Monday, 2 May 2016

Trilobites: If You Blink, You Might Miss the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

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The Eta Aquarids is one of the fastest meteor showers. Its specks pierce the sky at about 148,000 miles per hour.
via New York Times

Although boiling, water does shape Martian terrain

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At present, liquid water on Mars only exists in small quantities as a boiling liquid, and only during the warmest time of day in summer. Its role has therefore been considered insignificant until now. However scientists have now shown that even though water that emerges onto the surface of Mars immediately begins to boil, it creates an unstable, turbulent flow that can eject sediment and cause dry avalanches. The flow of small amounts of a boiling liquid therefore significantly alters the surface.
via Science Daily
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Repairs ongoing on electrical installations at CERN

On Friday 29 April 2016, a short circuit in one of the electrical transformers cut power to the LHC. It was caused by a beech marten (Image: Margot Frenot/CERN)

At around 5:30 am on Friday 29 April 2016, a small beech marten found its way onto a large, open-air electrical transformer situated above ground at CERN, causing a short circuit and cutting the power to part of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The concerned part of the LHC stopped immediately and safely. Since then the entire machine has remained in standby mode.

When the little animal jumped onto the transformer, it created a small electrical arc, damaging high-voltage transformer connections.

Many of CERN’s sites are located in the countryside and similar events have happened a few times in the past. They are part of life of such an accelerator, as with any large industrial installation.

A team assessed the situation over the weekend and found no indication of damage inside the transformer. Repairs to the connections are hoped to be completed by the end of the week, as the LHC continues to prepare for the 2016 physics run.


via CERN: Updates for the general public

Three potentially habitable worlds found around nearby ultracool dwarf star

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Astronomers have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star.
via Science Daily
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Crossing Mars

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Second ExoMars mission moves to next launch opportunity in 2020

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On 14 March 2016, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the jointly-developed ExoMars 2016 interplanetary mission, comprising the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander, on a Proton rocket from Baikonur, thus marking the first phase in the European-Russian ExoMars cooperation programme.

via ESA Space Science