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Sep 13, 2018

NASA picked this West African country to find out more about an asteroid in outer space

Posted by in categories: security, space

A few factors were taken into consideration. These included security conditions, climatic conditions at that time of year, the existence of potential scientific partners, and what facilities were available.

Senegal has made great strides in astronomy and planetary sciences in recent years. That’s been largely driven by the Senegalese Association for the Promotion of Astronomy, led by Maram Kaire. Some Senegalese researchers are also involved in the African Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences, which I head up.

And so, NASA focused its efforts in Senegal. It sent 21 teams to the country, and six to Columbia, which had less favorable climatic conditions. One team, composed of Algerian astronomers from the Centre de Recherche en Astrophysique et Géophysique, also attempted to observe the occultation in the south of Algeria.

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Sep 13, 2018

SpaceX President talks BFR and Mars exploration in laid-back Madrid Q&A session

Posted by in categories: alien life, futurism

Speaking at a Q&A session hosted for a Madrid university’s Master’s of Business Administration students, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell talked for nearly an hour about the launch company’s next-generation BFR rocket, the reality of long-term life on Mars, and more, revealing a number of interesting tidbits in the process.

Almost entirely led by questions from the unusually well-informed audience, the graduate students and professors predominately kept the famous SpaceX exec more or less focused on the company’s future, delving into the reasoning behind BFR. Shotwell had only praise for the next-generation launch vehicle, which is targeting initial hop tests in late 2019 and its first full launches as early as 2021, a delay of several months from previous schedule estimates targeting hops in early 2019 and orbit by 2020.

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Sep 13, 2018

Opportunity, Phone Home!

Posted by in categories: cosmology, space travel

The dust is settling on the Red Planet. Is the remaining Mars Exploration Rover about to rise and shine after three months of slumber? MER Project Manager John Callas returns with a realistic yet hopeful assessment. He also tells us what Opportunity will be asked to do after we hear from her. Planetary Society Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla returns with a preview of China’s next two missions to the Moon, one of which will make the first-ever farside landing. How close is the nearest black hole? We’ll get the answer as Bruce and Mat explore the night sky in this week’s What’s Up.

Wake up Opportunity!

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Sep 13, 2018

Accelerating electrocatalyst discovery with machine learning

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI, space, sustainability

Researchers are paving the way to total reliance on renewable energy as they study both large- and small-scale ways to replace fossil fuels. One promising avenue is converting simple chemicals into valuable ones using renewable electricity, including processes such as carbon dioxide reduction or water splitting. But to scale these processes up for widespread use, we need to discover new electrocatalysts—substances that increase the rate of an electrochemical reaction that occurs on an electrode surface. To do so, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are looking to new methods to accelerate the discovery process: machine learning.

Zack Ulissi, an assistant professor of chemical engineering (ChemE), and his group are using machine learning to guide electrocatalyst discovery. By hand, researchers spend hours doing routine calculations on materials that may not end up working. Ulissi’s team has created a system that automates these routine calculations, explores a large search space, and suggests new alloys that have promising properties for electrocatalysis.

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Sep 13, 2018

Scientists design new metabolic technology to open scientific data for everyone

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Patients want to see their medical information. Researchers want to share their data.

Now, scientists at Scripps Research have released a new technology designed to make these measurements easier to perform and more accessible to practitioners, scientists and the general public.

“This is really about data sharing and accelerating the process of discovery,” says Gary Siuzdak, Ph.D., professor at Scripps Research and co-corresponding author of the new XCMS/METLIN open data analysis platform, published recently in Nature Methods.

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Sep 13, 2018

An ultracompact laser has been made using nanoscale semiconductor columns

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

A tiny laser comprising an array of nanoscale semiconductor cylinders (see image) has been made by an all-A*STAR team. This is the first time that lasing has been achieved in non-metallic nanostructures, and it promises to lead to miniature lasers usable in a wide range of optoelectronic devices.

Microscale lasers are widely used in devices such as CD and DVD players. Now, optical engineers are developing nanoscale lasers—so small that they cannot be seen by the human eye.

A promising method is to use arrays of made from semiconductors with a high refractive index. Such structures act as tiny antennas, resonating at specific wavelengths. However, it has been challenging to use them to construct a cavity—the heart of a laser, where light bounces around while being amplified.

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Sep 13, 2018

Tiny camera lens may help link quantum computers to network

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, robotics/AI

An international team of researchers led by The Australian National University (ANU) has invented a tiny camera lens, which may lead to a device that links quantum computers to an optical fibre network.

Quantum computers promise a new era in ultra-secure networks, artificial intelligence and therapeutic drugs, and will be able to solve certain problems much faster than today’s computers.

The unconventional lens, which is 100 times thinner than a human hair, could enable a fast and reliable transfer of information from the new-age computers to a network, once these technologies are fully realised.

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Sep 13, 2018

A.I.-powered Grammarly comes to Google Docs to improve your writing

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Grammarly announced that it will now work on Google Docs through a browser extension. The artificial intelligence-powered grammar checking tool joins Google’s native A.I.-powered tool to help improve both individual and collaborative writing efforts on Google Docs.

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Sep 13, 2018

Scientists Want to Align Your Internal Clock Because Timing Is Everything

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Your body’s internal clock, or the circadian rhythm, regular when you sleep and wake, when you’re hungry, and when you’re most productive. Because of its effect on so much of our lives, it also has an enormous impact on our health, so sleep experts have designed a blood test to signal when your body is out of sync.

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Sep 13, 2018

SpaceX booked ‘world’s first’ private passenger for a BFR Moon trip

Posted by in category: alien life

We haven’t seen SpaceX’s BFR — the rocket that it hopes will enable trips around the world, to the Moon, and, eventually, to Mars — actually take flight yet, but the company says it has already booked a private passenger for a trip around the Moon. No one has been there since Apollo missions ended in the 70s, but now, in a “world’s first” SpaceX is apparently taking reservations. Details like who is going and “why” are to be revealed during a livestream on Monday September 17th at 9 PM ET.

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