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  • richardmitnick 10:39 am on July 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Travel to Mars with Perseverance Ingenuity and Hope", , CSIROscope   

    From CSIROscope: “Travel to Mars with Perseverance, Ingenuity and Hope” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    27 July 2020
    Glen Nagle

    It’s time to travel to Mars again! Every 26 months, the orbits of Earth and Mars line up in such a way that spacecraft can take the most energy efficient path between these two worlds.

    Miss that window and you must wait another two years before you can try again.

    So, it takes mission engineers, scientists and planners a lot of perseverance, ingenuity and hope to achieve that tight goal.

    Appropriately, these three human traits are also the names of three robots heading for the Red Planet. All three missions will be supported by the antennas at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, which we manage for NASA.

    NASA Canberra, AU, Deep Space Network


    NASA Deep Space Network Canberra, Australia, radio telescopes on watch.


    The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, which we manage for NASA, supports over 35 spacecraft from dozens of nations exploring the Solar System and beyond.

    Perseverance

    NASA’s latest ambitious mission is the Perseverance rover. It’s due to launch on 30 July. Perseverance is a cousin to the Curiosity rover which has been exploring Mars since 2012. It will return samples of Martian rock and soil to Earth for examination in the hunt for clues to ancient life.

    The planned landing site is Jezero Crater. It features a winding river channel that has deposited sediments fanning into a wide, but now dry, river delta system.

    Mission scientists believe this location offers some of the best opportunities to look for signs of past life. So, it’s where the rover will collect and store materials for later return to Earth.

    One of the instruments on the rover’s robot arm is PIXL, the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry. PIXL is an x-ray spectrometer and camera. It is built to identify the chemical signature and features of rocks and soil as small as a grain of salt.

    PIXL’s lead scientist is geologist and astrobiologist Abigail Allwood. Abigail now works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California and she is the first woman and Australian to be a Principal Investigator on a NASA mission to Mars.

    perseverence

    NASA Perseverence Mars Rover annotated

    Perseverence

    NASA Perseverance Mars Rover

    Ingenuity

    Perseverance won’t travel to Mars alone. Tucked beneath the belly of the rover, to be deployed soon after landing, is the first helicopter designed to operate on another planet.

    NASA Mars Ingenuity helicopter traveling with Perseverance rover

    Ingenuity is a 1.8 kg vehicle with twin-blade rotors. It will fly through the thin Martian atmosphere and investigate the terrain near the rover. Ingenuity’s photos will be relayed back to Earth through a wi-fi link with the rover. The images will help identify areas beyond the rover’s ground view that could be of interest for further investigation.

    Hope

    The dreams and aspirations of all explorers are, in one way or another, built on hope.

    Nations like the United States have led the way in successful Mars’ missions over the last four decades. Now, new players like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have made their own bold entry into the exploration of Mars with a vehicle called ‘Al Amal’ or ‘Hope’.

    UAE Mars spacecraft Hope

    A Japanese rocket launched Hope on 20 July 2020. The UAE’s first interplanetary mission will enter orbit at Mars in February 2021. This is around the same time Perseverance and Ingenuity are due to arrive.

    Hope will examine the Martian atmosphere, detailing the climate and daily weather patterns. If successful it will join eight other missions that will be active in orbit or on the surface of Mars.

    Further travel to Mars

    Future visitors to Mars include China’s Tianwen-1 mission and the European Space Agency’s ExoMars ‘Rosalind Franklin’ rover.

    Chinese Tiawen-1 Mars rover

    ESA/Roscosmos Exomars 2020 Rosalind Franklin rover depiction

    None of these missions just happen. And Mars has proven to be a hard destination to reach. Over fifty percent of missions have failed.

    To make it to the Red Planet you must beat seemingly impossible odds. But with perseverance, ingenuity and hope you can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and reach for the stars.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.


    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:41 am on July 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Winning the war on Great Barrier Reef crown-of-thorns starfish", , CSIROscope, , ,   

    From CSIROscope: “Winning the war on Great Barrier Reef crown-of-thorns starfish” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    21 July 2020
    Amy Edwards

    1
    Crown of thorns starfish on coral at Rib Reef near Townsville. Credit: David Westcott.

    It’s taken a well-coordinated army, but researchers and reef managers are finally toppling the crown.

    The crown-of-thorns starfish that is.

    These hungry critters have been a long-time predator of coral. Their tasty battle ground is the beautiful Great Barrier Reef.

    They feed by extruding their stomach out of their bodies and onto the coral reef. Then they use enzymes to digest the coral polyps.

    Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) are a native coral predator. But when populations reach outbreak status (about 15 starfish per hectare), they eat hard corals faster than they can grow. During an outbreak, crown-of-thorns starfish can eat 90 per cent of live coral tissue on a reef. This puts added pressure on the reef on top of threats like bleaching and climate change.

