Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Report provides NASA with direction for next 10 years of space research

13.04.2011
MU vice chancellor led committee that focused on fundamental physics research projects

During the past 60 years, humans have built rockets, walked on the moon and explored the outer reaches of space with probes and telescopes. During these trips in space, research has been conducted to learn more about life and space.

Recently, a group of prominent researchers from across the country published a report through the National Academy of Sciences that is intended as a guide as NASA plans the next 10 years of research in space. Rob Duncan, the University of Missouri Vice Chancellor for Research, led the team that developed a blueprint for fundamental physics research in space for the next 10 years.

"When Einstein developed his theory of relativity, no one at the time knew exactly how it could be applied. Yet that basic, scientific discovery opened many doors for us, including the development of technology that led to Global Positioning Systems (GPS)," Duncan said.

"Many trillion-dollar technologies are based on these 'basic science' discoveries, so it is vital that we continue to explore these scientific questions that, we hope, will continue to lead to technological advancement. We must continue to develop knowledge out of our curiosity alone, since that often leads to great opportunities. If we stop exploring the unknown, then we will fail to discover things that may be of great importance to our economy in ways that may be difficult to predict."

Duncan's committee, which consisted of Nicholas Bigelow from the University of Rochester, Paul Chaikin from New York University, Ronald Larson from the University of Michigan, W. Carl Lineberger from the University of Colorado, and Ronald Walsworth from Harvard University, developed two overarching "quests" and four specific "thrusts" for fundamental physics research as part of the report, "Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era." The National Research Council will present the report to NASA.

The first quest is to discover and explore the physical laws governing matter, space and time. The second quest is to discover and understand how complex systems are organized. For example, ferns grow with a distinct symmetry and structure to their leaves that are similar to the overall shape of the whole plant. This is an example of "self-similarity" in nature, which could be explored in greater detail in space.

The four specific thrusts that the committee recommended NASA explore in the coming decade are:

Soft Condensed Matter Physics and Complex Fluids – While some examples exist of this new class of materials, understanding the organizing principles of these new materials, which are typically very strong but very light, could advance materials science dramatically on earth.

Precision Measurements of Fundamental Forces and Symmetries – This would help scientists determine what is not known about the composition and structure of the universe. For example, some cosmic rays have 100 billion times more energy than the highest energy particles ever produced in "atom smashers" on earth.

Quantum Gases – Understanding quantum gases can lead to a much better understanding of how particles fundamentally interact with each other. Examples of these materials include superconductors and superfluids. Superconductors are materials that conduct electricity with no resistance while superfluids are those fluids (such as helium at very low temperatures) that have no resistance to fluid flow.

Condensed Matter – As matter changes into different states, such as solid, liquid and gas, phase changes happen that are similar throughout nature. By studying these changes in space, scientists can alleviate the complication of gravity and better understand the physics effecting these changes.

"This is a fascinating time to be a scientist," Duncan said. "As NASA moves forward and develops a new space mission, we hope that this report will help guide the scientific portion of space exploration. The possibilities of discovery are endless."

Christian Basi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.missouri.edu

Further reports about: Condensed Matter NASA cosmic ray fundamental physics matter

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>