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Apr 5, 2019

SpaceX’s Starship Hopper Completes First Tethered “Hop”

Posted by in category: space travel

The prototype is one step closer to real liftoff.

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Apr 5, 2019

Getting a big look at tiny particles

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy, quantum physics, supercomputing

At the turn of the 20th century, scientists discovered that atoms were composed of smaller particles. They found that inside each atom, negatively charged electrons orbit a nucleus made of positively charged protons and neutral particles called neutrons. This discovery led to research into atomic nuclei and subatomic particles.

An understanding of these ’ structures provides crucial insights about the forces that hold matter together and enables researchers to apply this knowledge to other scientific problems. Although electrons have been relatively straightforward to study, protons and neutrons have proved more challenging. Protons are used in medical treatments, scattering experiments, and fusion energy, but nuclear scientists have struggled to precisely measure their underlying structure—until now.

In a recent paper, a team led by Constantia Alexandrou at the University of Cyprus modeled the location of one of the subatomic particles inside a , using only the basic theory of the strong interactions that hold matter together rather than assuming these particles would act as they had in experiments. The researchers employed the 27-petaflop Cray XK7 Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) and a method called lattice quantum chromodynamics (QCD). The combination allowed them to map on a grid and calculate interactions with high accuracy and precision.

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Apr 5, 2019

New NASA Robots Will Be ‘Busy As a Bee’ Aboard ISS

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

NASA’s newest International Space Station crew members are creating quite the buzz.

The agency is sending three Astrobee robots to the orbiting outpost.

The cube-shaped devices will stay “as busy as a bee” flying around the station, assisting with routine tasks like maintenance and inventory tracking.

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Apr 5, 2019

The Latest Wave of Sensor Tech Could be a Game Changer for LiDAR-Equipped Drones

Posted by in categories: drones, military

The following is a guest post by talented author and self-described nerd Ryan LaDue.

The Latest Wave of Sensor Tech Could be a Game-Changer for LiDAR-Equipped UAVs

Avalanche photodiode sensors are semiconductors capable of converting photons into electrons with an extremely high level of precision. The technology isn’t as new as you might think, but accessible units used for laser range finders (as part of LiDAR systems) have only been making their way into consumer markets in recent years.

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Apr 5, 2019

Agriculture: Machine learning can reveal optimal growing conditions to maximize taste, other features

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food, genetics, information science, robotics/AI

What goes into making plants taste good? For scientists in MIT’s Media Lab, it takes a combination of botany, machine-learning algorithms, and some good old-fashioned chemistry.

Using all of the above, researchers in the Media Lab’s Open Agriculture Initiative report that they have created that are likely more delicious than any you have ever tasted. No is involved: The researchers used computer algorithms to determine the optimal growing conditions to maximize the concentration of flavorful molecules known as .

But that is just the beginning for the new field of “cyber agriculture,” says Caleb Harper, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Media Lab and director of the OpenAg group. His group is now working on enhancing the human disease-fighting properties of herbs, and they also hope to help growers adapt to changing climates by studying how crops grow under different conditions.

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Apr 5, 2019

Astronomers are all set to make a “groundbreaking” black hole announcement

Posted by in category: cosmology

Thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope, Black Holes are about to be seen by humans for the first time.

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Apr 5, 2019

Innolith Energy Battery could power an EV for 1000 km on a single charge

Posted by in categories: energy, transportation

Switzerland-based energy tech startup Innolith AG announces that it is developing world’s first 1000 Wh/kg rechargeable battery.

Under development in the company’s German laboratory, the new Innolith Energy Battery would be capable of powering an electric vehicle for over 1000 km (over 620 miles) on a single charge. The Innolith Energy Battery would also radically reduce costs due to the avoidance of exotic and expensive materials combined with the very high energy density of the system.

In addition to its range and cost advantages, the Innolith Energy Battery will be the first non-flammable lithium-based battery for use in EVs. The Innolith battery uses a non-flammable inorganic electrolyte, unlike conventional EV batteries that use a flammable organic electrolyte. The switch to non-flammable batteries removes the primary cause of battery fires that have beset the manufacturers of EVs.

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Apr 5, 2019

A Mushroom Extract Might Save Bees From a Killer Virus

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Circa 2018


Two types of mushroom seem to help bees fight a major virus contributing to colony collapse disorder.

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Apr 5, 2019

Quantum Computers Could Go Mainstream Sooner than We Think

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Computers were once considered high-end technology, only accessible to scientists and trained professionals. But there was a seismic shift in the history of computing during the second half of the 1970s. It wasn’t just that machines became much smaller and more powerful—though, of course, they did. It was the shift in who would use computers and where: they became available to everyone to use in their own home.

Today, quantum computing is in its infancy. Quantum computation incorporates some of the most mind-bending concepts from 20th-century physics. In the US, Google, IBM, and NASA are experimenting and building the first quantum computers. China is also investing heavily in quantum technology.

As the author of Quantum Computing for Everyone, published in March, I believe that there will be an analogous shift toward quantum computing, where enthusiasts will be able to play with quantum computers from their homes. This shift will occur much sooner than most people realize.

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Apr 5, 2019

There’s a chance your GPS system could go haywire this weekend

Posted by in categories: computing, satellites

Older computer systems that rely on GPS satellites could suddenly go 20 years out of date at 7:59 p.m. ET on Saturday.

A Block IIR(M) satellite, one of 24 GPS satellites overseen by the Air Force. GPS.gov.

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