    Scientists don’t know what causes outbreaks of COTS. But they think ocean ‘stressors’ play a part. This includes spikes in ocean nutrients caused by coastal and agricultural run-off into the ocean as well as a loss of predators due to overfishing.

    Now for the good news. An adaptive approach to managing the coral-eating starfish has reduced their numbers at key reefs. So much so they can no longer consume coral faster than it can grow back.

    You and what army?

    2
    A diver collects a starfish for research. Credit: David Westcott.

    The Great Barrier Reef is currently in the midst of its fourth major COTS outbreak since the 1960s.

    This current outbreak has been underway since 2010. Researchers, working with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, have been testing their new management strategy on more than 160 priority reefs across the Great Barrier Reef. Professional COTS divers (including Indigenous and youth trainees) and control vessel operators have culled more than 700,000 starfish.

    The new process means the team can adapt quickly based on up-to-date information. It also considers research on the starfish’s biology and reef ecology.

    The secret weapon against crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef

    3
    Crown of thorns starfish surrounded by the white dead coral it has eaten. Credit: David Westcott.

    And what does this army use to slay the crown? Vinegar. Yep, the same trusty condiment found in your kitchen cupboard.

    Divers inject the starfish with either vinegar or bile salt solution and leave them in place on the reef. These techniques kill quickly and effectively with no negative impacts on the marine environment. Within 24 hours there’s basically nothing left of the starfish, who go into an autoimmune self-destructive process.

    Victory for the taking

    The Expanded Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Control Program’s success marks a huge milestone for scientists, managers and on-water control teams. They have shown their approach to culling is effective at reef and regional scales.

    As a result, the Federal Government has awarded contracts worth $28.6 million to help win the war against COTS.

    The government has committed five, fully-crewed boats over the next two years. This will address what remains one of the most significant threats to the reef.

    More information on the crown of thorns starfish great barrier reef research is in the recently published technical report.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.


    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:17 pm on July 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ASKAP searches for afterglow of gravitational wave", , , , , , CSIROscope, LIGO-Virgo Finds Mystery Object in "Mass Gap"   

    From CSIROscope: “ASKAP searches for afterglow of gravitational wave” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    24 June 2020
    Annabelle Young

    1
    Scientists have made a new gravitational waves discovery. Image credit: C. Knox/ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav).

    Scientists are puzzled by a new gravitational waves discovery. Have they discovered the heaviest neutron star or the lightest black hole ever observed?

    More than a century ago, Albert Einstein predicted massive objects like neutron stars and black holes produce ripples in space as they orbit one another and eventually merge in a violent clash.

    Gravitational waves from a black hole merger were first detected in 2015. Two years later researchers found not only gravitational waves but gamma-rays, light and radio waves from the merger of a pair of neutron stars.

    The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) discovered these gravitational waves or ‘ripples’ in space.


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project


    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    It bagged three of its founders the 2017 Nobel prize in physics.

    LIGO’s system of lasers, mirrors and vacuum tubes make it the most precise ‘ruler’ on Earth. It’s capable of detecting these previously invisible ripples in space, which are smaller than the diameter of a proton.

    In August 2019, astronomers received an alert that LIGO had detected gravitational waves from a new type of event. The long-awaited merger of a suspected neutron star and a black hole!

    ASKAP [below] on patrol for a gravitational waves discovery

    Within minutes of receiving the alert, a team led by Professor Tara Murphy at The University of Sydney activated plans to use our ASKAP radio telescope. They were searching for the afterglow produced by the merger.

    Because gravitational waves are so hard to detect, LIGO can’t pinpoint where these mergers occur. So, they send the astronomy community a ‘sky map’ indicating a region where the event happened. Often these maps cover as much as a quarter of the sky. This takes hundreds of hours to search using a regular telescope.

    ASKAP is equipped with novel receivers that give it a wide-angle lens on the sky. In one pointing, ASKAP can view an area of sky about the size of the Southern Cross.

    Coincidentally, the sky map sent by LIGO for the detection of this merger was about the same size as ASKAP’s field of view. This allowed Tara’s team to observe almost the whole area of the map at once.

    Nine days after the merger, the ASKAP team found a source known as AT2019osy that had nearly doubled in brightness over the course of a week. The smoking gun of a radio afterglow?

    “We immediately alerted thousands of astronomers involved in the gravitational wave follow-up effort, and telescopes across the world, and in space, began slewing to observe our candidate,” team member Dougal Dobie, a co-supervised PhD student at The University of Sydney and CSIRO said.

    False start but the tide’s rising

    “Unfortunately, these observations suggested AT2019osy was produced by normal activity from the black hole at the centre of a galaxy and unrelated to the merger,” Dougal said.

