Friday, 29 December 2017

Genes in Space-3 successfully identifies unknown microbes in space

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Being able to identify microbes in real time aboard the International Space Station, without having to send them back to Earth for identification first, would be revolutionary for the world of microbiology and space exploration. The Genes in Space-3 team turned that possibility into a reality this year, when it completed the first-ever sample-to-sequence process entirely aboard the space station.
via Science Daily
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Out There: U.F.O.s: Is This All There Is?

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Astronomers have their noses pressed against the windows of the unknown, wanting to believe in life elsewhere just like many outer space enthusiasts.
via New York Times

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Thermoelectric power generation at room temperature: Coming soon?

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A research team has created a thermoelectric material with promising performance at room temperature. Ytterbium silicide is a good electrical conductor. It also has a high Seebeck coefficient thanks to Kondo resonance (fluctuation of f-electrons), which increases its power factor. Its layered structure further promotes the thermoelectric effect by blocking heat conduction. This non-toxic, room-temperature thermoelectric material is competitive with conventional bismuth telluride, and could be used for power generation or refrigeration.
via Science Daily

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Electronically-smooth '3-D graphene': A bright future for trisodium bismuthide

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Researchers have found that the topological material trisodium bismuthide (Na3Bi) can be manufactured to be as 'electronically smooth' as the highest-quality graphene-based alternative, while maintaining graphene's high electron mobility.
via Science Daily

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Bruce McCandless, First to Fly Untethered in Space, Dies at 80

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An iconic photo of Mr. McCandless floating above Earth captured the imagination of millions. He also played a role in Neil Armstrong’s famed moonwalk.
via New York Times

Thursday, 21 December 2017

New insights on graphene

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Graphene floating on water does not repel water, as many researchers believe, but rather attracts it, explain researchers in a new report.
via Science Daily

Forty years since the first PET image at CERN

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Powerful new tool for looking for life beyond Earth

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NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments.
via Science Daily
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Radio observations point to likely explanation for neutron-star merger phenomena

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Data from the Very Large Array and other radio telescopes have allowed astronomers to identify the most likely scenario for the aftermath of the merger of two neutron stars.
via Science Daily
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Giant bubbles on red giant star's surface

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Astronomershave for the first time directly observed granulation patterns on the surface of a star outside the Solar System -- the ageing red giant ?1 Gruis. This remarkable new image reveals the convective cells that make up the surface of this huge star, which has 350 times the diameter of the Sun. Each cell covers more than a quarter of the star's diameter and measures about 120 million kilometers across.
via Science Daily
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Mars: Not as dry as it seems

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Two new articles have shed light on why there is, presumably, no life on Mars. Although today's Martian surface is barren, frozen and inhabitable, a trail of evidence points to a once warmer, wetter planet, where water flowed freely -- and life may have thrived. The conundrum of what happened to this water is long standing and unsolved. However, new research suggests that this water is now locked in the Martian rocks.
via Science Daily
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Trilobites: Give Thanks for the Winter Solstice. You Might Not Be Here Without It.

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The scientific start of winter offers a moment to reflect on how we might not be here to witness the changing seasons without Earth’s particular tilt toward the sun.
via New York Times

The Halloween asteroid prepares to return in 2018

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There is one year to go until asteroid 2015 TB-145 approaches Earth once again, just as it did in 2015 around the night of Halloween, an occasion which astronomers did not pass up to study its characteristics. This dark object measures between 625 and 700 meters, its rotation period is around three hours and, in certain lighting conditions, it resembles a human skull.
via Science Daily
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CMS releases more than one petabyte of open data

Making graphene oxide hemocompatible

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Graphene holds potential for numerous applications including biomedical. The most interesting property of graphene for biomedical use has been its large surface-to-volume ratio and the ability to functionalize the material, for example with pharmaceuticals for intravenous drug delivery.

