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Phys.org is a science, research and technology news aggregator where much of the content is republished directly from press releases and news agencies-in a practice known as churnalism. It also produces some science journalism.Source
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Solving the space junk problem

Solving the space junk problem

May 25, 2020by Kelsey Simpkins, University of Colorado at BoulderSpace is getting crowded. Aging satellites and space debris crowd low-Earth orbit, and launching new satellites adds to the collision risk. The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, is not to capture debris or deorbit old satellites: it's an international agreement to charge operators "orbital-use fees" for every satellite put into orbit.Orbital use fees would also increase the long-run value of the space industry, said economist Matthew Burgess, a CIRES Fellow and co-author of the new...

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15h ago
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Applying physics to understanding the mystery of consciousness

Applying physics to understanding the mystery of consciousness

May 25, 2020byAn international study involving Monash physicists has cornered a new approach to measure consciousness, potentially changing our understanding complex neurological problems.The study published today in Physical Review Research describes how tools from physics and complexity theory were used to determine the level of consciousness in fruit flies."This is a major problem in neuroscience, where it is crucial to differentiate between unresponsive vegetative patients and those suffering from a condition in which a patient is aware but cannot move or communicate verbally because of...

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21h ago
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China space programme targets July launch for Mars mission

China space programme targets July launch for Mars mission

May 25, 2020China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious plans for a Mars mission which will include landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the red planet, the company in charge of the project has said.Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space programme in an effort to catch up with its rival the United States and affirm its status as a major world power.The Mars is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a by 2022.Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for sometime this year, but...

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1d ago
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Climate change will turn coastal Antarctica green, say scientists

Climate change will turn coastal Antarctica green, say scientists

May 20, 2020byScientists have created the first ever large-scale map of microscopic algae as they bloomed across the surface of snow along the Antarctic Peninsula coast. Results indicate that this 'green snow' is likely to spread as global temperatures increase.The team, involving researchers from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey, combined with on-the-ground observations over two summers in Antarctica to detect and measure the green . Although each individual alga is microscopic in size, when they grow en masse they turn the bright green and can be seen from...

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6d ago
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Researchers review advances in 3-D printing of high-entropy alloys

Researchers review advances in 3-D printing of high-entropy alloys

May 22, 2020byHigh-entropy alloys (HEAs) are at the frontier of the metal materials community. They are used as alternative materials in the production of high-temperature turbine blades, high-temperature molds and dies, hard coatings on cutting tools or even components of 4th generation nuclear reactors.By screening proper combinations of HEAs' constituent elements and regulating their proportions, HEAs can exhibit remarkable mechanical properties at high temperatures and display exceptional strength, ductility and fracture toughness at cryogenic temperatures.Meanwhile, the development of...

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4d ago
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The bold plan to see continents and oceans on another Earth

The bold plan to see continents and oceans on another Earth

May 22, 2020by Nancy Atkinson, Planetary SocietyWhat if we could take a picture of an Earth-like planet around another star that was sharp enough to see continents, oceans, and clouds?Right now, it's impossible. From our vantage point, —look like fireflies next to spotlights. In the few images we've managed to take of them, the exoplanets are . Even as the next generation of space telescopes comes online, this won't change—you'd need a 90-kilometer-wide telescope to see surface features on a planet 100 light years away.A group of researchers has an audacious plan to overcome these...

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4d ago
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Platinum-free catalysts could make cheaper hydrogen fuel cells

Platinum-free catalysts could make cheaper hydrogen fuel cells

May 21, 2020by Savannah Mitchem,The high cost of platinum catalysts used in hydrogen fuel cells limits the commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles. Scientists are studying alternative catalysts to increase cost-effectiveness and maintain efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells.Researchers are increasingly looking to hydrogen fuel cell systems as alternate power sources for vehicles and other applications due to their fast refueling time, high energy density and lack of harmful emissions or byproducts.Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have...

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5d ago
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Discovery about the edge of fusion plasma could help realize fusion power

Discovery about the edge of fusion plasma could help realize fusion power

May 22, 2020by John Greenwald,A major roadblock to producing safe, clean and abundant fusion energy on Earth is the lack of detailed understanding of how the hot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions behaves at the edge of fusion facilities called "tokamaks." Recent breakthroughs by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have advanced understanding of the behavior of the highly complex plasma edge in doughnut-shaped tokamaks on the road to capturing the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars. Understanding this edge...

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4d ago
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World can likely capture and store enough carbon dioxide to meet climate targets

World can likely capture and store enough carbon dioxide to meet climate targets

May 21, 2020byThe capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) underground is one of the key components of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) reports on how to keep global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.Carbon capture and (CCS) would be used alongside other interventions such as , energy efficiency, and electrification of the transportation sector.The IPCC used models to create around 1,200 technology scenarios whereby climate change targets are met using a mix of these interventions, most of which require the use of CCS.Now a new analysis...

