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Isotopic labelling used to study explosive compounds

Adam Hunt | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 6:30 AM CST

Ana Racoveanu is a scientist synthesizing energetic compounds with isotopic labels, a rare feat in the nuclear security enterprise.

Isotopic labelling used to study explosive compounds 01 | TweakTown.com

Isotopic labeling uses various stable isotopes of given elements in the place of their most common isotope throughout a chemical reaction. The different properties of the non-standard isotope allow its progress through the reaction to be tracked, providing insight into the mechanics of the reaction itself. The goal of creating isotopically labeled energetic materials is to help make munitions safer to handle and use.

"This work unlocks a unique method of examining the science of energetic materials. It is a tracer method allowing discovery of reaction networks of energetic materials during performance as well as in environments not encountered during normal operations or abnormal environments," said Racoveanu.

Previously, making stable isotopically labeled energetics has been rare due to the prohibitive expense of starting materials. Cheaper labeled ingredients and synthetic methods for energetic materials have helped make isoptically labeling energetics more available, but their quantity is still limited by expense.

Continue reading: Isotopic labelling used to study explosive compounds (full post)

Quantum computing chip shrunk to a thousandth the size possible before

Adam Hunt | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 6:00 AM CST

These days, transistors in classical computers are measured on the nanometer scale, but superconducting qubits used in quantum are still measured in millimeters.

Quantum computing chip shrunk to a thousandth the size possible before 01 | TweakTown.com

Qubits exist in an infinite gradation of binary states, and for quantum computers to excel, their qubits need to be on the same wavelength. Traditionally, this has been a size-constrained issue, leading to massive processors and quantum computers. Much like shrinking transistors in classical computers, a way to shrink qubits will be necessary to make quantum computing more viable in the future.

Wang Fong-Jen Professor James Hone's lab at Columbia Engineering has recently collaborated with Raytheon BBN Technologies to shrink qubits by shrinking the capacitors used to power them. Planar capacitors have been used previously, but stacking them to save space would result in interference from the metals used with the qubits.

Instead, Hone's Ph.D. students Abhinandan Antony and Anjaly Rajendra used boron nitride as an insulating layer between two charged plates made from superconducting niobium diselenide. Each layer is only an atom thick, held together with weak van der Waals forces between the electrons.

Continue reading: Quantum computing chip shrunk to a thousandth the size possible before (full post)

Scientists to investigate fungal networks impact on climate change

Adam Hunt | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 5:30 AM CST

Scientists speculate that underground fungal networks are a critical but largely overlooked component of global climate change and are looking to change that.

Scientists to investigate fungal networks impact on climate change 01 | TweakTown.com

Researchers aim to collect ten thousand DNA samples from fungi by working with local communities worldwide, hoping to determine how their networks are being affected by human activity like global warming. With this, the researchers want to construct a global map of the networks.

"Fungi are invisible ecosystem engineers, and their loss has gone largely unnoticed by the public. New research and climate models are providing irrefutable evidence that the Earth's survival is linked to the underground," said Toby Kiers, a professor of evolutionary biology at Amsterdam's Free University and co-founder of the non-profit Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), the organization coordinating the effort.

Understanding how climate change affects fungal networks or mycelia is vital in ensuring their survival and the preservation of the ecosystems they exist within. Some fungi can help combat global warming by facilitating carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere by storing it in their roots underground. Providing nutrients to other plants also helps their growth, allowing them to sap more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Some fungi can instead produce carbon dioxide as they decompose organic matter for food, which helps to fuel global warming.

Continue reading: Scientists to investigate fungal networks impact on climate change (full post)

Predators build predictive models with echolocation to track prey

Adam Hunt | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 5:00 AM CST

On November 30th, during the 181st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Angeles Salles of Johns Hopkins University will discuss how bats use echolocation to find prey and track and predict its trajectory.

Predators build predictive models with echolocation to track prey 01 | TweakTown.com

Bats use echolocation to create echo snapshots of their environment, capturing it in discrete stages. They generate the sounds used for echolocation from their larynx or by clicking their tongues and process the echoes that return after sending out those noises. These noises are typically ultrasonic, so humans are unable to hear them.