Graphene itself is hydrophobic, making it unstable in aqueous solutions, hence incompatible with intravenous use. Graphene oxide (GO), on the other hand, is stable in solution and has been the material of choice for graphene-based biomedical applications. Although intravenous use of GO puts it in direct contact with red blood cells (RBCs), the hemocompatibility of GO has just recently become a topic of research. Now a group of researchers from several centers in Spain has performed systematic tests of hemocompatibility of GO, showing that although GO does interact strongly with RBCs, causing hemolysis, hemolysis is decreased when GO is previously coated with lipid membranes.

Image: Tomogram of graphene oxide sheet incubated with lipids

The research paper, recently published in Langmuir, first highlights that GO interacts with lipid membranes, like those that coat the outer side of all cells in living organisms. GO binds to the membranes with an efficacy that can be controlled with the salinity of the solution. It was further shown that GO ruptures vesicles that have a lipid membrane and aqueous contents, which represents a model living cell. The same is demonstrated for interaction with real RBCs. Thus the scientists show that GO reacts with blood cells in such a way as to rupture them. However, when GO is mixed with lipid membranes prior to interaction with RBCs, the damaging action of GO is almost totally suppressed.

The discovery prompts the conclusion that GO can be used in biomedical applications, if it is coated with a protective layer of lipids. This finding is in agreement with previous work that showed a reduction in hemolytic activity of GO when it is coated with chitosan, bovine serum albumin or heparin coatings.


via Graphenea

NASA Is Picking Finalists for a Space Mission. Here Are Its Options.

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NASA will choose on Wednesday from a dozen proposals in its New Frontiers program, including spacecraft to study the moon, Venus, Saturn and comets.
via New York Times

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

NASA solves how a jupiter jet stream shifts into reverse

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Speeding through the atmosphere high above Jupiter's equator is an east-west jet stream that reverses course on a schedule almost as predictable as a Tokyo train's. Now, a research team has identified which type of wave forces this jet to change direction.
via Science Daily
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The missing link between exploding stars, clouds, and climate on Earth

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The study reveals how atmospheric ions, produced by the energetic cosmic rays raining down through the atmosphere, helps the growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei -- the seeds necessary for forming clouds in the atmosphere.
via Science Daily
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LHC experiments highlight 2017 results

The LHC experiments presented highlights from their 2017 results on 15 December, during a symposium celebrating 25 years of the LHC experimental programme. (Image: CERN)

Particle physicists like to plan; constructing some of the largest machines in the world needs a long-term vision. Although physics data-taking at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) began in 2010, the LHC experimental programme can in fact be traced back to the Evian meeting in 1992. To celebrate this 25th anniversary, on 15 December CERN held a >symposium to look back at the history and the bold decisions needed to realise the immense detectors and vast worldwide collaborations. The event concluded with the four large LHC experiments – ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb – reviewing their recent experimental results.  

Delving into the extreme physics of heavy-ion collisions, ALICE studies a state of matter that existed just after the Big Bang called the quark-gluon plasma (QGP). QGP is known to behave as a near perfect fluid, and physicists have measured flow coefficients noting stronger flow at larger energies, consistent with hydrodynamic calculations. Latest results on a parameter called elliptic flow in lead-lead and proton-lead collisions show that even the heavy charm quarks follow the fluid expansion, helping physicists to understand more about the QGP evolution. Another key probe of this primordial state is the study of the strange quark, and this year’s results included novel phenomena in strange-particle production in proton collisions that show similar patterns to what is observed in heavy-nuclei collisions.

Using the LHC’s high-energy proton-proton collisions, physicists are rigorously testing the Standard Model. This model, which explains how the basic building blocks of matter interact, has so far withstood the most rigorous of tests. But physicists know it is uncomplete and are determined to find chinks in this model’s armour to reveal new and as yet undiscovered particles and phenomena. The Standard Model’s cornerstone is the Higgs boson. With its discovery announced at CERN in 2012, this newest addition to the elementary particles remains one of the most active areas of research for LHC physicists, and studying its properties has been a quest for both the ATLAS and CMS collaborations.

This year saw several new results of Higgs boson interactions with the heaviest “third-generation” elementary particles: bottom quarks and tau leptons. ATLAS and CMS used data from 2015 and 2016 to establish evidence for Higgs boson decays to two bottom quarks. CMS also presented a “5-sigma” observation of Higgs boson decays to two tau particles. Both ATLAS and CMS saw evidence of “ttH production”, one of the rarest processes measured at the LHC in which a pair of top quarks emits a Higgs boson. This could provide new insights into the Higgs mechanism and perhaps open the door to unknown physics.

