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Here’s the NASA rover that will track down water ice at the south pole of the moon

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The new rover that will be sent by NASA to the Moon to map the concentrations of water ice in the South Pole of our natural satellite has been presented in a new article that appeared on NASA’s own website. This rover could be very important in the context of the Artemis program that will see people on the Moon again after the last Apollo missions of the 70’s on the Moon.

The VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) will be able to wander a few kilometers across the lunar south pole, similar to a golf cart. It has four scientific instruments, including a one-meter-long drill to sample underground elements. The rover is expected to arrive on the Moon in December 2022 and the mission to map the moon’s water sources in the area should take at least 100 days.

Water is the key to a prolonged human stay on the Moon, as indicated by Daniel Andrews, one of the VIPER mission leaders and a researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Centre in Silicon Valley. Since the confirmation of the presence of relatively large parts of water ice on the Moon 10 years ago, the basic idea has remained the same: this same water could be used for multiple purposes to keep people on the Moon longer or, in the longer term, to create real human colonies on our natural satellite.

NASA’s concern, as well as that of other national space agencies in other countries that have made clear statements in this regard, is to be able to count on a sustainable and long-term human presence on the Moon. A possible human colony on the Moon, in fact, can also be very useful for missions to Mars or in space a little deeper than our solar system.

The ice on the poles of the Moon is created because these areas remain permanently in the shade. This water, which has accumulated over time, would mainly come from the impact of comets that have been able to crash easily onto the surface of the Moon for millions of years and carry all their loads of water without any particular friction.

“VIPER will tell us which places have the highest concentrations and how deep below the water surface they can access the water,” says Anthony Colaprete, another VIPER scientist.


Related Articles and Sources:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-viper-lunar-rover-to-map-water-ice-on-the-moon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VIPER_(rover)

Image Credit:

https://o.aolcdn.com

Janice Carter

A talented writer, activist, liberal and environmentalist, Janice is working towards an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and signed up as a volunteer writer for ABC 14 News very shortly after the website went online. She is able to report on all kinds of research relating to the Earth and environment, and is always extremely up-to-date on the latest initiatives and issues relating to global warming and climate change.

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Deep artificial neural networks are being used to understand the brain

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Artificial neural networks for predicting brain reactions to any visual stimulus: this is what the scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Tübingen, Germany, have developed. This is a relatively new computational approach that can be used, as stated in a press release presenting the research that appeared in Nature Neuroscience, to dismantle the nervous mechanisms of sensation and, in principle, to automatically understand what the brain likes to see.

“We want to understand how vision works. We approached this study by developing an artificial neural network that predicts the neural activity produced when an animal looks at images. If we manage to build such an avatar of the visual system, we can conduct essentially unlimited experiments. So we can go back and test real brains with what we call inceptive loops,” says Andreas Tolias, Baylor professor and senior research author.

To understand how the brain works by reconstructing information about photons hitting the retina, scientists conducted experiments on mice, showing more than 5,000 natural images and recording neural activity while the images were coming, as Edgar Y explains. Walker, a former lab student in Tolias and now a researcher, has a Tübingen researcher who is also involved in the research. Through the data obtained, the researchers have “trained” a deep artificial neural network to mimic the way biological neurons react to visual stimuli.

“To see if the network had really learned to predict neural responses to visual images, just like a mouse’s living brain, we showed images of the network that it had not seen during science and saw that it was predicting biological neural responses with high precision,” explains Fabian Sinz, another researcher involved in the study.

This study will be useful to better understand how the highly complex neurophysiological processes that use the brain are introduced to enable us to see.


Related Articles and Sources:

https://www.bcm.edu/news/brain/deep-neural-networks-what-brains-like

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-019-0517-x

Image Credit:

https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2018/03/RecycleNetwork_1300Lede1.jpg

Janice Carter

A talented writer, activist, liberal and environmentalist, Janice is working towards an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and signed up as a volunteer writer for ABC 14 News very shortly after the website went online. She is able to report on all kinds of research relating to the Earth and environment, and is always extremely up-to-date on the latest initiatives and issues relating to global warming and climate change.

3060 Scheuvront Drive, Northglenn Colorado, 80221
303-450-0541
Janice@abc14news.com
Janice Carter
Continue Reading

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According to new research, the universe could be curved

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Nowadays, the most popular theories about the structure of the universe seem to suggest that the latter has a flat form: the universe seems to stretch in every direction, without borders and without turning away from each other, as would happen with a curved universe, for example in the form of a sphere, or a closed universe. In a “closed” universe, starting from any point and travelling long enough in a straight line, you will return to the starting point.

