Monday, 16 October 2017

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A Groundbreaking Astronomy Discovery! Spot Spectacular Two neutron stars collided in space

It was a faint signal, but it told of one of the most violent acts in the universe, and it would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created.

Astrophysicists today have released no less than seven papers on one of the biggest events not only reported in the media but also in the known universe. For the first time ever, we have definitive evidence of two neutron stars colliding and releasing a deadly gamma-ray burst. The light from this burst arrived almost simultaneously with gravitational waves unleashed by the collision.
For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smash-ups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.

The discovery, announced today at a news conference and in scientific reports written by some 3,500 researchers, solves a long-standing mystery about the origin of these heavy elements — which are found in everything from wedding rings to cellphones to nuclear weapons.

It's also a dramatic demonstration of how astrophysics is being transformed by humanity's newfound ability to detect gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space-time that are created when massive objects spin around each other and finally collide.

"It's so beautiful. It's so beautiful it makes me want to cry. It's the fulfillment of dozens, hundreds, thousands of people's efforts, but it's also the fulfillment of an idea suddenly becoming real," says Peter Saulson of Syracuse University, who has spent more than three decades working on the detection of gravitational waves.
Albert Einstein predicted the existence of these ripples more than a century ago, but scientists didn't manage to detect them until 2015. Until now, they'd made only four such detections, and each time the distortions in space-time were caused by the collision of two black holes.

That bizarre phenomenon, however, can't normally be seen by telescopes that look for light. Neutron stars, by contrast, spew out visible cosmic fireworks when they come together. These incredibly dense stars are as small as cities like New York and yet have more mass than our sun.
In this case, what scientists managed to spot was a pair of neutron stars that likely spent more than 11 billion years circling each other more and more closely before finally slamming together about 130 million years ago.

What was different this time?

The first four observed gravitational waves were all caused by two black holes rapidly orbiting each other and eventually colliding, forming a new and larger black hole. However, black hole mergers are not the only events that can produce gravitational waves.

Black holes are part of a group called compact objects: they are the remains of a star after it has died. The two other main compact objects are white dwarfs and neutron stars. The former is formed when a star up to eight times the mass of our Sun expands as it grows old and sheds its outer layers, retaining only the core. A neutron star is formed when a star that weighs more than eight- to thirty-times the solar mass explodes in a supernova. (By the way, supernovae also produce gravitational waves).

Neutron stars are the smallest and densest stars in the universe (even though they don’t make their own energy). Such an object will weigh 1.5-2 times the Sun but will measure only 10-20 km wide. A teaspoon of neutron star material would be heavier than Mt Everest; a can of Coke will weigh more than all the humans on Earth combined. The particles in this structure are so tightly packed together that protons and electrons merge to form neutrons. So these objects are almost entirely made up of neutrons. They also spin rapidly, creating extremely powerful magnetic fields around themselves.

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Friday, 13 October 2017


Hyperloop One Gets a New Name After Major Investment from Richard Branson. Virgin Hyperloop One

Billionaire Richard Branson on Thursday placed another bet on the future with an investment in Hyperloop One, which is developing super high-speed transportation systems.

Hyperloop One said Mr Branson’s Virgin Group would take the company global and rebrand itself as Virgin Hyperloop One in the near future.
Branson explained the reasoning in an interview with CNBC. 
"As a train owner, I felt this is something that I want to be able to operate," Branson said. "At the moment our trains are limited to 125 miles an hour... There are consumers, for instance, that would love to go from London to Edinburgh in roughly 45 minutes. And that will be possible [with hyperloop]."

Mr Branson has joined the board of Hyperloop One, which will develop pods that will transport passenger and mixed-use cargo at speeds of 250 miles per hour (402 km per hour).
The pod lifts above a track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to low aerodynamic drag.
The company did not disclose the size of the investment.
Hyperloop One was originally conceptualised by Elon Musk. In July, Mr Musk said he had received verbal approval to start building the systems that would link New York and Washington, cutting travel time to about half an hour.
Last month, Hyperloop One raised $85m in new funding, bringing the total financing raised to $245m (£183m) since it was founded in 2014.
Hyperloop One’s co-founders, executive chairman Shervin Pishevar and president of engineering Josh Giegel, have previously worked at Virgin Galactic.

