Friday, September 28, 2012

ChemCam: under the hood

Schematic of the ChemCam system.  From

ChemCam represents the first implementation of LIBS in a planetary science application, and has already used its laser to study some selected Martian rocks around the vehicle. spoke to the suppliers of three of ChemCam's key operational components, to hear about their initial contact a decade ago with co-developers Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French space research institute CNES, and about the novel technology that resulted. (Full Story)

LANL fetes R&D award winners

Video explains one winning technology - valveless laser processing.

Los Alamos National Laboratory recognized four of its teams that won R&D awards Wednesday night at the Hilltop House Hotel. Lab Director Charlie McMillan handed out the awards to the winners. Other teams that were up for awards also were honored.

“These awards demonstrate the continued success of Los Alamos researchers and partners in defining the frontiers of innovation across a wide range of national security science,” said McMillan. “This innovation and creativity will drive the solutions to tomorrow’s problems.” (Full Story)

Experiment in ULF laboratory corrects prediction in quantum theory

Much of what we know about quantum mechanics is theoretical and tested via computer modeling because quantum systems, like electrons whizzing around the nucleus of an atom, are difficult to pin down for observation.

“It’s nice to know what happens in pure samples, but the real world, is messy and we need to know what the quantum rules are in those situations,” said Vivien Zapf, a staff scientist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Los Alamos. (Full Story)

Los Alamos National Laboratory marks 20 years without full-scale nuclear testing

The "Divider" test rack is hoisted into position for lowering down hole at the Nevada Test Site in September of 1992.  LANL photo.

Two decades ago the last full-scale underground test of a nuclear weapon was conducted by Los Alamos National Laboratory at the Nevada Test Site.

The test, code named “Divider,” was detonated on Sept. 23, 1992 as the last of an eight-test series called “Julin.”

The test had an announced yield less than the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT. The purpose of the test, also announced at the time, was “to ensure the safety of U.S. deterrent forces.” (Full Story)

Sounds of ‘alien birds’ in space recorded by NASA spacecraft

Twin satellites of the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Mission.  NASA image.

A NASA spacecraft has made the clearest record yet of choruses of noise in the Earth's magnetosphere.      

The chirps and whoops were captured by one of NASA’s two recently launched Radiation Belt Storm Probes spacecraft. Collaborators on the EMFISIS experiment include Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Dawn sees hydrated minerals on giant asteroid

DAWN orbiting Vesta.  NASA image

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has revealed that the giant asteroid Vesta has its own version of ring around the collar.

One paper describes how the gamma ray and neutron detector (GRaND) found signatures of hydrogen, likely in the form of hydroxyl or water bound to minerals in Vesta’s surface. GRaND was built by Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

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