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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Enters Close Orbit Around Bennu, Breaking Record

on January 1, 2019 - 7:30am
Orbital A Beauty shot. Photo by Pam Scott/UA
 
UA News:
 
TUCSON, Ariz. — At 2:43 p.m. EST, Monday Dec. 31, while many on Earth prepared to welcome the New Year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) away, carried out a single, eight-second burn of its thrusters – and broke a space exploration record.
 
The spacecraft entered into orbit around the asteroid Bennu, and made Bennu the smallest object ever to be orbited by a spacecraft.
 
“The team continued our long string of successes by executing the orbit-insertion maneuver perfectly,” said Dante Lauretta,

UNM Society Of Physics Chapter Named Outstanding Chapter For 2017-18

on December 31, 2018 - 12:48pm
Award-winning UNM chapter at Four Corners American Physical Society meeting. Courtesy/UNM

UNM News:

The UNM Society of Physics Chapter was recognized nationally recently as an Outstanding Chapter for 2017-18 by the American Institute of Physics.

The SPS Outstanding Chapter Awards are determined each academic year after a careful review of information, photos and supporting material that is presented in the annual SPS Chapter Reports. The UNM chapter focuses on making a difference in the community and strengthening students involvement in physics throughout the region.

Los Alamos National Laboratory World-Class User Facilities Foster Rich Research Opportunities

on December 30, 2018 - 7:03am

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory's Pulsed Field Facility at LANL has a $30 million pulsed power infrastructure that includes this 1.43 gigawatt motor generator. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

Through its technology transfer efforts, Los Alamos National Laboratory can implement user facility agreements that allow its partners and other entities to conduct research at many of its unique facilities.

Its national user facilities are the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), and the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT). They

UNM Hosts 2nd Annual STEM Boomerang Event

on December 30, 2018 - 6:32am
Exhibitors share information with attendees at STEM Boomerang. Courtesy/UNM
 
By AUTUMN BARBER
UNM

For the second year in a row, business, academic and economic development and government leaders from the city, state and region came together at The University of New Mexico to meet with recent highly-trained STEM professionals who are in and out of New Mexico.

STEM Boomerang was held Dec. 20 in UNM’s Student Union Building with well over 200 in attendance.

Nature On Tap: Latest Updates In Astronomy Jan. 7

on December 28, 2018 - 9:03am

PEEC News:

Nature on Tap will discuss the latest updates in astronomy 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, Jan.7 at UnQuarked Wine Bar, 145 Central Park Square.

The event is free. Learn about the upcoming lunar eclipse and other topics of interest. Dr. Galen Gisler will lead a panel of local astronomers in this discussion.

Registration for this event is not required. This discussion is presented free by PEEC and the Los Alamos Creative District.

NMMNHS Hosts ‘Encounter Party’ Following New Horizons Fly-By Of Kuiper Belt’s Ultima Thule

on December 25, 2018 - 5:32pm

Illustration of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft encountering 2014 MU69 – nicknamed ‘Ultima Thule’ – a Kuiper Belt object that orbits one billion miles beyond Pluto. Set for New Year’s 2019, New Horizons’ exploration of Ultima will be the farthest space probe flyby in history. Courtesy image/NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

NMMNHS News:

ALBUQUERQUE – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto July 14, 2015, but its mission didn’t end there. On New Year’s Day, the probe will perform another flyby of a Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule.

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (is

Explore Science And Folklore Behind Winter Solstice At Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium Tonight!

on December 21, 2018 - 5:09pm

Explore the science and folklore behind the Winter Solstice at 7 p.m. today in the planetarium at the Los Alamos Nature Center. The nature center also will show the full-dome film “National Parks Adventure” at 2 p.m. Saturday.

PEEC News:

Explore the science and folklore behind the Winter Solstice at 7 p.m. today in the Los Alamos Nature Center’s planetarium.

Astronomer Rick Wallace will discuss the astronomy of solstices as well as folklore, festivals and activities that are dedicated to celebrating this time of year.

Wallace will look at solstice celebrations from around the world in

LAPS Employee Spotlight: Teacher Rachel Bartram

on December 21, 2018 - 4:40pm

UbiQD Hosts 2018 Ugly Sweater Christmas Party ... R&D Chemist Andres Velarde Wins By Landslide

on December 21, 2018 - 7:27am

The crowd cheers as UbiQD CEO Hunter McDaniel, left, pronounces R&D Chemist Andres Velarde the overwhelming winner in the company's annual ugly sweater contest Wednesday evening at UbiQD's Los Alamos headquarters at 134 Eastgate Dr. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

UbiQD's Chief of Product Matt Bergren, left, and Greenhouse Technology Engineer Damon Hebert are clearly contenders. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

UbiQD CEO Hunter McDaniel is joined by his wife Los Alamos MainStreet Director Lauren McDaniel and their son Duncan at the company's Ugly Sweater Christmas Party.

