On 26th October the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan en route to Earth’s closest planetary neighbour - the ultimate “greenhouse” planet, Venus. This is the first European mission to Venus, the nearest planet to the Earth and the brightest object in our night sky, apart from the Moon.
Whilst Earth and Venus share certain characteristics such as age, mass and diameter they are worlds apart in other respects. Venus has a very different climate to Earth’s with a thick corrosive atmosphere giving rise to a run away greenhouse effect, crushing pressure and extremely hot surface temperatures. But why has it evolved this way? Venus Express will provide the answer.
Professor Fred Taylor from the University of Oxford, a member of the Venus Express Project team (and one of the proposers of the mission), explains the appeal of visiting Venus, “Whilst there have been several past missions to Venus by the Americans and Russians, Venus has always proved difficult to explore. Venus Express is equipped to peer beneath the thick clouds that encircle the planet and probe the mysteries of Venus with a precision never achieved before and find out why Venus evolved so differently to Earth.”
Gill Ormrod | alfa
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A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
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The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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