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5d ago
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New gravitational-wave model can bring neutron stars into even sharper focus

New gravitational-wave model can bring neutron stars into even sharper focus

May 21, 2020byGravitational-wave researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a new model that promises to yield fresh insights into the structure and composition of neutron stars.The model shows that vibrations, or oscillations, inside the can be directly measured from the gravitational-wave signal alone. This is because will become deformed under the influence of tidal forces, causing them to oscillate at characteristic frequencies, and these encode unique information about the star in the gravitational-wave signal.This makes asteroseismology—the study of stellar...

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5d ago
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ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe

ALMA discovers massive rotating disk in early universe

May 20, 2020byIn our 13.8 billion-year-old universe, most galaxies like our Milky Way form gradually, reaching their large mass relatively late. But a new discovery made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of a massive rotating disk galaxy, seen when the universe was only ten percent of its current age, challenges the traditional models of galaxy formation. This research appears on 20 May 2020 in the journal Nature.Galaxy DLA0817g, nicknamed the Wolfe Disk after the late astronomer Arthur M. Wolfe, is the most distant rotating disk galaxy ever observed. The...

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6d ago
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Photon discovery is a major step toward large-scale quantum technologies

Photon discovery is a major step toward large-scale quantum technologies

May 20, 2020byA team of physicists at the University of Bristol has developed the first integrated photon source with the potential to deliver large-scale quantum photonics.The development of quantum technologies promises to have a profound impact across science, engineering and society. Quantum computers at scale will be able to solve problems intractable on even the most powerful current supercomputers, with many revolutionary applications, for example, in the design of new drugs and materials.Integrated quantum photonics is a promising platform for developing quantum technologies due to...

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6d ago
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'Super cyclone' Amphan batters Bangladesh, India

'Super cyclone' Amphan batters Bangladesh, India

May 20, 2020by Sam Jahan With Sailendra Sal In KolkataThe strongest cyclone in decades slammed into Bangladesh and eastern India on Wednesday, sending water surging inland and leaving a trail of destruction as the death toll rose to at least nine.High winds and torrid rains pounded coastal villages and cities, bringing down power lines, uprooting trees and inundating homes."The situation is more worrying than the coronavirus pandemic. We don't know how to handle it," India's West Bengal state leader Mamata Banerjee told reporters late Wednesday."Almost everything is destroyed in the coastal...

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6d ago
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Scientists use light to accelerate supercurrents, access forbidden light, quantum world

Scientists use light to accelerate supercurrents, access forbidden light, quantum world

May 19, 2020byScientists are using light waves to accelerate supercurrents and access the unique properties of the quantum world, including forbidden light emissions that one day could be applied to high-speed, quantum computers, communications and other technologies.The scientists have seen unexpected things in supercurrents—electricity that moves through materials without resistance, usually at super cold temperatures—that break symmetry and are supposed to be forbidden by the conventional laws of physics, said Jigang Wang, a professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University, a...

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7d ago
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Black holes and neutron stars merge unseen in dense star clusters

Black holes and neutron stars merge unseen in dense star clusters

May 15, 2020byMergers between black holes and neutron stars in dense star clusters are quite unlike those that form in isolated regions where stars are few. Their associated features could be crucial to the study of gravitational waves and their source. Dr. Manuel Arca Sedda of the Institute for Astronomical Computing at Heidelberg University came to this conclusion in a study that used computer simulations. The research may offer critical insights into the fusion of two massive stellar objects that astronomers observed in 2019. The findings were published in the journal Communications...

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May 15
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New study estimates the odds of life and intelligence emerging beyond our planet

New study estimates the odds of life and intelligence emerging beyond our planet

May 19, 2020byHumans have been wondering whether we alone in the universe since antiquity.We know from the geological record that life started relatively quickly, as soon our planet's environment was stable enough to support it. We also know that the first multicellular organism, which eventually produced today's technological civilization, took far longer to evolve, approximately 4 billion years.But despite knowing when life first appeared on Earth, scientists still do not understand how life occurred, which has important implications for the likelihood of finding life elsewhere in the...

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May 19
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Mystery of lava-like flows on Mars solved by scientists

Mystery of lava-like flows on Mars solved by scientists

May 18, 2020byThe mystery of some lava-like flows on Mars has been solved by scientists who say they are caused not by lava but by mud.There are tens of thousands of these landforms on the Martian surface, often situated where there are massive channels scoured into the surface by ancient liquids flowing downstream.These channels are extremely long, extending many hundreds of kilometres in length and usually more than dozens of kilometres wide. They are believed to be the result of massive floods involving huge bodies of water comparable to the largest floods ever known to have occurred on...

