Thursday, July 8, 2021

The solar wind bubble that protects Earth has been mapped for the first time

Image credit: NASA


In 2009, using NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, also known as IBEX, astronomers spied a strange ribbon-like structure dancing between our solar system and the rest of interstellar space.


The discovery of the IBEX Ribbon, which is invisible to both telescopes and the human eye, was one of scientists’ first forays into understanding more about our heliosphere—a bubble-like shield made up of solar winds. 


A new study published in the Astrophysical Journal maps the entire boundary of this shield, and the data collected may be used to usher in a new era of heliophysics exploration.


“Most instruments that detect particles in space are detecting charged particles,” says Daniel Reisenfeld, a senior scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and lead author of the study. But IBEX is unique. (Full Story)




New Open-Source Software Checks Quantum Annealers, Including Noise and Qubits


Researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed new open-source software that could evaluate quantum annealers down to the individual qubit level aside from also characterizing noise. 


Usually, when institutions and organizations purchase a new piece of equipment, such as a classical supercomputer, this new item is first verified and validated. It involves running the equipment against a set of benchmarks. This drove the team of Carleton Coffrin, a computer scientist and artificial intelligence expert, to develop open-source software that could do a similar job, but this time for quantum annealers.


"We didn't have good analogs for that on the quantum annealing computers. For quantum annealing, our new a Quantum Annealing Single-qubit Assessment, or QASA, protocol gives us one tool for acceptance testing," Coffrin said of their new project. The Los Alamos National Laboratory team published the report "Single-Qubit Fidelity Assessment of Quantum Annealing Hardware" on the latest IEEE Transactions on Quantum Engineering. (Full Story)



NASA’s ‘Lucy’ mission featured at Los Alamos ScienceFest



Image credit: NASA


Even as the Mars Rover is exploring our closest neighboring planet, NASA is preparing a mission bound for farther reaches of our solar system.


Discussing the upcoming “Lucy” mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids is one of the highlights of this coming week’s annual Los Alamos ScienceFest, which runs through next Sunday. (Full Story)




LANL's growth means opportunity for Northern New Mexico


Kelly Beierschmitt, Deputy Director Operations at LANL.


Many of you reading this have probably already heard that Los Alamos will soon open two offices in Santa Fe to help accommodate our growth and changes in the region. The move will benefit many of our employees who live outside of Los Alamos, and it will be a hub for the laboratory’s educational partnerships, workforce development initiatives, government affairs and technology-transfer programs.


The move also highlights our commitment to support the laboratory’s growth with the necessary infrastructure.


Los Alamos is committed to supporting New Mexico’s cities and counties because as they get stronger, so do we. We value being active in our communities and lending a hand when needed — such as donating food, school supplies, blood and time to local organizations. And the laboratory is expanding its efforts to support K-12 and higher education students and institutions through scholarship and employee tuition reimbursement programs. (Full Story)