Now a new study that has appeared in Nature Astronomy seems to contradict the theories that have gained more strength in recent years: according to the authors of this new study, which was based on cosmic microwave data, the universe could have been curved. It would have a very weak curve, a flexural curve so imperceptible that it would have absolutely no effect on our existence or even on our own galaxy, but it would allow, absurdly, the traveler who left the point to reach the same point without ever turning back.

According to Alessandro Melchiorre, one of the authors of the study, the first reason why most astronomers believe that the universe is flat is because the physics of exponential expansion occurred at the beginning of the big bang, when from an infinitely small point the space grew with incredible speed and even more incredible distances (we are talking about a small fraction of a second after the big bang). However, the researchers noticed an anomaly in the cosmic background radiation, the oldest thing we can observe in our universe and which is created by electromagnetic radiation, which comes to us in the form of microwaves, considered to be the “remnant” of the event associated with the big bang.

According to researchers, there would be more “gravitational lenses” in this background radiation than expected. A gravitational lens is the effect of the light itself being attracted by gravity and then deformed. This means that CMB microwaves can be bent more than expected, and that’s more than the physics we’ve developed today can explain. To reach this conclusion, scientists used the latest data from the Planck experiment, released last year, an experiment that mapped the same CMB in much more detail.

In connection with the possibility of a greater ‘gravitational lens’ effect in CMB, researchers are now talking about a new additional variable called ‘A_lens’, a variable that would have little to do with the same theory of relativity to understand the very labile theoretical environment in which the same scientists live: “We discovered that we could explain A_lens with a positively curved universe that is a much more physical interpretation than one that can be explained by general relativity,” explains Melchiorre in an article on “Live Science” in connection with the publication of a new study.

According to Andrei Linde, a well-known cosmologist from Stanford, this new study did not take into account another important study published on October 1 in arXiv (not yet reviewed). It would be a document in which two cosmologists from Cambridge, George Efstathiou and Steven Gratton, who also worked on the Planck project, came to conclusions that indicate that the universe is flat.

In addition, according to Linde, a new study of natural astronomy, although commendable, would be based on too small a piece of data from Planck.


Related Articles and Sources:

https://www.livescience.com/universe-may-be-curved.html

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-019-0906-9

Image Credit:

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/universe-in-giant-loop.jpg?quality=90&strip=all

Janice Carter

A talented writer, activist, liberal and environmentalist, Janice is working towards an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and signed up as a volunteer writer for ABC 14 News very shortly after the website went online. She is able to report on all kinds of research relating to the Earth and environment, and is always extremely up-to-date on the latest initiatives and issues relating to global warming and climate change.

3060 Scheuvront Drive, Northglenn Colorado, 80221
303-450-0541
Janice@abc14news.com
Janice Carter
Continue Reading

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“Artificial leaf” to create methanol from carbon dioxide produced by scientists

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When we talk about technologies that can convert elements such as carbon into fuel, we often quote the term ‘artificial leaf’, because converting carbon dioxide into useful fuel is more or less what a plant does when it converts the same carbon dioxide into oxygen. And we talk about an “artificial leaf” in a press release issued by the Waterloo University website, according to which a team of researchers who published their research on Nature Energy developed a new technology that “imitates the real leaf and photosynthesis process,” as explained Yimin Wu, Professor of Engineering at the Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology and Principal Author of the research.

Scientists have developed a method for producing methanol from carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is considered to be the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions and therefore, according to death, global warming and the possibility of using it for something useful from the fuel point of view, which is methanol, would mean “killing two birds with one stone.” Researchers used copper oxide, a relatively cheap red powder resulting from a chemical reaction with four substances: glucose, copper acetate, sodium hydroxide, and dodecyl sodium sulfate.

This powder acts as a catalyst for a second chemical reaction, which is performed by blowing carbon dioxide into the water and using a white light beam that simulates solar radiation. Finally, a chemical reaction is obtained which produces oxygen, as well as photosynthesis of plants and methanol. Methanol can be collected when it evaporates when the solution is heated.

Nowadays, researchers are working to increase the efficiency of the amount of methanol that can be obtained from the reaction and to understand whether this process can be marketed and thus made available to everyone.

“Climate change is an urgent problem and we can contribute to reducing CO2 emissions while developing an alternative fuel,” explains Wu.


Related Articles and Sources:

https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/scientists-create-artificial-leaf-turns-carbon-dioxide-fuel

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-019-0490-3

Image Credit:

https://themindunleashed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Artifical-Leaf.jpg

Janice Carter

A talented writer, activist, liberal and environmentalist, Janice is working towards an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and signed up as a volunteer writer for ABC 14 News very shortly after the website went online. She is able to report on all kinds of research relating to the Earth and environment, and is always extremely up-to-date on the latest initiatives and issues relating to global warming and climate change.

3060 Scheuvront Drive, Northglenn Colorado, 80221
303-450-0541
Janice@abc14news.com
Janice Carter
Continue Reading

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