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May 18
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Scientists puzzle over massive, never-before-seen star system in the Milky Way

Scientists puzzle over massive, never-before-seen star system in the Milky Way

May 18, 2020byEarlier this year, an international team of scientists announced the second detection of a gravitational-wave signal from the collision of two neutron stars. The event, called , is puzzling: The combined mass of the two neutron stars is greater than any other observed binary neutron star system. The combined mass is 3.4 times the mass of our sun.A star binary this massive has never been seen in our galaxy, and scientists have been mystified by how it could have formed—until now. A team of astrophysicists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery...

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May 18
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US successfully launches unmanned reusable drone for space experiments

US successfully launches unmanned reusable drone for space experiments

May 17, 2020The US Air Force on Sunday successfully launched its high-tech drone X-37B, placing the reusable vehicle into orbit for its sixth secretive mission in space.The , which resembles a smaller version of the manned space shuttles retired by the US space program in 2011, was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the Air Force said.It will spend months in orbit, remotely conducting a series of experiments."Congratulations on the 6th mission of the X-37B reusable spacecraft," Defense Secretary Mark Esper tweeted shortly after the launch.The huge Atlas V launch vehicle took off with...

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May 17
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New algorithm predicts optimal materials among all possible compounds

New algorithm predicts optimal materials among all possible compounds

May 15, 2020bySkoltech researchers have offered a solution to the problem of searching for materials with required properties among all possible combinations of chemical elements. These combinations are virtually endless, and each has an infinite multitude of possible crystal structures; it is not feasible to test them all and choose the best option (for instance, the hardest compound) either in an experiment or in silico. The computational method developed by Skoltech professor Artem R. Oganov and his Ph.D. student Zahed Allahyari solves this major problem of theoretical materials science....

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May 15
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Space station leaves 'microbial fingerprint' on astronauts

Space station leaves 'microbial fingerprint' on astronauts

May 14, 2020byWe all carry around our own microbiome, a world of microorganisms that live on our skin and in our bodies, playing important roles in maintaining health as we interact with the rest of the world. Everywhere we go, our microbiome interacts with the microbiomes of new environments and of the people we meet (see Microbiology 101: Where People Go, Microbes Follow).Researchers wanted to determine how the unique conditions experienced during long duration travel affect astronaut microbiomes. A June 2019 journal article in Scientific Reports discusses the results of Microbiome, a...

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May 14
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Researchers reveal common origin of Fermi bubbles and galactic center X-ray outflows

Researchers reveal common origin of Fermi bubbles and galactic center X-ray outflows

May 15, 2020by Liu Jia,A pair of gigantic gamma-ray bubbles centered on the core of the Milky Way galaxy were discovered by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope 10 years ago. But how these so-called "Fermi bubbles" arose was a mystery.Recently, however, researchers at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have presented a new model that, for the first time, simultaneously explains the origins of both the Fermi bubbles and the galactic center biconical X-ray structure, which was discovered in 2003.According to this model, the two structures are...

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May 15
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Scientists develop tool to sequence circular DNA

Scientists develop tool to sequence circular DNA

May 14, 2020by Katie Willis,A new tool invented by University of Alberta biologists to sequence circular DNA will provide scientists with richer, more accurate data that could help advance research on viruses, agriculture and perhaps even cancer.The —called CIDER-Seq, which uses DNA sequencing technology called PacBio—was made available online by the U of A researchers for other scientists to use, along with step-by-step lab and computer protocols for analyzing the DNA sequences."With our invention of CIDER-Seq, we can begin to understand the function of these mysterious circular DNAs in...

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May 14
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The revolt of the plants: The arctic melts when plants stop breathing

The revolt of the plants: The arctic melts when plants stop breathing

May 14, 2020by Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)The vapor that plants emit when they breathe serves to lower land surface temperature, much like watering the yard on a hot day. Until now, the greenhouse effect has been blamed for the rise in global temperature. But an interesting study has shown that the Artic temperature rises when the moisture released by plants is reduced due to the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) in the atmosphere.The joint research team led by Professor Jong-Seong Kug and So Won Park of POSTECH's Division of Environmental Science and Engineering,...

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May 14
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Astronomers find regular rhythms among pulsating stars

Astronomers find regular rhythms among pulsating stars

May 13, 2020byBy listening to the beating hearts of stars, astronomers have for the first time identified a rhythm of life for a class of stellar objects that had until now puzzled scientists.Their findings are reported today in Nature."Previously we were finding too many jumbled up notes to understand these pulsating stars properly," said lead author Professor Tim Bedding from the University of Sydney. "It was a mess, like listening to a cat walking on a piano."The international team used data from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a space telescope mainly used to detect...

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May 13
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