and Mars - is necessary. Their payoff will eventually be huge."
Yazev believes that politicians don't properly understand or appreciate space exploration: "Citing a lack of money is unconvincing to me. I believe even the tangential benefits of space exploration programs outweigh the positive effects of Russia's investment in the 2014 Olympics and the 2018 World Cup." He also noted that manned spaceflight requires high-tech production facilities. Continuing manned spaceflights will result in the creation of new jobs and lead to advancements in technology, nuclear energy, the development of new materials, life support systems, communications and environmental protection.
"All this could help Russia take a leading position in the world, to say nothing of the new technology and feeling of national pride it would create. Reports from the Moon and Mars could be more exciting than reports from the Olympic Games, making the endeavor economically viable," the astronomer concluded.

Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily.
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    Во Французской Гвиане завершается строительство стартового комплекса для российских ракет-носителей "Союз". Первый запуск планируется осуществить летом этого года.

Le complexe conçu pour le lanceur Soyouz (du russe - Union), Soïouz ou Soyuz est le nom d'une série de vaisseaux spatiaux russes, imaginés par Sergueï Korolev, utilisés depuis 1967 pour les vols habités. Ce vaisseau succéda au programme au Port spatial de l'Europe en Guyane française est maintenant prêt pour sa première campagne. Hier, l'ESA en a transféré la responsabilité à Arianespace, ce qui marque une nouvelle étape en vue du vol inaugural de cette année.
La construction de l'Ensemble de lancement Soyouz (ELS) a débuté en février 2007, mais les premières excavations et les travaux sur l'infrastructure sol ont été respectivement engagés en 2005 et 2006. Les équipes russes sont arrivées en Guyane française à la mi-2008 pour assembler la table de lancement, le portique mobile, les systèmes de remplissage en ergols et les bancs d'essais. Les deux premiers lanceurs Soyouz sont arrivés de Russie par mer en novembre 2009 afin d'être assemblés dans le nouveau bâtiment de préparation et d'intégration.
Le CNES, l'agence spatiale française, en tant que maître d'œuvre pour les travaux de construction, avec ses partenaires européens et russes, a passé les derniers mois à préparer la qualification de l'ELS. Les essais couvraient tous les éléments mécaniques, fluidiques et électriques, comme les bras ombilicaux de la zone de lancement ou les véhicules d'avitaillement en ergols, ainsi que l'ensemble des bâtiments, y compris le Centre de Lancement qui abritera des équipes combinées franco-russes.
Cette semaine, la "revue d'acceptation" a conclu que le site était prêt à recevoir son premier lanceur. Au même moment, le CNES a livré les installations à l'ESA. La dernière étape cette semaine a été le transfert de l'ESA à Arianespace.
Principales caractéristiques de l'ELS
Pour l'essentiel, ce complexe est identique aux autres sites de lancement du Soyouz au Kazakhstan ou en Russie, bien qu'il ait été adapté pour répondre aux réglementations de sécurité européennes. La plus visible des différences est le portique mobile de 45 m de haut, qui fournit un environnement protégé pour l'installation des charges utiles sur le lanceur une fois celui-ci érigé à la verticale. A l'intérieur, des plates-formes de travail mobiles donnent accès à tous les niveaux du lanceur.
Et maintenant ?
Dorénavant, Arianespace est responsable de l'ELS et va entamer une campagne d'essais ce mois-ci afin de qualifier ses opérations de lancement. Une répétition de lancement va permettre de s'assurer que le Soyouz et les nouvelles installations fonctionnent parfaitement ensemble, tout en donnant aux équipes une occasion de s'entraîner dans des conditions de lancement réalistes.
La campagne de lancement simulée comprendra le transfert du lanceur en zone de lancement, son érection à la verticale et son installation sur le massif, ainsi que les essais des interfaces entre moyens sol et lanceur. Cet ultime série d'essais donnera le feu vert pour le premier lancement de Soyouz depuis la Guyane française au 3e trimestre 2011.

