LIFE MAY BE EVOLVING NEAREST EXOPLANETS

LIFE MAY BE EVOLVING NEAREST EXOPLANETS

science
Life may be evolving on rocky, Earth-like planets orbiting in the habitable zone of some of our closest stars which are bombarded by high levels of radiation, according to a study. Proxima-b, only 4.24 light years away, receives 250 times more X-ray radiation than Earth and could experience deadly levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on its surface, said researchers from Cornell University in the US. According to the study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, life already has survived this kind of fierce radiation on the Earth. All of life on Earth today evolved from creatures that thrived during an even greater UV radiation assault than Proxima-b, and other nearby exoplanets, currently endure. The Earth of four billion years ago was a chaotic, irradiated, hot…
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RIVERS WOULD HAVE FLOWED ON MARS MORE THAN WE NOW

RIVERS WOULD HAVE FLOWED ON MARS MORE THAN WE NOW

science
Water from rivers persisted on Mars much later into its history than previously thought, according to a study which found that the rivers on the Red Planet were wider than those on Earth today. Riverbeds were carved deep into the Martian surface long ago, but the understanding of the climate billions of years ago remains incomplete. Scientists at the University of Chicago in the US catalogued these rivers to conclude that significant river runoff persisted on Mars later into its history than thought. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, showed that the runoff was intense rivers on Mars were wider than those on Earth today and occurred at hundreds of locations on the Red Planet. This complicates the picture for scientists trying to model the ancient Martian climate,…
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NASA ORBITER SPOTS WATER MOLECULES MOVING AROUND MOON

NASA ORBITER SPOTS WATER MOLECULES MOVING AROUND MOON

science
Scientists, using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon, the US space agency said, an advance that could help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future lunar missions. Up until the last decade, scientists thought the Moon was arid, with any water existing mainly as pockets of ice in permanently shaded craters near the poles. More recently, scientists have identified surface water in sparse populations of molecules bound to the lunar soil, or regolith, NASA said in a statement. The amount and locations vary based on the time of day. This water is more common at higher latitudes and tends to hop around as the surface heats up. Lunar water can potentially be used…
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ASTRONOMERS DISCOVER 83 SUPERMASSIVE BLACKHOLES

ASTRONOMERS DISCOVER 83 SUPERMASSIVE BLACKHOLES

science
Astronomers have discovered 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes 13 billion light-years away from the Earth, from a time when the universe was less than 10 per cent of its present age.  “It is remarkable that such massive dense objects were able to form so soon after the Big Bang,” said Michael Strauss, a professor at Princeton University in the US. “Understanding how black holes can form in the early universe, and just how common they are, is a challenge for our cosmological models,” Strauss said in a statement. This finding, published in The Astrophysical Journal, increases the number of black holes known at that epoch  considerably, and reveals, for the first time, how common they are early in the universe’s history. In addition, it provides new insight into…
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UN WOMEN’S AGENCY CHIEF SAYS TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION MUST BENEFIT WOMEN

UN WOMEN’S AGENCY CHIEF SAYS TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION MUST BENEFIT WOMEN

science
The head of the UN women's agency is calling for the revolution in technology to be used to benefit the world's poor, and especially women, who will not achieve gender equality without "the giant leap that 21st-century innovations can bring." Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said in an interview and a speech ahead of the Commission on the Status of Women's annual meeting starting Monday that sanitation, clean water, good roads, affordable internet service and use of mobile phones to transfer money and pay bills are critical to changing women's lives. 0 "We have made progress toward gender equality. We have more women in significant roles, but we're still leaving many, many more women behind," the executive director of UN Women said. "Sometimes we even lose the gains that we've already made. And…
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SOLAR CELLS TO SAVE THE FUTURE AND PROVIDE A NEW WAY TO LIFE

