Friday 23 April 1999
But Nasa engineers have shown that smart software can keep aircraft flying, even if some of their control surfaces are disabled. The tests took place at the Dryden Flight Research Center at the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) in California using a modified F-15 fighter aircraft, similar to those used in the Balkans. For the first time, neural nets were shown to be capable of keeping the damaged aircraft under control even at supersonic speeds.
THREE OF the six gyroscopes used by the Hubble Space Telescope to keep its delicate orientation in space have now failed, as confirmed by Nasa this week.
The third gyroscope to fail began to behave erratically in January. Its loss means that the Hubble will have to stop operating if any of its remaining three gyros fail. "Any further gyroscope failure will cause the observatory to go into a protective safe mode that gives ground controllers complete control of the telescope, but prevents its use for taking observations of the sky," Nasa said. A repair mission is scheduled for later this year.
AMERICAN SCIENTISTS plan to land a sundial on Mars so that people can monitor the Martian day via the Internet. The sundial will reach Mars in January 2002, carried on board Nasa's Mars Surveyor spacecraft, and is expected to be positioned near its equator. Much of the fabrication is being done at Arizona State University. The parts will be returned to the University of Washington in Seattle for final assembly, and the sundial is to be delivered to Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena later this year.
This first extraterrestrial sundial will monitor the movements of a shadow over a Martian year, which is twice as long as Earth's. Mars's seasons are exaggerated - the planet's orbit is far more elliptical than that of Earth - so shadows vary greatly in length.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant