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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category

Aug 9, 2018

The fastest human-made object launches for the Sun this Saturday

Posted by in categories: particle physics, satellites

If the weather remains favorable and everything goes according to plan on August 11th, NASA is sending a spacecraft to the sun. The Parker Solar Probe will go closer to the massive ball of gas and plasma keeping our solar system together than any other spacecraft has gone before. It will brave extreme temperatures reaching up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit to collect data and images of the sun’s atmosphere called “corona.” The spacecraft will also reach speeds up to 430,000 mph, making it the fastest-ever human-made object. That’s nowhere near fast enough to reach Alpha Centauri within our lifetime — it has to travel around 7,000 years to reach the star closest to our sun — but fast enough to get from Philadelphia to DC in a second.

NASA plans to use the data it beams back to figure out how we can better prepare for solar winds, which are streams of charged particles emitted by the corona. Particularly strong winds could change satellites’ orbits, interfere with their instruments and even affect power grids here on Earth. If we want to head deeper into space in the future, we must first study how solar winds can affect our vehicles. Besides, we need to take a closer look at the star nearest to us if we want to learn more about the other stars in the universe. Finally, studying the sun could shed light on the origin of life on Earth, since it’s our source of light and heat.

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Aug 7, 2018

Jupiter’s moons create invisible ‘killer’ waves that could destroy spacecraft

Posted by in categories: particle physics, robotics/AI, space travel

Here on Earth, electromagnetic waves around the planet are typically pretty calm. When the Sun fires a burst of charged particles at the Earth we are treated to an aurora (often called Northern Lights), but rarely are they a cause for concern. If you were to head to Jupiter, however, things would change dramatically.

In a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers describe the incredible electromagnetic field structure around two of Jupiter’s moons: Europa and Ganymede. The invisible magnetic fields around these bodies is being powered by Jupiter’s own magnetic field, and the result is an ultra-powerful particle accelerator of sorts, which might be capable of seriously damaging or even destroying a spacecraft.

“Chorus waves” are low-frequency electromagnetic waves that occur naturally around planets, including Earth. Near our planet they’re mostly harmless, but they do have the capability to produce extremely fast-moving “killer” particles that could cause damage to manmade technology if we happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Aug 4, 2018

Nanotube “Rebar” Makes Graphene Even Stronger

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics, space

You may know graphene as a pseudo-legendary substance that could potentially revolutionize science and space travel and all sorts of things. If you don’t, you should get educated is pretty ridiculous. Simply made from carbon arranged into perfect one atom thing sheets makes the material one of the strongest ever observed. And, now, researchers at Rice University have found that so-called “rebar” graphene is dramatically tougher.

Graphene is much stronger than steel. In fact, an elephant could stand on a pencil and that pressure couldn’t break through a thin sheet of the material. But, because it is arranged in sheets, it can still be ripped if damaged from the right angle. But the researchers figured that reinforcing the structure, as we do with steel bars in concrete structures, l could help prevent damage.

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Jul 30, 2018

The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics

New findings are fueling an old suspicion that fundamental particles and forces spring from strange eight-part numbers called “octonions.”

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Jul 30, 2018

Move over, graphene: Iron ore mineral becomes newest 2D material

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

When it comes to new materials, thin is most definitely in. Brazilian researchers have created a new two-dimensional material called hematene, which is made up of sheets of iron ore just three atoms thick. And as is often the case with 2D materials, hematene seems to have different properties to its regular form.

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Jul 30, 2018

God Particle will eventually DESTROY the universe — physicists in Doomsday claim

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

THE famous ‘God Particle’ will lead to the destruction of the entire universe, scientists have warned. British researchers are warning that the Higgs Boson, otherwise known as the God Particle, will one day lead to the destruction of the universe.

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Jul 24, 2018

Beyond silicon: $1.5 billion U.S. program aims to spur new types of computer chips

Posted by in categories: computing, military, nanotechnology, particle physics, policy

Silicon computer chips have been on a roll for half a century, getting ever more powerful. But the pace of innovation is slowing. Today the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced dozens of new grants totaling $75 million in a program that aims to reinvigorate the chip industry with basic research into new designs and materials, such as carbon nanotubes. Over the next few years, the DARPA program, which supports both academic and industry scientists, will grow to $300 million per year up to a total of $1.5 billion over 5 years.

“It’s a critical time to do this,” says Erica Fuchs, a computer science policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore made the observation that would become his eponymous “law”: The number of transistors on chips was doubling every 2 years, a time frame later cut to every 18 months. But the gains from miniaturizing the chips are dwindling. Today, chip speeds are stuck in place, and each new generation of chips brings only a 30% improvement in energy efficiency, says Max Shulaker, an electrical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Fabricators are approaching physical limits of silicon, says Gregory Wright, a wireless communications expert at Nokia Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey. Electrons are confined to patches of silicon just 100 atoms wide, he says, forcing complex designs that prevent electrons from leaking out and causing errors. “We’re running out of room,” he says.

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Jul 24, 2018

Beamed propulsion doable now, and with it space solar power

Posted by in categories: particle physics, solar power, space, sustainability

A dream of advocates of low cost space access has been beam propulsion of various types, whether laser, microwave, or particle beams.

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Jul 22, 2018

Meet the Woman Who Rocked Particle Physics—Three Times

Posted by in category: particle physics

Sau Lan Wu spent decades working to establish the Standard Model of particle physics. Now she’s searching for what lies beyond it.

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Jul 22, 2018

Traces of the Fukushima Meltdown Can Be Found in California Wines

Posted by in categories: food, particle physics

Researchers found increased levels of radioactive particles in wines made after Japan’s Fukushima meltdown.

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