The top quark, heavier than the Higgs boson, and in fact all the other elementary particles, also provided a rich ground for investigations this year. ATLAS and CMS joined forces and combined some of their key top quark measurements from proton-proton collisions, including evidence for the associated production of a top quark and a Z boson, a rare electroweak process in the Standard Model. In addition, for the first time, CMS observed top quarks produced in proton-lead collisions. ATLAS also presented high-precision measurements of the top quark mass, which, in combination with the collaboration’s precision measurements of the mass of the W and Higgs bosons, tests the consistency of the Standard Model. CMS also measured the forward-backward asymmetry in Z boson decays to electrons and muons, providing the most precise LHC measurement of the weak mixing angle obtained so far at the LHC.

The elusive physics “beyond the Standard Model” (BSM) remains tantalising for LHC researchers. BSM searches for new particles including supersymmetric particles were aplenty across the experimental collaborations. Despite no conclusive signs of new physics, the experimental results have helped tighten constraints on different models and possibilities, homing in on the most exciting areas of investigation ahead.

One of the most intriguing results comes from LHCb and shows slight anomalies in the way leptons (electrons, muons and tau particles) behave. This potentially challenges a fundamental Standard Model principle known as lepton-flavour-universality and will be a key area of investigation in 2018. LHCb also hit the headlines this year with the discovery of five new particles at once (all slightly different versions of the so-called omega-c baryon) – possibly a record number of new particles for a single publication. Later in the year, the collaboration announced the first observation of a doubly charmed baryon, the first doubly heavy quark particle ever seen. With one trillion beauty hadrons (particles containing a beauty quark) produced at LHCb this year, the collaboration continues to investigate matter-antimatter asymmetry, with results so far being consistent with the Standard Model.

After this year’s great LHC machine performance, physicists are only now beginning to delve into 2017 data as they look ahead to 2018. These physicists like to plan, and indeed, work towards the LHC upgrade, High-Luminosity LHC expected after 2025, has begun in earnest. With the LHC set to continue churning out data at an astounding rate, not only is it a moment to look back at the last 25 years, it is also a chance to look forward to the wealth of undiscovered knowledge that lies ahead. 


via CERN: Updates for the general public
https://home.cern/about/updates/2017/12/lhc-experiments-highlight-2017-results

Process to transition two-layer graphene into diamond-hard material on impact discovered

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Scientists worked to theorize and test how two layers of graphene -- each one-atom thick -- could be made to transform into a diamond-like material upon impact at room temperature.
via Science Daily

Getting under graphite’s skin: method of layering metals with 2D material may lead to new properties

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Scientists have discovered a new process to sheathe metal under a single layer of graphite which may lead to new and better-controlled properties for these types of materials.
via Science Daily

A new compact accelerator for cultural heritage

CERN and INFN are developing a new transportable accelerator, which will be used to analyse works of art at the laboratories of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence. (Image: INFN)

Beyond fundamental research, accelerators are well known for their contribution to the medical field, especially in cancer therapy. However, they can help more unexpected patients: historical finds and works of art.

CERN and the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), through its cultural heritage network CHNet, are collaborating to develop the next generation of accelerators dedicated to cultural heritage.

The project, named MACHINA (Movable Accelerator for Cultural Heritage In-situ Non-destructive Analysis), aims to build a compact, transportable accelerator, based on radio-frequency quadrupole technology developed at CERN.

This new transportable accelerator, fully dedicated to cultural heritage applications, will be based at the laboratories of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence.

Thanks to its relatively small size and weight – less than 2-metres-long and 300 kg – it will be possible to transport the new accelerator to analyse in situ large immovable works, such as frescoes, or works too fragile to be transported. Accelerators are used to date the works with the carbon-14 method and for analysing the constituent material of a work in a non-destructive manner.

