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Space Science

Bill Gates and Microsoft Fund Telescope 171

coondoggie writes "Bill Gates and the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences this week donated $30 million to an ambitious telescope that researchers say will be able to survey the entire sky every three nights — something never done before. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project got $20 million from the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences and $10 million from Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates. Expected to see its "first light" in 2014, the 8.4-meter LSST will survey the entire visible sky deeply in multiple colors every week with its 3 billion-pixel digital camera, probing the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy and opening a movie-like window on objects that change or move. With the telescope scientists will be able to quickly find Earth-threatening asteroids and exploding stars called supernovas and will be able to map out 100 billion galaxies, according to researchers."
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Bill Gates and Microsoft Fund Telescope

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  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @11:54AM (#21923200)
    The basic evidence for 'dark matter' is that galaxies are rotating to fast and maintaining there shape differently than gravitational allows for. They should fly apart or never been formed. Rather then change the current theory, scientists went out and invented 'dark matter'.

    So care to explain why there appears to be an expanding universe? Dark matter is a stop gap, but unless you provide a better reason, its all we got. I think that was the point of projects like this to either prove or disprove 'dark matter'.
  • Re:ah! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @12:02PM (#21923288) Homepage Journal
    Most probably not.

    In addition to receiving funding from Bill Gates and Microsoft, another sponsor was the Charles Simonyi Foundation. Charles Simonyi [], for those who are not aware, was responsible for Microsoft Office as head of Microsoft's Applications division for many years. Much of the early version of Microsoft Word for MS-DOS and Multiplan were coded by Simonyi. He is the originator of the so-called 'Hungarian' notion for identifiers prevalent among M$ developers, where an identifier's type is embedded in the name, so you get variables like sName or nCount.

  • by ChadAmberg ( 460099 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @12:18PM (#21923428) Homepage
    As a thought experiment, how is this any different than SpaceShipOne? Lots of geeks cheered when private enterprise started doing space travel. And now just because private philanthropy is providing a very capable telescope, suddenly it's why isn't the gummint paying for this? Let's take money away from widows an orphans on this...
  • Re:ah! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VENONA ( 902751 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @07:56PM (#21927884)
    OTOH, it will generate 30TB per day.

    According to []
    "Current projects show that approximately 5000 mathematical operations are required per pixel of the image to process and classify survey data. Scaling this to the size of the LSST data stream shows that approximately a thousand of today's high-end processors will be required a feasible proposition. Advances in processor power over the next five years will reduce this number to a few hundred, by which time the required LSST computer system will seem quite pedestrian. Storing this data is also well within even today's technology. At current prices, a one-petabyte disk storage system costs less than $1 million; in five years this price should drop to well below $100,000. Keeping all of the LSST data online will certainly be affordable."

    Windows may not play a central data reduction role, unless Microsoft can support 100 CPUs within the next six years. Of course six calendar years is a long time in techo-years. By then, perhaps the data analysis would be done on game consoles. [] []

    I'd guess that much will depend upon how much can run on a cluster, vice how how much must run on a SMP machine.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27