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    Первый запуск ракеты-носителя легкого класса "Ангара-1" и первые летные испытания космического ракетного комплекса (КРК) "Ангара" будут произведены не позднее 2013 года.
    "Ангара" - новое поколение ракет-носителей на основе универсального ракетного модуля с кислородно-керосиновыми двигателями. Включает в себя носители от легкого до тяжелого классов в диапазоне грузоподъемностей от 1,5 до 25 тонн на низкую околоземную орбиту.

Le premier tir du nouveau lanceur spatial russe Angara-1 sera effectué en 2013 au plus tard, a annoncé à Moscou le porte-parole des Troupes spatiales russes Alexeï Zolotoukhine. "Le premier tir de la fusée-porteuse légère Angara-1 et le début des essais en vol des lanceurs de la famille Angara sont programmés pour 2013 conformément au calendrier des travaux de conception d'Angara adopté par le ministère russe de la Défense et l'Agence fédérale spatiale russe (Roskosmos)", a indiqué M.Zolotoukhine devant les journalistes.
Le nom d'Angara désigne toute une famille de lanceurs légers, moyens et lourds, dotés de moteurs à carburant écologique, un mélange de kérosène et d'oxygène. Les lanceurs Angara seront capables de placer des charges utiles de 1,5 t à 25 t sur des orbites basses.

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    Ученые из Института физики полупроводников СО РАН и специалисты Хьюстонского университета США работают над совместным проектом по размещению на Луне энергетических баз. Солнечные батареи планируется сделать из еще несуществующего материала - особых полупроводниковых кристаллов, для выращивания которых запускается вакуумная лаборатория. Передаваться на Землю солнечная энергия будет с помощью лазерного луча.

Plains of solar panels may soon appear on the Moon. They will accumulate solar energy and send it to the Earth. This is a joint project of Russian scientists from the Siberian Institute of Semiconductor Physics and Houston University in the USA.
Alternative energy sources have become real rivals to traditional ones. Last year the USA began the construction of the largest complex of solar power plants in the world, which will allow doubling the volume of all currently produced "clean" energy. Russia is also aware that oil and gas deposits are limited. Apart from that, harnessing energy from oil and gas creates products that pollute the atmosphere. On the contrary, solar energy does not give rise to any of these problems. Solar batteries do not need any fuel and can work off internal resources. They are practically immune from mechanical wear and do not require expensive maintenance, save for maybe dusting the battery surface from time to time. There is one drawback, though: solar batteries on the Earth do not work round-the-clock, they turn off at night and yield little energy on cloudy days. The solution is to station them on the Moon where the sun shines uninterruptedly and there is no dust, mud or clouds, says Oleg Pcheliakov, the director of the Institute of Semiconductor Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences, where the joint Russian-American project is being implemented.
"If we manage to build a station there, which will move along the Moon surface on caterpillar tracks and melt the thin outer layer of the soil, creating effective solar batteries, we will be able to construct a large power plant on the Moon. It will produce electric power from solar light. It is not only human settlements on the Moon, which will become springboards for flights to remote planets, that will be able to use the energy but also here on Earth, regions with little solar radiation where there are no means to build transmission lines."
Solar panels intended to work on the Moon will be made of a material which does not yet exist: special semiconducting crystals. Scientists of the two countries are going to grow them in a vacuum laboratory that will be specially built. And a laser beam will transmit solar energy to the Earth.
Scientists do not yet know when power plants on the Moon will be built. Nevertheless, it is necessary to act promptly. "The future of all vacuum-compatible technologies lies in their relocation to space, - says the director of the Institute of Semiconductor Physics. How soon it will happen will depend on the development of manned space flights".
Prices for oil and gas are growing at present and those for solar panels are falling. By expert estimates, these prices will meet in 2015-2020. Then solar panel plains on the Moon will become necessary, as harnessing energy through them will prove far more profitable.

© 2005-2011 Voice of Russia.
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    Если раньше конкуренция между США и СССР заставляла обе страны вкладывать большие средства в космические полеты и новые технологии, то сейчас более вероятно, что страны займутся космическими экспедициями на условиях партнерства.

On April 12, 1961, Russia started the 20th century space race, sending its first cosmonaut, Yury Gagarin, into orbit for 108 hours aboard the Vostok spacecraft. Fifty years later, the country's president Dimitry Medvedev is talking about the world's next space race: a nuclear powered manned space flight to Mars.
"We still hope to able to travel to other planets," he told Russian television Tuesday during a special Cosmonaut Day celebration dedicated to Yury Gagarin's life. "I don't know how soon we will be able to achieve that, but I think that mankind will always…dream of exploring outer space," he said, adding that space exploration brings scientific and practical benefits to life on Earth. Back in the Soviet era, competition with the US pushed Moscow to invest heavily in space flight and new technology. Today, however, Russia is more likely to partner with the US and other countries to go beyond the shared International Space Station and deeper into the solar system. Medvedev is also talking about manned flights to Mars, and whether they are the first to make the next "giant leap for mankind" is still to be determined. One thing is certain, as a country, Russia is the one talking about it, and putting up the money to boot. Still, it's a hard sell.
Ordinary Russians see little connection between space exploration and national economics. If anything, they see the Roscosmos space agency as a drain on the nation's cash, or as one op-ed writer at Ria Novosti put it, "as if the dark vacuum of space somehow sucked the money right out of their pockets."
Yet, the government is convinced that investing in the final frontier is important. It's 2011 budget of $3.5 billion is almost three times more Roscosmos' 2007 budget, and is the highest amount of money allotted for the space program since the Soviet Union's space program budget back in 1991. Medvedev has said repeatedly this year that investments in space research are a way to diversify Russia's economy. As it stands, Russia is dependent on the oil, gas and mining industries.
Space might be a way Russia can get excited about itself again. With Yury's 50th anniversary celebration providing much of the motivation, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday asked neighboring Ukraine to join forces in building the $800 million Vostochny Space Center in Russia's far east, a launch facility for satellite rockets.
Roscosmos last June began a Mars flight simulation program, locking three Russians, two Europeans and a Chinese astronaut in an 18,800-square-foot, five-module complex to live there in isolation for 17 months, Bloomberg reported on April 5. Russia will need a new rocket to get to Mars, though, and a new launch site to operate manned flights as early as in 2018.
For the past two years, Russia has asked NASA to help with a manned space flight to Mars. NASA is seeking an $18.7 billion budget for next year, though, $300 million less than the funding targeted for this year. So Russia has since turned its focus on China, which made its first successful manned flight in 2003 aboard the Shenzhou spacecraft and plans to put a capsule on the moon in 2013.
Gagarin never made it to the moon. On March 27, 1968, Gagarin was killed in an air crash during a training flight. His ashes were interred in the Kremlin Wall in Moscow.
French astronaut Jean Loup Chretien called Gagarin an "idol" among the old school astronauts. In London, Queen guitarist Brian May said he was teaming up with Tangerine Dream to compose a song dedicated to Gagarin, Ria Novosti reported.
The UN marked April 12 as the first annual International Day of Human Space Flight. "Yuri Gagarin's flight is an inspiration that engenders a quest for excellence; an inspiration that fans the flames of passion to pursue a dream, especially among the young. There is no higher value you can place on his achievement," Mazlan Othman, Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (Wow…there actually is such a thing?), said in a press release.
Last week, on April 5, a rocket carrying the Soyuz TMA-21 "Gagarin" spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur space center. Russia continues skyward.
Meanwhile back in the US, President Barack Obama ended NASA's Constellation program developed under President George W. Bush. It was designed to build spacecraft for a return manned spaceflight to the moon by 2020. The decision was harshly criticized by former NASA astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, saying it would sideline the American space program. With no manned government rockets ready to go, US space programs could be outsourced to private companies who have no means to profit off such costly endeavors.

2010 Forbes.com LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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    MIT Technology Review / 04/11/2011
    Planets Could Orbit Singularities Inside Black Holes
    The discovery of stable orbits inside certain kinds of black hole implies that planets and perhaps even life could survive inside these weird objects, says one cosmologist
    По мнению сотрудника Института ядерных исследований РАН профессора Вячеслава Докучаева, в центре некоторых черных дыр при сочетании определенных условий возникает область, в которой возможно существование пространства и времени.

