Posts about science (old posts, page 1)

ikaros propelled by photons

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) would like to announce that we have confirmed the successful acceleration of the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator "IKAROS" by photon (_1) in the course of determining its precise orbit after its sail deployment. The IKAROS was launched by JAXA on May 21, 2010 (Japan Standard time, and all the following time and dates are JST unless noted otherwise,) and has been under operation since then. The thrust by solar light pressure is 1.12 mili-Newton (_2,) which is the expected value.With this confirmation, the IKAROS was proved to generate the biggest acceleration through photon during interplanetary flight in history.

bubbles blown by black hole

A relatively small black hole has been spotted blowing bubbles with diameters of more than 300-1500 light years.Robert Soria of the University College London and colleagues pored over images and data from the European Southern Observatory and Chandra X-ray Observatory, zeroing in on an unusually large remnant from a supernova explosion. Its host galaxy appears in the Sculptor constellation of Earth's southern sky, around 12.7 million light years away.

best solar system pics

I've collected my favorite pictures of all the planets in our solar system and put them together here for your viewing awesomeness. I've also thrown in the Sun and Moon, as well as one bonus surprise at the end. Each picture has a brief description, a link to the original higher-res version, and also a link to a blog post I've written with more information. My picture choices may surprise you. I didn't just pick them for their beauty, but also for the story they tell, what happened behind the scenes, and simply because they're cool. "

best solar system pics

NASA sets date for shuttle finale

After some debate, NASA today said it has set the final two launch dates for its venerable space shuttles. Those dates are: * Nov. 1 for space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 mission. * Feb. 26, 2011, for the liftoff of shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission.NASA said the dates needed to be adjusted because critical payload hardware for STS-133 will not be ready in time to support the planned Sept. 16 launch. With STS-133 moving to November, STS-134 cannot fly as planned, NASA stated so the next available launch window is in February 2011.

Memory links to 40 winks

People who sleep after processing and storing a memory carry out their intentions much better than people who try to execute their plan before getting to sleep. The researchers have shown that sleep enhances our ability to remember to do something in the future, a skill known as prospective memory.Moreover, researchers studying the relationship between memory and sleep say that our ability to carry out our intentions is not so much a function of how firmly that intention has been embedded in our memories. Rather, the trigger that helps carry out our intentions is usually a place, situation or circumstance -- some context encountered the next day - that sparks the recall of an intended action.

Global Gravity Map

This colourful new map traces the subtle but all pervasive influence the pull of gravity has across the globe.Known as a geoid, it essentially defines where the level surface is on our planet; it tells us which way is "up" and which way is "down".It is drawn from delicate measurements made by Europe's Goce satellite, which flies so low it comes perilously close to falling out of the sky.

Airplanes Make it Rain

If you've ever been lucky enough to see a hole-punch cloud form in the afternoon sky (above), you'd be forgiven for thinking a UFO landed somewhere near by. But according to a new study, the clouds form when much more pedestrian flying objects -- turboprop and jet airplanes -- fly through and change water droplets into ice crystals.Droplets in many clouds exist in a strange supercooled state; they can be as cold as -34 degrees C (-35 degrees F), well below freezing, and yet remain in liquid form. When airplanes come cruising through, they can cause a quick drop in temperature that freezes the droplets. Suddenly the cloud is populated by ice crystals. Droplets begin condensing around them in a chain reaction and then -- poof! -- a hole of blue sky appears where fluffy white cloud had been.Where does the water and ice go? It falls to Earth, either as snow or rain -- sometimes a fair amount of it.

1st synthetic life form

The new organism is based on an existing bacterium that causes mastitis in goats, but at its core is an entirely synthetic genome that was constructed from chemicals in the laboratory.The single-celled organism has four "watermarks" written into its DNA to identify it as synthetic and help trace its descendants back to their creator, should they go astray."We were ecstatic when the cells booted up with all the watermarks in place," Dr Venter told the Guardian. "It's a living species now, part of our planet's inventory of life."Dr Venter's team developed a new code based on the four letters of the genetic code, G, T, C and A, that allowed them to draw on the whole alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks to write the watermarks. Anyone who cracks the code is invited to email an address written into the DNA.

Aliens Hack Voyager 2?

IT left Earth 33 years ago, now it's claimed the Voyager 2 spacecraft may have been hijacked by aliens after sending back data messages NASA scientists can't decode.NASA installed a 12-inch disk containing music and greetings in 55 languages in case intelligent extraterrestrial life ever found it.But now the spacecraft is sending back what sounds like an answer: Signals in an unknown data format!The best scientific minds have so far not been able to decipher the strange information - is it a secret message?

Do not talk to aliens

THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist -- but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world's leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe's greatest mysteries.Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.