The idea for a hyperloop can be traced back to Elon Musk in 2013

Musk put out a challenge to the public to figure out how to travel from San Francisco to LA in just 30 minutes. Since then, several major competitors have stepped up to the plate. The most notable two come down to Hyperloop One and the Boring Company -- Musk's own venture. Initially, Musk wanted to focus on Tesla and SpaceX at the time. A series of tweets in 2016 led to his hyperloop company, and he shocked fans via Twitter by saying he'd build his own hyperloop between New York and Washington D.C. 
While Hyperloop One is not affiliated with Musk in a formal business sense, Pishevar notes that Musk developed the idea. However, he's also very clear that as of now, his company has a full-scale hyperloop working. Branson's financial backing and entrepreneurial skills could help the new Virgin Hyperloop One land another major hurdle -- breaking ground on a government-approved project. 
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Friday, 15 September 2017

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Cassini’s fiery death witnessed by emotional NASA team

Nasa's Cassini spacecraft disintegrated in the skies above Saturn on Friday in a final, fateful blaze of cosmic glory, following a remarkable journey of 20 years. 

Confirmation of Cassini's expected demise came about 7.55am EDT. That's when radio signals from the spacecraft - its last scientific gifts to Earth - came to an abrupt halt. The radio waves went flat, and the spacecraft fell silent. 

Cassini actually burned up like a meteor 83 minutes earlier as it dove through Saturn's atmosphere, becoming one with the giant gas planet it set out in 1997 to explore. But it took that long for the news to arrive at Earth a billion miles away. 

The only spacecraft to ever orbit Saturn, Cassini showed us the planet, its rings and moons up close in all their glory. Perhaps most tantalizing, ocean worlds were unveiled by Cassini and its hitchhiking companion, the Huygens lander, on the moons Enceladus and Titan, which could possibly harbor life. 

Cassini snapped its "last memento photos" of the Saturn system Thursday. Dutiful to the end, the spacecraft sampled Saturn's atmosphere Friday morning as it made its final plunge. 

Program manager Earl Maize made the final announcement: 

"This has been an incredible mission, an incredible spacecraft and you're all an incredible team," Maize said. "I'll call this the end of mission." 
Flight controllers wearing matching purple shirts stood and embraced and shook hands. 

More than 1,500 people, many of them past and present team members, had gathered at California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for what was described as both a vigil and celebration. Even more congregated at nearby California Institute of Technology, which runs the lab for Nasa. 

Project scientist Linda Spilker noted Cassini has been running "a marathon of scientific discovery" for 13 years at Saturn. "So we're here today to cheer as Cassini finishes that race," she said. 

The spacecraft tumbled out of control while plummeting at more than 76,000 mph (122,000 kph). Project officials invited ground telescopes to look for Cassini's last-gasp flash, but weren't hopeful it would be spotted from a billion miles away. 

This Grand Finale, as Nasa calls it, came about as Cassini's fuel tank started getting low after 13 years of exploring the planet . Scientists wanted to prevent Cassini from crashing into Enceladus or Titan - and contaminating those pristine worlds. And so in April, Cassini was directed into the previously unexplored gap between Saturn's cloud tops and the rings. Twenty-two times, Cassini entered the gap and came out again. The last time was last week. 

The leader of Cassini's imaging team, Carolyn Porco, a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, was so involved with the mission for so long that now, "I consider it the start of life, part two." 

Cassini departed Earth in 1997 and arrived at the solar system's second largest planet in 2004. The European Huygens landed on big moon Titan in 2005. Nothing from Earth has landed farther. 

In all, Cassini collected more than 453,000 images and traveled 4.9 billion miles. It was an international endeavor, with 27 nations taking part. The final price tag was $3.9 billion.
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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

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Here’s what NASA could accomplish if it had the US military’s $600 billion budget

Consider this: adjusted for inflation, NASA's entire budget for the Apollo program was about $10 billion per year. Compare that to the U.S. military budget, which is a whopping $600 billion per year. Obviously, NASA and the military are two very different organizations with very different needs, but that won't stop us from wondering...what if NASA had that kind of budget? What might it accomplish? Watch the videos below to explore this idea.

NASA has been a household name for Americans since the '60s when it achieved the seemingly impossible, landing humans on the Moon.
Since then, NASA has explored other alien surfaces like, Mars and Saturn's moon Titan, as well as flown by every planet in our solar system.
It has achieved so much on a budget that is so small. Imagine if we gave NASA hundreds of billions of dollars a year like what we give the US military. What more could NASA have achieved over the years?
This is one example where the sky is not the limit - it's the starting line. Following is a transcript of the video.

The US spends more on space exploration than any other country in the world. A big chunk of this investment goes to NASA, the country's leading agency for space exploration.
But that's still a pittance compared to the overall US Federal budget. Since NASA landed the first man on the Moon in 1969, its budget has plummeted from 4.5% of the Federal budget to less than 0.5%.
But what if NASA's budget hadn't shrunk? What if, instead, its funding was comparable to the US military's?
How close would we be to actually colonizing Mars or visiting another star system?
It's impossible to know for sure, but here's a look at how NASA's budget compared to the US military's in 2016.

