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Science/Technology

  • Smart grid powered up

    Officials from New Mexico and Japan, including Gov. Susana Martinez, gathered en masse to dedicate the new Smart House Monday afternoon, which is the last link in the $53 million Smart Grid demonstration project.

    “The Smart Grid and Smart House are pioneering results stemming from the strong collaboration between Los Alamos County, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Corporation), efforts that will demonstrate how to meet a community’s residential power needs,” Gov. Martinez said.

    “This is the first U.S. international project of its kind. And as we stand here today, with project construction complete, I know that New Mexicans across the state are proud to have reached such a significant milestone,” she told the crowd.

    Norio Sasaki, president and CEO of Toshiba Corporation, called the technology for this demonstration project the most advanced in the world. The project combines several key elements to test and improve Smart Grid technology.

  • What NASA Is Looking for on Mars
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  • Voyager 1 is heading for the stars

    PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Thirty-five years after leaving Earth, Voyager 1 is reaching for the stars.

    Sooner or later, the workhorse spacecraft will bid adieu to the solar system and enter a new realm of space — the first time a manmade object will have escaped to the other side.

    Perhaps no one on Earth will relish the moment more than 76-year-old Ed Stone, who has toiled on the project from the start.

    "We're anxious to get outside and find what's out there," he said.

    When NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 first rocketed out of Earth's grip in 1977, no one knew how long they would live. Now, they are the longest-operating spacecraft in history and the most distant, at billions of miles from Earth but in different directions.

    Wednesday marks the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1's launch to Jupiter and Saturn. It is now flitting around the fringes of the solar system, which is enveloped in a giant plasma bubble. This hot and turbulent area is created by a stream of charged particles from the sun.

    Outside the bubble is a new frontier in the Milky Way — the space between stars. Once it plows through, scientists expect a calmer environment by comparison.

  • Newest Tablets Show Future of Mobile Computing
  • Raw Video: Mars Rover, Jettison to Touchdown

    NASA has recently release video of the NASA Curiosity rover landing from the jettison of the head shield to the touchdown.

  • Laser research shows promise for cancer treatment

    Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have observed for the first time how a laser penetrates dense, electron-rich plasma to generate ions. The process has applications for developing next generation particle accelerators and new cancer treatments.

    The results, published online Aug. 19 in Nature Physics, also confirm predictions made more than 60 years ago about the fundamental physics of laser-plasma interaction. Plasmas dense with electrons normally reflect laser light like a mirror. But a strong laser can drive those electrons to near the speed of light, making the plasma transparent and accelerating the plasma ions.

    “That idea has been met with some skepticism in the field,” said Rahul Shah of LANL’s plasma physics group. “We think that we’ve settled that controversy.”

    The team, which also included researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany and Queens University in Belfast, UK, used the 200 trillion-watt short-pulse TRIDENT laser at Los Alamos National Laboratory to observe the transparency phenomenon at 50 femtosecond resolution. Until now, those dynamics have been witnessed only in computer simulations.

  • NASA rover Curiosity shoots a Mars rock with laser

     

     NASA's Curiosity rover has zapped its first Martian rock, aiming its laser for the sake of science.

    During the target practice on Sunday. Curiosity fired 30 pulses at a nearby rock over a 10-second window, burning a small hole.

    Since landing in Gale Crater two weeks ago, the six-wheel rover has been checking out its instruments including the laser. During its two-year mission, Curiosity was expected to point the laser at various rocks as it drives toward Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high mountain rising from the crater floor.

    Its goal is to determine whether the Martian environment was habitable.

  • Raw Image: New Image of Mars Gale Crater
  • Mars Landing: Curiosity Rover Set to Land Sunday