House panel discuses Mars 2021 manned flyby mission

first_imgMars. Image: NASA Citation: House panel discuses Mars 2021 manned flyby mission (2014, March 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from US, France sign deal for 2016 Mars lander Nonprofit Inspiration Mars Foundation, led by Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, originally planned to send two astronauts to Mars and land on the Red Planet in 2018. That idea has been scraped as the timeline was found to be too short. Instead, the foundation is now planning to send two astronauts (likely a married couple) on a flyby, in 2021. The years are chosen based on when the Earth and Mars are closest to one another. To achieve that goal, the Foundation believes it needs help from NASA—specifically, they want a slightly different form of NASA’s Orion spacecraft based on a design by Orbital Science’s Corporation, with the addition of a front module for hosting solar panels. They’d also like the whole thing boosted into space by the Space Launch System, a big rocket that NASA is developing for several projects, one of which would ultimately be a trip to Mars.Tito and his group have apparently convinced committee head Lamar Smith of the desirability of the plan as he testified at the meeting, suggesting that if the U.S. doesn’t get to Mars in one of the near-window opportunities, China or Russia will likely get to the planet first. Other lawmakers at the meeting expressed skepticism of the short time frame while others suggested the cost of such a mission might be better spent on other projects.Also at the meeting were experts in the field, many from NASA. Some supported the mission while others expressed reservations. NASA has plans of its own to get to Mars, but is looking at a longer timeframe. There are still issues to be worked out, such as how to protect astronauts from radiation during such a long mission (the Foundation’s plan calls for a 501 day mission) and the development of support systems.The committee didn’t reach a consensus on the overall idea or the feasibility of the project, as it appears to be the first of many meetings—for its part, NASA itself has not commented on the proposal. For these reasons, it’s not clear just yet if the Foundation’s plan will be approved. It’s likely many more details will have to be worked out before the idea can be seriously considered. ( —The U.S. House of Representative’s Science, Space and Technology Committee has met to discuss the virtues and possibility of asking NASA to assist a private foundation in conducting a manned spacecraft mission to the planet Mars in the 2021.center_img Explore further © 2014 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Fairy wren embryos found able to discern between adult calls

center_img Prior research has found that an adult superb fairy wren is able to somehow convey special call information to its young so that it won’t be fooled by interloping cuckoo birds. In this new effort, the researchers appear to have found the mechanism behind that ability—the adults give the embryos special calls while still in the egg that serve as a form of password.To find out if the wren embryos really were listening and responding to adult calls, the researchers went out into the field and collected 60 eggs from nests (9 to 13 days into their two week incubation). They then placed sound monitors on the eggs to listen to the heartbeats of embryos inside. In human embryos, changes in heart-beat rate have been associated with responses to stimuli from the outside world. The researchers wondered if the same might be true for the birds.The researchers played white noise, prerecorded contact calls from a different wren species, and calls from females of the same species giving incubation calls to their eggs. They found that the heart rates of the embryos slowed during the calls from the same species female, but not when subjected to the other sounds. Going further, the researchers played the adult same-species call until the embryos grew accustomed to them, as indicated by a return to a normal heart rate when the calls were played. Next, the researchers played sounds from a different adult female of the same species, and noted that the embryos once again lowered their heart rates, responding to the change. This, the team members claim, shows that the embryos were able to discern between adult calls, a skill that until now, has only been found in human embryos.The researchers suggest that the adults convey a sort of password to the birds still inside the egg, so that when they hatch, they’ll only get fed if they can repeat the password back to the adult, outfoxing any cuckoo birds chicks that might have been deposited in the same nest. Malurus cyaneus. Credit: Please credit Dr. Rebecca Kilner Citation: Fairy wren embryos found able to discern between adult calls (2014, October 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore furtherlast_img read more