Put another way, the military's budget for 2016 would pay for a crewed mission to Mars with tens of billions to spare. NASA estimates it would cost $450 billion to land the first humans on Mars by the late 2030s or early 2040s. What else might NASA do with $600 billion? Let's look at how NASA allocated its funds in 2016. That would easily meet current costs for NASA's biggest ongoing projects including:• Construction and launch costs for the most powerful rocket in history, the Space Launch System.• The most powerful space telescope ever built, the James Webb Space Telescope.• Partner with SpaceX on its first mission to Mars in 2018, the Red Dragon Mission.• Pay for NASA operations on board the ISS through 2024.So, how would you have NASA spend the rest?
Source - businessinsider
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Sunday, 9 July 2017

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India Steps Up Climate Change Efforts! Take a Note What India Has Done so Far..

As international climate negotiations progress this week in Bangkok, Thailand, India has shown signs of more proactive engagement on climate change issues both internationally and at home. While the Indian government continues to emphasize poverty alleviation and economic development as the country's highest priorities, recent stances on domestic emission reductions indicate that India is taking considerable steps to encourage more constructive global climate talks.  India joins a growing contingent of developing countries that "are making very significant efforts to show what they are doing to address climate change and indicate what more they are willing to do,"


  • India Has Shut Down 37 of the World’s Biggest Coal Company’s Mines 


The largest coal company in the world has announced that it will shutting down 37 of its sites. the move is fueled by increasing affordability of solar power 

The Indian government has recently shifted from coal to cleaner, renewable sources, most notably solar power. Just last week, the government announced that it has abandoned plans for building another coal power station with Chimanbhai Sapariya
. T,he country’s energy minister noted that “Our focus is now on renewable energy. The government will encourage solar power.” The prices of solar power continue to plummet as technology and government incentives work to make renewable energy more attractive.
India is leading the way in a renewable energy revolution. Analyst Tim Buckley said, “Measures taken by the Indian government to improve energy efficiency coupled with ambitious renewable energy targets and the plummeting cost of solar has had an impact on existing as well as proposed coal-fired power plants, rendering an increasing number as financially unviable


Those who’ve seen that Leonardo DiCaprio documentary on climate change might remember that bit during the actor’s interview with India’s energy minister. After DiCaprio pointed out that India’s among the leading contributor for climate-warming gasses, the minister made a reply that stumped the actor.
She said that before talking about India, one has to look at the more developed nations and how they are serious about cutting down on their carbon footprint. Besides, India lives with what it has, and it couldn’t afford the alternative energy at that time.


  • India Will Sell Only Electric Cars Within the Next 13 Years

Poor air quality kills 1.2 million people in India every year. To help battle that staggering statistic the Indian government is instituting a plan to help get fossil fuel powered vehicles off the road. The plan calls for the end of gas powered vehicle sales by 2030.

Every car sold in India from 2030 will be electric, under new government plans that have delighted environmentalists and dismayed the oil industry.
It’s hoped that by ridding India’s roads of petrol and diesel cars in the years ahead, the country will be able to reduce the harmful levels of air pollution that contribute to a staggering 1.2 million deaths per year.
India’s booming economy has seen it become the world’s third-largest oil importer, shelling out $150 billion annually for the resource – so a switch to electric-powered vehicles would put a sizable dent in demand for oil. It’s been calculated that the revolutionary move would save the country $60 billion in energy costs by 2030, while also reducing running costs for millions of Indian car owners.
India’s Energy Minister Piyush Goyal says the government will financially support the initiative for the first two or three years, but the production of electric vehicles will be “driven by demand and not subsidy” after that.

  • India Bans High Emission Vehicles 

The Supreme Court of India  banned the sale and registration of Bharat Stage (BS)-III emission norm-compliant vehicles from April 1 2017 , saying the health of millions was more important than commercial interests.

  • India Is About to Be The Second Country to Ever Use New Nuclear Technology

India has the second largest population in the world. Thus it has a huge demand for electricity. Therefore, the country largely based on the renewable energy game.
As the country works to develop its renewable energy sources, now its biggest achievement yet has come from nuclear energy. Now, Indian nuclear scientists are in the final throes of starting a high-tech giant stove i.e., novel nuclear reactor.
This novel nuclear technology is a kind of an ‘Akshaya Patra’, the mythical goblet with a never-ending supply of food.
Since 15 years, Indian scientists are working on a gigantic nuclear facility in Kalpakkam, the Bay of Bengal near Chennai. This gigantic reactor is a fast breeder nuclear reactor. Although the fast breeder nuclear reactor is the technology on which Indian scientists have been working to perfect for 27 years now, with an experimental facility called a Fast-Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR).
  • The key to a cleaner and greener environment? This startup thinks that it's free WiFi.

