Friday, June 3, 2016

The hunt for high-energy photons on a mountaintop in Mexico

HAWC, from Smithsonian.

The goal of the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) observatory is to find the highest-energy phenomena in the cosmos; including exotic stars, supermassive black holes, and annihilating dark matter.

Completed in March 2015, the observatory just recently released its first year of data — a map of the sky revealing about 40 super-bright sources, many from within our Milky Way galaxy. “These are not run-of-the-mill stars,” said physicist Brenda Dingus of Los Alamos National Laboratory, spokesperson for HAWC. (Full Story)

Space technology can help sustain Earth

Agricultural corn yields mapped by Descartes Labs. From Descartes.

Descartes Labs, a startup spun off from Los Alamos National Laboratory, is using the influx of data from Planet Labs and other Earth imagery providers to predict corn crop yields faster and more accurately than previously possible by the USDA at a resolution of 1/500th of an acre. San Francisco startup Space Know is synthesizing thousands of images from these imagery companies to provide an objective means of assessing the health of manufacturing in China’s economy. (Full Story)

RNA simulations boost understanding of retroviral diseases

RNA folded into a tetraloop, LANL image.

New molecular dynamics research into how RNA folds into hairpin-shaped structures called tetraloops could provide important insights into new treatments for retroviral diseases.

"Ribonucleic acid, known as RNA, forms the genome of multiple viruses that afflict humans, including Ebola, HIV and Zika, which are active areas of research at Los Alamos," said Jacob Miner, a Los Alamos National Laboratory graduate student in the Center for Nonlinear Studies. (Full Story)

Unsafe material moved to LANL

“The threats of this material getting in the wrong hands are really the key safety risk from our perspective,” New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said. “While it was secure at the facility, there is no comparison to the security you have up here in Los Alamos. It’s not even close. There was not a threat posed to human health by the material where it was located, but that material in the wrong hands could be a significant danger to the public.” (Full Story)

Blu-Ray optical archives scale up, manned by robots

Blu-Ray cold storage devices. From DCF.

The initial foray into Blu-Ray was an experiment to help Facebook manage a flood of incoming data, with users now uploading more than 900 million photos every day. 

“LANL has evaluated the specifications of Sony’s Everspan optical storage library and are expecting to see significantly reduced recall times when dealing with extremely large files for analysis,” said Brett Hollander, LANL’s High Performance Computing Archive Lead. (Full Story)

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