research

Neuralink - Or, the 1,000 Steps to eVis

Most great technological advances are actually the culmination of 1,000 baby steps, each one pushing against the limits of our capabilities until those limits nudge a little further out and punctuated by breakthroughs that solve 50 or 100 of those steps in one fell swoop. My feeling is that we're about 1/3 of the way through the thousand steps required to get to eVis, and we're due for one of those breakthroughs to leap us closer (this isn't one, though the work these companies are doing will likely trigger one, hopefully soon).

"Elon Musk unveils Neuralink’s plans for brain-reading ‘threads’ and a robot to insert them": https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/16/20697123/elon-musk-neuralink-brain-reading-thread-robot

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Originally posted on Facebook.

The View From LightSail 2

Crowdfunded spacecraft LightSail 2 snaps amazing photos ahead of solar sail deployment: https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/17/crowdfunded-spacecraft-lightsail-2-snaps-amazing-photos-ahead-of-solar-sail-deployment/.

LightSail 2’s development was funded in part via a successful crowdfunding campaign run by the Bill Nye-led Planetary Society. Its goal is to test a spacecraft’s ability to fly powered only by the force of photons from the Sun striking a solar sail constructed of Mylar. This method of space-based transportation is extremely slow to get started, but thanks to the inertia-free medium of outer space, it could be an extremely energy-efficient way for research craft to travel long distances.

It launched on June 25 as part of the shared payload of SpaceX’s most recent Falcon Heavy launch.

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Map of 4,000+ Exoplanets

NASA has dropped an insane map of 4,000 planets outside our solar system: https://www.cnet.com/…/nasa-drops-insane-map-of-4000-plane…/

The video is absolutely worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=aiFD_LBx2nM. It's only a minute long and is a great visualization of how exoplanet discovery just exploded in the last decade (go Kepler!📡✨).

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Originally posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Hunting Mirror Universes

“Scientists Are Hunting For a Mirror Universe and Attempting to Open Portals Into it”: https://www.disclose.tv/scientists-are-hunting-for-a-mirror-universe-and-attempting-to-open-portals-into-it-370794

Just so long as MirrorMe doesn't have a goatee. Because that would be...bad.😟

...Obviously, the headline is a bit sensationalistic, as they so often are, and the experiment is being conducted on the tiniest scale. But the science is still cool and thought-provoking.👍

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Originally posted on Facebook.

Dragonfly is Headed to Titan

NASA has announced its next big "New Frontiers" mission: DRAGONFLY, a nuclear-powered drone/rotorcraft lander, will visit Titan, the only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere rich in nitrogen and carbon (and one of the coolest stellar bodies to boot), to search for the molecules of alien life.

Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive at Titan in 2034.

Much more at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-nasa-mission-will-fly-titans-frigid-skies-to-search-for-lifes-beginnings/

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Originally posted on Facebook and Twitter (additional tweets: here and here.

Extrasolar Fireworks

For the 1st time, we've detected a coronal mass ejection (CME) from a star other than our own. This event, located 450 light years from Earth, was marked by an intense flash of X-rays followed by the emission of a big bubble of plasma, and was captured by the Chandra X-ray Observatory: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/chandra-detects-a-coronal-mass-ejection-from-another-star

Hey, CMEs figure prominently in The Stars Like Gods….

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Originally posted on Twitter.

The Sky In X-Ray

NASA is building up a map of the entire sky seen in X-rays, line by line with its NICER experiment.

In this image, numerous sweeping arcs seem to congregate at various bright regions. You may wonder: What is being shown? Air traffic routes? Information moving around the global internet? Magnetic fields looping across active areas on the Sun?

In fact, this is a map of the entire sky in X-rays recorded by NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), a payload on the International Space Station.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/nsfc-nnm053019.php

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Tricky Thing, Measuring the Universe

From science writer Corey Powell: “Something looks seriously wrong with our measurements of the universe. My editor challenged me to write the story so that it would make sense to any curious reader. Here's my take.” https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/universe-may-be-billion-years-younger-we-thought-scientists-are-ncna1005541

I have thoughts on this, but there’s a decent chance I’ll write them into a story, so I should probably keep them to myself ;).

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Neutrino Beams & Black Holes

Well OF COURSE advanced civilizations could be using hyper-dense objects like neutron stars as focusing tools to send communications streaming across space on neutrino beams.

I love the quote from Freeman Dyson: “if the physics allows it, it is possibly technologically feasible.” Indeed. G. S. Jennsen's Corollary: "Just because we can't do it today doesn't mean we can't do it tomorrow." And someone else could be doing it now....

https://www.universetoday.com/142234/advanced-civilizations-could-be-communicating-with-neutrino-beams-transmitted-by-clouds-of-satellites-around-neutron-stars-or-black-holes/

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Originally posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Hubble Deep-Sky Mosaic

Via NASA: “This might be the most exciting “history book” we’ve ever read. Astronomers have put together the largest and most comprehensive image of the evolving universe — using 16 years’ worth of observations from Hubble. Take a peek at this deep-sky mosaic.” https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/hubble-astronomers-assemble-wide-view-of-the-evolving-universe

Make sure and check out the short video at the link for a mind-boggling sense of scale.

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Originally posted on Twitter.

The Quest for the Most Elusive Material in Physics

"The Quest for the Most Elusive Material in Physics" - you mean the Rasu?

It shouldn't be a huge spoiler to say that in TSLG, our Asterion friends expend some time and effort trying to decipher exactly what the Rasu *ARE*. While, don't worry, I don't go into this level of science-gasm detail, in my head I imagine that some of the experiments they run look a little like these. 😎

https://gizmodo.com/the-quest-for-the-most-elusive-material-in-physics-1833846121

 
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Originally posted on Facebook.

The Wonders of Modern Science

And then science goes and invents the one thing that you never foresaw. It's not the slightly off takes on supraluminal space travel or the funny terms for the brain-computer interface that will render my books "quaint" and "dated" in fifty years - it's stuff like this: https://futurism.com/synthetic-alcohol-buzzed-never-drunk/

*shakes head* 
*makes a note to keep tabs on the progress of Alcarelle*

 
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Originally posted on Facebook.