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11 hours ago, Christopher said:

Pretty sure Curiosity has recovered. It was working on 28th of March:
https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/mission/mars-rover-curiosity-mission-updates/

 

The Opportunity rover was the one that died.

 

To be fair, the Opportunity lasted 14 years longer than it was supposed to. But finally dying because of a thin layer of dust was a rough way to go.

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"The Day the Dinosaurs Died." an article in the New Yorker about a young Paleontologist who may have discovered the day the Cretaceous Ended.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/08/the-day-the-dinosaurs-died

 

Summary from the New York Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/science/dinosaurs-extinction-asteroid.html

 

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The March 30, 2019 issue of The Economist has an article about camera systems for photographing and tracking meteors. A system based in the Czech Republic has been operating for decades: It's now good enough to project the impact point of a likely meteorite within 100 meters. There are other meteor observatories in the US and elsewhere.

 

So, why keep cameras running all night to spot meteors? Detailed observation can reveal clues about their composition, velocity, likely impact site and -- perhaps most important -- their orbits before they run into Earth. Knowing the directions space junk is most likely to come from matters for positioning satellites and launching rockets.

 

Oh, and a radar system tracks meteors day and night by bouncing radio waves off the ionized trails they leave behind. Because I'm me, I immediately thought of a high-tech version of ancient divination by meteors, clouds, etc. Portents from paths in various configurations, etc. When five trails form a pentagram, the way is open for Hell to invade Heaven.

 

Dean Shomshak

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The April, 2019 issue of Scientific American has an article about experiments to detect quantum gravitational effects. The great difficulty here is that quantum gravity is expected to operate on the Planck scale, which is so small that a particle accelerator would need to be the size of the Milky Way to access the necessary energies. But some physicists think there might be clever ways to detect quantum gravity effects propagating up to larger scales. (The analogy given is how Brownian motion of tiny particles in water reveals the jiggling of the much smaller atoms.) So these physicists are working on experiments to measure very, very small gravitational effects -- like, the gravity between millimeter-sized spheres of gold or diamond. (Why these substances? The way they conduct heat prevents theremal variations from swamping the gravitational effects.) With sufficient precision, it might be possible to measure gravitational versions of quantum superposition and entanglement between the teeny-weeny test objects. Instead of an apparatus the size of a galaxy, the whole experiment might fit on a table top.

 

It's a long shot, but nobody has anything better. The article notes that there are actually several theories of quantum gravity. Playing with math is relatively easy. The greater challenge is coming up with experiments to test the theories.

 

Dean Shomshak

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On 4/3/2019 at 3:46 PM, DShomshak said:

Heard on the radio a few days ago that the upgraded LIGO is returning to service. I wonder what it'll discover next?

 

Probably a bunch of nerd stuff.

 

Which is cool, because I'm a nerd.

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