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Sunday, October 26, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

NASA identifies ice cloud above cruising altitude on Titan

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 05:05 PM PDT

NASA scientists have identified an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan that is similar to exotic clouds found far above Earth's poles.

NASA's Fermi satellite finds hints of starquakes in magnetar 'storm'

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 05:02 PM PDT

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a rapid-fire "storm" of high-energy blasts from a highly magnetized neutron star, also called a magnetar, on Jan. 22, 2009. Now astronomers analyzing this data have discovered underlying signals related to seismic waves rippling throughout the magnetar.

Illusions in the cosmic clouds: New image of spinning neutron star

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 04:59 PM PDT

Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.

MAVEN ultraviolet image of comet Siding Spring's hydrogen coma

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 04:57 PM PDT

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft obtained this ultraviolet image of hydrogen surrounding comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring on Oct. 17, 2014, two days before the comet's closest approach to Mars. The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument imaged the comet at a distance of 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers).

Mars Orbiter's spectrometer shows Oort comet's coma

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 04:54 PM PDT

The Compact Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) observed comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as the comet sped close to Mars on Oct. 19. CRISM recorded imaging data in 107 different wavelengths, showing the inner part of the cloud of dust, called the coma, surrounding the comet's nucleus.

Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 04:51 PM PDT

It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1291. Though the galaxy is quite old, roughly 12 billion years, it is marked by an unusual ring where newborn stars are igniting.

NASA ultra-black nano-coating to be applied to 3-D new solar coronagraph

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 04:34 PM PDT

An emerging super-black nanotechnology that is to be tested for the first time this fall on the International Space Station will be applied to a complex, 3-D component critical for suppressing stray light in a new, smaller, less-expensive solar coronagraph designed to ultimately fly on the orbiting outpost or as a hosted payload on a commercial satellite.

Mass gaging system will measure fuel transfer in zero gravity

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 04:27 PM PDT

Transfer of super-cooled or cryogenic fuel from one tank to another in the zero gravity of space may one day be a reality. But the challenges of measuring fuels and fuel levels in the weightlessness of space must be solved first. A newly developed sensor technology that will be tested on the early suborbital flights of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo in 2015.

NASA creating a virtual telescope with two small spacecraft

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 04:25 PM PDT

Although scientists have flown two spacecraft in formation, no one ever has aligned the spacecraft with a specific astronomical target and then held that configuration to make a scientific observation -- creating, in effect, a single or "virtual" telescope with two distinctly different satellites.

NASA's SDO observes largest sunspot of the solar cycle

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 02:10 PM PDT

On Oct. 18, 2014, a sunspot rotated over the left side of the sun, and soon grew to be the largest active region seen in the current solar cycle, which began in 2008. Currently, the sunspot is almost 80,000 miles across -- ten Earth's could be laid across its diameter.

Li-ion batteries contain toxic halogens, but environmentally friendly alternatives exist

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 08:19 AM PDT

Physics researchers have discovered that most of the electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries -- commonly found in consumer electronic devices -- are superhalogens, and that the vast majority of these electrolytes contain toxic halogens.

Molecular beacons shine light on how cells 'crawl'

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 08:19 AM PDT

Chemists have devised a method using DNA-based tension probes to zoom in at the molecular level and measure and map how cells mechanically sense their environments, migrate and adhere to things.

Subwavelength optical fibers to diffuse light

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 07:12 AM PDT

Researchers have just discovered a new type of light diffusion in tiny optical fibers 50 times thinner than a strand of hair. This phenomenon, which varies according to the fiber's environment, could be used to develop sensors that are innovative and highly sensitive.

Global boom in hydropower expected this decade

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 05:26 AM PDT

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce the number of our last remaining large free-flowing rivers by about 20 percent and pose a serious threat to freshwater biodiversity.

Three-dimensional metamaterials with a natural bent

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 05:26 AM PDT

Scientists have succeeded in creating a large metamaterial, up to 4 mm x 4 mm2 in size, that is essentially isotropic, using a type of metamaterial element called a split-ring resonator.

Liquid helium offers a fascinating new way to make charged molecules

Posted: 24 Oct 2014 05:25 AM PDT

Chemists have developed a completely new way of forming charged molecules which offers tremendous potential for new areas of chemical research.

In orbit or on Earth, implantable device will be commanded to release therapeutic drugs remotely

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 04:33 PM PDT

Scientists are developing an implantable device that delivers therapeutic drugs at a rate guided by remote control. The device's effectiveness will be tested aboard the International Space Station and on Earth's surface.

National Synchrotron Light Source II achieves 'first light'

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 11:20 AM PDT

The National Synchrotron Light Source II detects its first photons, beginning a new phase of the facility's operations. Scientific experiments at NSLS-II are expected to begin before the end of the year.

New experiment provides route to macroscopic high-mass superpositions

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Scientists have designed a new experiment to test the foundations of quantum mechanics at the large scale. Standard quantum theory places no limit on particle size and current experiments use larger and larger particles, which exhibit wave-like behavior. However, at these masses experiments begin to probe extensions to standard quantum mechanics, which describe the apparent quantum-to-classical transition. Now researchers have designed a new type of experiment which will advance the current state-of-the-art experiments by a factor of 100, from 10,000 atomic mass units (amu), roughly equal to the mass of a single proton, to one million amu.

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. Chlorinated paraffins are included in the subject group of persistent organic pollutants which humans and animals should be protected from.

A strong welfare state mitigates the impact of the Great Recession

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 06:18 AM PDT

There is a general correlation between unemployment and suicide among men. But the weaker the unemployment protection in the country, the stronger the connection. These findings are reported in a comparative study covering thirty countries, focusing the impact of the Great Recession on unemployment and suicide rates.

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 01:40 PM PDT

When studying extremely fast reactions in ultrathin materials, two measurements are better than one. A new research tool captures information about both temperature and crystal structure during extremely fast reactions in thin-film materials.

Electronics industry offered two ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 01:40 PM PDT

The idea of a practical manufacturing process based on getting molecules to organize themselves in useful nanoscale shapes once seemed a little fantastic. Now the day isn't far off when your cell phone may depend on it. Two recent articles demonstrate complementary approaches to 3-D imaging of nanoscale polymer patterns for use in semiconductor lithography.

New insights on carbonic acid in water: Implications for geological and biological processes

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 01:40 PM PDT

A new study provides valuable new insight into aqueous carbonic acid with important implications for both geological and biological concerns.

Finding durable foul-release coatings to control invasive mussel attachment

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 01:39 PM PDT

The Bureau of Reclamation has released a report summarizing six years of testing coatings to control the attachment of quagga and zebra mussels to water and power facilities. Since the study began in 2008, Reclamation has tested more than 100 coatings and materials.

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