While there is scientific consensus that the Big Bang is the best explanation for the origin of the Universe, there's a growing chorus of doubters among the world astrophysics community, led by the fascinating new work of Wun-Yi Shu at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan who has developed an innovative new description of the Universe in which the roles of time space and mass are related in new kind of relativity.
A new family of extraterrestrial particles, probably of cometary origin, was identified in Central Antarctica. Discovered by researchers from the Center for Nuclear Spectrometry and Mass Spectrometry (CSNSM), attached to the Institut national de physique nucléaire et de physique des particules, the micrometeorites, which are remarkably well preserved, are made up of organic matter containing small assemblages of minerals from the coldest and most remote regions of the Solar System. Melting and sieving 106 cubic feet of "ultraclean" snow that fell near a French-Italian Antarctic camp from 1955 to 1970 (before people moved in), the team discovered two micrometeorites measuring no more than .003 inches and .01 inches across, "exhibiting a fine-grained, fluffy texture with no evidence for substantial heating during atmospheric entry."
A spectacular new image from ESO's Wide Field Imager at the La Silla Observatory in Chile shows the brilliant and unusual star WR 22 -a very hot and bright star that is shedding its atmosphere into space at a rate many millions of times faster than the Sun. It lies in the outer part of the dramatic Carina Nebula from which it formed. Some of these stellar beacons have such intense radiation passing through their thick atmospheres late in their lives that they shed material into space many millions of times more quickly than relatively sedate stars such as the Sun. These rare, very hot and massive objects are known as Wolf-Rayet stars, after the two French astronomers who first identified them in the mid-nineteenth century, and one of the most massive ones yet measured is known as WR 22. It appears at the centre of this picture, which was created from images taken through red, green and blue filters with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. WR 22 is a member of a double star system and has been measured to have a mass at least 70 times that of the Sun.
The Explorer, an app for iPhones and iPod Touches which uses over 300 Wi-Fi hotspots to triangulate your position inside the museum—a feat of "indoor GPS" the museum claims is the first of its kind takes the quesswork out of finding the particular piece of history or exhibit you're looking for.
The Crescent Nebula was created about 250,000 years ago by the brightest star in its center, a Wolf-Rayet star destined to become a supernova. The massive central star shed its outer envelope in a strong stellar wind, ejecting the equivalent of our Sun's mass every 10,000 years. This wind impacted surrounding gas left over from a previous phase, compacting it into a series of complex shells, and lighting it up. The Crescent Nebula, also known as NGC 6888, lies about 4,700 light-years away in the constellation of Cygnus. Star WR 136 will probably undergo a supernova explosion sometime in the next million years.
Image credit: Franck Bugnet
Astronomers have imaged a very young brown dwarf, or failed star, in a tight orbit around a young nearby sun-like star. The discovery is expected to shed light on the early stages of solar system formation. Astronomers have imaged a very young brown dwarf, or failed star, in a tight orbit around a young nearby sun-like star. An international team led by University of Hawaii astronomers Beth Biller and Michael Liu with help from University of Arizona astronomer Laird Close and UA graduate students Eric Nielsen, Jared Males and Andy Skemer made the rare find using the Near-Infrared Coronagraphic Imager, or NICI, on the international 8-meter Gemini-South Telescope in Chile. What makes this discovery special is the proximity between the 36 Jupiter-mass brown dwarf companion, dubbed PZ Tel B, and its primary star, named PZ Tel A. They are separated by only 18 Astronomical Units, or AUs, similar to the distance between Uranus and the sun.
An expert panel advising the Japanese government called in a report approved on Thursday for the nation to send a wheeled robot to the moon in five years and to build the first lunar base by 2020. "It is extremely important to probe the moon... as we now see the dawn of the age of great exploration in the solar system," the report formally adopted by the panel on Thursday said.
"China, India and other countries are aiming to probe the moon. If Japan's activity is delayed, it will become difficult to maintain our superiority in science regarding the moon," it said. Noting a Japanese observation satellite had succeeded in sending high-definition images of the entire moon, the report argued the nation needed to enhance its probe also for the sake of its "international presence." The panel, made up of experts from the state-funded Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency as well as business and academia, approved the report as it wrapped up a one-year debate on what form the nation's moon probe should take. Under the plan, the robot's tasks would include setting up an observation device and gathering geological samples for sending back to Earth. The robot would also set up solar panels to generate energy.
The X Prize Foundation first announced plans for a million dollar oil spill X Challenge last month. Today, the foundation revealed the details of the $1.4 million Oil Cleanup X Challenge, which asks entrants to clean up the Gulf oil disaster. It's a "flash prize", according to Peter Diamandis, Founder & Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation. That means entrants need to work quickly, for obvious reasons. The competition, which is funded entirely by Wendy Schmidt of the Schmidt Marine Science Research Institute, will offer $1 million to the first place winner, $300,000 to the second place idea, and $100,000 to the third place winner. Entrants will be judged on a number of factors, including cost, environmental impact, scalability, oil recovery rate, and efficiency. Scaled versions of the best ideas will be built and tested in a head-to-head competition at the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility (OHMSETT) in Leonardo, New Jersey.
Tt's the size you'll notice first -- feeling wider and longer than the average mobile phone -- but it's not bulky in that old-school, cell-phone-from-the-'80s kind of way. The Droid X needs to be a bit bigger to accommodate a massive 4.3-inch wide screen. It's huge in a very good way, offering up generous amounts of touch-space real estate. The size of the screen is the star of this show, and it makes using the phone easier than other touch-screen handsets because buttons are bigger, text is larger, and there is more general screen space available. The Droid X is running Google's Android operating system -- specifically version 2.1 -- and that means apps from the Android Market. Google's suite of mobile services also is available, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps Navigation, which is a free online GPS-guided program that provides voiced directions.
Scientists Map Entire Brain Network: “The most complex mass of protoplasm on earth—perhaps even in our galaxy."
“We have successfully uncovered and mapped the most comprehensive long-distance network of the Macaque monkey brain, which is essential for understanding the brain’s behavior, complexity, dynamics and computation,” announced Dharmendra S. Modha of IBM. “We can now gain unprecedented insight into how information travels and is processed across the brain. We have collated a comprehensive, consistent, concise, coherent, and colossal network spanning the entire brain and grounded in anatomical tracing studies that is a stepping stone to both fundamental and applied research in neuroscience and cognitive computing,” he added.
On a recent Discovery program on the Universe, Stephen Hawking voiced concern about the dangers, he believes, are posed by aliens who may arrive some day on Earth: "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like..." According to Hawking aliens "would be only limited by how much power they could harness and control, and that could be far more than we might first imagine...Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach...I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet...If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans."
Io, the innermost of Jupiter's large satellites and the most volcanically active body in the solar system, with plumes of matter rising up to 186 miles (300 km) above the surface is considered a prime candidate as a hotspot for extreme extraterrestrial life.
"Everyone right away tends to categorically exclude the possibility of life on Io," said astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch at Washington State University. Conditions on Io might have made it a friendlier habitat in the distant past. If life did ever develop on Io, there is a chance it might have survived to the present day, Schulze-Makuch suggested.