Sunday Science (15 – 21 Nov 2020)

Science News related to SpaceX Crew to ISS, Self-Powered Sensors, Holes in Greenland Ice Sheet, Life Formation Before Stars, Recycling Wind Turbine Blades, Molecule to Block Coronavirus, Megaflood on Mars, Insta-Bling at Room Temperature, New Kind of Electrons, Power & Speed Limit of Lasers, Biochemical Random Number, NASA Satellite for Sea Levels

Note: I do not write/own any of the science news bits (and cover picture) given here. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. The content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.


1. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 Astronauts Headed to International Space Station

Source: NASA

16 Nov 2020

An international crew of astronauts is en route to the International Space Station following a successful launch on the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off at 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


2. Quantum Tunneling Pushes the Limits of Self-Powered Sensors

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

16 Nov 2020

Researchers have been working to create sensors that can run on the least amount of energy. Using quantum tunneling, they have built a self-powered device that, with a small initial energy input, can run on its own for more than a year. And all it requires is four capacitors and two transistors.

Original written by: Brandie Jefferson


3. Holes in Greenland Ice Sheet Are Larger Than Previously Thought

Source: University of Arkansas

17 Nov 2020

Holes that carry surface meltwater to the base of the Greenland ice sheet, called moulins, are much larger than previously thought, according to a new study based on observation and first-hand exploration by a team. The extra volume could influence the stability of the Greenland ice sheet and how quickly it slides toward the sea.


4. Building Blocks of Life Can Form Long Before Stars

Source: Queen Mary University of London

17 Nov 2020

An international team of scientists has shown that glycine, the simplest amino acid and an important building block of life, can form under the harsh conditions that govern chemistry in space. The results suggest that glycine, and very likely other amino acids, form in dense interstellar clouds well before they transform into new stars and planets.


5. Research Moves Wind Turbine Blades Toward Recyclability

Source: DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

17 Nov 2020

A new material for wind blades that can be recycled could transform the wind industry, making renewable energy more sustainable than ever before while lowering costs in the process. Researchers have demonstrated the feasibility of thermoplastic resin and validated its structural integrity on a thermoplastic composite blade manufactured.


6. A Sulphur Molecule to Block the Coronavirus

Source: Université de Genève

18 Nov 2020

A research group has identified inhibitors that are up to 5,000 times more effective than the one most often used today. Preliminary tests demonstrate the blocking of the cellular entry of viruses expressing the SARS-CoV-2 proteins. The study paves the way for research into new antivirals.


7. Field Geology at Mars’ Equator Points to Ancient Megaflood

Source: Cornell University

18 Nov 2020

Floods of unimaginable magnitude once washed through Gale Crater on Mars’ equator around 4 billion years ago – a finding that hints at the possibility that life may have existed there, according to data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover and analyzed in a joint project by scientists.

Original written by: Blaine Friedlander


8. Scientists Make Insta-Bling at Room Temperature

Source: Australian National University

19 Nov 2020

A team of scientists has defied nature to make diamonds in minutes in a laboratory at room temperature – a process that normally requires billions of years, huge amounts of pressure and super-hot temperatures. The team made two types of diamonds: the kind found on an engagement ring and another type of diamond called Lonsdaleite, which is found in nature at the site of meteorite impacts such as Canyon Diablo in the US.


9. Old Mystery Solved: a “New Kind of Electrons”

Source: Vienna University of Technology

19 Nov 2020

Scientists have succeeded in explaining a completely different type of electron emission, which can occur in carbon materials such as graphite. This electron emission had been known for about 50 years, but its cause was still unclear.


10. Breaking the Power & Speed Limit of Lasers

Source: George Washington University

19 Nov 2020

Researchers have developed a new design of vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) that demonstrates record-fast temporal bandwidth. This was possible by combining multiple transverse coupled cavities, which enhances optical feedback of the laser. VCSELs have emerged as a vital approach for realizing energy-efficient and high-speed optical interconnects in data centers and supercomputers.


11. A Biochemical Random Number

Source: ETH Zurich

20 Nov 2020

A research team has described a non-​physical method of generating such numbers: one that uses biochemical signals and actually works in practice. In the past, the ideas put forward by other scientists for generating random numbers by chemical means tended to be largely theoretical.

Original written by: Fabio Bergamin


12. NASA To Launch Satellite to Track Rising Sea Levels

Source: The Verge

21 Nov 2020

NASA plans to launch a satellite that will follow the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans and gather data to improve weather forecasts. The satellite will continue NASA’s three decades-long work to document rising sea levels and will give scientists a more precise view of the coastlines than they’ve ever had from space.

Original written by: Justine Calma

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