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<p>To the uninitiated, this might seem a bit tedious and cumbersome, but this indeed is how the embedded processor works. Even at a tortuously slow clock rate, say, 5 MHz (remember: that's five million times a second), the processor is capable of quite of bit of work – sucking in measured data and spitting out correctives faster than the motor itself can turn.</p>

Without information on the royalty terms, it's impossible to make any judgments one way or the other on the impact of these licensing agreements,” said Danny Lam, an analyst at Fisher-Holstein Inc., Wilmington, Del. They could range anywhere from significant payments to virtually nothing,” Lam said. The suspicion is that by being the first semiconductor companies to sign licensing deals, they will get far more favorable terms than any future licensees.”

LCROSS will search for water ice on the moon by sending the spent upper-stage Centaur rocket to impact part of a polar crater in permanent shadows. LCROSS will fly into the plume of dust left by the impact and measure the properties before also colliding with the lunar surface.

Coverage of NASA launches is video streamed at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv .

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So, it's all there for us. The communications technology exists for streaming video on a computer screen or broadcasting it via mass-market TV, with high-definition audio, to let us all vicariously participate in the conquering” of space. But few of us do.

The sad thing is that in an era of prolific technical and scientific discoveries and engineering achievements in space, we tend to fixate on Earth and wonder where we go from here. Bombarded by images of global unrest, numbed by the talking heads dissecting the minutiae of our economic woes, we spend too much time staring at the screen and asking, what now?” and too little time gazing at the stars and wondering what if?”

What if our children could be the next explorers of space? What if our sons and daughters could find engineering a rewarding career to pursue?

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At a recent MIT symposium celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Harrison (Jack) Schmitt, the astronaut on the last Apollo (17) module, mentioned that in a survey of 25- to 30-year olds, a large percentage could not relate to or did not believe in the achievements of Apollo 11.

In his talk, Schmitt mused about the famous Earthrise” photo taken by the Apollo 8 crew from their space module porthole, saying that the shot of Earth rising above the moon's terrain had forever changed the way we look at ourselves.” Yet young people have become so desensitized by the constant barrage of images of today that they fail to appreciate the achievements of the past.

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There are many reasons why our young are more interested in fame and fortune than in exploration and discovery. But maybe those who witnessed the first moon walk should remind the young more often that the sky is, literally, the limit.

Nicolas Mokhoff, is the research and design editor for EE Times.

We are working on the PT-120,” said Kajiyama. It should be able to execute ARMv5T instructions and will be StrongARM-like. We have a test chip now. It arrived from TSMC [Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.] last week.” The PT-120 is expected to run at 500 MHz in an 0.18-micron process technology.

Kajiyama said PicoTurbo already has more than 10 customers for its cores, many based in Taiwan and many working on consumer electronics applications such as MP3 players, residential communications hubs and smart cards. One or more of those customers might like to execute directly a particular instruction to speed their applications, he said.

Any such move by PicoTurbo could disrupt the business model of ARM (Cambridge, England). ARM has tightly controlled its architecture in part to maintain compatibility between succeeding generations of cores.

Intel and ARM agreed last year that Intel's next-generation StrongARM processor core would be compatible with version 5TE of the ARM instruction-set architecture. However, it's not clear how much input Intel had in defining v5TE, which is also the basis of the ARM9E core and is used by other ARM licensees.

But Intel is a powerful ARM architectural licensee with its own microarchitectural implementations in the form of the StrongARM family of cores. The first-generation SA-110 and its derivatives, inherited from Digital Equipment Corp., implement the ARM v4 ISA.