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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 48

Scientists at CERN discovers the "God particle", or Higgs boson

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have done it, after more than 30 years of experimentation, and billions upon billions of dollars in research and the use and construction of the Large Hadron Collider, have found the Higgs boson, or "God particle".

 

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Some might dismiss this as nothing, but this is considered an absolutely mind-blowing achievement for all scientists, researchers and everyone in between. The Higgs boson is a subatomic particle which is thought to give everything in our universe, mass. Mass is a physical property which gives matter its weight here on Earth, and other bodies which exert gravity.

 

But, you don't just stumble upon this, and when you do, you require some serious confirmation before you make these types of claims. Scientists are 99.99999999999-percent certain, and this is about as close as one can get. The scientists were able to calculate that the new particle is very near the "five-sigma" level of significance, meaning that there is less than a one in a million chance that their results are a statistical fluke.

Continue reading 'Scientists at CERN discovers the "God particle", or Higgs boson' (full post)

New reality show to be based on Mars, $6 billion cost to establish permanent colony by 2023, Snooki will be too old by then

Ever wished there were a reality show that wasn't based on this planet? Well, just wait another decade and your wish might just come true. A Dutch company is determined to establish a permanent colony on Mars, and is looking to spend $6 billion doing so.

 

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The plans for a reality show is grandiose, with the project dubbed 'Mars One', and will drop four astronauts on Mars in April 2023, with none of them ever returning to Earth. In order to pony up $6 billion for this venture, the project is set to stage a media spectacle like the world has never, ever seen previously. An interplanetary reality show, along the lines of Big Brother.

 

Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft, an ambassador for Mars One, has said in an introductory video posted on the company's website:

 

This project seems to be the only way to fulfill humanity's dream to explore outer space. It is going to be an exciting experiment. Let's get started.

Continue reading 'New reality show to be based on Mars, $6 billion cost to establish permanent colony by 2023, Snooki will be too old by then' (full post)

Japan, Russia looking to set up bases on the Moon

If you've ever imagined being a fly on the wall in an important meeting between companies, or corporations, this might be it. The heads of the space agencies for Europe, Canada, and Russia as well as senior representatives from the space agencies of India and Japan, were all together in a hotel in Washington, DC, where they were talking about the benefits of international collaboration at the Global Space Exploration Conference.

 

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The leader of the space agency who's HQ is just a few blocks away, was not on the stage. NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, was in Florida where he was watching the attempt by SpaceX to launch a capsule to the International Space Station. But, it's not strange for NASA to not be involved with these talks, as the agency has had a hard time working with others in joint ventures, and Europe in particular has had to turn elsewhere for partners.

Continue reading 'Japan, Russia looking to set up bases on the Moon' (full post)

SpaceX launch aborted at T-minus 0.5 seconds, should launch next Tuesday

SpaceX, the space transport company out of California founded by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk, were ready to launch their first private spacecraft on its voyage to the International Space Station on Saturday, but at T-minus 0.5 seconds, it was aborted.

 

 

Technicians pegged it on a faulty engine valve, which was responsible for aborting the first launch attempt within just half of a second remaining on the countdown, after all nine first-stage engines had ignited. Computers had detected high pressure in one engine's combustion chamber, triggering an automatic shutdown.

 

The countdown reached zero, but SpaceX holds its rockets on the launch pad for a few seconds after ignition in order to ensure everything is functioning. In this case, it could've been a very, very good thing that the lift-off was halted, and SpaceX's delayed launch for a few seconds definitely helped.

Continue reading 'SpaceX launch aborted at T-minus 0.5 seconds, should launch next Tuesday' (full post)

Chinese researchers teleport photons over 60 miles

The Chinese have beamed up Scotty. Starting in 1997, researchers have been able to quantum teleport photons, where a record was set by researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai.

 

Two years ago, this team successfully transported a photon over 16km. This same team has just released some new findings, where they've claimed to have teleported photons nearly 100km, or over 60 miles. Incredible!

 

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How the process works is when a photon is teleported, they aren't physically transporting the proton, but instead the information that is contained in it through quantum entanglement. The second photon at the end of the teleport then becomes the first one, or the identical qubit of information. This means that information is exchanged, all without any physical movement.

 

This would be perfect for information, instead of it travelling through cables or satellites, information would stay in a single place, shoot across the other side of the planet (or solar system?) and recreate itself in its intended position. This is because quantum teleportation has to be done in free space. Fiberoptics just don't work because once you go over a distance of around 1km, the fiber absorbs so much light that the information is lost.

Continue reading 'Chinese researchers teleport photons over 60 miles' (full post)

Any Futurama fans? High speed tube transport concept similar to the show could go NY to Hollywood in 45 minutes

The future has once again been predicted by a TV show. A new concept vehicle that is strikingly similar to that in the TV cartoon Futurama could make trips around the world in only 6 hours. New York to Hollywood could be completed in a mere 45 minutes. All of this is thanks to magnetic levitation.

 

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This new concept is called Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) and works by moving at incredibly high speeds. Each tube vehicle car thing (honestly, I'm not sure what to call them!) seats 6 people and has a baggage compartment. The passenger capsule is then put into a vacuum tube where it is levitated leaving it frictionless and air drag free.

