Friday, March 2, 2012

Exosphere confirmed at Saturn’s moon Dione

Dione. NASA image.

The Cassini spacecraft flew by Dione, one of Saturn’s icy moons, on 7 April 2010. During that flyby, instruments detected molecular oxygen ions around the moon. Co-author: R. L. Tokar: Space Science and Applications, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Researchers used those measurements to estimate the density of the molecular oxygen ions to be in the range of 0.01 to 0.09 ions per cubic centimeter (or ions per 0.06 cubic inch). These molecular oxygen ions are produced when neutral molecules are ionized; the measurements confirm that a neutral exosphere surrounds Dione. (Full Story)

Massive computer simulation detects cause of high-speed electronics in space

Aurora as seen from the International Space Station. NASA Image.

A simulation performed using a plasma-physics code developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory shows that an active region in Earth’s magnetotail, where “reconnection” events take place in the magnetic field, is roughly 1,000 times larger than had been thought. This means a volume of space energized by these magnetic events is sufficient to explain the large numbers of high-speed electrons detected by a number of spacecraft missions, including the Cluster mission. (Full Story)

LANL researchers to develop detection tools for pathogenic E.coli

The Shiga toxin producing E.coli lodged in human intestines. WHO image.

Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the New Mexico Consortium (NMC) received a portion of a recent $25 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture to study E. coli in the beef industry.

The USDA awarded the grant to this team of researchers to help reduce the occurrence and public health risks from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) along the entire beef production chain. (Full Story)

Mesoscale physics buzz eludes exact definition

John Sarrao. LANL photo.

An Office of Science advisory committee has already begun to make a list of areas of study that could benefit from being considered mesoscale physics, said John Sarrao of the Los AlamosNational Laboratory in New Mexico.

They include the evolution of defects and accumulation of damage in materials, the behaviour of functional systems such as batteries and supercapacitors, the transport of liquids through mesoporous media such as rock — that might benefit efforts at carbon dioxide sequestration or fracking — and bioinspired assembly such as large-scale photoarrays. (Full Story)

Light-emitting nanocrystal diodes go ultraViolet

Glass-based, inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) now produce light in the ultraviolet range.

A multinational team of scientists has developed a process for creating glass-based, inorganic light-emitting diodes. The team includes Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Sergio Brovelli and Alberto Paleari at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy.

The work, reported this week in the online Nature Communications, is a step toward biomedical devices with active components made from nanostructured systems. (Full Story)

Climate scientists compute in concert

The SEACISM project will improve the fidelity of ice-sheet models.

The Community Earth System Model (CESM) is a mega-model that couples components of atmosphere, land, ocean, and ice to reflect their complex interactions.

“The model is about getting a higher level of detail, improving our accuracy, and decreasing the uncertainty in our estimates of future changes,” said Los Alamos National Laboratory climate scientist Phil Jones. (Full Story)

Close to the flame

Representatives of Los Alamos county meet with Governor Thomas Mabry in the late 1940s.

In May 1943, both Los Alamos and Santa Fe looked peaceful enough, even bucolic. But appearances don’t always reflect what’s going on just a little deeper down.

While local New Mexicans went about their daily business, scientists from around the world began gathering here, secretively and silently.

See pages 26-33 for the full story.

Los Alamos boasts first photovoltaic system installed on a landfill in New Mexico

NEDO has begun installing the photovoltaic system on the capped landfill. Image from Daily Post

Los Alamos County is installing the 1mw photovoltaic array at the Eco Center. This is the first photovoltaic system installed on a landfill in New Mexico. It is part of the smart grid demonstration project with NEDO, the Department of Public Utilities and Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

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