ESAs Rosetta will be the first mission to orbit and land on a comet, one of the icy bodies that travel throughout the Solar System and develop a characteristic tail when they approach the Sun. Rosetta is scheduled to be launched on-board an Ariane-5 rocket in January 2003 from Kourou, French Guiana. A decision on the launch date will be taken by Tuesday 14 January (see Arianespace press release N° 03/02 of 7 January 2003 or at http:www.arianespace.com).
The mission’s target is Comet Wirtanen and the encounter will occur in 2011. Rosetta’s name comes from the famous Rosetta stone, that almost 200 years ago led to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics. In a similar way, scientists hope that the Rosetta spacecraft will unlock the mysteries of the Solar System.
Comets are very interesting objects for scientists, since their composition reflects how the Solar System was when it was very young and still unfinished, more than 4600 million years ago. Comets have not changed much since then. By orbiting Comet Wirtanen and landing on it, Rosetta will collect essential information to understand the origin and evolution of our Solar System. It will also help discover whether comets contributed to the beginnings of life on Earth. In fact comets are carriers of complex organic molecules, that - delivered to Earth through impacts – perhaps played a role in the origin of living forms. Furthermore, volatile light elements carried by comets may have also played an important role in forming the Earth’s oceans and atmopshere.
Creative use of noise brings bio-inspired electronic improvement
26.09.2017 | American Institute of Physics
The fastest light-driven current source
26.09.2017 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
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.
Graphene is up to the job
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.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
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.
A warming planet
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.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences
26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences