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Feb 19, 2024

UK’s “DragonFire” laser weapon downs its first drones

Posted by in categories: drones, military

The UK’s high-powered DragonFire laser weapon just shot down its first drones — bringing it one step closer to the battlefield.

Feb 19, 2024

IM-1 mission on course for the moon after engine test

Posted by in category: space travel

Completing the commissioning maneuver that demonstrated the performance of the main engine, which will be used to place the spacecraft into lunar orbit and, later, land on the moon, was a major milestone for the mission.

“Once we get through that and we know how the engine performs in space, I think our confidence actually goes up that we will have a successful landing on the moon,” Trent Martin, vice president of space systems at Intuitive Machines, said of that engine test in a Feb. 12 interview.

The IM-1 mission is carrying six NASA payloads as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program under a $118 million task order. It is also carrying six payloads for other customers, ranging from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to the artist Jeff Koons.

Feb 19, 2024

CRISPR ‘will provide cures for genetic diseases that were incurable before,’ says renowned biochemist Virginijus Šikšnys

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Live Science spoke with Šikšnys about what it’s been like to see CRISPR enter clinical use and how he thinks the system might be applied and improved upon in the future.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Related: Gene therapy: What is it and how does it work?

Feb 19, 2024

Sun Bear Solar Farm Will Be Eight Miles Long, One Mile Wide, And Have Two Million Solar Panels

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Sun Bear, an enormous solar and battery storage installation in the Four Corners region of Colorado, will have more than two million solar panels spread across 5,500 acres of land belonging to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, part of the Weenuche Band of the Ute Nation. The primary developer is the Canigou Group, which styles itself as a global leader in renewable energy. “We are active throughout Europe, Australia and North America where we work with partners at the local level to provide a holistic solution,” it says on its website. The Sun Bear facility will cost up to $1.5 billion and produce peak power of 975 MW. There is no information currently available about the size of the battery storage system or who will supply the batteries for it.

There are several reasons why the site in southwest Colorado, which borders New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, was chosen for this large scale solar project. Carigou Group says “Sun Bear is well positioned for harnessing the sun with its large unobstructed sky, high annual solar irradiance, and low seasonal variability. The site is located close to a confluence of transmission systems which provide access to customers via both transmission and distribution interconnection.”

Continue reading “Sun Bear Solar Farm Will Be Eight Miles Long, One Mile Wide, And Have Two Million Solar Panels” »

Feb 19, 2024

NASA Reveals How It Would Warn World of Impending Asteroid Disaster

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, military

When the Chicxulub impactor, a six-mile-wide asteroid, struck Earth 66 million years ago, the dinosaurs had no warning.

If an asteroid that size hit Earth today, a shock wave two million times more powerful than a hydrogen bomb would flatten forests and trigger tsunamis. A seismic pulse equal to a magnitude 10 earthquake would crumble cities.

And long after the impact, a cloud of hot dust, ash, and steam would blot out the sun, plunging the Earth into freezing cold.

Feb 19, 2024

FBI, UK Crime Agency Say They Have Disrupted LockBit Cyber Gang

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, law enforcement

A coalition of international law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and UK National Crime Agency, said they have disrupted LockBit, one of the most prolific hacker groups of all time, including shutting down websites the organization used for ransomware payments.

Feb 19, 2024

Brightest quasar ever seen is powered by black hole that eats a ‘sun a day’

Posted by in category: cosmology

A newly discovered quasar is a real record-breaker. Not only is it the brightest quasar ever seen, but it’s also the brightest astronomical object in general ever seen. It’s also powered by the hungriest and fastest-growing black hole ever seen — one that consumes the equivalent of over one sun’s mass a day.

The quasar, as bright as 500 trillion suns, has evaded astronomers for over 40 years because of its incredible luminosity.

Feb 19, 2024

US study uncovers 275 million entirely new genetic variants

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health

CHICAGO, Feb 19 (Reuters) — A study that analyzed the genetic code of a quarter of a million U.S. volunteers found more than 275 million entirely new variants that may help explain why some groups are more prone to disease than others, researchers reported on Monday.

The whole genome sequencing data from a wide range of Americans aims to address the historical lack of diversity in existing genomic datasets by focusing on previously under-represented groups. The U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded “All of Us” study turned up 1 billion genetic variants in total.

“Sequencing diverse populations can lead to new drug targets that are relevant to everyone,” said Dr. Josh Denny, a study author and its chief executive. “It can also help uncover disparities that lead to specific treatments for people that are experiencing higher burdens of disease or different disease.”

Feb 19, 2024

Over 28,500 Exchange servers vulnerable to actively exploited bug

Posted by in category: business

Up to 97,000 Microsoft Exchange servers may be vulnerable to a critical severity privilege escalation flaw tracked as CVE-2024–21410 that hackers are actively exploiting.

Microsoft addressed the issue on February 13, when it had already been leveraged as a zero-day. Currently, 28,500 servers have been identified as being vulnerable.

Exchange Server is widely used in business environments to facilitate communication and collaboration among users, providing email, calendar, contact management, and task management services.

Feb 19, 2024

Scientists design ‘sunflower’ city to boost solar energy in countries with relatively low levels of sunlight

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability

Inspired by the distribution of sunflower seeds, a group of scientists say they have developed a new city-pattern that ensures the best distribution of solar energy utilization “in low solar radiation countries.”

“Our new city-plan bears close resemblance to the distribution of seeds in sunflowers. This distribution ensures the best utilization of solar ,” says Dr. Ammar A. T. Alkhalidi, University of Sharjah’s Associate Professor of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering.

Dr. Alkhalidi is the lead author of a new study titled “Sunflower-inspired urban city pattern to improve solar energy utilization in low solar radiation countries.” The study is published in journal Renewable Energy Focus.

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