It's easy to imagine that black holes gobble up everything they encounter, consigning this stuff to eternal oblivion. Right?
Well, not quite. Today, Vyacheslav Dokuchaev at the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow points out that certain black holes can have a complex internal structure. And that this structure ought to allow photons, particles and perhaps even planets to orbit the central singularity without ever getting sucked all the way in.
A black hole is a region of space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape, not even light. However, cosmologists have known for some time that there are regions inside charged, rotating black holes where objects such as photons can survive in stable periodic orbits. Dokuchaev's contribution is to study these orbits in detail and to explore their dynamics. One of the problems that would at first seem to scupper any chance of planetary orbits inside a black hole is the way that the dimensions of space and time behave.
It's well known that a traveller passing through a black hole's event horizon arrives in a region in which the radial dimension becomes time-like, rather than space-like. Conventional orbits are clearly impossible here.
But travel further in and there is another horizon where the dimensions switch back again (at least, inside charged and rotating black holes). This is the inner Cauchy horizon and it's beyond here that Dokuchaev says the interesting orbits for massive planets exist.
He calculates that the stable orbits are nonequatorial and have a rich structure (see picture above). They would also be brightly illuminated by the central singularity and by photons trapped in the same orbit.
That raises an interesting question: whether a planet in such an orbit could support a complex chemistry that is rich enough to allow life to evolve.
Dokuchaev clearly thinks so. "Advanced civilizations may live safely inside the supermassive BHs in the galactic nuclei without being visible from the outside," he says, somewhat speculatively.
Of course, such a civilisation would have to cope with extraordinary conditions such as huge tidal forces and the huge energy density that builds up in these stable orbits as photons become trapped. There's also the small problem of causality violations, which some cosmologists predict would plague this kind of tortured space-time.
Dokuchaev has taken an interesting idea and pushed it as far as he can. It's one I suspect readers can have a lot of fun with too.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1103.6140: Is There Life Inside Black Holes.

© 2011 MIT Technology Review.
* * *
    Россия проведет испытания нового поколения космических кораблей, построит новый космодром и рассмотрит возможность направления после 2035 года пилотируемой экспедиции на Марс. Об этом сообщил глава российского космического агентства Анатолий Перминов.

MOSCOW - Russia will test a next-generation spacecraft, build a new cosmodrome and even consider a manned mission to Mars after 2035, the nation's space chief said Wednesday.
But Anatoly Perminov conceded that Russian spacecraft depend on imported electronics, speaking to lawmakers a day after the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, on April 12, 1961.
"We have to acknowledge that imported components account for 65-70 percent of electronics in the spacecraft launched last year and those set to be launched this year," Perminov told the upper house of Russia's parliament in remarks carried by Russian news agencies. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev vowed Tuesday that space will remain a key government priority, but skeptics said the nation has done virtually nothing to develop a successor to the 43-year-old Soyuz spaceship.
Russia has used the Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, whose designs date back to the 1960s, to send an increasing number of crew and cargo to the International Space Station. They will become the sole link to the space outpost after the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis closes out the U.S. program this summer.
Some cosmonauts warned, however, that while Russia stands to reap short-term benefits from its monopoly in ferrying crews and supplies to the space station, it could quickly fall behind America after the U.S. builds a new-generation Orion spaceship. Russian officials have set a tentative launch of a new spacecraft to replace Soyuz for 2015, but cosmonauts and industry watchers have said its development has barely begun.
Perminov said Russia will need to make at least 15 successful unmanned launches of the new craft, named Rus, before it can carry crew into orbit. He said that program of unmanned tests will take about two years.
Perminov also told lawmakers that Russia this year will start building a new launch pad in Russia's Far East, called Vostochny. Officials have said the first launches from Vostochny are expected in 2015.
Russia is now using the Soviet-built Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for all its manned space flights and a large share of its satellite launches. Russia has a lease on Baikonur until 2050 and has paid around $115 million to Kazakhstan in rent under a 2004 agreement. The Plesetsk launch pad in Russia's north has mostly been used for launches of military satellites.
Asked by lawmakers about prospects for a human flight to Mars, Perminov said it makes little sense at today's level of technology.
"It's absurd to go there using the spacecraft and rockets that we have today," he said.
Perminov said a manned mission to Mars could only be launched around 2035 after new nuclear engines are developed.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
* * *
    Российские ученые изобрели материал, который позволит увеличить срок работы атомных реакторов до 100 лет. Сейчас реакторы рассчитаны примерно на 60 лет.