SOLAR CELLS TO SAVE THE FUTURE AND PROVIDE A NEW WAY TO LIFE

science
Scientists have designed a metal frame that increases the amount of sunlight captured by a solar cell, enhancing its energy production by almost one-third. The simple, inexpensive and ingenious method could increase solar energy captured for people in developing countries, as well as remote regions that are off the grid, researchers said.  “In Uganda, between 20 to 25 per cent of people have no access to electricity,” said Beth Parks, an associate professor at Colgate University in the US. “One solar cell supplies enough energy to power lights and charge cell phones and radios. This is a huge quality-of-life improvement,” said Parks. While solar panels offer a clean source of renewable energy, they are typically mounted on a fixed frame and only optimally oriented towards the sun during specific hours…
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MOON’S SURFACE ACTS AS A PRODUCER OF WATER : NASA

MOON’S SURFACE ACTS AS A PRODUCER OF WATER : NASA

science
The lunar surface could act as a ‘chemical factory’ that produces the ingredients for water, making it easier for future human colonies on the Moon to sustain themselves, NASA scientists have found. Using a computer programme, scientists simulated the chemistry that unfolds when the solar wind pelts the Moon’s surface. When a stream of charged particles known as the solar wind careens onto the Moon’s surface at 450 kilometers per second, they enrich them it in ingredients that could make water, according to research published in the journal JGR Planets. As the Sun streams protons to the Moon, they found, those particles interact with electrons in the lunar surface, making hydrogen (H) atoms. These atoms then migrate through the surface and latch onto the abundant oxygen (O) atoms bound in…
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TINY NEW MOON DISCOVERED AROUND NEPTUNE, HIPPOCAMP

TINY NEW MOON DISCOVERED AROUND NEPTUNE, HIPPOCAMP

science
A diminutive nugget of a moon has been discovered lurking in the inner orbit of Neptune. The moon, dubbed Hippocamp for the half-horse, half-fish sea monster from Greek legend, is about the size of Chicago and so faint only the powerful Hubble Space Telescope can spot it. But by examining data stretching more than a decade, researchers were able to discern its dim form from 3 billion miles away. "Being able to contribute to the real estate of the solar system is a real privilege," said planetary scientist Mark Showalter, the lead author of a study on the discovery published Wednesday in the journal Nature. "But it shows how much we still don't know about the ice giants, Neptune and Uranus." Showalter and his colleagues suggest Hippocamp is a fragment…
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SCIENTISTS TO DEVELOP WINDOWS THAT CAN TRAP POLLUTED AIR

SCIENTISTS TO DEVELOP WINDOWS THAT CAN TRAP POLLUTED AIR

science
Scientists have developed flexible smart windows that can trap air pollutants, and keep the indoor environment free of harmful particulate matter. Tuning the light intensity and reducing the concentration of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) in commercial buildings are both crucial to keep indoor people comfortable and healthy. Smart windows fabricated on the flexible and transparent silver (Ag)-nylon electrodes can tune the light intensity entering commercial buildings to maintain thermal comfort. However, fabricating a large-scale transparent smart window for high efficiency PM2.5 capture has been a significant challenge, until now, researchers said. Scientists led by YU Shuhong from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) developed a simple solution based process to fabricate large-area flexible, transparent windows for that can efficiently capture PM2.5. It takes only about USD 15.03…
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ROBOTS TO CLEAN AND SWEEP TANKS IN DELHI

ROBOTS TO CLEAN AND SWEEP TANKS IN DELHI

science
In an attempt to fully eradicate manual scavenging from the Indian capital, the Delhi government is working towards robotic solutions for cleaning sewers and septic tanks. To achieve this goal, Delhi Cabinet Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam convened a meeting with experts from IIT, Delhi Technological University (DTU), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and Delhi Cantonment Board among others to discuss the possibilities and the need of robotic solution to sewer cleaning task, the government said on Thursday. The idea was inspired from a Robot named Bandicoot, developed by Kerala-based start-up Genrobotics, that has been commissioned by municipal bodies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. About 80 manual scavengers have been trained in these states to operate the robots in a bid to offset the loss…
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