t’s a simple rule that always gets broken; but now, a pair of Mumbai entrepreneurs are seeing an opportunity to incentivize the simple act of respecting public spaces by throwing garbage in the trash can.
It started after Raj Desai and Pratik Agarwal, the cofounders of startup ThinkScream, attended a music festival in 2013. Here, they realized that it would be immensely helpful for people to stay connected during these events. Simultaneously, the two also saw the massive amount of trash that accumulates during festivals.
The two then began to develop a trash can that can give people 15 minutes of free WiFi simply by making sure that they throw their trash in the right place.
Image Credit:
Image Credit: ThinkScream
The smart garbage can is made of plastic, about 1.3 meters (4.5 feet) high, and comes with an LED screen. When someone throws something in the bin, the screen displays a unique code that will allow the user to access the internet within a 50 meter radius of the trash can. It costs about $1,470 to produce.
ThinkScream is also partnered with a local telecom company who managed to debut six smart garbage cans at a music festival back in 2014.
Novel as the idea is, the pair assures everyone that the intent behind the project was not to create a gimmick, but to actually spur civic action. “It was meant to be a catalyst for the public to change their behavior and stop littering,
Source -
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Saturday, 17 June 2017

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Why Are We Here?

Answering a question as to what is our purpose on this planet, Sadhguru explains that nothing in the Universe, from the planet to the stars to the solar system, has happened haphazardly. The fundamental nature of creation, which allows it to function perpetually, is the perfection of its geometry. He also speaks about evolution, both from the Darwinian standpoint, as well as evolution as it was propounded in ancient Indian systems.

I think even the planet is wondering why the hell these human beings came here. See, the solar system, the way it is and so as the other universal systems, the galaxies, they are all happening because they arrive at a certain perfection of geometry. Geometry, in the sense – right now, this planet is going around the sun. It’s found its perfect orbit. So it’s going and going and going, not powered by engine or something. See, the airplane is going powered by engines, it’s being pushed. This is not being pushed. This has just found a certain perfection of geometry and it’s going on. The day it loses its perfection of geometry, if it loses the line of orbit, it’s gone. So in this process, life happens on this planet also involving this geometry, on various levels. We say in the yogic culture, we say a human being is physiologically and in terms of brain, has reached his peak physiologically, that is after million years you will not a horn coming out of your head or something else… like the tail disappeared, something else will disappear, this cannot happen. We are saying this from a certain context.

Today, the modern neuroscientists are saying similar things. They are saying the size of the neuron in the human brain can neither increase, nor can the wiring inside can increase because the physical laws don’t permit it. The laws of physics do not permit it. I will not go into the detail of that. To put it very simply, how we see it is, your birth here – right now, all life on this planet is solar powered, isn’t it? Yes? It is the sun’s energy which is doing all this. Human… and also the… the revolutions and the rotations of the moon also has influence upon us. The very ocean is rising and falling with the movement of the moon. Only because our mothers’ bodies were in tune with the cycle of the moon, we are born and we are here. Yes?. If these twenty eight days cycle of the moon does not repeat itself in a woman’s body, you and me wouldn’t be born.