Les chercheurs russes ont créé un nouvel alliage prolongeant la vie des réacteurs nucléaires pour une durée pouvant aller jusqu'à 100 ans, a annoncé à Saint-Pétersbourg Alexeï Orychtchenko, directeur général de l'Institut Prometeï des matériaux de construction, impliqué dans la création de l'alliage en question. "Il y a quelques jours Rosatom (groupe nucléaire public russe) a décidé d'utiliser ce matériau dans la création de réacteurs pour une nouvelle centrale. Le bureau d'études Gidropress, qui fait partie du groupe nucléaire russe Atomenergoprom, a été chargé de modifier les dessins techniques pour ce réacteur", a déclaré M.Orychtchenko lors d'un duplex Moscou-Saint-Pétersbourg.
Le nouvel alliage a été obtenu lors d'une expérience réalisée à l'usine d'Ijora, a précisé le président de l'Institut Prometeï, Igor Gorynine. "Nous avons réussi à produire un grand lingot de 250 tonnes. Nous avons obtenu des résultats étonnants", a indiqué M.Gorynine. La Russie commencera à utiliser le nouveau matériau après la fin des travaux de construction de la centrale nucléaire de la Baltique dans la région de Kaliningrad. D'une puissance totale de 2.300 MW, les deux blocs de la centrale seront lancés respectivement en 2016 et 2018.
Prolonger la durée d'exploitation des réacteurs nucléaires est une mission stratégique qui permettra de réduire le coût de démantèlement des réacteurs vétustes, selon M.Gorynine. "A présent, démanteler un réacteur coûte autant que d'en construire un autre. Il faut donc prolonger leur longévité", a rappelé le président de l'Institut.

* * *
    Методы борьбы с плесневым грибом Aspergillus flavus разрабатывают сотрудники Департамента сельского хозяйства США и Всероссийского НИИ фитопатологии. Гриб является загрязнителем различных зерновых и масличных культур, вырабатывает афлатоксины, имеющие сильное гепатоканцерогенное действие.

Some crunchy, good-for-you tree nuts like almonds and pistachios are vulnerable to attack by a troublesome mold known as Aspergillus flavus, which can produce cancer-causing natural compounds called aflatoxins.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Albany in the East Bay are fighting back. They have teamed up with colleagues halfway around the globe - in Moscow, Russia - to explore new strategies for destroying A. flavus.
The researchers' anti-Aspergillus tactics might help quell other troublesome fungi as well. That's why this collaboration with the All-Russian Research Institute of Phytopathology in Moscow encompasses not only A. flavus but also several other key fungal foes.
Targeted microbes include, for instance, Fusarium culmorum and Bipolaris sorokiana, both of which can cause root rots and other problems, and Alternaria alternata, which causes leaf spot disease of some crops.
Research leader Bruce Campbell, who heads the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Plant Mycotoxin Research Unit at Albany, developed the international collaboration to quicken discovery of natural compounds that could work in concert with commercial fungicides.
Ideally, the natural compound would make the target fungi more vulnerable to the fungicide.
Studies at Albany, started in 2004 by Mr. Campbell and ARS research molecular biologist Jong Kim, provide strong evidence to support this concept, the USDA says. By reducing the amount of fungicide commonly used today, the strategy may prove to be less costly and more environmentally friendly than conventional approaches, according to Mr. Campbell.
Now, through a formal agreement with South Korea's Rural Development Administration, Mr. Kim and colleagues are collaborating on applications of this groundbreaking technology for use in South Korea.
"Food safety and security is a global issue," says Mr. Kim. "Ensuring that food supplies are free from pathogens and disease benefits everyone, worldwide."
At the Moscow institute, scientists are testing the concept in studies coordinated by Vitaly Dzhavakhiya and Larisa Shcherbakova. In one study, the team paired thymol, a natural compound from thyme, with Folicur (tebuconazole), a commercial fungicide. The researchers determined that adding a very small amount of thymol to Folicur was about twice as effective in reducing growth of A. alternata than applying either thymol alone or the fungicide alone.

Copyright © 2011 Central Valley Business Times.
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