Friday, April 21, 2017

New asteroid study suggests Hollywood is wrong about ocean impacts

Asteroid impacts far from a shoreline are unlikely to travel far, LANL image.

When an asteroid hits the middle of the ocean in Hollywood movies, it creates devastating waves that wipe out coastal cities. But new simulations reveal that real asteroids don’t make such a splash. That’s because the crash releases most of its energy hurling water up into the atmosphere, and very little on making waves.

"The folklore has been that tsunamis from impactors will be the danger," Galen Gisler, who studies the physics of geological processes at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said at the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference. "The splash wave can be very dangerous — out to tens of kilometers — but beyond that, they fall away more sharply.” (Full Story)

Detection of ghostly particles could unmask illicit nuclear weapons

North Korea's Yongbyon facility in 2008, from SciAm.

Weapons-grade fuel in a nuclear reactor emits a steady rate of telltale antineutrinos that could be detected by a newly designed portable device.

Patrick Jaffke, a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and co-author of the new proposal, suggests a small version that could be placed close to a reactor to determine the type of nuclear fuel within by analyzing the activity of antineutrinos. His design would measure the spectrum and shape of the initial Cherenkov flash and thus the energy of the progenitor antineutrinos from the positrons. (Full Story)

 What is the universe made of?

European Southern Observatory, from HuffPo.

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, we have 70-plus years of research in nuclear physics. This, coupled with our ongoing mission to maintain the safety and integrity of the nation’s nuclear stockpile, the lab has a vested interest in knowing everything about the subatomic world, from now to way back then. Experiments on subatomic particles here have led physics deep into the realm of the tiny, where quantum mechanics governs the rules of the game. (Full Story)

Inert nuclear gravity bomb passes first F-16 flight test

F-16, USAF photo.                

An Air Force F-16 aircraft released an inert B61 nuclear bomb in a test recently, demonstrating the aircraft’s capability to deliver the weapon and testing the functioning of the weapon’s non-nuclear components.

The non-nuclear bomb assembly used for the flight test was designed and manufactured by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories as federally funded research and development centers operating under NNSA. (Full Story)

Also from the Daily Post this week:

Los Alamos named tops in diversity

Los Alamos National Laboratory was named a top employer by four diversity magazines: Woman Engineer Magazine and Minority Engineer Magazine named the Lab as a top 20 government employer; Winds of Change (the American Indian Science and Engineering Society) recognized Los Alamos as one of the top 50 science, technology, engineering and mathematics workplaces for Native American professionals; and Latino Leaders Magazine named Los Alamos one of the top 20 best companies for Latinos in technology. (Full Story)

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