Government IT projects make headlines

by / August 3, 2004
A University of Georgia research team is testing wireless communication projects that may let farmers remotely monitor irrigation systems, operate machinery, track livestock and perform other farm tasks via computer. -- The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Explorer Will Steger and his five-member crew returned to Minnesota after a six-month, 3,000-mile Arctic journey. Almost 2 million students and teachers worldwide followed the trek -- Arctic Transect 2004 -- as part of an online educational program. Dogsleds led the expedition from Canada's Northwest Territories to Canada's Nunavut Territory at the Atlantic Ocean. -- Pioneer Press

Scientists at New Jersey's Rutgers University are tagging striped bass with acoustic transmitters to better determine where and how far the fish travel along the Atlantic coast -- from salt water to fresh water -- to spawn. Using telemetry to remotely track the fish, researchers hope to reveal the fishes' ideal environment via their travel patterns.

School administrators in Montgomery County, Pa., are testing a system that will use GPS technology to keep track of students getting on and off school buses. Youngsters will receive ID badges that will be scanned on the bus, allowing officials to monitor when and where students enter and leave the vehicle. -- USA Today

Virginia's Hampton University received NASA approval for the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite mission, scheduled to launch in fall 2006. AIM studies clouds at the edge of space where the sun first interacts with Earth's atmosphere. The noctilucent, or "night shining" clouds, have increased in number and brightness in the last two years.

The Navy's Aviation Survival Training Center on Whidbey Island, Wash., opened its $4.4 million pool complex, a facility of 22,000 square feet with 15,000 square feet of training area. The pool complex features a multiseat underwater escape trainer; a parachute drag device; a "Slide for Life" descent trainer; and equipment to simulate night, storm and hostile survival conditions.

West Virginia University professor Tom Meloy is lead scientist for a project to send an unmanned chemical laboratory to Mars in 2007. A robotic arm attached to the lab will gather soil to test it for various ions. These ions - particularly carbon - will determine if Mars contained water that could sustain life. -- West Virginia University

Mary Anne Papp, an associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, received a patent for her satellite-controlled pill dispenser. The device is activated by a timer or remote command from a doctor, and beeps and flashes when time for a patient to take a pill. -- USA Today
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