The CryoSat validation programme took another important step forward on Wednesday with the official handover of a unique set of data that had been collected by the intrepid Dutch Polar Explorer Marc Cornelissen on behalf of ESA during his recent expedition to the North Pole.
In March this year, Marc Cornelissen left Cape Arctichesky in northern Russia to lead the Pole Track 2005 expedition on a 1,000 km ski trek to the geographic North Pole. Along the way, the expedition team deployed mobile weather stations to transmit meteorological data, and collected a valuable set of snow depth measurements following a protocol that had been developed with ESA.
"While snow depth information holds the key to producing accurate maps of ice-thickness change over time with CryoSat, there are surprisingly few of these basic measurements readily available," says Malcolm Davidson, ESA CryoSat Validation Manager. "As a rule, people dont spontaneously spend weeks on end on the ice measuring this parameter. Marc Cornelissens careful measurements of snow thickness during his expedition are thus very valuable indeed. The data will now be analysed by scientists participating in ESAs CryoSat calibration and validation programme."
Malcolm Davidson | alfa
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
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At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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