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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

A smiling lens: 'Happy face' galaxy cluster reveals arcs caused by strong gravitational lensing

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 01:30 PM PST

An image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows what appears to be a smiling galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849. In the case of this "happy face," the two eyes are very bright galaxies and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing.

Mars orbiter spies Curiosity rover at work

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 08:11 AM PST

A Dec. 13, 2014, image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera orbiting Mars shows NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on the rover's walkabout examination of the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop. The outrcrop forms part of the basal layer of Mount Sharp inside Mars' Gale Crater.

Dawn gets closer views of Ceres

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 08:11 AM PST

NASA's Dawn spacecraft, on approach to dwarf planet Ceres, has acquired its latest and closest-yet snapshot of this mysterious world.

Arachnid Rapunzel: Researchers Spin Spider Silk Proteins Into Artificial Silk

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:17 AM PST

Incredibly tough, slightly stretchy spider silk is a lightweight, biodegradable wonder material with numerous potential biomedical applications. But although humans have been colonizing relatively placid silkworms for thousands of years, harvesting silk from territorial and sometimes cannibalistic spiders has proven impractical. Instead, labs hoping to harness spider silk's mechanical properties are using its molecular structure as a template for their own biomimetic silks.

Planck Mission Explores the History of Our Universe

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:55 AM PST

Hot gas, dust and magnetic fields mingle in a colorful swirl in this new map of our Milky Way galaxy. The image is part of a new and improved data set from Planck, a European Space Agency mission in which NASA played a key role.

NASA's Curiosity analyzing sample of Martian mountain

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:54 AM PST

The second bite of a Martian mountain taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover hints at long-ago effects of water that was more acidic than any evidenced in the rover's first taste of Mount Sharp, a layered rock record of ancient Martian environments.

NASA spacecraft completes 40,000 Mars orbits

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:52 AM PST

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passed a mission milestone of 40,000 orbits on Feb. 7, 2015, in its ninth year of returning information about the atmosphere, surface and subsurface of Mars, from equatorial to polar latitudes.

Mars rover nearing marathon achievement

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:50 AM PST

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is nearing a location on Mars at which its driving distance will surpass the length of a marathon race. A drive on Feb. 8, 2015, put the rover within 220 yards (200 meters) of this marathon accomplishment. An Olympic marathon is 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometers).

DNA 'cage' could improve nanopore technology

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:31 AM PST

Researchers have designed a tiny cage that can trap a single strand of DNA after it has been pulled through a nanopore. While caged, biochemical experiments can be performed on the strand, which can then be zipped back through the nanopore. The device could enable researchers to probe DNA before and after a reaction takes place.

Eruptions evicted: Anti-geyser testing completed for Space Launch System liquid oxygen tank

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:29 AM PST

Goodbye, geysers! NASA engineers have successfully finished anti-geyser testing for the liquid oxygen tank that will help fuel the agency's new rocket, the Space Launch System, on the journey to Mars.

How conditions of spaceflight affect living organisms: New research headed to space station

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:27 AM PST

New research will be heading to the International Space Station to help NASA understand how the conditions of spaceflight affect living organisms. This work is helping the agency develop the resources and measures necessary to ensure astronauts remain healthy as we venture beyond low-Earth orbit and head out to study an asteroid and eventually Mars.

NASA's LRO discovers lunar hydrogen more abundant on moon's pole-facing slopes

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:19 AM PST

The recent discovery of hydrogen-bearing molecules, possibly including water, on the moon has explorers excited because these deposits could be mined if they are sufficiently abundant, sparing the considerable expense of bringing water from Earth. Recent observations by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft indicate these deposits may be slightly more abundant on crater slopes in the southern hemisphere that face the lunar South Pole.

Electronics you can wrap around your finger

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:01 AM PST

A new multiferroric film keeps its electric and magnetic properties even when highly curved, paving the way for potential uses in wearable devices.

Smartphone apps just as accurate as wearable devices for tracking physical activity

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:01 AM PST

Although wearable devices have received significant attention for their ability to track an individual's physical activity, most smartphone applications are just as accurate, according to new research. The study tested 10 of the top-selling smartphone apps and devices in the United States by having 14 participants walk on a treadmill for 500 and 1,500 steps, each twice (for a total of 56 trials), and then recording their step counts.