So because it has reached that, we say, physical… the physical laws have come to a certain place where life upon this planet, cannot evolve further. You can make use of what you have in a much better way. Using the same technology, we had a dumb phone, then we had a smart phone now we have iphone, like this we can go on improving it, how we use it. But the fundamental physical laws will not permit any further evolution of this creature.
So did it happen by accident? No. The Theory of Evolution – you know Charles Darwin, who made a monkey out of you? (Laughs) Not me, him. If you look at the Theory of Evolution which was propounded just hundred and fifty years ago, we have said this thousands of years ago, in the sense, you know the ten avataras? At least the nine you know those who have come. What is the first one? Matsya Avatara. Matsya Avatara means fish or water life. All life on this planet started under water. What is the next Avatara? Koorma Avatara – amphibious like a turtle, half in the water, half on the land. The next one is Varaha Avatara – a pig or a wild boar. Among the mammals, one animal which is strongly, strongly rooted in its body is a wild boar. See, we live next to the forest, we see this – the tribal boys can kill a deer with a stick. If you hit it with a stick it will fall dead. The local dogs will hunt the deer but a wild boar you try to kill him and see, it’s not easy to kill him. You go smash him with the car, his spine is broken, still he will go. He will not stop because he is so physically rooted. His life is so physical. So the next form of life was Varaha Avatara. This simply means the Creator is finding expression in first as fish, then as a turtle, then as a wild boar. Next one is Narasimha, half man, half animal. Next one is Vamana a dwarfed man. Next one is a full grown man but emotionally volatile man who is Parasurama. Next one is a peaceful man which is Rama. Next is a loving man, which is a Krishna. Next is a meditative man which is a Buddha. The next is supposed to be a mystical being, yet to come, okay.
This is running very much in parallel lines with the Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Yes or no? It’s in the same sequence, exactly in the same sequence. Darwin propounded his theory only hundred and fifty years ago, this was said twelve to fifteen thousand years ago, Adiyogi himself spoke about it. So if you observe life, you can clearly see from what is inanimate, basic life formed from that life evolved, we’ve always seen it that way. It is only somewhere else they believe God created human being and dropped him here and the whole world happened in this many days or that many days. This comes from somewhere else. We never saw it this way. Always we saw, life evolved. The evolutionary theory is not Darwin’s, Adiyogi propounded this fifteen thousand years ago, okay. It’s always been here, we have understood the science of it and we know it is within us. Constantly we are – in every temple you go, there is a snake, there are various symbolisms all around the place because even today in your brain, one part of your brain is a reptilian brain. You know, the core part of your brain is still a reptilian brain and it still functions and we have different practices in yoga as to how to transcend this reptilian brain and allow the cerebral cortex to function and today we have scientific evidence to show you – the University of California has done scientific studies on Shambhavi Mahamudra, the basic practice we teach usually and they say if you practice Shambhavi Mahamudra for three months, the neuronal regeneration increases by two hundred and forty one percent, a kind of percentage that’s never been recorded in the history of any kind of research, okay. Just a simple practice for twenty one minutes, two hundred and forty one percentage increase in your brain function and neuronal regeneration, this means as you grow old you will become more intelligent. Usually young people think you are getting stupid. (Few Laugh)
Yes, your brain is actually growing, you understand? It’s getting better by the day. Now there is scientific evidence. We always knew this, but today a meter has to say it; if a man says it is not true. If a man says it, it’s doubtful but a meter has to say it. Now the meters are saying it. The meters are saying your brain is actually growing by doing a simple twenty one minute… minute practice and you don’t believe the meter. You just do the practice for three months and see, you will see how clear and how smart your mind is suddenly.

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Thursday, 1 June 2017

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LIGO strikes again, detects third binary black hole merger

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in the U.S. have detected yet another merger of two black holes on January 4, 2017. Named GW170104, this signal marks the third confirmed detection of gravitational waves coming from a binary black hole merger. It is of great interest to the scientific community that the black holes, having masses nearly 31 times and 19 times the sun’s. Until the first detection of gravitational waves by LIGO in 2015 (GW150914) it was not known that such massive black holes could exist.
The gravitational wave detection was “the first time, a chance event; second time, a coincidence, and third, a pattern,” says Bangalore Sathyaprakash, a senior scientist with the LIGO collaboration in the U.S. and an editor of the paper describing these results which was published in Physical Review Letters.

India’s ASTROSAT mission did a related sensitive search for short duration x-ray flashes associated with the event and did not detect any. These results will be published soon by the scientists from ASTROSAT.
Meanwhile, at LIGO, this time around, the detection has revealed not merely a black hole merger, but also the alignment of the spins of the black holes. This can shed light on the way the black holes might have formed. In this event, the spins of the individual black holes making up the merger are probably not aligned along the same direction. This supports the theory which says that black holes form independently in a star cluster, then sink to the centre of the cluster and eventually merge.

1 Two massive stars orbit each other.
2 One enters giant phase and transfers mass to the other star.
3 From giant phase, the star collapses to a black hole.
4 The other star enters giant phase.
5 A common envelope develops and the bodies move closer.
6 The second star collapses 

LIGO researchers found that the black hole spins were not aligned, and that there's an 80% probability that at least one of them spun in generally the opposite sense of the orbital motion. In this case, at least, the dynamical pairing scenario seems more likely.
With just one event to go on, it's too early to say which scenario is more common overall, Cadonati says. "We are going to have to see more of these things in order to constrain models," she says. Seeing enough of them may take time. LIGO will end its current run in August, says David Shoemaker, a physicist at MIT and spokesperson for the LIGO scientific collaboration. Researchers will then spend 12 to 18 months trying to boost the machines' sensitivity, which has improved only slightly since the 2015–16 run.

