Improved Telescope to Directly Image Alpha Centauri Exoplanets and Other Exoplanet Updates

1. Newly-built planet-finding instrument installed on Very Large Telescope aims to be first to directly image a habitable exoplanet. The instrument, called NEAR (Near Earths in the AlphaCen Region), is designed to hunt for exoplanets in our neighbouring star system, Alpha Centauri, within the “habitable zones” of its two Sun-like stars, where water could potentially …

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Keck Planet Finder spectrometer upgrade is underway

The Keck Planet Finder telescope might start operating in 2019. It will be used to discover exoplanets, particularly around nearby, bright stars and will excel at measuring the masses of planets discovered by transiting programs such as Kepler, TESS, and PLATO. The Keck Planet Finder (KPF) is a spectrometer for the Keck Observatory that will …

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Megapixel imaging and Spectroscopy of an exoplanet with a Solar Gravity Lens Mission

Slava Turyshev of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory proposes to study a mission to the deep regions outside the solar system that will exploit the remarkable optical properties of the Solar Gravitational Lens (SGL) focus to effectively build an astronomical telescope capable of direct megapixel high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy of a potentially habitable exoplanet. Although theoretically …

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Ultrafast laser pulses used to efficiently independently manipulate energy levels of electron pairs and this is progress to faster valleytronics computing

Valleytronics is exciting as a potential avenue to quantum computing. Like spintronics, valleytronics offers a tremendous advantage in data processing speeds over the electrical charge used in classical electronics. “In valleytronics, electrons move through the lattice of a 2D semiconductor as a wave with two energy valleys, each valley being characterized by a distinct momentum …

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Spacex could relaunch a first stage booster in March and is working towards dozens of reuses to eventually lower costs by up to 50+ percent

Elon Musk indicates that about 75 percent of the vehicle’s costs are in the first stage booster. After a test-firing in late January, 2017 one the boosters that have been successfully landed by Spacex is now being transported to Cape Canaveral in preparation for the SES launch, tentatively scheduled for March. Other SpaceX rockets not …

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Genetically modified bacteria could create biocement

A team of scientists from Newcastle and Northumbria universities, led by architecture academic Dr Martyn Dade-Robertson, are investigating how they can create a new kind of material – biocement – where engineered cells react to changes in the environment and strengthen the soil around them. Their research is outlined in a paper which will be …

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World Nuclear Energy in 2016 and plans through 2050

Here is a 32 page report on world nuclear energy performance as of 2016 and it has a special Asia update The International Energy Agency 2DS (2°C Scenario, Figure 2) envisages a substantial increase in the contribution from nuclear energy, rising to 7000 TWh by 2050 – enough to supply about 17% of global electricity …

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Taiwan has its first female President

Taiwan appears to have its first female President, in a landmark election that could unsettle relations with Beijing. Eric Chu, the Nationalist Party candidate in Taiwan’s presidential election conceded defeat late Saturday and congratulated rival Tsai Ing-wen to her victory as the new President, state-run Central News Agency reported. Tsai Ing-wen is part of the …

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