Friday, October 31, 2014

Deep space, cosmic rays observed at Mexico observatory

The former Milagro observatory at Fenton Lake in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico has been reborn in southern Mexico. Milagro specialized in cosmic and gamma ray astronomy at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2000 to 2008, recording over 200 billion cosmic ray collisions with the earth’s atmosphere and pinpointing a pair of distinctive sources in our galaxy, among other notable achievements. Milagro’s successor, the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Gamma-Ray Observatory recently began operations from a new, advantageous perch on a slope between the volcanoes Sierra Negra and Pico de Orizaba. (full story)
W88 warhead program performs successful tests

The June CRAFT test was the first of several planned flight tests to demonstrate the upgraded system's performance. It also represented a milestone: the first flight test unit Sandia and its partners, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the Kansas City Plant (KCP) and Pantex, delivered to the Navy for full-scale testing under the program. (full story)

Also from PhysOrg

Four Corners methane hotspot points to coal-related sources

Los Alamos National Laboratory measurement instruments were placed in the field for analysis of Four Corners area power plant emissions.

A large, persistent methane hot spot has existed over the Four Corners area of the U.S. for almost a decade, confirmed by remote regional-scale ground measurements of the gas by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

"A detailed analysis indicates that methane emissions in the region are actually three times larger than reported by EPA. Our analysis demonstrates that current EPA inventories are missing huge methane sources in the region," said Manvendra Dubey, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist on the project. (full story)

New rocket propellant and motor design offer high performance and safety

The new rocket fuel and motor design adds a higher degree of safety by separating the fuel from the oxidizer, both novel formulations that are, by themselves, not able to detonate.

"What we're trying to do is break the performance versus sensitivity curve, and make a rocket that's both very high-energy, as well as very safe," said Bryce Tappan, an energetic materials chemist at the Laboratory. (full story)

VIDEO | Los Alamos novel rocket design flight tested

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory recently flight tested a new solid-fuel rocket motor design at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center’s Socorro launch site. By separating the the fuel from the oxidizer, it adds a higher level of safety to conventional designs. This enabled the use of higher-energy propellants. The new rocket design was tested against conventional, high-energy commercial rockets to enable a comparison of data gathered on velocity, altitude, burn rate, and other parameters. (full story)
Mars 2020 will continue search for habitability

Mars 2020's success will depend heavily on the seven instruments the rover is expected to carry to the Red Planet. The shortlisted instruments will have capabilities that range from taking pictures, to doing chemical composition analysis of the surface, to probing for organics, chemicals and carbon dioxide.

Among the seven instruments is SuperCam, an instrument that can sense organic compounds in rocks and regolith through mineralogy and chemical composition analysis. Principal investigator: Roger Wiens, Los Alamos National Laboratory. (full story)
Los Alamos venture fund wins international honor

Los Alamos National Security LLC’s Venture Acceleration Fund has received a 2014 entrepreneurship award from the International Economic Development Council.

"Since the VAF was initiated in 2006, LANS has invested approximately $3 million in 49 New Mexico businesses," David Pesiri, director of Los Alamos' Feynman Center for Innovation, said in a statement. "Now it's a community effort, with Los Alamos County, the city of Santa Fe and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership stepping forward to partner with us." (full story)

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