Friday, December 22, 2017

Satellite ‘license plates’ could prevent a disaster in low earth orbit

Space junk, from ESA.           

As of a couple of years ago, more than 1,300 active satellites orbited Earth, in addition to tens of thousands of dead satellites, discarded rockets and other bits and pieces that have accumulated in space in the 60 years since Sputnik, ranging in size from softballs to school buses.

At Los Alamos National Laboratory our mission is to find scientific solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems—that includes keeping our satellites and spacecraft safe. So we’re developing an optical “license plate” that we hope will one day travel aboard every object that goes into outer space. (Full story)

Breathing new life into pulmonary research

The PuLMo artificial lung, LANL image

A team of scientists and bioengineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a tissue-engineered artificial lung called PuLMo, for Pulmonary Lung Model, that simulates the response of the human lung to drugs, toxins, particles and other agents. As an artificial organ that you can see inside, the laptop-sized device is a unique technological scaffold for building all kinds of life-improving research and technology.

Resembling an amped-up computer board sprouting tubes, wires, and clamps and using real human cells, PuLMo consists of a bronchiolar unit and an alveolar unit. They work the way a lung is supposed to work — PuLMo breathes. (Full story)

While Earthlings take a break, the Mars rover keeps working

Curiosity rover raised robotic arm with
drill pointed skyward, NASA image.

There’s no holiday on Mars. While many of us earthlings will spend the final days of 2017 taking a break from work and relaxing on couches or ski slopes, the ChemCam instrument aboard NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will keep busy—all on its own. Using its autonomous target-selection software, ChemCam will pick rocks to “zap” for chemical analysis.

“This is the first time ChemCam will operate over the holiday break,” said Steve Johnstone, operations lead of ChemCam at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The onboard software debuted in the summer of 2016, but recent upgrades have made it more capable of selecting different types of targets and different positions relative to the rover. (Full story)

From inner to outer space, Los Alamos science goes big in 2017

With a top-story list populated by breakthroughs in supercomputing, accelerator science, space missions, materials science, life science, and more, Los Alamos National Laboratory put its Big Science capabilities to wide, productive use in 2017.

“No discipline left untouched—that’s the story from Los Alamos in 2017,” said Alan Bishop, Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology and Engineering at Los Alamos. “In a remarkably productive year, Laboratory researchers have grabbed headlines for their research in everything from physics to explosives modeling to HIV vaccine developments. (Full story)

Nuclear fusion company says it will make carbon-free energy a reality

Scott Hsu.

"I think fusion is kind of the holy grail of energy," said Scott Hsu, a fusion researcher at the U.S. government's Los Alamos National Laboratory. On top of creating an immense amount of energy, Hsu noted that fusion also doesn't suffer from the many drawbacks of existing energy sources. Fusion runs on seawater (the source of hydrogen), doesn't leave behind radioactive fuel rods, and produces no carbon gases — the source of Earth's warming. (Full story)

LANL employees share big-hearted holiday spirit

Volunteers help pack more than 1,000 gifts
donated by Lab employees, Daily Post photo.    

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Motorcycle Safety Committee and members of the Los Alamos Fire Department gathered Friday afternoon at the LANL Community Partnerships Office at 15th Street and Central Avenue to help transport the more than 1,000 gifts donated by Lab employees to less fortunate children as part of their annual Holiday Gift Drive.  (Full story)

LANL Foundation pays for teacher certification

LaDonna Phillips is a teacher
participating in the certification.  RG Sun photo.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation is working with Española School District administrators to ensure the District has well-qualified educators by paying for several teachers to obtain their National Board Certification.

The Certification is offered by National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Certification, a nonprofit created by educators to help create accomplished teachers. It is considered by many, the top teaching credential in the country and is accepted nationwide. (Full story)