Thirty years after Apollo 16’s lunar module, Orion, landed at the western edge of the Descartes Mountains on 21 April 1972, there is still much that we don’t know about the Moon. For instance, how was it created? And what role did it play in the formation and evolution of Earth?
ESAs SMART-1: testing solar electric propulsion and studying the Moon
We may be closer to answering those, and many other questions, thanks to ESA’s mission to the Moon, known as SMART-1. Due to be launched early in 2003, the main purpose of the SMART-1 mission is to flight-test the new Solar Electric Propulsion technology – a kind of solar-powered thruster that is ten times more efficient than the usual chemical systems employed when travelling very long distances. If all goes well, such a system could be providing the propulsion system for future ESA missions into deep space, such as BepiColombo.
And, in the process, the mission will be providing some fascinating science. For instance, SMART-1 will be mapping the Moon more accurately than ever before, flying over all the Apollo landing sites. Thirty years ago, Apollo 16 carried six hand-held cameras to photograph the Moon’s surface. SMART-1 will be leading the way in the latest imaging techniques. Images taken from many different angles and X-ray and infrared detection work will allow scientists to draw up new three-dimensional models of the Moon’s surface.
SMART-1 will be looking at the darker parts of the Moon’s south pole for the first time. And it will be accurately mapping the Peak of Eternal Light, an eerie mountaintop that is permanently bathed in sunlight, while all around are dark craters never touched by the Sun. These craters are believed to harbour ice in the soil. SMART-1 will help scientists to understand if ice is present at the lunar poles.
New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile
11.12.2017 | University of Birmingham
Three kinds of information from a single X-ray measurement
11.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
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