To learn more about MACHINA, read the INFN press release


via CERN: Updates for the general public
https://home.cern/about/updates/2017/12/new-compact-accelerator-cultural-heritage

Monday, 18 December 2017

Our Journalists Share Their Most Memorable Interviews of 2017

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Times reporters reflect on the conversations that stuck with them long after their assignments ended.
via New York Times

Black hole pair born inside a dying star?

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Researchers are investigating the properties of gravitational waves and binary black holes to see if they formed inside a collapsing star.
via Science Daily
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Star mergers: A new test of gravity, dark energy theories

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Observations and measurements of a neutron star merger have largely ruled out some theories relating to gravity and dark energy, and challenged a large class of theories.
via Science Daily
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New approach for detecting planets in the Alpha Centauri system

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Astronomers have taken a fresh look at the nearby Alpha Centauri star system and found new ways to narrow the search for habitable planets there. According to a study, there may be small, Earth-like planets in Alpha Centauri that have been overlooked. Meanwhile, the study ruled out the existence of a number of larger planets in the system.
via Science Daily
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Development on muon beam analysis of organic matter in samples from space

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Researchers have developed a muon-based approach to non-destructive investigations for unique asteroid samples, report scientists.
via Science Daily
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Arts at CERN’s Collide International award now open

The National Apavilion of Then and Now, a piece by artist Haroon Mirza, who founded the studio platform hrm199, winner of the Collide International Award in 2017. (Image: Kiki Triantafyllou, courtesy of hrm199 and Lisson Gallery)

Today, Arts at CERN has announced a new edition of the Collide International award, in partnership with the UK’s leading media arts centre, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). The competition is open to artists of any age and from anywhere in the world whose work reflects on the cultural and social understanding of science and advanced knowledge.

Collide International was created to challenge and transform the way in which encounters between art and science are understood and the influence of science on new methods of artistic expression. The winning artist will benefit from a fully funded residency, the first two months of which will be spent at CERN, Geneva, followed by a one-month stay at FACT in Liverpool.

“Collide has become an influential platform that enriches the cultural dynamics of the Laboratory; it brings together science and art to inspire each other in new creative forms that help to enhance our understanding of the world around us”, says Charlotte Lindberg Warakaulle, CERN Director for International Relations.

Collide offers the winning artist an exclusive opportunity to spend time among scientists and engineers in CERN’s groundbreaking research environment, providing an inspirational place to explore and expand their research in order to find new means of artistic expression. After the CERN residency, FACT, with its collaborative spirit and wide-ranging programme of exhibitions and participant-led art projects, will offer the artist an excellent setting in which to reflect on and contextualise his or her work.

“For the third year running, we are coming together with CERN to give one artist a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore, research, question and create. We bring art, technology and people together in a think-can-do-tank of immense possibilities between CERN and FACT Liverpool”, says Professor Mike Stubbs, Director of FACT.

“The primary objective of Collide is to open up exceptional opportunities for dialogue and exchange between artists and scientists and to encourage significant connections between both types of creative mind”, affirms Mónica Bello, Head of Arts at CERN.

Guidelines for the international open call have now been released and applications will be accepted here from today until 15 February 2018. 


via CERN: Updates for the general public
https://home.cern/about/updates/2017/12/arts-cerns-collide-international-award-now-open

Festive garlands

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Space Science Image of the Week: This colourful streamer represents the motion of our Gaia satellite as it scans the sky
via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2017/12/Gaia_sky_scan

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Graphene in zero G promises success in space

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Experiments testing graphene for two different space-related applications have shown extremely promising results.
via Science Daily

Graphene in zero G promises success in space

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Experiments testing graphene for two different space-related applications have shown extremely promising results.
via Science Daily
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Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program

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The shadowy program began in 2007 and was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader, who has had a longtime interest in space phenomena.
via New York Times

Eclipse 2017: Science from the moon's shadow

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While people across North America took in the Aug. 21 eclipse, hundreds of citizen, student, and professional scientists were collecting scientific data, and their efforts are beginning to return results.
via Science Daily
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Friday, 15 December 2017

