Friday, September 22, 2017

The Mars rover just fired half a million laser shots

Mars Curiosity, NASA photo.

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity hit a milestone on Tuesday, firing its element-identifying laser for the 500,000th time.

ChemCam fires its laser in pulses that each last just 5 billionths of a second and can hit a target about 25 feet away. It packs a serious punch in those: 3 megaWatts of power. That’s about 500 million times more powerful than your average laser pointer, according to ChemCam’s lead scientist Roger Wiens, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Bidding farewell to Cassini mission that explored Saturn

Cassini illustration, from NASA.

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists led the development of two scientific sensors on NASA’s spacecraft Cassini that provided key measurements of the space environment around Saturn after its launch in 1997, arrival in 2004 and continuing mission that ended Friday, when it burned up in the Saturn atmosphere. The Laboratory also provided the plutonium heat sources that were part of the spacecraft’s Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) that provided electrical power to Cassini throughout its mission. (Full Story)

Collider serves up drop of primordial soup

Reconstructed particle tracks picked up by the detector, from BNL.

A tiny drop of an exotic ultra-hot "soup" that permeated the universe for an instant immediately after the Big Bang appears to have been created in collisions between gold nuclei and deuterons at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

One such signature is the abundance and flow pattern of different types of particles emitted in the collisions. Collaboration member Darren McGlinchey of Los Alamos National Laboratory says that abundance data provide information on the temperature of a QGP or quark–gluon plasma. (Full Story)

Also from Science Daily

Los Alamos National Laboratory gains role in high-performance computing for materials program

The Trinity supercomputer at Los Alamos, LANL photo.

A new high-performance computing (HPC) initiative announced this week by the U.S. Department of Energy will help U.S. industry accelerate the development of new or improved materials for use in severe environments.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, with a strong history in the materials science field, will be taking an active role in the initiative.

“Understanding and predicting material performance under extreme environments is a foundational capability at Los Alamos,” said David Teter, Materials Science and Technology division leader at Los Alamos. (Full Story)

Also from the Daily Post this week:

Los Alamos recognized as top diversity employer

For the second straight year, Los Alamos National Laboratory is recognized as a top diversity employer by LATINA Style and STEM Workforce Diversity magazine. Los Alamos rose in ranking to 10 on STEM Workforce Diversity magazine’s Top Government Employers list and to 41 on LATINA Style’s Top 50 Companies list.

“We are pleased that the Laboratory is being recognized for its efforts to build a diverse and engaged workforce. This is an integral aspect of our staffing plans,” said Carol Burns, deputy principal associate director for Science, Technology, and Engineering. (Full Story)

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