On Jan. 14, 2005, the Huygens probe will plow into the orange atmosphere of Saturns moon, Titan, becoming the first spacecraft to attempt to land on a moon in our solar system since the Soviet Unions Luna 24 touched down on Earths moon in 1976.
Though scientists hope that Huygens will survive the plunge, it will be flying blind through hydrocarbon haze and methane clouds to a surface that could consist of seven-kilometer-high ice mountains and liquid methane seas.
Thats the picture that emerges from a series of articles - half of them by University of California, Berkeley, researchers - published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last month and detailing what scientists know to date about the surface, atmosphere and magnetic field of Titan. This view sets the stage for an analysis of new data soon to arrive from the Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe. "These (journal) papers really give a state-of-the-art picture of Titan, before Cassini goes into orbit around Saturn and the Huygens probe goes into Titans atmosphere," said Imke de Pater, a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley who wrote the introductory paper in the series and co-authored four of the nine papers. The papers came out of a meeting De Pater hosted last November at UC Berkeley to discuss what has been gleaned to date about the moon from optical, infrared and radar telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the twin Keck Telescopes in Hawaii.
Robert Sanders | EurekAlert!
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
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