Quantum Computer Made from Photons Achieves a New Record

Boson sampling can be thought of as a quantum version of a classical device called the bean machine. In that device, balls are dropped onto rows of pegs, which they bounce off of, landing in slots at the bottom. The random motion of the balls typically leads to a normal distribution in the slots: most balls fall near the center, and fewer fall toward the sides, tapering off at the edges. Classical computers can easily simulate random motion to predict this result.

Source: Quantum Computer Made from Photons Achieves a New Record – Scientific American

Salesforce Transit Center: San Francisco’s $2.2 Billion Cracks

And the review determined that the two affected beams, both over 60 feet long, barely moved an inch due to the fractures. The redundancies in design guaranteed the beams’ stability. The overall safety of the building was never compromised. If those workers hadn’t discovered the cracks by chance, we still might not know about them.

Source: Salesforce Transit Center: San Francisco’s $2.2 Billion Cracks

Counterintuitive physics property found to be widespread in living organisms

Ever since the late 19th century, physicists have known about a counterintuitive property of some electric circuits called negative resistance. Typically, increasing the voltage in a circuit causes the electric current to increase as well. But under some conditions, increasing the voltage can cause the current to decrease instead. This basically means that pushing harder on the electric charges actually slows them down

Source: Counterintuitive physics property found to be widespread in living organisms

Scientists invented air conditioners for the climate change age

Their invention looks a lot like a solar panel. A flat metal panel is covered in a sheet of the material—a high-tech film—the trio invented. The material reflects the light and heat of the sun so effectively that the temperature beneath the film can drop 5 to 10-degrees Celsius (9 to 18-degrees Fahrenheit) lower than the air around it. A system of pipes behind the metal panel are exposed to that colder temperature, cooling the fluid inside before it’s sent out to current-day refrigeration systems.

Source: Scientists invented air conditioners for the climate change age — Quartz

Why NASA Should Bake Cookies in Space

Those hotel chocolate-chip cookies will be the closest astronauts have come to truly baking something in their high-flying kitchens. NASA says astronauts won’t actually eat the cookies, because they are, technically, a science experiment. The treats will be returned home for examination.

Source: Why NASA Should Bake Cookies in Space – The Atlantic

NanoRacks created a cylinder-shaped oven lined with heating components that can bring the interior temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It bakes one slab of cookie dough, which is held in place inside a sealed tray, at a time. The oven will plug into an apparatus about the size of carry-on luggage that supports scientific experiments with electricity, cooling, and other needs.

Debris From India’s Anti-Satellite Test Raised Threat To Space Station

As he spoke about the heightened risk, the NASA administrator also emphasized that both the space station and the astronauts aboard it are safe. The station can be maneuvered out of harm’s way if needed, he added.

But another danger, he said, is that “when one country does it, then other countries feel like they have to do it, as well.”

Source: NASA: Debris From India’s Anti-Satellite Test Raised Threat To Space Station : NPR

The Moonrush has begun

On February 21, the first mission of the Moonrush embarked aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. The Beresheet lunar lander built by Israel’s SpaceIL was launched as a secondary payload, sharing the ride with the Indonesian communications satellite PSN-6. After reaching geostationary transfer orbit, Beresheet and the communications satellite separated from the Falcon 9 launcher. The communications satellite will propel itself to geostationary Earth orbit. Meanwhile, Beresheet is slowly raising its orbit. In early April the spacecraft will enter lunar orbit, then land on the Moon.

Source: The Space Review: The Moonrush has begun

NASA’s New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World

“New Horizons is like a time machine, taking us back to the birth of the solar system. We are seeing a physical representation of the beginning of planetary formation, frozen in time,” said Jeff Moore, New Horizons Geology and Geophysics team lead. “Studying Ultima Thule is helping us understand how planets form — both those in our own solar system and those orbiting other stars in our galaxy.”

Source: New Horizons: News Article?page=20190102

First ever plane with no moving parts takes flight

In the prototype plane, wires at the leading edge of the wing have 600 watts of electrical power pumped through them at 40,000 volts. This is enough to induce “electron cascades”, ultimately charging air molecules near the wire. Those charged molecules then flow along the electrical field towards a second wire at the back of the wing, bumping into neutral air molecules on the way, and imparting energy to them. Those neutral air molecules then stream out of the back of the plane, providing thrust.

Source: First ever plane with no moving parts takes flight | Science | The Guardian