Saturday, July 06, 2013

Links 06/07/13

' seems that the chemistry that can take place in the cold clouds of gas of space is much more complex than we had predicted. Reactions that would be impossible under normal circumstances—simply because there's not enough energy to push them forward—can take place in cold gasses due to quantum mechanical effects. That's because one of the reactants (a hydrogen nucleus) can undergo quantum tunneling between two reactants.'

'Next year, relying on the effects of gravitational lensing, scientists will be able to examine the sun’s closest neighboring star—Proxima Centauri, which is 4.24 light-years away—and, notably, its solar system, if such a system exists. No planets have been detected thus far; if there are any, they are too small to see with conventional instruments. But when Proxima Centauri passes in front of a distant star in October, 2014, its gravity—and that of any orbiting bodies—will bend the light from that star. By analyzing the way the light bends around Proxima Centauri, scientists will be able to perceive whatever planets are nearby.
'An Italian space scientist, Claudio Maccone, believes that gravitational lensing could be used for something even more extraordinary: searching for radio signals from alien civilizations.'

Giant starfish with lasers, creepy robot babysitters, flying saucer tourism... The strange worlds of Japanese retro-futurism.

Vulcan veteoed: recently discovered 4th and 5th moons of Pluto officially named.

Stephen Van Vuuren has created an IMAX movie, In Saturn's Rings, by animating a million images taken by robot spacecraft. Here's the first teaser trailer:


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