 

Without friction or drag, the system is efficient and can attain a top speed of approximately 4,000 miles per hour. No typo there, folks. This speed allows it to do the incredible feats described above. Even with that speed, passengers would experience no more G-force than a typical car ride down the freeway.

 

Better yet, the people behind the technology say that it could be available in the next 10 years. "Just like trains, initial ETT use will be for cargo, and along high use routes of travel," ET3 says in a statement on its official site. "Since the system is efficient in energy and materials used, high-speed travel will be low-cost, and sustainable. Eventually, everyone in the world may use the system."

Continue reading 'Any Futurama fans? High speed tube transport concept similar to the show could go NY to Hollywood in 45 minutes' (full post)

Scientists make breakthrough that could double human lifespan

Scientists have discovered a molecule that could very well double the lifespan of humans if the rat trials are anything to go on. Obviously there is a lot more research to be done before this can even be considered for human trials, but the early results are definitely positive. Imagine living to 150, 200 years old!

 

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Researchers at the Universite Paris Sud in France began experimenting with a special carbon molecule called Buckministerfullerene or, more commonly, "Buckyballs." These molecules are composed of 60 carbon atoms arranged in the shape of a sphere. The researchers then fed the molecule along with olive oil to several groups of rats.

 

One group of rats was the control group and was fed just a normal diet. A second group was fed the normal diet and olive oil. The third group was fed the normal diet along with olive oil and a 0.8mg/ml concentration of Buckminsterfullerene. The control group lived for an average of 22 months, the oil-fed group lasted an average of 26 months, and the final group, the ones fed the Buckminsterfullerene, lived for an unbelievable 42 months.

 

The group fed the Buckminsterfullerene survived for almost double that of the control group and still significantly better than the oil-fed group. Scientists had previously hypothesized the benefits of the molecule, but this is the first time their life-extending properties had been tested. Just imagine if these results transfer to humans. Hello, overpopulation!

SpaceX considering a new 'Commercial Cape Canaveral' in Texas

It appears to be all good news for space enthusiasts today especially for those who want to go into space eventually. SpaceX has filed a notice of intent with the FAA regarding building a new spaceport in Cameron County, Texas. Cameron County, Texas is very close to the Mexican border and is right on the Gulf of Mexico.

 

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The filing reads:

 

Under the Proposed Action, SpaceX proposes to construct a vertical launch area and a control center area to support up to 12 commercial launches per year. The vehicles to be launched include the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy (up to two per year), and a variety of smaller reusable suborbital launch vehicles...All launch trajectories would be to the east over the Gulf of Mexico.

 

SpaceX currently uses NASA's Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral for its Falcon 9 rocket. They have also been interested in gaining access to NASA's Complex 39A for heavy loads, although it's unclear whether or not they are still interested in that.

 

The founder of SpaceX spoke last year about this "commercial Cape Canaveral" and would like to launch 4 Falcon Heavies a year in order to keep the price below $1000 per pound, a price that China has said they can't beat. However, Congressional support may not be behind the effort and could possibly delay the construction. More as it comes.

Carbon nanotube circuits could outsource their heat to a separate device

Most people know that when you flow an electric current through a wire, the wire heats up. Most of our readers will also know that heat is the killer of many of our favorite electronic devices. That's why this new discovery by the University of Maryland is very pertinent to our cause. It's uses could allow for more efficient heat dissipation.

 

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Kamal H. Baloch, Norvik Voskanian, Merijntje Bronsgeest, and John Cumings found that they could outsmart the traditional "Joule heating" and have the heat dissipate into the substrate rather than into the wire. This is due to a process they have dubbed "remote Joule heating." When an electric current flows through a carbon nanotube, the heat will go into the material that the nanotube is sitting upon.

 

The researchers determined that as much as 84 percent of the power in the nanotube was transferred to the substrate. In the nanoscale that they were working on, it was a bit hard to determine just where the heat was going. They had to use electron thermal microscopy (EThM) in order to figure it out.

 

The researchers postulate that the electrons are passing the energy along via their electric field. The nanotubes are capable of carrying high density currents, and as such, Baloch et al. suspect this kind of remote heat dissipation could be very useful in future electronic devices. If the heat can be dumped out to a different material than the circuit, this could prove to be very useful.

Researchers make a significant discovery regarding solar cells

The sun produces enough energy to power the planet many many times over. The issue is how to harness it. The current solar solutions are fairly inefficient at producing electricity and are stiff and heavy which makes them impractical for some uses. The rigidity also makes them fragile which further limits the applications in which they can be used.

 

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But, researchers from the University of Austria and the University of Tokyo have made a pretty significant advancement in the technology of solar cells. They were able to create an ultra-thin solar cell which measures a minuscule 1.9 micrometers thick. This is roughly one-tenth the size of the next smallest device.

 

It's flexibility comes from the fact that it is composed of electrodes mounted on plastic foil, rather than glass. This allows it to be wrapped around a human hair which is nearly 20 times thicker. It could be ready for use in as little as 5 years. There's a plethora of information available at the source below.

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