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Space Hardware

Very Large Array Gets Expanded Capability 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the really-long-distance-calling-plan dept.
Active Seti points out a story about upgrades for the Very Large Array radio telescope. The improvements will increase the VLA's capabilities 10-fold, allowing it to "pick up a cell phone signal on Jupiter." Work on the 28-antenna array is already underway, and it is expected to finish by 2012. From Scientific American: "Data gathered by all 28 of the 82-foot- (25-meter-) diameter dish antennas are brought to a correlator--a central, special-purpose computer--which merges the input into a form that allows scientists to produce detailed, high-quality images of the astronomical objects under investigation. A new fiber-optic system replaces the older waveguide system for taking data collected by the receivers to the central control building and increases the amount of data that can be delivered from the antenna to the new $17-million correlator being built by Canadian scientists and engineers to handle the increased data flow."
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Very Large Array Gets Expanded Capability

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  • int n = 0; while(1 = 1) { n++; int array[n]; } If you can make that run, then you have a very large array...
    • by sveard (1076275)
      = or ==
      ??? What, this doesn't look like ascii art at all!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Emetophobe (878584)
      "int n = 0; while(1 = 1) { n++; int array[n]; }"

      Using an assignment operator instead of a relational operator, minus 5 geek points.
      • by earlymon (1116185)
        not to mention the non-use of the {n=n*n; double array[n];} time saver for making n large and double for increasing array memory....

        Or even "#include " and "double array[UINT_64MAX]"

    • by CSMatt (1175471)

      int n=0;
      while(1 == 1) {
          n++;
          int array[n];
      }
      Much easier on the eyes.
  • If this thing is considered "very large" right now, would it be "very, very large" or "extremely large" after this upgrade?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Z00L00K (682162)
      Probably it will keep the name... It's just an upgrade. (Yes I'm boring).

      If they were to rename it - why not do it in honor of someone instead. Unfortunately Carl Sagan [astro.uson.mx] has already been honored, but there are other persons too...

      • by mijelh (1111411)

        Unfortunately Carl Sagan has already been honored
        Yes, it's realy bad he's honoured, we should burn all of his books and forget about him instead!!
      • Unfortunately Carl Sagan has already been honored, but there are other persons too...

        Well ... there's me. I think ScrewMaster's Very Large Array sounds about right.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oduke (943748)
      No, the size/collecting area doesn't increase. Only receivers, electronics and data processing are refurbished. So it stays Very Large.
      • by belthize (990217)

            The project name is EVLA which has at times stood for Enhanced or Expanded.

            Currently it's the Expanded Very Large Array as opposed to the Very Large
        Baseline Array (VLBA) which NRAO also operates. NRAO also operates the
        Green Bank Telescope which could just as aptly be called the Great Big Telescope.
        It's a 100 meter single dish scope.

        http://www.gb.nrao.edu/ [nrao.edu]

        Belthize
      • Or perhaps, Very Large High Lucidity Array. The first telescope to peer into the realm of the gods.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Don_dumb (927108)
      Wekk I can think of one [wikipedia.org] recently deceased luminary who was known for being bigger than 'very large', they should name it in his honour.
    • by nbarriga (877070)
      The name of the project is actually EVLA: Expanded Very Large Array
  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:16AM (#22535008) Homepage
    The precision - Where on Jupiter that cell phone is!

    Of course - even more interesting is WHO has a cellphone on Jupiter!

    • I have done some work on real time signal processing (the hardware side), I think that the kind of hardware on this thing would be worth studying. It is going to require awesome capabilities of course, but the thoughts of the slightest possibilities of a spin-off, for signal processing in wireless applicaitons/commercial applications makes my mouth water.
    • Isn't it good to have a forward thinking government?

      Even though there isn't a mobile phone network on Jupiter yet, they're taking the initiative and building the infrastructure to be able to tap Jovians' calls when the network does get that far.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      And ultimately, is that cell phone being used to plot a terrorist attack against Earth.

    • by Alsee (515537) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @01:39PM (#22536080) Homepage
      God I hate all the liberal bias on Slashdot. Two consecutive stories.
      Bush shouldn't be tapping phones illegally! Waaaa! Waaaa!
      Bush shouldn't be tapping phones on Jupiter! Waaaa! Waaaa!

      In this time of war, I simply cannot be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
      If we don't illegally tap phones on Jupiter the terrorists win!