Unlike predators that rely on visual cues, this allows bats to hunt in total darkness. Because they cannot track prey continuously as a predator would visually, the echo snapshots provide staggered sensory information on the prey as it moves through space. The bat's brain creates a predictive model that allows it to extrapolate the prey's trajectory based on its movement through the snapshots it receives.

"We think this is an innate capability, such as humans can predict where a ball will land when it is tossed at them. Once a bat has located a target, it uses the acoustic information to calculate the speed of the prey and anticipate where it will be next," said Salles.

Continue reading: Predators build predictive models with echolocation to track prey (full post)

NASA scientists explain mid-infrared imagery aboard Webb telescope

Adam Hunt | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 4:30 AM CST

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is set to revolutionize in-space astronomy, picking up where Hubble will leave off with a host of new technologies.

NASA scientists explain mid-infrared imagery aboard Webb telescope 01 | TweakTown.com

One of the instruments about the JWST is the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), which requires special cooling down to 6 Kelvin, something that engineers cannot fully test here on Earth. Hubble observes the universe in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, up to about 1.8-micrometer wavelengths. MIRI, as the name implies, sees into the mid-infrared part of the spectrum and beyond. MIRI will be able to see between 5 and 28-micron wavelength light.

"It's a different way of looking at the universe. And every time you look in a new way, you find stuff that you had no idea was out there," said Dr. Ressler of the ESA.

Every object the has warmth emits infrared radiation, and room temperature objects emit at ten microns. This radiation presents issues for MIRI, as its operation at such temperatures would radiate mid-infrared wavelengths that interfere with its ability to perceive the same wavelengths coming from space.

"And so we need to have the telescope cold so that it doesn't glow. Our instrument enclosure and all our optics need to be very cold so that they don't glow. And then just the technology, the detectors themselves require them to be very cold. Everything has to be so cold simply so that we're not washed out by this background from everything being warm," said Ressler.

Continue reading: NASA scientists explain mid-infrared imagery aboard Webb telescope (full post)

Elon Musk says SpaceX faces bankruptcy, leaked video of Starship drops

Jak Connor | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 4:01 AM CST

Following an internal SpaceX email obtained by Space Explored that revealed SpaceX CEO Elon Musk saying SpaceX could face bankruptcy in the future, a leaked video of the interior of Starship has surfaced.

Elon Musk says SpaceX faces bankruptcy, leaked video of Starship drops 01 | TweakTown.com

The leaked email purportedly from Elon Musk states that Starship, the biggest rocket ever, is needed to get V2 Starlink internet satellites into orbit, and to get Starship operational, the production of Raptor engines needs to increase drastically. Musk describes the Raptor engine production situation as a "crisis", and writes, "What it comes down to, is that we face a genuine risk of bankruptcy if we can't achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year."

Now, a leaked video also obtained by Space Explored showcases a rare look inside of the Starship launch vehicle. According to the publication, the video showcases a SpaceX employee recording the interior of the nosecone and that the interior is recognizable from exploded Starship prototypes. It should be noted that at the time of writing this SpaceX, nor Elon Musk has denied or confirmed the leaked stories are legitimate. If you are interested in reading more on this story, check out this link here.

Continue reading: Elon Musk says SpaceX faces bankruptcy, leaked video of Starship drops (full post)

Elon Musk says how SpaceX may soon face a genuine risk of bankruptcy

Jak Connor | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 3:31 AM CST

According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the production of SpaceX's Raptor engines that will be equipped to its upcoming launch vehicle called Starship may cause SpaceX to face bankruptcy.

Elon Musk says how SpaceX may soon face a genuine risk of bankruptcy 01 | TweakTown.com

In an email obtained by Space Explored that was sent out to SpaceX staff over the Thanksgiving weekend by Musk, the CEO explains that the lack of Raptor engine product has caused a situation that has turned into something much worse than it was a few weeks ago. Musk describes the situation as a "crisis", and says he will be working on the Raptor production over the Thanksgiving weekend and requests any SpaceX staff that have free time to assist him.