UA: Stellar Corpse Reveals Clues To Missing Stardust

on December 21, 2018 - 7:09am
UA News:
 
TUCSON, Ariz. — Everything around you – your desk, your laptop, your coffee cup – in fact, even you – is made of stardust, the stuff forged in the fiery furnaces of stars that died before our sun was born.
 
Probing the space surrounding a mysterious stellar corpse, scientists at the University of Arizona have made a discovery that could help solve a long-standing mystery: Where does stardust come from?
 
When stars die, they seed the cosmos around them with the elements that go on to coalesce into new stars, planets, asteroids and comets.

Exhibit On Human Immune System Opens At Bradbury

on December 21, 2018 - 6:57am
The new exhibit at the Bradbury Science Museum includes an interactive touch table. Courtesy photo
 

LANL Director Thom Mason addresses the ctowd at the opening reception Tuesday at the Bradbury Science Museum. Courtesy photo
 
Laboratory Fellow and computational biologist Bette Korber cuts the ribbon on the new exhibit. Courtesy photo
 
BRADBURY News:
 
How the immune system works to fight diseases and viruses like HIV and influenza is the focus of a new exhibit at the Bradbury Science Museum.
 
“Building Immunity: How Fighting HIV and Other Viruses Helps Us Understand Our Immune System”

LANL: Machine Learning-Detected Signal Predicts Time To Earthquake ... Fault Displacement ‘Fingerprint’ Forecasts Magnitude

on December 18, 2018 - 10:34am
LANL researchers applied machine-learning expertise to predict quakes along Cascadia, a 700-mile-long fault from northern California to southern British Columbia that flanks cities such as Seattle. The results are published in two papers in Nature Geoscience. Courtesy photo
 
LANL News:
  • ‘Fingerprint’ of fault displacement also forecasts magnitude of rupture
 
Machine-learning research published in two related papers in Nature Geosciences reports the detection of seismic signals accurately predicting the Cascadia fault’s slow slippage, a type of failure observed to precede large

NIST: Fire-Breathing Dragon Helps Fight Ember Attacks On Thatched-Roof Structures

on December 18, 2018 - 9:47am
The NIST Dragon showering firebrands (embers) onto a model of a water reed thatched roof. Courtesy/NIST
 
Workers build the thatched roof of a gassho-zukuri (‘constructed like hands in prayer’) style house in Japan. A new NIST study looks at the impact of firebrands on these and other thatched-roof structures. Courtesy/Bernard Gagnon via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA
 
NIST News:
 
Visitors to the historic mountain villages in central Japan marvel at the elegance of the steep thatched-roof farmhouses found there. Known as “gassho-zukuri,” Japanese for “constructed

LANL: Top 25 Stories Highlight Science Achievements

on December 18, 2018 - 8:24am

LANL News:

Breadth and depth of Lab science reflected in top science reporting

From space missions to disease forecasting, particle physics to artificial intelligence, the biggest science news items from Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2018 have been gathered in one place: It’s a collection that reflects the significant depth and breadth of national laboratory science.

“The range of technical and scientific capabilities in these stories, as reported by media outlets across the world, reflects the many ways Los Alamos National Laboratory serves the nation,” Laboratory Director Thom Mason

Study Finds Organic Food Worse For Climate

on December 14, 2018 - 7:54am
The crops per hectare are significantly lower in organic farming, which, according to the study, leads to much greater indirect carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. Courtesy/Yen Strandqvist/Chalmers University of Technology
 
Chalmers University of Technology News:
 
Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required.
 
This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journal Nature.
 
The researchers developed a new method for

NOAA: Remote Coral Reefs In Better Condition Than Those Near Human Populations In U.S. Pacific

on December 14, 2018 - 7:20am
Corals at Pagan Island, an uninhabited volcanic island in the Mariana Islands archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, seem to have fared much better than other areas. Here is a close-up of an Acropora coral, typically more susceptible to bleaching events, which appears to be doing just fine. Courtesy/NOAA
 
NOAA News:
 
Coral reefs in remote, uninhabited areas of the American Pacific are generally in good condition, while reefs in the regions that are closer to human populations show more signs of impacts, according to five status reports on reef ecosystems released Thursday by NOAA.
 
The

AGU: New Research Finds Tornadoes Form From The Ground Up, Contrary To Popular Thought

on December 14, 2018 - 6:46am
A tornado May 25, 2012 in Galatia, Kansas as it was decaying. Courtesy/Jana Houser
 
Shot of the EF-3 tornado near maximum width and peak intensity May 31, 2013 in El Reno, Okla. Courtesy/Nick Nolte, CC-BY-3.0
 
AGU News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — New research challenges existing assumptions about how tornadoes form.
 