      -
    • Not only that, they'll even be able to decrypt the GSM signal now. I don't think the aliens are going to be too happy.
    • by rasantel (845097)
      Steve Fosset, trying to call 911.
  • Shhh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by DamienRBlack (1165691) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:17AM (#22535018)
    The earthling are listening, I have to go. Etgay attleshipbay eadyray. *click*
    • by zolaar (764683)
      Dammit, I thought we have laws against exporting strong encryption algorithms out of the country!
  • Awesome (Score:4, Funny)

    by BigTimOBrien (203674) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:18AM (#22535028) Homepage
    I was planning a trip to Jupiter next week, and I was just on the phone with Sprint asking them if they had any coverage near the Big Spot. Good to know that the people at VLA are on the job.
    • Don't you get it? If scientists can turn matter into cell phone signals, then you won't have to take a DC-9 jet to Jupiter anymore. You can warp there as radiation! Talk about missing the forest for the trees.
    • Wow, that's a really old story! Friday, Jul. 27, 1962 The best part, though, was this one at the end:

      Computers--one capable of 200,000 calculations per second-- handle information so swiftly that the whole process lasts two or three minutes from detection to interception.
  • by Xelios (822510) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:23AM (#22535062)
    canyouhearmenow?
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:25AM (#22535092) Homepage

    The improvements will increase the VLA's capabilities 10-fold, allowing it to "pick up a cell phone signal on Jupiter."

    The Bush administration pressured Congress to expand the Protect America Act to include Jupiter. Visitors to that planet will now be required to have a US passport to get back in the country.

  • perl or java?
  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <[slashdot3] [at] [justconnected.net]> on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:55AM (#22535292)
    My God men! Think about what you're doing!! By measuring so much, you'll kill us ALL!!!!!
  • We cast our wiretapping net ever-wider! You guys might as well just give up now.
  • Was I the only one to see the title and think music [magnatune.com]?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If my cell phone was strong enough to send a signal to Jupiter, I wouldn't want to hold that monster near my head. At least, not without my tin hat on.
  • Was I the only one to read the title and question why someone was talking about an expandable array on Slashdot in 2008? I thought the Vector had been around for some time now.
  • by jafo (11982) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @12:30PM (#22535532) Homepage
    Exactly who is expecting cell phone calls to be originating from Juipter? Is the government preparing to distract us with threats of terrorist activity on other planets? :-)

    Sean
    • Why does Slashdot encourage these people (by modding them interesting) with the endless Bush-bashing and quips about terrorist activity. Just let one of their smart-aleck, pasty-face asses get hit by al-quieda and the boys and we'll see their stupid comments stop. And maybe they'll take defending this country a little more seriously...
  • When I need to expand my arrays I just use realloc().
  • A: Well, what kind of array is it? B: It's...ummm... very large, sir. A: Let's name it that then.
  • by gillbates (106458) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @04:01PM (#22537558) Homepage Journal

    They had to change one line of code:

    /* This determines how big the
    * telescope array size is.
    */
    #define VERY_LARGE_ARRAY_SIZE REALLY_BIG
    to:

    /* This determines how big the
    * telescope array size is.
    *
    * 02-24-2008: s. coder: Change array size
    * for 2 GHz mod upgrade
    */
    #define VERY_LARGE_ARRAY_SIZE EVEN_BIGGER
  • If you plan to add and remove elements from your Very Large Array often, a Very Large Linked List is a better solution
  • Verizon will be beaming their ads to jupiter. Will they get the same idiots as we do when we call customer service?

    I find it hard to belief, pick up a cell phone signal from Jupiter, I still drop calls when driving on the 10 freeway.
  • Saturn: Ring, ring, ... ring...
    Uranus: Frrthhh
    Neptune: Download NepTunes now. Includes Digital Rights for those who are Armed, and Suckers Rights for those who are Tentacled.
    Pluto: So we are not a planet, huh. Let's see who can out cold-shoulder who then.
    Planet X: Can anybody out there tell us where we are?
  • With the SAR ratings of current mobiles I'd be suprised if a Nokia 6080 couldn't pick up a signal from Jupiter. Mind you my Motorola L6 doesn't seem to transmit any kind of useful signal any kind of useful distance...... it took me almost five hours to get a good signal walking through the valleys of Guam the other day.....
  • TFA claims that the VLA's silver screen debut was in "Contact". But don't I remember seeing Heywood Floyd sitting on one at the start of the film "2010"?
    Or was that a different array?

    On another note, I drove to see the VLA in Socorro a year or so back. Absolutely awesome - in fact, so good that I just had to go to Hawaii to see the very long baseline array's western outlying dish. Now all I need to do is get to the eastern outlier in the Virgin Islands and I can send away for a free box of cornflakes :)

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