Metasurface solves calculus problems as an analog computer

first_img © 2015 More information: Anders Pors, et al. “Analog Computing Using Reflective Plasmonic Metasurfaces.” Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/nl5047297 Citation: Metasurface solves calculus problems as an analog computer (2015, January 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Plot of the reflection coefficient, r, as a function of nanobrick dimensions. The inset shows a gold nanobrick on top of a glass spacer and gold substrate. This study marks the first time that the amplitude and phase of the reflected light are controlled simultaneously and independently, by varying the dimensions of the nanobricks. Credit: Pors, et al. ©2014 American Chemical Society This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Scientists have demonstrated that a 2-D man-made material called a metasurface can perform spatial differentiation and integration, the two main types of calculus problems, when illuminated by a laser beam. Essentially, the metasurface transforms the shape of the incoming light wave profile (the input) into the shape of its derivative or integral (the output). The achievement requires very precise control of light at the nanoscale—specifically, controlling both the amplitude and the phase of the reflected light at the same time. Explore further While amplitude and phase have previously been controlled individually, this study marks the first time that the two properties are controlled simultaneously and independently by varying the dimensions of the metallic scatterers, representing unprecedented control of light at the nanoscale.”We believe the greatest significance is, in fact, not analog computing but the possibility to simultaneously control the amplitude and phase of reflected light at visible frequencies,” Pors told “As mentioned in the conclusion of the article, this allows for new operations of metasurfaces, like the generation of complex wave fronts or information storage in (phase- and amplitude-controlled) holograms. Moreover, one could envision metasurface plates being used as add-ons in optical microscopes—for example, for edge-detection imaging by calculating the second derivative, or phase imaging using a Zernike plate.”He explained that there are several potential advantages of analog computing that have attracted recent attention to the subject.”The renewed interest comes from the possibility of using light instead of an electrical signal or mechanical motion, which can allow for faster computation in a compact setup,” Pors said. “In general, researchers hope in the future to replace electrical signals with light because the frequency of light is much higher than GHz operation typically used in electronics. Light, however, cannot conventionally be squeezed down to the dimensions of electronics, which is the reason why electronics dominates, with light mainly being used to transfer huge amounts of data over long distances. Regarding analog versus digital computation, analog computations have the advantage that the input signal doesn’t have to be converted to a digital stream of bits, meaning that analog operations don’t suffer from conversion delays; i.e., it can be faster than digital computations.”In the future, the researchers plan to investigate the wider potential of metasurfaces.”We will not solely focus on analog computing, but continue exploring the possibilities of using gradient metasurfaces to control light and design new spectacular/important functionalities,” Pors said. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of fabricated 50 x 50 µm2 (a) differentiator and (b) integrator metasurfaces. Credit: Pors, et al. ©2014 American Chemical Society Journal information: Nano Letters The researchers, Anders Pors, Michael G. Nielsen, and Sergey I. Bozhevolnyi at the University of Southern Denmark, have published their paper on the new metasurface in a recent issue of Nano Letters.Somewhat unexpectedly, the work builds on recent research on analog computing, which is based on continuous values, rather than incremental values as used digital computing. The new metasurface uses continuous values of the phase and amplitude of light to perform the calculus operations, making it an example of analog computing. The concept of analog computers may conjure up images of slide rules and other old-fashioned tools that were replaced by digital computers in the 1960s and ’70s. But last year, a team of researchers (A. Silva, et al.) presented simulations suggesting that metamaterials can perform computational tasks in an analog fashion—that is, by using continuous optical fields rather than discrete bits to represent data. That work showed that metasurfaces have the advantage of being extremely thin—orders of magnitude smaller than conventional optical elements such as bulky lenses or wave plates. Their thinness potentially allows for the design of miniaturized, compact optical circuits, with analog computing as one unique application. In the new study, the researchers from Denmark demonstrated a practical approach to realize compact analog computing using metasurfaces. In general, metasurfaces consist of an array of tiny metallic scatterers that are smaller than the wavelength of the light passing through them. New hologram technology created with tiny nanoantennas Here, the researchers used gold nanobricks as the scatterers, placed on top of a silicon dioxide spacer and a gold film. When an 800-nm laser beam illuminates the metasurface, the light excites gap-surface plasmons that propagate in the spacer region between the nanobricks and gold film, resulting in reflected light whose amplitude and phase are determined by the sizes of the nanobricks. last_img read more