Cracks in the surface coating of gas turbines are necessary for longer life-span and better thermal insulation

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 07:33 AM PST

Gas turbines are used for the production of electricity and in aircraft engines. To increase the life-span of the turbines, they are sprayed with a surface coating. The coating consists of two layers – one of metal to protect against oxidation and corrosion , and one of ceramic to give thermal insulation. The structure of the coating varies greatly, consisting of pores and cracks of different sizes. It is these cracks and pores that largely determine the efficiency of the thermal insulation and the length of the  coating life-span.

Historic Indian sword was masterfully crafted

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 07:33 AM PST

The master craftsmanship behind Indian swords was highlighted when scientists and conservationists from Italy and the UK joined forces to study a curved single-edged sword called a shamsheer. The 75-centimeter-long sword from the Wallace Collection in London was made in India in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. The design is of Persian origin, from where it spread across Asia and eventually gave rise to a family of similar weapons called scimitars being forged in various Southeast Asian countries. Two different approaches were used to examine the shamsheer: the classical one (metallography) and a non-destructive technique (neutron diffraction).

Security gaps found in 39,890 online databases containing customer data

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:38 AM PST

Anyone could call up or modify several million pieces of customer data online including names, addresses and e-mails. Three students were able to show this for 40,000 online databases in both Germany and France. The cause is a misconfigured open source database upon which millions of online stores and platforms from all over the world base their services. If the operators blindly stick to the defaults in the installation process and do not consider crucial details, the data is available online, completely unprotected.

Hybrid perovskite nanoparticles with 80% luminescence yield obtained

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:37 AM PST

Researchers have developed a method for preparing methylammonium-lead bromide hybrid nanoparticles with extraordinary luminescence. They have successfully increased the luminescence efficiency of nanoparticles up to 80% and has also proven their high stability under ultraviolet visible light.

Water ice renders short-lived molecule sustainable

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:36 AM PST

"Antiaromatic compounds" is what chemists call a class of ring molecules which are extremely instable – the opposite of the highly stable aromatic molecules. Because they exist for mere split seconds, they can only be detected by extremely demanding, ultrafast methods. Scientists have now succeeded in isolating the antiaromatic fluorenyl cation at extremely low temperatures in water ice. Thus, they were able to conduct a spectroscopic analysis for the very first time.

Construction of the world's biggest solar telescope

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:08 AM PST

With a four-meter diameter primary mirror, the telescope will be able to pick up unprecedented detail on the surface of the Sun -- the equivalent of being able to examine a coin from 100 kms away. It will address fundamental questions at the core of contemporary solar physics. It will do this via high-speed (sub-second timescales) spectroscopic and magnetic measurements of the solar photosphere, chromosphere and corona.

Novel bio-inspired robotic sock promotes blood circulation and prevents blood clots in legs

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 02:08 AM PST

Innovative robotic sock, which mimics tentacle movements of corals, can benefit bedridden or immobile patients.

Bringing texture to your flat touchscreen with virtual bumps

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 01:14 PM PST

What if the touchscreen of your smartphone or tablet could touch you back? Researchers now report a discovery that provides insight into how the brain makes sense of data from fingers. When people draw their fingers over a flat surface with two 'virtual bumps,' the researchers found that, under certain circumstances, the subjects feel only one bump when there really are two. And the researchers can explain why the brain comes to this conclusion.

Bionic leaf: Researchers use bacteria to convert solar energy into liquid fuel

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 01:14 PM PST

Solar energy can be harnessed using electricity from photovoltaic cells to yield hydrogen that can be stored in fuel cells. But hydrogen has failed to catch on as a practical fuel for cars or for power. Converting solar energy into liquid fuel could accelerate its adoption as a power source.

A centimeter of time: Cool clocks pave the way to new measurements of Earth

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 08:30 AM PST

Two cryogenically cooled optical lattice clocks that can be synchronized to a tremendous one part in 2.0 x 10-18--meaning that they would only go out of synch by a second in 16 billion years. This is nearly 1,000 times more precise than the current international timekeeping standard cesium atomic clock.

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