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News briefs: October 5
Posted: Sat, Oct 6, 2001, 12:24 PM ET (1624 GMT)
Image of orbital maneuvering engine pod on shuttle (NASA/KSC) As expected, NASA decided Friday not to inspect the orbital maneuvering engine pods on the shuttle Endeavour. Problems with misshapen boltholes on the shuttle Columbia led to speculation that the other orbiters would be inspected, delaying Endeavour's November 29 launch on STS-108. NASA decided that any similar problems with boltholes on other orbiters would not compromise the ability of bolts to keep the pods attached to the orbiter... SETI@home plans to expand the amount of data it processes in the search for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, according to a Wired News report. The project, based at the University of California Berkeley, is upgrading its servers to handle 20 times as much data as before to extend its search to other frequencies. Over three million people have signed up to process SETI@home data, making it more powerful than the largest supercomputers... A recently upgraded British radio telescope may soon be shut down, the BBC reported Friday. Merlin (Multi Element Radio Linked Interferometer) was upgraded at the cost of over US$10 million when the Jodrell Bank observatory raised the funds itself, rather than rely on government funding. However, the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council has yet to decide to provide funding to operate Merlin. One official told the BBC that in order to fund Merlin, another observatory may have to shut down.
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