NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed a new exoplanet discovery: the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.
Fifteen years is a long time for any high-tech cryogenic device to continue working, but that is just what an M77 cryocooler aboard NASA's RHESSI satellite has accomplished. Designed by Sunpower, Inc. (CSA CSM), the unit's piston has cycled over 26 billion times over this period. And, as periodic oil changes can't happen in space, the M77 has done so without oil to provide lubrication between the piston and piston wall. Instead, it relies on gas bearings to provide a thin protective layer of gas to prevent collisions.
Oxford Instruments has awarded Dr. Brad Ramshaw, assistant professor at Cornell University, its 2017 LOR Science Prize. The Lee Osheroff Richardson (LOR) Science Prize promotes and recognizes the novel work of young scientists working in the fields of low temperatures or high magnetic fields in the Americas. The trophy and $8,000 prize will be awarded at the Association for Physical Society’s meeting in March in New Orleans.
We regret to report that Peter Gifford, longtime leader of Cryomech, Inc., passed away in January 2017, surrounded by family and friends at his Syracuse home. He was 68. Gifford was a leader in the cryogenic community, a dedicated member of CSA and one of the second-generation industry leaders affectionately dubbed the “Cryomafia.”
The Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events experiment (CUORE) reached a new milestone in late January when its detector reached its operating temperature of 10 mk. The detector has 19 towers formed from 988 Tellurium oxide crystals, and it weighs nearly 1,650 lbs. Engineers finished installing the detector into the experiment's cryostat in August 2016 and have been cooling the system over the last five months.
Researchers at the Ultrafast Laser Lab at the University of Kansas have created a new bilayer material that someday could lead to more efficient and versatile light emission. Each layer, formed by combining atomically thin layers of molybdenum disulfide and rhenium disulfide, measures less than one nanometer in thickness.
The InterAction Collaboration, a group of science communicators from 18 laboratories and institutions from 11 countries, has issued a new report summarizing communication best practices. It covers more than a dozen categories of communication and outreach activities, including managing reputational risks through communications, strategic approaches to communications and outreach, traditional media (newspapers, television and radio), social media, local community engagement and internal communications.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) completed a flight duration test for the cryogenic upper stage of its GSLV MkIII in mid-February. The move marked a significant milestone, according to ISRO, as the 640-second test was the last in series of engine and stage development hot tests before the launch vehicle's first development flight.
Sustainable Innovations, Inc., Greenway Energy and Savannah River National Laboratory have announced a partnership designed to maximize the benefits of two cutting edge hydrogen compressor technologies by combining them into one hybrid compressor with both high reliability and efficiency.
Highview Power Storage, a designer and developer of large-scale energy storage solutions for utility and distributed power systems, has agreed to enter ACRE, New York City’s business incubator for smart cities, smart grid and clean energy at the Urban Future Lab (UFL) located at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
The ITER community is celebrating a significant milestone: the end of a nine-year campaign to procure 88 km of niobium-tin superconductor for ITER's toroidal field coils. The total represents some 825 tons of material with an estimated market value of 350 million euros. Six ITER Members—China, Europe, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States—participated in the process, ITER's longest running procurement effort.
In physics, as in many other branches of science, there is often a huge gap between the number of men and women. At CERN, for example, only 20 percent of the community are women. In an attempt to encourage and attract more women to choose science—and particularly physics—as a career, CERN recently held events supporting both Gender in Physics Day and the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.