Friday, June 19, 2015

NNSA, NASA to begin Planetary Defense collaboration

Model of a nuclear device’s effects on a granular asteroid, LANL image.

An example of prior federal research comes from the Los Alamos weapons lab in New Mexico, the birthplace of the bomb. An astrophysicist there, Robert Weaver, ran supercomputer simulations that the lab hailed in an article two years ago as exploratory steps for “Killing Killer Asteroids.” It quoted him as saying such research “will hopefully give policy makers a better understanding of what their options are.” (Full Story)

See the video on YouTube

Unlocking the mysteries of space

Formation of “magnetic flux ropes” within the the earth’s magnetosphere, LANL image.

Some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world are helping NASA scientists reveal the mysteries of the universe.

In support of the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, a multi-institution research team led by William Daughton of Los Alamos National Laboratory, is using Titan to study magnetic reconnection, a phenomenon associated with space weather that occurs when charged particles interact strongly with magnetic fields. (Full Story)

Also in PhysOrg

Earth plus Mars

Mars 2020 includes "SuperCam," LANL image.

New Mexico’s role in the next mission to Mars will also be part of a tri-national Earthly collaboration, officials say.

The new generation of the Red Planet rover touches down in 2020 and is set to again feature a partnership between Los Alamos National Laboratory, the French space agency and scientists in Spain.

Researchers and managers from LANL traveled along with NASA Mars project officials to a Paris space conference this month where they signed an agreement with the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales. (Full Story)

Also from the Los Alamos Dally Post

Project ATHENA Creates Surrogate Human Organ Systems

Partially integrated ATHENA system, LANL image.

The development of miniature surrogate human organs, coupled with highly sensitive mass spectrometry technologies, could one day revolutionize the way new drugs and toxic agents are studied.

“By developing this ‘homo minutus,’ we are stepping beyond the need for animal or Petri dish testing: There are huge benefits in developing drug and toxicity analysis systems that can mimic the response of actual human organs,” said Rashi Iyer, a senior scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Also in Medical Xpress News and Drug Discovery News

Analysis shows elements not acting in nature as previously modeled

Workers on a cleanup site at DOE's Hanford Site, DOE photo.

Knowing how a chemical in soil reacts and transforms over time in response to neighboring elements, weather and heat is essential in determining whether that chemical is hazardous. This is especially important when that chemical is radioactive.

In a collaborative, international effort led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, researchers determined the speciation of uranium and plutonium pulled from soil, concrete and water reservoir sediment from six locations in the U.S., Ukraine and Russia. (Full Story)

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