Week in Science (25 Apr – 1 May 2021)

Science News related to Icy Clouds – Early Mars, 3D Holographic Head-Up Display, High Heat Neutralizing Coronavirus, Hydroxyl Molecule Signature in An Exoplanet Atmosphere, Black Hole-Neutron Star Collisions, Moon’s Nano Dust, Tiny Plastics Slipping Through the Environment, Bringing the Sun to The Lab, Physics Underlying Quantum Systems, Future Nanoscale Disease Diagnostics


Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. Icy Clouds Could Have Kept Early Mars Warm Enough for Rivers and Lakes, Study Finds


Source: University of Chicago 26 Apr 2021


A new study uses a computer model to put forth a promising explanation that Mars could have had a thin layer of icy, high-altitude clouds that caused a greenhouse effect. Using a 3D model of the entire planet’s atmosphere, a team went to work. The missing piece, they found, was the amount of ice on the ground. If there was ice covering large portions of Mars, that would create surface humidity that favors low-altitude clouds, which aren’t thought to warm planets very much (or can even cool them, because clouds reflect sunlight away from the planet.)


Original written by: Louise Lerner

2. 3D Holographic Head-Up Display Could Improve Road Safety


Source: University of Cambridge 26 Apr 2021


Researchers have developed the first LiDAR-based augmented reality head-up display for use in vehicles. Tests on a prototype version of the technology suggest that it could improve road safety by ‘seeing through’ objects to alert of potential hazards without distracting the driver.


The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License

3. Exposure to High Heat Neutralizes Coronavirus in Less Than One Second


Source: Texas A&M University 26 Apr 2021


Researchers have designed an experimental system that shows exposure of coronavirus to a very high temperature, even if applied for less than a second, can be sufficient to neutralize the virus so that it can no longer infect another human host.


Original written by: Rachel Rose

4. Astronomers Detect First Ever Hydroxyl Molecule Signature in An Exoplanet Atmosphere


Source: Trinity College Dublin 27 Apr 2021


A research team has detected a new chemical signature in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet (a planet that orbits a star other than our Sun). The hydroxyl radical (OH) was found on the dayside of the exoplanet WASP-33b. This planet is a so-called ‘ultra-hot Jupiter’, a gas-giant planet orbiting its host star much closer than Mercury orbits the Sun and therefore reaching atmospheric temperatures of more than 2,500° C (hot enough to melt most metals).

5. Black Hole-Neutron Star Collisions May Settle Dispute Over Universe’s Expansion


Source: University College London 28 Apr 2021


Studying the violent collisions of black holes and neutron stars may soon provide a new measurement of the Universe’s expansion rate, helping to resolve a long-standing dispute, suggests a new simulation study led by researchers. The new study simulated 25,000 scenarios of black holes and neutron stars colliding, aiming to see how many would likely be detected by instruments on Earth in the mid- to late-2020s.

6. Measuring the Moon’s Nano Dust Is No Small Matter


Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 28 Apr 2021


Researchers are now measuring tinier moon dust particles than ever before, a step toward more precisely explaining the Moon’s apparent color and brightness. This in turn might help improve tracking of weather patterns and other phenomena by satellite cameras that use the Moon as a calibration source.

7. Researchers Find How Tiny Plastics Slip Through the Environment


Source: Washington State University 28 Apr 2021


Researchers have shown the fundamental mechanisms that allow tiny pieces of plastic bags and foam packaging at the nanoscale to move through the environment. The researchers found that a silica surface such as sand has little effect on slowing down the movement of the plastics, but that natural organic matter resulting from decomposition of plant and animal remains can either temporarily or permanently trap the nanoscale plastic particles, depending on the type of plastics.


Original written by: Tina Hilding

8. New Computer Model Helps Brings the Sun into The Laboratory


Source: DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 28 Apr 2021


Researchers have made a discovery that could lead to better predictions of this space weather and help safeguard sensitive infrastructure. The discovery comes from a new computer model that predicts the behavior of the plasma in the region above the surface of the sun known as the solar corona. The model was originally inspired by a similar model that describes the behavior of the plasma that fuels fusion reactions in doughnut-shaped fusion facilities known as tokamaks.


Original written by: Raphael Rosen

9. Machine Learning Algorithm Helps Unravel the Physics Underlying Quantum Systems


Source: University of Bristol 29 Apr 2021


Scientists have developed an algorithm that provides valuable insights into the physics underlying quantum systems - paving the way for significant advances in quantum computation and sensing, and potentially turning a new page in scientific investigation. They described an algorithm which overcomes these challenges by acting as an autonomous agent, using machine learning to reverse engineer Hamiltonian models.

10. World’s First Fibre-Optic Ultrasonic Imaging Probe for Future Nanoscale Disease Diagnostics


Source: University of Nottingham 30 Apr 2021


Scientists have developed an ultrasonic imaging system, which can be deployed on the tip of a hair-thin optical fibre, and will be insertable into the human body to visualise cell abnormalities in 3D. The new technology produces microscopic and nanoscopic resolution images that will one day help clinicians to examine cells inhabiting hard-to-reach parts of the body, such as the gastrointestinal tract, and offer more effective diagnoses for diseases ranging from gastric cancer to bacterial meningitis.


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