sexta-feira, 25 de junho de 2010
Germany's new radar satellite, TanDEM-X, has returned its first images.
The spacecraft was launched from Kazakhstan on Monday on a mission to make the most precise 3D map of the Earth's surface.
The pictures demonstrate the platform is in excellent health and ready to team up with the TerraSAR-X satellite launched in 2007.
Together, the pair will trace the variation in height across the globe to a precision of better than two metres.
This digital elevation model (DEM) will support a multitude of applications, such as the programming of navigation computers in military jets to enable them to fly ultra low. The data will also be given to relief workers to show them where an earthquake has wrought most damage in a city.
Infoterra GmbH, the company with exclusive rights to commercialize the TanDEM information, says the market for radar products is steadily growing.
The new images depict a landscape in Ukraine, the north of Madagascar, and Moscow.
The pictures illustrate neatly the particular specialism of using radar to sense the planet's surface.
In the Madagascan data, for example, the choppiness of the waves in the open stretches of the Indian Ocean can be contrasted with the smooth reflection of the radar signal from the enclosed, clam waters of the Baie de Diego.
And in the image of Moscow-Sheremetyevo airport, the flat concrete surfaces of the runways appear as black lines because the radar beam has been very efficiently reflected away from the satellite.
TanDEM-X is flying in a polar orbit that is ever so slightly inclined to the one occupied by TerraSAR-X, some 514km above the planet.
The intention is to make TanDEM-X fly an extremely tight helix around its more established sibling. This should be achieved by October. At times, the two satellites will be separated by as little as 200m.
The pair's radars work by constantly bouncing microwave pulses off the ground and sea surface. By timing how long the signal takes to make the return trip, the instruments can determine differences in height.
The compact orbital dance will give the pair "stereo vision", by enabling them to operate an interferometric mode in which one spacecraft acts as a transmitter/receiver and the other as a second receiver.
Three-dimensional image acquisition is expected to start in earnest in January.
The seamless DEM of the Earth's surface will be built up over three years of joint operations. Ultimately, it should have a vertical resolution of 1-2m and a spatial resolution of 12m - far superior to any previous global data set.
The TerrSAR-X/TanDEM-X venture is operated on the basis of a public-private partnership. The Germany's space agency (DLR) owns the hardware; satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium has developed and built the technology; and Infoterra GmbH processes and sells the data.
Ontario (Reuters) - The world's richest economies, burdened with debt after spending their way out of the credit crisis, papered over differences on Friday on how to clean up their finances with minimal damage to growth.
Leaders from the Group of Eight, a club that spans the large industrialized nations and Russia, met in Canada ahead of a broader summit with China and other rising economic powers of the G20, now the world's dominant economic policy forum.
Washington appeared to be at loggerheads with Berlin in the run-up to the Canada summits. U.S. officials expressed concerns that a nascent recovery from the global recession could be derailed by accelerating austerity in much of Western Europe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, however, that the G8 talks had not produced any conflict over economic policy.
"The discussion was not controversial but was based on great mutual understanding," she told reporters.
A U.S. official said: "There is a broad consensus among the G8 leaders, a convergence of views...about how to maintain durable growth while also reaffirming, of course, the common shared commitments to fiscal consolidation going forward".
The G20 has struggled to keep the unity of last year when governments pumped trillions of dollars into the economy to prevent recession turning into depression and vowed to prevent another credit crisis from endangering the world economy.
U.S. President Barack Obama, buoyed by a deal in the U.S. Congress to toughen rules for Wall Street, urged other G20 leaders to make good on promises to curb risky bank behavior that sparked the financial crisis in 2007.
"We need to act in concert for a simple reason: this crisis proved, and events continue to affirm, that our national economies are inextricably linked," Obama said, calling on other leaders to match the U.S. progress on financial reform.
Local and international banks offer finance, with the total value of 2010-2011 deliveries $2.8 billion
Los Angeles police detectives on Friday continued to chase clues in two slayings at separate marijuana dispensaries that occurred within hours of each other Thursday.