Possible case for fifth force of nature

first_imgA team of physicists at the University of California has uploaded a paper to the arXiv preprint server in which they suggest that work done by a team in Hungary last year might have revealed the existence of a fifth force of nature. Their paper has, quite naturally, caused quite a stir in the physics community as several groups have set a goal of reproducing the experiments conducted by the team at the Hungarian Academy of Science’s Institute for Nuclear Research. Explore further Citation: Possible case for fifth force of nature (2016, May 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The Standard Model. Image credit: AAAS Journal information: arXiv More information: A. J. Krasznahorkay et al. Observation of Anomalous Internal Pair Creation in: A Possible Indication of a Light, Neutral Boson, Physical Review Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.042501 © 2016 The work done by the Hungarian team, led by Attila Krasznahorkay, examined the possible existence of dark photons—the analog of conventional photons but that work with dark matter. They shot protons at lithium-7 samples creating beryllium-8 nuclei, which, as it decayed, emitted pairs of electrons and positrons. Surprisingly, as they monitored the emitted pairs, instead of a consistent drop-off, there was a slight bump, which the researchers attributed to the creation of an unknown particle with a mass of approximately 17 MeV. The team uploaded their results to the arXiv server, and their paper was later published by Physical Review Letters. It attracted very little attention until the team at UoC uploaded their own paper suggesting that the new particle found by the Hungarian team was not a dark photon, but was instead possibly a protophobic X boson, which they further suggested might carry a super-short force which acts over just the width of an atomic nucleus—which would mean that it is a force that is not one of the four described as the fundamental forces that underlie modern physics.The paper uploaded by the UoC team has created some excitement, as well as public exclamations of doubt—reports of the possibility of a fifth force of nature have been heard before, but none have panned out. But still, the idea is intriguing enough that several teams have announced plans to repeat the experiments conducted by the Hungarian team, and all eyes will be on the DarkLight experiments at the Jefferson Laboratory, where a team is also looking for evidence of dark photons—they will be shooting electrons at gas targets looking for anything with masses between 10 and 100 MeV, and now more specifically for those in the 17 MeV region. What they find, or don’t, could prove whether an elusive fifth force of nature actually exists, within a year’s time. Data from ‘old’ experiment appears to constrain the idea of dark photons as part of dark matter theory , Physical Review Letters This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Astronomers investigate open cluster NGC 6530

first_img Explore further Open clusters, formed from the same giant molecular cloud, are groups of up to few thousand stars loosely gravitationally bound to each other. Given that stars in open clusters have similar ages, chemical compositions, and distances from the Earth, they serve as excellent laboratories for studies of formation of stars and stellar evolution.Discovered in the 17th century, NGC 6530 (also known as OCL 19, or ESO 521-SC21) is a young open cluster of a few million years old within the Lagoon Nebula. The cluster is known for its complex morphology and star-formation history.NGC 6530 contains low-mass stars in their pre-main sequence, which makes them bright X-ray sources due to their active coronae. This allowed researchers to identify a large population of around 2,500 candidate cluster members down to subsolar masses. However, this cluster member list is still incomplete, since each of the methods used in previous studies suffers from some bias.So a team of astronomers led by Francesco Damiani of Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Palermo, Italy, decided to assemble a highly comprehensive list of candidate members of NGC 6530. Using various methods, the researchers managed to expand the list of candidate cluster members to more than 3,500 stars.”By combining various techniques for member selection complementary to each other, we have assembled a list of 3,675 candidate NGC 6530 members down to approximately 0.3 solar masses,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.The techniques employed by Damiani’s team to determine the cluster membership include X-ray data, hydrogen-alpha emission, near-infrared and ultraviolet excess from photometric surveys and near-infrared catalogs, as well as astrometry provided by ESA’s Gaia satellite. They also used their own method for photometric selection of M-type pre-main-sequence cluster members.The researchers say that out of the 3,675 candidates, only 711 fulfill more than one membership criterion. However, they estimate that more than 2,700 are genuine NGC 6530 members. “The total net number of NGC 6530 members estimated with all our methods becomes therefore of 2,728 stars, down to 0.2−0.4 solar masses, the exact limit being dependent on individual stellar ages and extinction,” the paper reads.In addition to assembling the list of NGC 6530 members, the astronomers found that the distance to this cluster is about 4,300 light years. They also confirmed the cluster’s complex morphology, noting that it has a core containing the bulk of members, and secondary concentrations of members in known regions, as well as anonymous, small groups. Italian astronomers have investigated the young open cluster NGC 6530 by conducting a statistical study of its global properties. The research, which provides important insights on the cluster membership, was presented in a paper published December 29 on the arXiv pre-print repository. © 2019 Science X Network More information: A wide-area photometric and astrometric (Gaia DR2) study of the young cluster NGC 6530. The Lagoon Nebula and NGC 6530 (on the right). Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Rbruels. Three new open clusters discovered in the Milky Way Citation: Astronomers investigate open cluster NGC 6530 (2019, January 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Tiësto is one of my biggest inspirations