Better way to weigh millions of solitary stars

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Astronomers have come up with a new and improved method for measuring the masses of millions of solitary stars, especially those with planetary systems.
via Science Daily
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Six-decade-old space mystery solved with shoebox-sized satellite called a CubeSat

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A 60-year-old mystery about the source of energetic, potentially damaging particles in Earth's radiation belts has been solved using data from a shoebox-sized satellite built and operated by students. The satellite is called a CubeSat.
via Science Daily
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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Trilobites: An 8th Planet Is Found Orbiting a Distant Star, With A.I.’s Help

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A Google neural network analyzed data collected by NASA and helped astronomers detect another planet around a star some 2,500 light years away.
via New York Times

New insight into battery charging supports development of improved electric vehicles

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A new technique provides a unique insight into how the charging rate of lithium ion batteries can be a factor limiting their lifetime and safety.
via Science Daily

Dawn of a galactic collision

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A riot of color and light dances through this peculiarly shaped galaxy, NGC 5256. Its smoke-like plumes are flung out in all directions and the bright core illuminates the chaotic regions of gas and dust swirling through the galaxy's center. Its odd structure is due to the fact that this is not one galaxy, but two -- in the process of a galactic collision.
via Science Daily
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Artificial intelligence, NASA data used to discover eighth planet circling distant star

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Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.
via Science Daily
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Doing without dark energy

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Three mathematicians have a different explanation for the accelerating expansion of the universe that does without theories of 'dark energy.' Einstein's original equations for General Relativity actually predict cosmic acceleration due to an 'instability,' they argue in a new paper.
via Science Daily
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25 years of Large Hadron Collider experimental programme

This week CERN marks 25 years since the meeting at Evian, where the first ideas for the LHC experimental programme were debuted (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

On Friday 15 December 2017, CERN is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experimental programme. The occasion will be marked with a special scientific symposium looking at the LHC’s history, the physics landscape into which the LHC experiments were born, and the challenging path that led to the very successful LHC programme we know today.

The anniversary is linked to a meeting that took place in 1992, in Evian, entitled Towards the LHC Experimental Programme, marking a crucial milestone in the design and development of the LHC experiments.

The symposium, which will be live webcast, will also include a presentation of the latest results from the four large experiments, ATLAS, CMS, LHCb and ALICE.

Join the live webcast from 11:00-16:00 CET.


via CERN: Updates for the general public
https://home.cern/about/updates/2017/12/25-years-large-hadron-collider-experimental-programme

Günther Hasinger appointed as ESA Director of Science

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The Council of the European Space Agency announced the appointment of Günther Hasinger as the next Director of Science. He will succeed Alvaro Giménez, who has served in the position since 2011.


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Guenther_Hasinger_appointed_as_ESA_Director_of_Science

Mars upside down

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Which way is up in space? Planets are usually shown with the north pole at the top and the south pole at the bottom. In this remarkable image taken by ESA’s Mars Express, the Red Planet is seen with north at the bottom, and the equator at the top.


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express/Mars_upside_down

Breaking data records bit by bit

Magnetic tapes, retrieved by robotic arms, are used for long-term storage (Image: Julian Ordan/CERN)

This year CERN’s data centre broke its own record, when it collected more data than ever before.

During October 2017, the data centre stored the colossal amount of 12.3 petabytes of data. To put this in context, one petabyte is equivalent to the storage capacity of around 15,000 64GB smartphones. Most of this data come from the Large Hadron Collider’s experiments, so this record is a direct result of the outstanding LHC performance, the rest is made up of data from other experiments and backups.

“For the last ten years, the data volume stored on tape at CERN has been growing at an almost exponential rate. By the end of June we had already passed a data storage milestone, with a total of 200 petabytes of data permanently archived on tape,” explains German Cancio, who leads the tape, archive & backups storage section in CERN’s IT department.

The CERN data centre is at the heart of the Organization’s infrastructure. Here data from every experiment at CERN is collected, the first stage in reconstructing that data is performed, and copies of all the experiments’ data are archived to long-term tape storage.

Most of the data collected at CERN will be stored forever, the physics data is so valuable that it will never be deleted and needs to be preserved for future generations of physicists.

