Over 1,000 aspirants, including 62 from India, have been shortlisted for an ambitious private mission to send four men and women on a one-way trip to Mars in 2024 to establish a More »
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft first began orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014. Almost immediately, scientists began to wonder about several surprisingly deep, almost perfectly circular pits on the comet’s surface. Now, a new study based on close-up imagery taken by Rosetta suggests that these pits are sinkholes, formed when ices beneath the comet’s surface sublimate, or turn directly to gas. The study, which appears in the July 2, 2015 issue of the journal Nature, reveals that the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is variable and dynamic, undergoing rapid structural changes as it approaches the sun. Far from simple balls of ice and dust, comets have their own life cycles. The latest findings are among the first to show, in detail, how comets change over time.
Electrical engineers have broken key barriers that limit the distance information can travel in fiber optic cables and still be accurately deciphered by a receiver. Photonics researchers at the University of California, San Diego have increased the maximum power — and therefore distance — at which optical signals can be sent through optical fibers. This advance has the potential to increase the data transmission rates for the fiber optic cables that serve as the backbone of the internet, cable, wireless and landline networks. The research is published in the June 26 issue of the journal Science. The new study presents a solution to a long-standing roadblock to increasing data transmission rates in optical fiber: beyond a threshold power level, additional power increases irreparably distort the information travelling in the fiber optic cable.
In late 2013, when the neutron star at the heart of one of our galaxy’s oddest supernovae gave off a massive burst of X-rays, the resulting echoes — created when the X-rays bounced off clouds of dust in interstellar space — yielded a surprising new measuring stick for astronomers. Circinus X-1 is a freak of the Milky Way. Located in the plane of the galaxy, Circinus X-1 is the glowing husk of a binary star system that exploded a mere 2,500 years ago. The system consists of a nebula and a neutron star, the incredibly dense collapsed core of the exploded star, still in the orbital embrace of its companion star.