Although it is early in the investigations, significant differences at the two crime scenes have led authorities to believe that the killings are not related, said two senior LAPD officials involved in the cases, who requested their names not be used because of the sensitivity of the ongoing inquiries.
The first incident occurred around 4:15 p.m. on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park at Higher Path Holistic Care. Four suspects are thought to have entered the dispensary and at gunpoint ordered the two employees to lie face-down on the ground as the suspects ransacked the facility for marijuana and money, the police sources said.
Although the two workers did not resist, the attackers shot them, killing one and critically wounding the other, according to the police sources. They said the account of the shooting came from the surviving victim, who has been able to speak with detectives from his hospital bed.
Before fleeing, the suspects removed the videotape from the facility's surveillance system, according to the police officials.
The slain man was 27-year-old Matt Butcher, the son of Julie Butcher, a well-known L.A. labor leader. Butcher’s mother described the killing as “totally senseless,” saying her son was simply trying to cobble together part-time jobs in a tough economy.
“He was one of the most peaceful people,” said Julie Butcher, who works as a regional director of the Service Employees International Union Local 721. “He would have given them anything they wanted. There’s no reason for anyone to die over marijuana”.
About five hours after the shooting and a few miles away, the owner of the Hollywood Holistic II dispensary in the 1600 block of North El Centro Avenue walked into the store to find the body of his employee. The man, whom police have not yet publicly identified, had suffered stab wounds, the police sources said, although detectives are awaiting the results of the coroner’s initial investigation to determine whether he died from the stabbing or some other trauma.
Suspected Jamaican drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke has pleaded not guilty to US charges of drug and gun-trafficking.
Mr Coke, 41, entered the plea in a New York court after being extradited from Jamaica on Thursday.
Mr Coke waived his rights to challenge the extradition. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Attempts to capture him in May led to clashes in which scores of people died. He was finally detained on Tuesday.'Community leader'
Mr Coke entered the plea at Manhattan federal court on Friday.
"As I understand, you are pleading not guilty at this time. That is what your lawyer said," Judge Robert Patterson was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
Mr Coke's lawyer Russel Newfeld replied: "Yes, that is right".
The judge then ordered that Mr Coke be remanded in custody, before he set a new hearing for 28 June to decide whether he should be jailed indefinitely pending trial, the AFP news agency reports.
On Thursday, Mr Coke made a brief appearance before a Jamaican judge in Kingston to announce that he was waiving his rights to challenge the extradition. He was later flown to the US.
Mr Coke said he believed he could win the case in the Jamaican courts.
But he added that he would go to the US to stand trial for the sake of his family, the people of Tivoli in west Kingston and Jamaica.
The US justice department says Mr Coke is one of the world's most dangerous drug lords, but his supporters say he is a community leader.Tivoli Gardens clashes
Mr Coke is accused of being the leader of the notorious Shower Posse, which US prosecutors say operates an international drug and gun smuggling network.
They say that Mr Coke conspired to distribute cocaine and marijuana throughout the eastern United States for more than 15 years.
The Shower Posse is also blamed for numerous murders.
The pursuit of Mr Coke has shed light on the links between politicians and gang leaders in Jamaica.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding is said to have relied on Mr Coke to turn out the vote at election time in the Tivoli Gardens district he represents in parliament, and which the Shower Posse controls.
When Mr Coke was first indicted in the US last August, Mr Golding initially fought the extradition, arguing that it was based on flawed evidence.
But after months of delays and amid growing local and international criticism, he agreed to extradite the suspect and signed an arrest warrant in May.
However, gunmen loyal to Mr Coke in Tivoli Gardens barricaded the streets and mounted attacks against the police.
A state of emergency was declared and more than 70 people were killed in four days of gun battles, during which Mr Coke was able to escape. The security forces have since been accused of using excessive force.