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

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Katherine Johnson Space Scientist (A Name to Know)

Katherine was born in on 26 August 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia where her father Joshua was a farmer, and her mother Joylette was a teacher. From an early age, Katherine knew exactly what she wanted to do, and mathematics came easily to her.
I counted everything. I counted the steps in the road, the steps up to the church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed… anything that could be counted.
She longed to go to school. She began to follow her brother to school, one day meeting with his teacher. The teacher was impressed that Katherine could already read and allowed her to attend a summer school. When she officially started school just before her sixth birthday, she was put straight into the second grade, and later, when she was about to enter the fifth grade, she was again moved up a year.
Despite having missed grades one and five, she was ready for high school by the time she was ten. Unfortunately, school for African-Americans in White Sulphur Springs finished at the eighth grade but her father considered education and the equal opportunity of attaining it of paramount importance. He had always taught his children “you are as good as anybody in this town, but you’re no better”.
And with that his driving force, he moved his family 125 miles to West Virginia, where education continued to high school level. Katherine went on to study at West Virginia State High School. She graduated early, at the age of 14, and transferred to the associated West Virginia State College earning a full scholarship which included tuition, as well as room and board. Katherine was one of the first African American’s to enrol in a Mathematics course.
President Barack Obama gives the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., 

A young professor, W.W. Schiefflin Claytor, (the third African-American to earn a Ph.D. degree in mathematics), quickly recognised Katherine’s abilities in mathematics. Claytor proceeded to guide Katherine in her choice of courses. He ensured that she took all of the mathematics classes that she would need to enable her to follow her passion and devised a special course covering analytical geometry of space, specifically with Katherine in mind. This knowledge was to prove especially useful when she later joined the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (later to became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). By the age of 18, Katherine had obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in French and Mathematics from West Virginia State University.
After college, Katherine began teaching in rural Virginia and West Virginia schools, often the only option for women in her community. She accepted her first job in an elementary school after being told that if she could teach French and Maths and play the piano, then the job was hers. It was on a bus ride to this school in Marion, Virginia that she encountered one of her most remembered experiences of racism.
Katherine felt that the racism in West Virginia was less blatant than that in Virginia. As such, she was surprised when on crossing into Virginia from West Virginia the bus came to a halt and all black people were told to move to the back. When the driver said all the coloured people were to be put into taxis, Katherine refused until he asked politely. A stand indicative of lifetime refusal to be thought of as less than equal.
Katherine left teaching in 1939 to marry James Francis Noble and start a family. They went on to have three daughters, Constance, Joylette and Katherine. However in 1940, West Virginia State University invited her to join a graduate maths programme, making her one of the first black people to enrol in the graduate programme. Katherine did feel that the college administration were trying to avoid a segregation-related lawsuit, but was still very eager to join the programme. Unfortunately, James became ill and she was forced to leave her studies to support her family. She returned to teaching.
In 1952, Katherine discovered that Langley Research Centre with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) were looking to recruit mathematically-able African-American women. A year later, she began work there as research mathematician, initially in a pool of women performing maths calculations. Katherine reported that the pools of women were like “computers who wore skirts”, robotically processing data.
 Luck is a combination of preparation and opportunity. If you’re prepared and the opportunity comes up, it’s your good fortune to have been in the right place at the right time and to have been prepared for the job.
Within two weeks she, along with another colleague, were invited to join the all-male flight research engineers on a temporary basis to assist in calculations. This team would later be involved in the new Space Task Force when the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Katherine’s knowledge of analytic geometry so impressed her male bosses that “they forgot to return me to the pool.”
Katherine recognised the pervading presence of the racial and gender barriers but chose to ignore them. She asked to be included in editorial meetings, even though she was aware that women were never permitted to do so. She publicly insisted that she had done the work and had earned her place in those meetings. On one occasion, when a question arose that the men couldn’t answer, a male colleague had no choice but to refer to Katherine. It was a memorable moment which she felt vindicated her presence there.
We were all dedicated to NASA.
1959 saw the space programme moving forward at a great pace, with America and Russia vying to be the first to the moon. Katherine’s forte lay in the calculation of the trajectories for the accurate timing of space launches.
Katherine did the calculations for the launch time for Alan Shepard’s Mercury mission in 1961, the first American in space. She did the highly complex calculations for propelling space capsules into orbit around the moon, and those for sending landing units to and from the lunar surface. She plotted the navigational charts, guiding ships by the stars in case of electronic failure and in 1962, verified the first computer calculations of John Glenn’s orbit around Earth.
She participated in the authorship of the first textbook about space, after completing work in flight dynamics on a secret programme.
We wrote our own textbook, because there was no other text about space. I was in at the beginning, I was one of those lucky people.
In 1969, she calculated the trajectory for the Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Her later work included the Space Shuttle programme and plans for a Mars mission. In her time at NASA, she co-authored 26 scientific papers, retiring in 1986 after 33 years service.
I found what I was looking for at Langley. This was what a research mathematician did. I went to work every day for 33 years, happy. Never did I get up and say “I don’t want to go to work.”
Katherine has a host on honorary doctorates, five NASA special achievement awards, an Apollo Group Achievement Award for getting 1 of only 300 flags onto the moon on board Apollo 11, and a further team award for pioneering work in the field of navigation, when she was part of supporting the five spacecraft that orbited and mapped the moon in preparation for the Apollo program.
Up until 2008, she was still involved in maths, tutoring youngsters. She tells youngsters to be self-reliant and to learn everything they can. She celebrated her 90th birthday on Women’s Equality Day, 26 August 2008.
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Friday, 19 May 2017

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Satellite Being Jointly Built By NASA And ISRO Will Cost Over 1.5Billion Dollars & will do this

Los Angeles: Till recently, American space agency NASA and India's ISRO were almost forbidden to talk to each other as sanctions were in place. But that has changed now, and the two space agencies are jointly making a satellite called NISAR that will monitor the Earth like never before. 

NISAR or the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite could possibly be the world's most expensive Earth imaging satellite and will cost the two countries over 1.5 billion dollars.   

Indian and American scientists are working overtime to make this satellite a reality. 

"NISAR is the first big collaboration between NASA and ISRO, certainly on RADAR but just in general as well. This is two frequency RADAR, it is an L-band 24 centimetre RADAR and S-band 13 centimetre. S-band is being built by ISRO and L-band by NASA. It is a major collaboration both in terms of the technical building of the satellite as well as working together across the Pacific between India and US," said Paul A Rosen, a scientist working on the NISAR satellite project.

The NISAR satellite will be launched in 2021 from India using the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and it opens a new vista in Indo-US friendship.

Mr Rosen says "We are going to be making snap shots of the Earth every week using these two radars that gives us a time lapse image of the motion of the tectonic plates, of the ice sheets, of the changes in vegetation over land in agriculture and forests. So what we are doing is looking at time variability of the Earth over the life of the mission to understand how disasters evolve, how earthquakes occur, how volcanoes occur, how the ice sheets are changing and affecting sea level rise, and how forest fires and changes in the forest cover affect the atmosphere. It is very relevant to what society cares about which is changes in our climate, changes in our environment and how it affects society."

Source - NDTV
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Thursday, 18 May 2017

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Indian Teen builds lightest ever satellite - and it's being launched by Nasa next month

An 18-year-old from India built the world’s lightest satellite — and NASA’s going to send it into space.  Rifath Shaarook created a 4-centimeter (1½-inch), 3D-printed cube that weighs 2¼ ounces, making it lighter than an iPhone.  
“We built it completely from scratch,” he told India’s Business Standard. “It will have a new kind of on-board computer and eight indigenous built-in sensors to measure
 acceleration, rotation and the magnetosphere of the Earth.”  The satellite was one of 80 experiments selected through “Cubes in Space,” a student competition organized by NASA and the education company I Doodle Learning. The contest received more than 86,000 submissions from 57 countries.  

Shaarook nicknamed his design KalamSat, after Abdul Kalam, India’s former president and famed rocket scientist.  NASA will send the tiny box on a four-hour, suborbital spaceflight June 22, but KalamSat will only operate for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment. 


 The up-and-coming scientist told the Times of India that the satellite’s main purpose is to “demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon” and see if the material can withstand the launch.  Shaarook, who also invented a helium weather balloon when he was 15, is the lead scientist at Space Kids India. The Chennai-based organization, which sponsored his submission, promotes science education for Indian children and teens

And that’s not the only record for Rifath. He is the first Indian student whose experiment will be launched by NASA. It will be launched by sounding rocket from Wallops Island. Rifath talks about his invention and explains-

People of the country are not only proud of you for breaking world records like this, but also because the name of your satellite is also a dedication to Late Dr. Kalam. That says a lot about you. 
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Friday, 12 May 2017

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Everything you Need to know about tachyons, theoretical particles that travel faster than light and move backward in time?

What is known about tachyons, theoretical particles that travel faster than light and move backward in time? Is there scientific reason to think they really exist?

What exactly are tachyons? If they can travel faster than light, how much faster can they go?

Answer 1:

You're learning about tachyons in 10th grade? That is quite ambitious. Tachyons are studied in an area called particle physics, and I must say this is a bit out of my league, but I'll give you some general thoughts. Tachyons are hypothetical particles resulting from what physicists call a thought experiment. Back in the 1960s, some physicists wondered what would happen if matter could travel faster than the speed of light, something that is supposed to be impossible according to the Theory of Relativity. So these particles may or may not exist because they have not been proven or disproven by real experiment as of yet. What people have done is apply existing formulas to the unique properties of tachyons (like imaginary mass!). What comes out is a particles that go faster when they lose energy with a MINIMUM velocity of the speed of light and a maximum velocity of infinity! Hope that helps. Theoretical physics is a weird place and is not too far off from philosophy.