“An important characteristic of the CERN data archive is its longevity,” Cancio adds. “Even after an experiment ends all recorded data has to remain available for at least 20 years, but usually longer. Some of the archive files produced by previous CERN experiments have been migrated across different hardware, software and media generations for over 30 years. For archives like CERN’s, that do not only preserve existing data but also continue to grow, our data preservation is particularly challenging.”

While tapes may sound like an outdated mode of storage, they are actually the most reliable and cost-effective technology for large-scale archiving of data, and have always been used in this field. One copy of data on a tape is considered much more reliable than the same copy on a disk.

CERN currently manages the largest scientific data archive in the High Energy Physics (HEP) domain and keeps innovating in data storage,” concludes Cancio.


via CERN: Updates for the general public
https://home.cern/about/updates/2017/12/breaking-data-records-bit-bit

Spanning disciplines in the search for life beyond Earth

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Following a gold rush of exoplanet discovery, the next step in the search for life is determining which of the known exoplanets are proper candidates for life -- and for this, a cross-disciplinary approach is essential.
via Science Daily
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Giant storms cause palpitations in Saturn's atmospheric heartbeat

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Immense northern storms on Saturn can disturb atmospheric patterns at the planet's equator, finds the international Cassini mission.
via Science Daily
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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Trilobites: The Great Red Spot Descends Deep Into Jupiter

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The iconic storm plunges 200 miles beneath the clouds of the solar system’s largest planet, and possibly much deeper, according to data from NASA’s Juno spacecraft.
via New York Times

Mars mission sheds light on habitability of distant planets

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Insights from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission about the loss of the Red Planet's atmosphere can help scientists understand the habitability of rocky planets orbiting other stars.
via Science Daily
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Stellar nursery blooms into view

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The OmegaCAM camera on ESO's VLT Survey Telescope has captured this glittering view of the stellar nursery called Sharpless 29. Many astronomical phenomena can be seen in this giant image, including cosmic dust and gas clouds that reflect, absorb, and re-emit the light of hot young stars within the nebula.
via Science Daily
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Graphene for quantum computing

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Quantum computing is a new paradigm in computing that utilizes the benefits of quantum mechanics to enhance the computing experience. Quantum computers will no longer rely on binary digits (0 and 1 states), that computers have relied on since the early beginnings, but will instead use quantum bits, which can be in a superposition of states. Quantum bits, or qubits, have the advantage of being in many states at once, offering parallel computing advantages. For example, they have long been regarded as far superior to classical computers for applications in data encryption.

Although the concept of quantum computers has been known for several decades, practical realizations are still lacking. The main limiting factor has been the critical influence of the environment on a qubit. Most physical systems need to be in perfectly controlled conditions in order to remain in the superposition state, whereas any interaction (mechanical, thermal, or other) with the environment perturbs this state and ruins the qubit. Such perturbation is termed “decoherence” that has plagued many potential qubit systems.

Graphene, having spurred research into numerous novel directions, is naturally also considered as a candidate material host for qubits. For example, back in 2013, a team of researchers from MIT found that graphene can be made into a topological insulator – meaning that electrons with one spin direction move around the graphene edges clockwise, whereas those that have the opposite spin move counterclockwise. They made this happen by applying two magnetic fields: one perpendicular to the graphene sheet, to make the electrons flow at sheet edges only, and another parallel to the sheet, that separates the two spin contributions. Electron spin has long been considered a candidate qubit, because it is inherently a quantum system that is in a superposition of states. In graphene, the spins move along the sheet edges robustly, without much decoherence. Furthermore, the same research showed switching the spin selection on and off, an important feature of q-bit transistors. Nevertheless, extreme conditions such as strong magnetic fields and temperatures near absolute zero are required for this effect in graphene, raising questions about real-world applicability.

Image: Graphene spin qubit, MIT.

