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Physics and Astronomy News Archive: August 2003

Image: Nanometer-sized particles change crystal structure when wet
Nanometer-sized particles change crystal structure when wet
Source: Berkeley   Posted: 8/29/03
The University of California, Berkeley, scientists have found another unusual effect that could have both good and bad implications for semiconductor devices once they've been shrunk to the nanometer scale.

Image: Space Infrared Telescope Facility Lifts Off
Space Infrared Telescope Facility Lifts Off
Source: NASA/JPL   Posted: 8/25/03
NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility successfully launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:35:39 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (10:35:39 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, August 24) aboard a Delta II launch vehicle.

Image: Planetary tilt not a spoiler for habitation
Planetary tilt not a spoiler for habitation
Source: PSU   Posted: 8/25/03
In B science fiction movies, a terrible force often pushes the Earth off its axis and spells disaster for all life on Earth. In reality, life would still be possible on Earth and any Earth-like planets if the axis tilt were greater than it is now, according to Penn State researchers.

Image: Sandia's nanocrystals nature’s way
Sandia's nanocrystals nature’s way
Source: Sandia   Posted: 8/19/03
Sandia researchers are developing complex nanomaterials that look strikingly similar to the microstructures of diatoms and seashells. The materials may have potential for a wide range of applications.

Image: X-rays from Earth
X-rays from Earth
Source: NASA   Posted: 8/19/03
Later this year, astronomers plan to use NASA's powerful Chandra x-ray telescope to look at something new: our own planet. A detector called PIXIE onboard NASA's Polar satellite has already shown that Earth's polar auroras have a faint x-ray glow. What will Chandra find?

Image: Infrared Eyes Set to Launch
Infrared Eyes Set to Launch
Source: NASA   Posted: 8/18/03
On August 23, NASA will launch the new Space Infrared Telescope Facility into the first-ever Earth-trailing orbit. Using the same technology that allows firefighters to see in the dark, the observatory will provide researchers the astronomical equivalent of heat-sensing night vision goggles.

Image: Holiday weather on Mars
Holiday weather on Mars
Source: ESA   Posted: 8/14/03
ESA's Mars Express is due to arrive at Mars in December 2003, and its Beagle 2 lander will be making a touchdown in the middle of the Martian winter. Will it see a 'white Christmas' on the Red Planet? Also, if humans one day go to Mars, would they need to take a sunscreen?

Image: Purdue physicists hone rules for nanotech game
Purdue physicists hone rules for nanotech game
Source: Purdue   Posted: 8/12/03
The latest in a series of experiments aimed at revealing fundamental knowledge of the universe has yielded precise measurement of the so-called Casimir force – a force that could make tiny machines behave erratically, causing a thorn in the side of nanotechnology manufacturers.

Image: Europe’s first Moon probe prepares for launch
Europe’s first Moon probe prepares for launch
Source: ESA   Posted: 8/8/03
Europe’s first probe to the Moon, SMART-1, is about to begin a unique journey that will take it into orbit around our closest neighbour, powered only by an ion engine which Europe will be testing for the first time as main spacecraft propulsion.

Image: Hot spots on Mars give hunt for life new target
Hot spots on Mars give hunt for life new target
Source: UMelbourne   Posted: 8/7/03
Giant hollow towers of ice formed by steaming volcanic vents on Ross Island, Antarctica are providing clues about where to hunt for life on Mars.University of Melbourne geologist, Dr Nick Hoffman has found evidence from recent infra-red images of Mars that similar structures may exist on Mars.

Image: Gravity Variations Predict Earthquake Behavior
Gravity Variations Predict Earthquake Behavior
Source: Caltech   Posted: 8/7/03
Researchers at Caltech have found that within subduction zones—regions where one of the earth's plates slips below another—the areas where the attraction due to gravity is relatively high are less likely to experience large earthquakes than the areas where the gravitational force is relatively low.

Image: FEL Laser Weapons
FEL Laser Weapons
Source: NAVY   Posted: 8/5/03
Laser weapons? This may not be as exotic as fans of Han Solo once thought, thanks to recent leaps forward in the development of a powerful free-electron laser, or FEL. The Office of Naval Research is part of a team that is developing an electrically driven, tunable laser that could transmit infrared light for use in ship-defense systems.

Image: Narrow wind causes huge ocean impact, says University of Toronto physicist
Narrow wind causes huge ocean impact, says University of Toronto physicist
Source: UToronto   Posted: 8/1/03
A narrow but intense wind may be the mechanism responsible for the existence of a newly discovered ocean convection site east of Greenland, says a University of Toronto scientist.



Science Quote

'I thank You God for this most amazing day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite.'

E.E. Cummings
(1894-1962)


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