first_imgOne of Europe’s biggest names in the EDM industry Quintino was recently in the Capital, getting the groove on at Pangaea. Discovered by Laidback Luke when he was18, Quintino wasted no time marking his territory. In 2011, he decided to join forces with Sandro Silva and continued his ascent into the Dutch Dance Music elite with the release of  Epic on Tiësto’s Musical Freedom label. We caught up with the guy for a quick chat. Read on…Tell us about you. How did you start off? Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’I always had an inclination towards music, not just listening but composing my own stuff. My first step in to this industry was when I met Laidback Luke at a party, where I was supposed to DJ after him. He stayed during my entire set and just seeing him watch made me nervous. After my set he came to me and told me he really liked my music and had a great time. He told me to stay in contact, and that’s how it all started. That’s still one of my best days in my life. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWhat was the first big break for you?A life-changing break came in 2009 when I released a remix of Cidinho and Doca’s Rap Das Armas, which became a worldwide summer anthem and notched over 10 million YouTube views. There was just no looking back now. How would you define your musical philosophy?  I make music which I like and that resulted in a certain style in my live sets which you call the Quintino sound. Each music genre has its own charm, for me its electro/progressive house. But I don’t like to be labelled to a specific music genre, as I said before I play music which I like, so sometimes I play various kind of music genre during my live sets.  I never have a preset for my shows. I know which tracks I’ve got and look at the audience, based on their response I decide which track I play and when. Every show is different; I’d like to believe that’s what makes my work so unconventional. How easy (or difficult) is it to make a mark in the music scene? What do you think the main issues are?There are so many talented people around the world and everybody wants their music to be heard and appreciated, so you have to be unique, that is definitely a prerequisite! However, the biggest challenge we, as music producers face is to move beyond the circle we have connected with, and make sure our music spreads globally.The biggest change in the DJ scene from now and when I started as a DJ is the popularity of DJs and how people look at them. 10 years ago a DJ would be at a party to support a rock band or pop stars. These days the DJ is the headliner and it’s all about his or her music.  What/Who inspires you?One of my biggest inspirations is Tiësto. When I saw him playing at the Olympic Games in 2004, I was so impressed. Last year one of my dreams actually came true and I did several gigs with Tiësto on his college tour in the United Stated. That was really amazing!Are you familiar with Bollywood music? If yes – would you ever work on a remix in that genre? I don’t know much about Bollywood, but I look forward to hearing to some great tracks during my stay in India.last_img read more

