Friday, December 6, 2013

Dangerous or harmless? New technology could alter airport security rules on liquids

AP Photo.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has announced what it called a breakthrough for screening liquids at airport security, though it could be years before the technology is potentially installed at a checkpoint near you.

Called MagRay, the system uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-rays to quickly analyze whether a bottle’s contents are safe or dangerous. (Full Story)

Watch a machine tell the difference between soda and liquid explosives

Since 2006, to protect against the threat of those explosives, people traveling by air in America have been limited to one quart-sized bag for liquids, each in a container no larger than 3.4 ounces.

A new device being developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory could eventually make the scanning process less painful. Called the MagRay, it's designed to scan liquids and quietly differentiate between the safe and unsafe. And now Los Alamos has released a video showing off the tech. (Full Story)

This story also appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Homeland Security Newswire, and the Los Alamos Monitor

Black hole birth captured by cosmic voyeurs

Tom Vestrand and the RAPTOR telescope. LANL photo.       

Intelligent telescopes designed by Los Alamos National Laboratory got a front row seat recently for an unusual birth.

"Los Alamos' RAPTOR telescopes in New Mexico and Hawaii received a very bright cosmic birth announcement for a black hole on April 27," said astrophysicist Tom Vestrand, lead author of a paper appearing today in the journal Science that highlights the unusual event. (Full Story)

Zap! NASA's Curiosity rover fires 100,000th laser shot on Mars

ChemCam zaps another Martian rock. NASA illustration.

NASA's trigger-happy Curiosity rover has fired its 100,000th laser shot on Mars, a science milestone in its mission to determine what rocks on the Red Planet are made of.

Roger Wiens, a planetary scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and principal investigator for ChemCam, said the laser-firing instrument has exceeded expectations. (Full Story)

Martian laser surpasses 100,000 zaps

The 100,000th shot. NASA image.

The ChemCam laser instrument aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover fired its 100,000th shot recently, chronicling its adventures on Mars with a coffee-table-book’s worth of spectral data that might rival snapshots gathered during a long and satisfying family vacation here on Earth. ChemCam zaps rocks with a high-powered laser to determine their composition and carries a camera that can survey the Martian landscape. (Full Story)

New neutrino cooling theory changes understanding of stars’ surface

Neutron star.  LANL image.

Massive X-ray superbursts near the surface of neutron stars are providing a unique window into the operation of fundamental forces of nature under extreme conditions.

“Scientists are intrigued by what exactly powers these massive explosions, and understanding this would yield important insights about the fundamental forces in nature,  especially on the astronomical/cosmological scale,” said Peter Moller of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Theoretical Division. (Full Story)

Obituary: Stirling Colgate

Stirling A. Colgate , Astrophysicist, 88, died Sunday of a long illness. 1n 1975 he went to work at LANL, where he continued to work until his death. He was also a member of the National Academy of Science.

He was born in New York City and attended Los Alamos Ranch School (1939-1942). He was also a member of the Merchant Marine Armed Services 1943-1946. He married Rosie in 1947 and obtained his PhD. from Cornell University in 1951. (Full Story)

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