Friday, December 20, 2019

How to stop a killer asteroid


Illustration of how DART's impact will alter the orbit of Didymos B about Didymos A. Credit: JHUAPL.

This week — asteroids. Could a space rock really slam into us and destroy the world? And if we did spot one heading straight for us, is there anything we could do to stop it? We speak with asteroid researcher Dr. Alan Harris, astrophysicist Dr. Sergey Zamozdra, Los Alamos computational physicist Dr. Cathy Plesko, and physicist Dr. Andy Cheng. (Full story)

New Mexico scientist creates flu forecasting software

Dave Osthus, from KRQE.  

The flu is unpredictable, at least until now. A scientist at Los Alamos National Lab is responsible for creating software that forecasts flu activity across the country and that software is showing things are not looking good for this flu season.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know your chances of getting the flu? That’s possible now, thanks to a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dave Osthus created a software known as Dante, that can actually forecast flu activity. Dante has some bad news this season, it’s predicting flu activity will continue to increase across the state, and it expects a severe flu season nationwide. (Full story)

Monitoring algal health is key to biofuel development

Alagal biofuel, LANL photo.               

New methods are being applied to identify new and improved algae strains for the production of biofuels. An example is with fluorescence-based, high-throughput flow cytometry, which is being pioneered at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Applying flow cytometry equipped with a sorting module enables scientists to separate cells that differ in cell size, morphology, or fluorescence being derived from photosynthetic pigments (autofluorescence) or from applied fluorescent probes. This technology s key to algae optimization, and the use of algae are in turn important for the production of biofuels. (Full story)

Los Alamos preliminary assessment finds promise in Enchant Energy’s carbon capture project

San Juan Generating Station, Daily Times photo.         

A Los Alamos National Laboratory preliminary assessment states that, from a technological standpoint, Enchant Energy could successfully retrofit the San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture and keep it open after 2022.

The report is not a detailed engineering assessment and relied on publicly-available information, including the Sargent & Lundy pre-feasibility report completed earlier this year. The Los Alamos team did not assess non-technical aspects such as costs, financing and potential regulatory changes. (Full story)

LANL Director joins Aspen Elementary School third graders for Hour of Code lesson

Director Thom Mason participates in a computer science coding activity at Aspen Elementary. LA Reporter photo.          

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Thom Mason observed Computer Science Education Week Friday by participation in an Hour of Code lesson with third grade students in the Maker Space at Aspen Elementary School.

Each year, Hour of Code teaches K-12 students coding basics and broadens participation in the field of computer science and Mason is one of 60 Laboratory volunteers in 94 classrooms in 24 area schools.  At Aspen, under the direction of teacher Rachel Bartram, Mason and the students navigated a spherical robot through a maze using programming they developed during Hour of Code. (Full story)