Historically, scientists assumed tornado rotation began in storm clouds, creating a funnel that travels downwards. This theory matches what storm chasers commonly observe visually in the field.

Science On Tap: Tapping Into Algal Diversity For Biofuels Discussion At UnQuarked Dec. 17

on December 12, 2018 - 4:43pm
Amanda Barry. Courtesy photo
 
CREATIVE DISTRICT News:
 
Join the Bradbury Science Museum and the Los Alamos Creative District for Science On Tap at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 17, at UnQuarked Wine Room.
 
The discussion will feature Amanda Barry of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and her research on algal diversity.
 
Algae is not the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of Los Alamos or its global security mission. However, for Amanda Barry of the Lab’s Bioenergy and Biome Sciences group, algae is the answer to one of the world’s most pressing issues – energy security.

Unknown Trove Of Planets Found Hiding In Dust

on December 12, 2018 - 7:05am
The Taurus Molecular Cloud, pictured here by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, is a star-forming region about 450 light-years away. The image frame covers roughly 14 by 16 light-years and shows the glow of cosmic dust in the interstellar material that pervades the cloud, revealing an intricate pattern of filaments dotted with a few compact, bright cores — the seeds of future stars. Courtesy/ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/Gould Belt survey Key Programme/Palmeirim et al.
 
UA News:
 
TUCSON, Ariz. — “Super-Earths” and Neptune-sized planets could be forming around young stars in much greater numbers

UA-Led OSIRIS-REx Discovers Water On Asteroid, Confirms Bennu As Excellent Mission Target

on December 11, 2018 - 5:19am
This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected Dec. 2 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). Courtesy/NASA/Goddard/UA
 
UA News:
 
TUCSON, Ariz. — Fst through early December, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aimed three of its science instruments toward Bennu and began making the mission's first observations of the asteroid.
 
During this period, the spacecraft traveled the last 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km) of its outbound journey to arrive Dec. 3 at a spot 12 miles (19 km) from Bennu.

AGU: Scientists Brew Lava And Blow It Up To Better Understand Volcanoes

on December 10, 2018 - 9:04am

Scientists cooking up 10-gallon batches of molten rock to inject with water. Courtesy/AGU

Scientists study what happens when they inject water into molten rock. Courtesy/AGU

AGU News:

The first results are published from experiments that aim to illuminate the physics of lava-water interactions, which can sometimes make eruptions more dangerous

WASHINGTON, D.C. — What happens when lava and water meet? Explosive experiments with manmade lava are helping to answer this important question.

By cooking up 10-gallon batches of molten rock and injecting them with water, scientists at the State

LANL Director Thom Mason Works With Students During Hour Of Code Project At School In Española

on December 7, 2018 - 5:00pm

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Thom Mason volunteered for the Hour Of Code project this afternoon at Tony E. Quintana Elementary in Española. The program was presented to the combined 6th grade classes of Nancy Martinez and Danita Quintana. This program provides a one-hour introduction to computer science designed to demystify ‘code’ and show that anyone can learn the basics.

NIST Performance Tests For Aerial Response Robots Become National Standard

on December 7, 2018 - 9:47am
An aerial emergency response robot ready to begin the NIST performance test course. Courtesy/NIST
 
An emergency response drone approaches a bucket-shaped target on the NIST performance test course. Both the capabilities of the robot and the skills of its pilot can be evaluated using the standardized system. Courtesy/NIST
 
NIST News:
 
Tracking the spread of a wildfire. Searching for a missing person. Detecting toxic fumes after an explosion before sending in rescue workers.
 
These are just three of the many tasks being assigned to flying robots known as small unmanned aircraft

Following Recent Federal Climate Report, Udall Urges Immediate Action To Combat Climate Change

on December 6, 2018 - 7:23am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. Following the recent release of a federal climate report, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) joined a group of his Senate colleagues in calling for bold action to combat climate change.
 
Along with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Udall and 23 other senators introduced a resolution affirming findings from the recent National Climate Assessment, along with the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) report, and urging decisive action to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Oct.

AGU: The Oldest Water On Earth

on December 6, 2018 - 7:17am

Salty water deep below the surface of the Earth that hasn’t seen the light of day in millions or even billions of years. Courtesy/AGU

AGU News:

Thousands of feet below the surface of the Earth is salty water that hasn’t seen the light of day in millions or even billions of years.

Miners working deep underground had encountered and wondered about the origin of this water for decades, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that scientists started to investigate where this water was coming from and what it might contain – giving researchers clues into how life survives in the deepest parts of our

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