Answer 2:

Let's start by saying that no one has ever seen a tachyon -- they don't exist in a universe that makes sense compared to itself. Since this is a question from the 10th grade, I'll go into a bit of detail.
In Einstein's theory of relativity, the "mass" of an object increases as it goes faster, becoming infinite at the speed of light, so it takes an infinite amount of energy (remember E=mc2 means energy and mass are the same) to reach the speed of light. This is why special relativity says we cannot go faster than the speed of light.
So what we talk about in physics is the mass of the object when it is sitting still, the "rest mass." If an object has a positive rest mass, it goes slower than the speed of light; if it is like light with a zero rest mass, it moves at light speed.What we call a tachyon is a particle (a fundamental particle, like an electron) that has an _imaginary_ rest mass. Naively, putting this into the equations of relativity (1) doesn't make a lot of sense and (2) seems like it would allow a particle faster than light.

I say naively because this is not really the full picture. To understand, we need to know what a fundamental particle is. Imagine that the universe is a ball sitting in a valley between two hills. If the ball gets bumped a little up one hill, it rolls back down and wobbles back and forth for a while. What we call a fundamental particle, like an electron, is really that wobble. The mass of the particle is given by how steep the hills are right near the valley. If we have a tachyon, this is really like the universe ball is at the _top_ of a hill between two valleys -- the mass is still given by how steep the hill is, but now the hill is going down. Then the "tachyon wobble" is when the ball moves away from the top of the hill. But then the ball won't go back to the top of the hill; it will go to a valley, somewhere else! So a tachyon isn't a particle in the usual sense because it's not a small wobble. A tachyon is really an instability in the universe, just like a ball at the top of a hill isn't stable. This is why I say a universe with a tachyon doesn't "make sense."
In the standard model of particle physics, this subject actually is very important. There is a particle called the Higgs particle that, in the early universe, was kept at the top of a hill by the high temperatures that were present in the Big Bang. As the temperatures dropped,eventually the Higgs particle could move around and slid down the hill. So as soon as it could tell it was a tachyon, it rolled away from the top of the hill and stopped being a tachyon. When that happened, the whole universe changed, leaving things the way they are today. This Higgs particle is the only particle in the standard model that hasn't been seen in experiments yet, but scientists believe it will be discovered within about 10 years at some new experiments.

"The name 'tachyon' (from the Greek 'tachys,' meaning swift) was coined by the late Gerald Feinberg of Columbia University. Tachyons have never been found in experiments as real particles traveling through the vacuum, but we predict theoretically that tachyon-like objects exist as faster-than-light 'quasiparticles' moving through laser-like media. (That is, they exist as particle-like excitations, similar to other quasiparticles called phonons and polaritons that are found in solids. 'Laser-like media' is a technical term referring to those media that have inverted atomic populations, the conditions prevailing inside a laser.)
"We are beginning an experiment at Berkeley to detect tachyon-like quasiparticles. There are strong scientific reasons to believe that such quasiparticles really exist, because Maxwell's equations, when coupled to inverted atomic media, lead inexorably to tachyon-like solutions.
"Quantum optical effects can produce a different kind of 'faster than light' effect (see "Faster than light?" by R. Y. Chiao, P. G. Kwiat, and A. M. Steinberg in Scientific American, August 1993). There are actually two different kinds of 'faster-than-light' effects that we have found in quantum optics experiments. (The tachyon-like quasiparticle in inverted media described above is yet a third kind of faster-than-light effect.)
"First, we have discovered that photons which tunnel through a quantum barrier can apparently travel faster than light (see "Measurement of the Single-Photon Tunneling Time" by A. M. Steinberg, P. G. Kwiat, and R. Y. Chiao, Physical Review Letters, Vol. 71, page 708; 1993). Because of the uncertainty principle, the photon has a small but very real chance of appearing suddenly on the far side of the barrier, through a quantum effect (the 'tunnel effect') which would seem impossible according to classical physics. The tunnel effect is so fast that it seems to occur faster than light.
"Second, we have found an effect related to the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen phenomenon, in which two distantly separated photons can apparently influence one anothers' behaviors at two distantly separated detectors (see "High-Visibility Interference in a Bell-Inequality Experiment for Energy and Time,"This effect was first predicted theoretically by Prof. J. D. Franson of Johns Hopkins University. We have found experimentally that twin photons emitted from a common source (a down-conversion crystal) behave in a correlated fashion when they arrive at two distant interferometers. This phenomenon can be described as a 'faster-than-light influence' of one photon upon its twin. Because of the intrinsic randomness of quantum phenomena, however, one cannot control whether a given photon tunnels or not, nor can one control whether a given photon is transmitted or not at the final beam splitter. Hence it is impossible to send true signals in faster-than-light communications.

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