Sunday, 22 July 2012

Physics and Engineering stuff from the week 16-22/7/12

More pictures of Saturn, from Cassini -- and this time, pictures of lightning in its atmosphere -- during the daytime!

'Cassini spots daytime lightning on Saturn'
"Scientists aggressively heightened the blue tint of the image to determine its size and location. Scientists are still analyzing why the blue filter catches the lightning. It might be that the lightning really is blue, or it might be that the short exposure of the camera in the blue filter makes the short-lived lightning easier to see."

[video] 'River networks on Titan point to a puzzling geologic history'
Every time the Cassini probe flies past Titan, in its orbit around Saturn, it takes RADAR pictures of Titan's surface (optical light is attenuated by its thick atmosphere)
The pictures have shown topography, including river networks, and mountains, that are similar to those of Earth - indicating that either erosion on Titan's surface is much slower than here, or it has similar processes of tectonic upheaval and volcanic activity.

Scientists have recreated the thermo-barometric conditions, within the mantle, and have substantiated that molten rock is indeed lighter than solid rock.
This knowledge should help explain how hotspots can be observed, in the middle of continental plates, like at the Hawaiian islands, where islands form over a geological region, and then stop forming as they drift away.
Most volcanic activity occurs between tectonic plates, at subduction zones, where denser oceanic plates sink beneath continental plates, causing a surfeit of material which rises up to form a region of volcanism.

[picture] Mars has a puncture!
'A Hole in Mars'

[picture] I do not believe that this is a real photograph :/
'Moon Meets Jupiter'

With the same technology used to read hard drives, researchers have analyzed blood cells for tumour properties.
Flow cytometry is the standard way to identify tumour and HIV-ed cells, in a sample, but it is slow and painstaking.
This technique requires antibodies, with superparamagnetic nanoparticles attached, to latch on to the target cells. The magnetic responsivity of the particles can then be used to pull whole cells aside, and count them, "like pearls on a string".
They can glean the cells' diameter and pace of motion from this data, and infer whether they are tumour cells or not.

'Diamond in the rough: Half-century puzzle solved'
Most diamonds that you'll see will have been formed under high pressures and temperatures, even if they're synthetic.
M-carbon, however, is formed at low temperatures, although requiring a lot longer to form, and pressures 200,000 times room pressure!
M-carbon is a kind of mid-way between graphite, which is soft, irregular, and electrically conductive; and diamond, which is hard, regular, and non-conductive.
It is also incredibly non-compressible, which means, under some circumstances, it can damage diamond.

'Smart suit improves physical endurance'
A suit has been designed by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, which works rather like power-assisted steering, improving the performance of the user, and reducing strain on their body.
"The novel wearable system would potentially delay the onset of fatigue, enabling soldiers to walk longer distances, and also potentially improve the body’s resistance to injuries when carrying heavy loads."
The reason Iron-Man-like suits are not 'all the rage' in military fashion, already, is that they're clunking great brutes that drain massive amounts of energy, and are highly restrictive of movement. With their DARPA contract, the team hopes to refine their suit, to reduce these constraints.

[video] Intelligent car takes the wheel to dodge trouble

No comments:

Post a Comment