Little heavens of civilised pleasure From Bangalore to Boi Para

first_imgKolkata: Be it Avenue Road in Bangalore or College Street in Kolkata, both the places attract avid readers from all over the country.Although the online markets for books were able to draw a gloomy face over the book sellers, both these places are still able to hold up their traditional history in book culture, selling a rare variety of books for affordable rates that the online start ups cannot afford to offer.While other book shops carry a price tag, these places don’t, the price of the books depends on the seller-buyer bargaining sessions. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights It’s the smell of old books and the fact that books go on to have a second life is the very essence of both these places.Avenue Road is a locality in Bengaluru, one of the few places known for its traditional trade in used textbooks. These shops are found on one side of the lane, with other one being homes and shops to others. These shops in Karnataka are more than 5 decades old. One can buy second-hand books and sell them in return of new books or money. It has around 70 bookshops and 350 street booksellers. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe category of books varies from fiction, textbooks and coaching books for many competitive exams. The wide range of textbooks on Avenue road attracts students from all fields and ready to travel from faraway places.If you are a book lover and have visited the place for at least once, the scent of Avenue Road will never disappear from your memory. Kolkata, rich in its cultural heritage and literature, even to the present day, doesn’t fail to attract ardent bibliophiles from all over the world to the largest second hand book market in India. College Street, a mile long stretch of small and big bookshops spread across pavements, streets and by lanes, has a remarkable history of more than 200 years. The stretch of this bustling book market is so engaging and captivating that one can while away time by browsing through the stacks for hours. College Street spans multiple genres like literary classics, British and American Literature, books on politics, Indian literature, educational textbooks, fiction, fantasy and self help books. This place witnesses a wide range of avid bibliophiles from all backgrounds and age groups. All of these ardent book lovers try their best to get their hands on both old and new books at reasonable prices after a ‘must’ bargaining session. One cannot forget to mention the booksellers, while talking about the avid readers. The booksellers are so passionate that they call everyone walking around to have a good look at the walls piled up with books. They simultaneously search for other books which the readers would be interested in and spew out titles by Tagore or Dicken’s.Apart from their distinct assemblage of various hits such as Dan Brown, one can find rare editions, bestsellers of yesteryears as well. It’s the rarity of these books which motivates the bookworms to flock to pavements for throwaway prices. One cannot forget going to the traditional 300-year-old Indian Coffee House, which is considered the meeting place for city’s intelligentsia. This ‘adda’ provides a perfect ambience for variety of people. It used to be a favorite hang out for young poets, painters, writers, painters, filmmakers and politicians. Remember to drop there for a cup of chai and samosa to get the essence of Kolkata. This stretch of books in College Street with the best to the rarest collections, has given it an endearing name ‘boi para’.A trip to Boi Para, the heart of Kolkata, is a must for every book lover in search of treasure chests of books and civilised pleasure. The satiety of buying books in ardent book lovers will not be fulfilled with one visit, it calls for another, again and again. Robert Southey once said, “My never-failing friends are they, With whom I converse day by day”.last_img read more

Howrah to turn vat free HMC to set up 8 compactor stations

first_imgKolkata: In a bid to make Howrah a vat free city, the Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) is soon going to set up compactor stations at eight different locations in the city.At present, 650 metric tonne solid waste is collected in a day in Howrah. Hence, the authorities have stressed on better solid waste management in the city, which has a population of around 15 lakh. Mayor Dr Rathin Chakraborty said: “Around seven to eight vats can be removed against each compactor station. It will help in reducing the total number of vats to less than 300 in Howrah city.” Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe compactor stations will be installed following a proper plan of action and the entire area under HMC has been demarcated as Nabanna Zone, Central Zone, Howrah Station Zone, South Zone among other zones. The stations will be set up in such a way that each one of the zones becomes vat-free one after the other. According to a senior official of the civic body, there are only four compactors operating in certain parts of the city. “It is inadequate compared to the quantity of solid waste generated every day in Howrah. Thus, the decision to set up eight more compactor station has been taken to ensure better management of the solid waste. The number of compactor stations will be increased gradually,” the official said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedPlots of land to set up the stations have been identified and the construction work for the same is also going to start as soon as possible. The eight locations include Liluah, Belur and Pilkhana among five others. Back in 2015, Bally Municipality was merged with HMC and subsequent initiatives were undertaken to keep the area including Belur, Bally and Liluah in North Howrah clean. Now, with the decision to set up compactors stations, the situation will further improve. With the installations of the compactor stations, residents of Howrah will no more have to bear foul smell as and when the waste will be transported to dump yards. Moreover, garbage will not spill over trucks in which it is carried and the roads will remain clean from dirty water that usually fall from garbage carrying trucks.last_img read more

Three contract killers arrested in Bengal arms seized

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal’s Criminal Investigation Department arrested three contract killers from the state’s Durgapur town, who had gathered to kidnap and murder a local businessman, and seized arms and ammunition from them, said police on Tuesday. According to CID, the three criminals were given the contract to murder the businessman by a criminal from Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur. “Three contract killers — Rabi Chowrasia (47), Ajit Singh (38) and Jiten Kumar (26) — were arrested from Durgapur’s Uttarpara on Monday. The criminals hail from Jharkhand and Bihar,” Deputy Inspector General of West Bengal CID Nishad Parvez said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life “Two country-made pipe guns, one pistol, seven rounds of 8mm cartridge, two rounds of 7.65mm cartridge and 280 gm of heroin were seized from them,” he said. Preliminary investigation revealed that the prime accused Rabi Chowrasia was given the murder contract by a person from Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur and had assembled the other two accused in the area. “They planned flee to Odisha’s Balasore after committing the crime,” the officer added.last_img read more