Physics and Astronomy News Archive: August 2003
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.
Nanometer-sized particles change crystal structure when wet
Source: Berkeley Posted: 8/29/03
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.
Space Infrared Telescope Facility Lifts Off
Source: NASA/JPL 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.
Planetary tilt not a spoiler for habitation
Source: PSU Posted: 8/25/03
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.
Sandia's nanocrystals nature’s way
Source: Sandia 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?
X-rays from Earth
Source: NASA Posted: 8/19/03
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.
Infrared Eyes Set to Launch
Source: NASA Posted: 8/18/03
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?
Holiday weather on Mars
Source: ESA Posted: 8/14/03
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.
Purdue physicists hone rules for nanotech game
Source: Purdue Posted: 8/12/03
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.
Europe’s first Moon probe prepares for launch
Source: ESA Posted: 8/8/03
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.
Hot spots on Mars give hunt for life new target
Source: UMelbourne 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.
Gravity Variations Predict Earthquake Behavior
Source: Caltech Posted: 8/7/03
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.
FEL Laser Weapons
Source: NAVY Posted: 8/5/03
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.
Narrow wind causes huge ocean impact, says University of Toronto physicist
Source: UToronto Posted: 8/1/03