This year, the same group discovered a new kind of quantum state that appears when graphene is sandwiched between two superconductors. In this situation the electrons in graphene, formerly behaving as individual, scattering particles, instead pair up in “Andreev states” — a fundamental electronic configuration that allows a conventional, non-superconducting material to carry a “super-current,” an electric current that flows without dissipating energy. Andreev states, like the spin qubits, have very little decoherence, due to their paired configuration. These states are predicted to give rise to Majorana fermions, exotic particles that can be used for quantum computing. Although this experiment is also performed at low temperatures, it is an important proof-of-concept that should in the future open doors towards practical realizations of quantum computing.

Most recently, a group from EPFL in Switzerland devised a new way to use graphene in quantum electronics. In a layered capacitor structure, where graphene forms the capacitor parallel plates and boron nitride makes the insulating layer, quantum capacitance gives rise to novel nonlinear electronic phenomena. In this system small changes in, for example, the intensity of an incident laser beam, give rise to large changes in the measured capacitance of the device. The researchers calculate that one single incident photon could be enough to change qubit states, which is an ideal case of a qubit. Again, low temperatures are required for operation, however a significant advantage of this design is that there is no need for external magnetic fields, rendering this solution a step closer to practical applications.

To summarize, there are several different proposals to use graphene in quantum computers. From spin qubits, to Majorana fermions, to nonlinear capacitors, each has their own advantage. One common theme is that all these solutions are highly novel and innovative, and that the marriage of 2D materials and quantum computing is inevitable in the long run.


via Graphenea

Two tales of one galaxy

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Explore the stars in our galactic neighbour, the Large Magellanic Cloud, as viewed by ESA’s Gaia satellite
via ESA Space Science
http://sci.esa.int/gaia/59855

Explore CERN in the world of Minecraft

A Tinier Moon May Orbit the Tiny Distant Object That NASA Will Soon Visit

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When the New Horizons spacecraft that passed Pluto in 2015 completes its flyby of 2014 MU69 at the solar system’s edge, it may find a moon.
via New York Times

Engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure

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Experts at manipulating matter at the nanoscale have made an important breakthrough in physics and materials science. They have engineered "artificial graphene" by recreating, for the first time, the electronic structure of graphene in a semiconductor device.
via Science Daily

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Bright areas on Ceres suggest geologic activity

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If you could fly aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft, the surface of dwarf planet Ceres would generally look quite dark, but with notable exceptions. These exceptions are the hundreds of bright areas that stand out in images Dawn has returned. Now, scientists have a better sense of how these reflective areas formed and changed over time -- processes indicative of an active, evolving world.
via Science Daily
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Hubble's Celestial Snow Globe


A Hubble Space Telescope View of Globular Cluster M79

It's beginning to look a lot like the holiday season in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of a blizzard of stars, which resembles a swirling snowstorm in a snow globe. The stars are residents of the globular star cluster Messier 79, or M79, located 41,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Lepus. The cluster is also known as NGC 1904.


via Hubble - News feed
http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-37

Unravelling the mysteries of extragalactic jets

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Researchers have mathematically examined plasma jets from supermassive black holes to determine why certain types of jets disintegrate into huge plumes.
via Science Daily
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Hubble's celestial snow globe

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It's beginning to look a lot like the holiday season in this Hubble Space Telescope image of a blizzard of stars, which resembles a swirling snowstorm in a snow globe. The stars are residents of the globular star cluster Messier 79 (also known as M79 or NGC 1904), located 41,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Lepus.
via Science Daily
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Electrical and chemical coupling between Saturn and its rings

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A Langmuir probe, flown to Saturn on the Cassini spacecraft, has made exciting discoveries in the atmosphere of the planet. They discovered that there is a strong coupling, both chemically and electrically, between the atmosphere of Saturn and its rings.
via Science Daily
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Life's building blocks observed in spacelike environment

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Where do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first appeared on earth and were later combined into larger molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates. But a second possibility is that they originated in space, possibly within our solar system. A new study shows that a number of small organic molecules can form in a cold, spacelike environment full of radiation.
via Science Daily
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Graphene spin transport takes a step forward towards applications

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Researchers have predicted and demonstrated a giant spin anisotropy in graphene, paving the way for new spintronic logic devices.
via Science Daily

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

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Scientists were able to demonstrate another way of viewing biological samples at high resolution, explains a new report.
via Science Daily