Physics and Astronomy News Archive: February 2003

Image: Optical trap provides new insights into motor molecules

Optical trap provides new insights into motor molecules

Source: Stanford University   Posted: 2/26/03

When it comes to nanotechnology, many researchers turn to nature for inspiration. Of particular interest to nanoengineers is the naturally occurring protein kinesin -- one of several 'motor molecules' that facilitate movement in living cells. Stanford University researchers use the two-dimensional optical force clamp to study this amazing molecule.

Image: NASA Solves Half-Century Old Moon Mystery

NASA Solves Half-Century Old Moon Mystery

Source: NASA/JPL   Posted: 2/25/03

In the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 1953, an amateur astronomer Dr. Leon Stuart in Oklahoma photographed what he believed to be a massive, white-hot fireball of vaporized rock rising from the center of the Moon's face. Almost 50 years after his observation, NASA scientists finaly offer an explanation to this mystery.

Image: The Arctic Oscillation

The Arctic Oscillation

Source: UCAR   Posted: 2/24/03

Why has the Arctic warmed so dramatically in recent years? How does the Arctic's circulation keep frigid air over the poles and sometimes allow it to spill across the United States? And how might global change affect the behavior of this circulation? NCAR scientist Clara Deser addresses these and other questions.

Image: Ion Engine to Open Up the Solar System

Ion Engine to Open Up the Solar System

Source: NASA   Posted: 2/24/03

To most vehicle owners, the value of their vehicle decreases while the mileage on the engine increases. That wisdom does not hold true for NASA's ion engine, whose odometer continues to spin, to the delight of its owners. This little engine that could has more than made up for its diminutive size, proving that sometimes less is more -- particularly in space. It was the first non-chemical propulsion system to be used as the primary means of propelling a NASA spacecraft.