"Unless you have critical family matters or cannot physically return to Hawthorne, we will need all hands-on deck to recover from what is, quite frankly, a disaster", reads the email. The email continues and mentions that the Raptor engines required to launch Starship is needed to launch V2 Starlink internet satellites as V2 Starlink satellites cannot be attached to SpaceX's current launch vehicle workhorse the Falcon 9. Starlink is needed to get V2 Starlinks into orbit, which SpaceX is relying on as cash inflow.

Continue reading: Elon Musk says how SpaceX may soon face a genuine risk of bankruptcy (full post)

Elon Musk chimes in on the space debris controversy caused by Russia

Jak Connor | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 3:03 AM CST

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has chimed in on the recent controversy surrounding space debris caused by a Russian anti-satellite missile test.

Elon Musk chimes in on the space debris controversy caused by Russia 01 | TweakTown.com

On November 15, Russia tested an anti-satellite missile on one of its own satellites, which caused thousands of new space debris to emerge in Earth's orbit. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) can be heard being told by NASA Headquarters to prepare to launch back down to Earth and take shelter in spaceships such as SpaceX's Crew Dragon. NASA condemned the actions by Russia, to which the country responded by defending its actions with the minister-general Sergei Shoigu saying that the debris "don't pose any threat to space activities."

Currently, 1,500 pieces of space debris are being tracked. However, they all haven't been found and may take some time to be found. Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who tracks satellites and debris objects, spoke to Insider and said, "If [a satellite] gets hit by one of the bigger pieces of debris... it could completely destroy the satellite into thousands of more pieces. You could see debris hitting the satellites, causing more debris that then hits more satellites."

Continue reading: Elon Musk chimes in on the space debris controversy caused by Russia (full post)

NASA delays astronaut spacewalk out of fear, space dangers increasing

Jak Connor | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 2:32 AM CST

NASA announced the cancellation of a scheduled spacewalk for astronauts aboard the International Space Station out of fear of space debris.

The space agency announced via its Twitter account that the spacewalk was canceled as there was a potential threat of space debris being a danger for astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron. The ISS astronauts were going on a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system. NASA has provided updates to its blog post on its website, where it writes that it received a "debris notification" before the spacewalk was meant to take place and decided to postpone the walk until further assessment of the situation has been done.

NASA has provided an update and wrote, "After receiving additional information about a late notification debris event on Monday, NASA determined the orbit of the debris does not pose a risk to a scheduled spacewalk by Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron or to International Space Station operations. Delaying the spacewalk provided an opportunity for NASA to evaluate the risk from the debris notification. The spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system on the station's truss structure now is planned for Thursday, Dec. 2."

Continue reading: NASA delays astronaut spacewalk out of fear, space dangers increasing (full post)

Two merging supermassive black holes found near Earth, breaks records

Jak Connor | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Wed, Dec 1 2021 2:03 AM CST

A new release from the European Space Agency (ESA) has detailed the discovery of the closest pair of merging supermassive black holes to Earth.

Two merging supermassive black holes found near Earth, breaks records 01 | TweakTown.com

The team of researchers behind the study that's been published in Astronomy & Astrophysics state that they have never found a pair of merging supermassive black holes as close as the pair that reside in the center of the galaxy NGC 7727. The galaxy resides in the constellation Aquarius and is around 89 million light-years away from Earth. Research indicates that the two supermassive black holes will become one in around 250 million years.

The lead author on the new study, Karina Voggel, an astronomer at the Strasbourg Observatory in France, says that merging black holes within NGC 7727 has broken the record for the closest pair of merging black holes to Earth by more than half the previous record holder. The record that was just broken was held by a pair of merging black holes 470 million light-years away from Earth, which is more than five times the distance than the two that were recently discovered.

Continue reading: Two merging supermassive black holes found near Earth, breaks records (full post)

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