Headline and Article Archive
Week of 28 September 2003
SMART-1 Lunar Probe Ignites Ion Engine
- Europe's first
science probe to the Moon successfully test fired its ion thruster
this week and all other systems are checking out fine, program
officials reported Wednesday. The Small Missions for Advanced Research
and Technology (SMART-1) lunar probe was lofted into Earth orbit
on Sept. 27 by an Ariane 5 rocket. Along with two communications
satellites, SMART-1 was sent into a very high parking orbit over
Earth. From there it will use its ion engine to adjust the shape
and raise the altitude of its orbit until it reaches the Moon.
the Electrical Resistance of Single Molecules
- Researchers at
Arizona State University have developed a relatively straightforward
method for measuring the electrical resistance of single molecules.
The advance, a technical achievement in terms of its precision
and repeatability, promises to have a huge impact on the burgeoning
field of molecular electronics.
the Performance of Residential Fuel Cells
- Residential fuel
cells sound almost too good to be true. Take a hydrocarbon fuel
such as natural gas, use a catalyst to extract hydrogen from it,
react the hydrogen with air and, presto, you have a home power
plant! As the hydrogen and the oxygen in the air combine, they
produce electricity. The primary “waste products” of
the whole process are water and heat. But that’s not all!
The "waste" heat can be captured to provide space or
water heating for the home.
Daily Flicks: Morphing ink may bring video to newspapers
- Imagine opening
the newspaper and seeing a full-color, video clip of a battle or
sports match. That's the sort of vision that drives developers
of electronic paper. Even though a black-and-white version that
can display static images remains in development, two new approaches
offer the prospects of video and bright color. Electronic paper
is a display technology akin to conventional paper but in which
the words and images can be changed at will. Until now, most developers
have rolled out prototypes that rewrite images too slowly for video.
Week of 21 September 2003
burst linked to mass extinction
- Some 440 million
years ago, a nearby gamma-ray burst may have extinguished much
of life on Earth, say US astronomers. Adrian Melott, of the University
of Kansas in Lawrence, and colleagues reckon that the fossil record
of the end of the Ordovician period fits with how such a cosmic
explosion a few thousand light years away could have altered the
environment. At that time, more than 100 families of marine invertebrates
died out; it was the second most devastating mass extinction in
our planet's history.
Pioneer New Antibiotics And Nano-Sized Delivery Vehicles
- University of
South Florida chemists who recently patented a new class of synthetic
antibiotics for killing drug-resistant bacteria have also developed
a better (and smaller) way of getting drugs to a target. Using
nanotechnology - the big science of making small things - their
antibiotics now can ride into bacteria cells on nano-sized, spherical
vehicles one millionth the size of a pinhead.
Brings Novel Green Power to Arctic Homes
- Homes on the Arctic
tip of Norway started getting power from the moon on Saturday via
a unique subsea power station driven by the rise and fall of the
tide. A tidal current in a sea channel near the town of Hammerfest,
caused by the gravitational tug of the moon on the earth, started
turning the 10-meter (33 ft) blades of a turbine bolted to the
seabed to generate electricity for the local grid.
Week of 14 September 2003
Research Yields The Biggest Chill
- NASA-funded researchers
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge,
Mass., have cooled sodium gas to the lowest temperature ever recorded,
one-half-billionth degree above absolute zero. Absolute zero is
the point, where no further cooling is possible. This new temperature
is six times lower than the previous record and marks the first
time a gas was cooled below one nanokelvin (one billionth of a
Particles Destroy Toxic Compounds
- An ultrafine,
nanoscale powder made from iron is developing into an effective
tool for cleaning up contaminated soil and groundwater -- a trillion-dollar
problem that encompasses more than 1000 still-untreated Superfund
sites in the US, approximately 150,000 underground storage tank
releases, and a incredible number of landfills, abandoned mines,
and industrial sites.
Hole Sound Waves
- Astronomers using
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have found, for the first time,
sound waves from a supermassive black hole. The "note" is
the deepest ever detected from any object in our Universe. Earlier
observations had revealed the prodigious amounts of light and heat
created by black holes. "Now we have detected their sound,
too," says Andrew Fabian of the Institute of Astronomy in
Cambridge, England, and the leader of the study.
Week of 7 September 2003
backs up biblical text
- An ancient waterway,
described in the Bible, has been located and radiocarbon-dated
to around 700 BC. The half-kilometre Siloam Tunnel still carries
water from the Gihon Spring into Jerusalem's ancient city of David.
According to verses in Kings 2 and Chronicles 2, it was built during
the reign of the King Hezekiah - between 727 BC and 698 BC - to
protect the city's water supply against an imminent Assyrian siege.
Way to Screen Molecules Using Conventional CDs and Compact Disk Players
- Chemists at the
University of California, San Diego, have developed a method of
detecting molecules with a compact disk player that could eventually
provide for an inexpensive way to screen for molecular interactions.
Since the CD player is probably one of the most pervasive lasers
in the world, it made sense to the researchers to design a way
to use it to detect molecules. The technique they developed takes
advantage of the tendency for anything adhering to the CD surface
to interfere with the laser's ability to read the digital data.
the GOODS on Galaxies
- Over the past
decade, the Hubble Space Telescope has literally changed our view
of the universe. Much of what we now understand about galaxy formation
has been gleaned from Hubble staring for 10 days at a single tiny
patch of sky. Within this region, the Earth-orbiting telescope
has catalogued the shape, brightness, and color of galaxies that
are only 500-millionths as bright as the eye can see. But if one
sharp eye on the universe is good, then two, three, four, or more