More bad news for North Korea on the first anniversary of dearly departed leader Kim Jong-il’s death: the satellite it launched into orbit last week is not only tumbling out of control, but is also likely completely dead, astronomers say. “It’s tumbling and we haven’t picked up any transmissions,” Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer who tracks space activity, told the New York Times. “Those two things are most consistent with the satellite being entirely inactive at this point.”
Early this morning, North Korea attempted to put a satellite into orbit--or, at least, that's what the DPRK claims, though hardly anybody actually believes that the aim was solely to launch a weather satellite. The rocket carrying the satellite failed to move into its second phase and exploded into dozens of pieces, which fell into the Yellow Sea in between the Korean peninsula and mainland China. Those are being quickly scooped up by the Chinese and South Koreans, who will try to figure out what North Korea was really up to.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists may have found a new way to track secret nuclear tests from those rogue nations (cough cough North Korea cough cough) who are trying to keep those tests under wraps. Surprisingly enough, that new solution may be possible with analysis of regular old GPS data, along with some clever mathematics.
Not that soldiers on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone can read this tale of Western decadence, but if they could they would do well to take note: South Korea has deployed two $334,000 robotic sentries armed with automatic weapons and 40-millimeter grenade launchers along the tense border region bisecting the Korean peninsula.
In what the BBC is calling "a claim that is likely to be met with some scepticism," North Korea has announced that it has made huge strides toward developing thermonuclear power, going so far as to claim that the nation's scientists have built a "unique thermo-nuclear reaction device."
I'm loathe to perpetuate such an ugly phrase as "Axis of Evil," but someone on the Expo 2010 planning committee must have had it in mind when it was decided that Iran and North Korea would be pavilion neighbors.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.