extraordinary_year_logo1How Do We Know When Voyager Reaches Interstellar Space?
Pasadena CA (JPL) Sep 17, 2013 – Whether and when NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, humankind’s most distant object, broke through to interstellar space, the space between stars, has been a thorny issue. For the last year, claims have surfaced every few months that Voyager 1 has “left our solar system.” Why has the Voyager team held off from saying the craft reached interstellar space until now? “We have been cautious because … more

Take a Virtual, High-Resolution Tour of Vesta
London, UK (SPX) Sep 17, 2013 – An atlas of the asteroid, Vesta, created from images taken during the Dawn Mission’s Low Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO), is now accessible for the public to explore online. The set of maps has been created from mosaics of 10 000 images from Dawn’s framing camera (FC) instrument, taken at an average altitude of about 210 kilometres. The maps are mostly at a scale of 1:200 0000 (1 centimetre … more

Explosive flooding said responsible for distinctive Mars terrain
London (UPI) Sep 16, 2013 – Catastrophic melting and outflow of a buried ice lake formed the lumpy, bumpy floor of an ancient impact carter on Mars, an Italian scientist says. Manuel Roda, a structural geologist at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, said such chaotic terrains – enigmatic features stretching hundreds of miles – are distinctive to Mars but the mechanism of their formation has been poorl … more

Stanford Scientists Use DNA to Assemble a Transistor From Graphene
Stanford CA (SPX) Sep 11, 2013 – DNA is the blueprint for life. Could it also become the template for making a new generation of computer chips based not on silicon, but on an experimental material known as graphene? That’s the theory behind a process that Stanford chemical engineering professor Zhenan Bao reveals in Nature Communications. Bao and her co-authors, former post-doctoral fellows Anatoliy Sokolov and Fung Ling … more

Hydrogen Fuel From Sunlight
Berkeley CA (SPX) Sep 12, 2013 – In the search for clean, green sustainable energy sources to meet human needs for generations to come, perhaps no technology matches the ultimate potential of artificial photosynthesis. Bionic leaves that could produce energy-dense fuels from nothing more than sunlight, water and atmosphere-warming carbon dioxide, with no byproducts other than oxygen, represent an ideal alternative to fossil fue … more

Shining a little light changes metal into semiconductor
St. Louis MO (SPX) Sep 11, 2013 – By blending their expertise, two materials science engineers at Washington University in St. Louis changed the electronic properties of new class of materials – just by exposing it to light. With funding from the Washington University International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES), Parag Banerjee, PhD, and Srikanth Singamaneni, PhD, and both assistant profe … more