    Continued ASKAP searches didn’t find any other candidates. This might seem disappointing but the ASKAP team say the effort was not wasted. A non-detection rules out several scenarios and helps place limits on the energy released during the merger.

    Hints of a deeper mystery

    Ongoing analysis of the LIGO data has shown the lack of a radio counterpart may even support the idea something unexpected is happening. The signal received by LIGO when a merger occurs depends on the mass of the two objects involved. Initial analysis suggested the merger of a neutron star and a black hole. But a recent announcement suggests this may not be the entire story.

    https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/from-northwestern-university-ligo-virgo-finds-mystery-astronomical-object-in-mass-gap/

    “We may have discovered either the heaviest neutron star or the lightest black hole ever observed. If it really is a heavy neutron star, this will radically alter our understanding of nuclear matter in the densest, most extreme environments in the Universe,” Rory Smith from OzGrav-Monash University said.

    The presence or absence of a radio counterpart may help tip the balance one way or another.

    Catching the next wave

    The era of gravitational wave research is still young. As the sensitivity of LIGO improves, it will detect more mergers at even greater distances.

    “This is just the tip of the iceberg. ASKAP’s fast survey capability will enable us to probe the sky deeper and wider than ever before, playing a key role in understanding these mergers,” Tara said.

    We acknowledge the Wajarri Yamatji as the traditional owners of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory site.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:29 pm on June 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Canyon deep, , CSIROscope, , , , sea-mountain high: using echoes to map ocean depths", Sea-mountaineering in the murky ocean depths, The Geophysical Survey and Mapping (GSM) team go about uncovering the seafloor’s mysteries.   

    From CSIROscope: “Canyon deep, sea-mountain high: using echoes to map ocean depths” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    25 June 2020
    Chris Berry
    Phil Vandenbossche
    Chris Gerbing

    The ocean depths hold many secrets. They’re also one of the planet’s final frontiers for discovery. Great undersea mountain ranges and enormous canyons hide clues about our planet, its history and how it works. The deep sea even holds clues to our own past through the time capsules of ancient shipwrecks.

    We use our research vessel RV Investigator, with its array of specialised and sophisticated scientific equipment, to peer into the ocean depths and uncover these well-hidden secrets.

    RV Investigator Australia. CSIRO

    Echoes from the ocean depths

    Aboard RV Investigator, the Geophysical Survey and Mapping (GSM) team go about uncovering the seafloor’s mysteries. They utilise highly specialised sonar equipment. The sonar equipment ‘pings’ sound into the depths. It then waits for these sounds to echo back from the seabed. It’s like how a bat uses sound waves and echoes to navigate in the dark – a natural skill called echolocation.

    The different instruments and the different frequency of sounds shed light on an otherwise dark and silent world. You might have already learned about our machines that go ping from our RV Investigator voyage down the East Australian Current.

    1
    Inside the operations room onboard RV Investigator.

    From ‘ping’ to product

    The GSM team carefully monitor the ship’s sonar data throughout all its voyages. From the cold and windy Southern Ocean to the sweltering tropics and the Great Barrier Reef.

    Our sonar gear is always on. So as RV Investigator covers vast tracts of ocean, huge amounts of data are gathered. This data needs to be stored and interpreted by the technical and research teams on the ship. But it is used in many ways. One of the most important is to create highly detailed 3D maps of the seabed.

    Sea-mountaineering in the murky ocean depths

    Ascending from 5000 metres below the ocean is the Zeehan Seamount. It was recently mapped by the RV Investigator and stands 2500 metres above the seabed. It’s also part of the Tasmantid Seamount chain in the northern part of the Tasman Sea.

    There are more than 14,200 seamounts scattered across the world’s oceans. Seamounts are known to form over mantle plumes, or ‘hotspots’. They are extra hot parts of the Earth’s inner layers (mantle). As a result, these ‘hotspots’ are sometimes able to push through the outer surface (crust) of the Earth where the molten rock accumulates. And, in some cases, form seamounts.

    Chains of seamounts form when the Earth’s outer surface, or tectonic plates, move over these ‘hotspots’. And they create not just one, but a series of undersea mountains. To piece together the story of these seamounts and understand more about their formation, the GSM team use 3D maps. The team combines its maps with a host of other datasets. This includes what the seabed is made of and what lies beneath it.

    3
    This is a 3D view of Zeehan (left) and Heemskirk (right) Seamounts. Scientists on board RV Investigator in 2018 mapped them.

    These datasets are like parts of a jigsaw, which help scientists piece together the mysteries of our planet and all its land and sea formations. By understanding these formations and the processes that formed them, we can better predict the future of our planet.

    We go deep

    We’ve pulled together some of the recent geophysical survey data collected from voyages around Australia to show you how we map the ocean floor. This web page highlights some fundamentals of seamounts, submarine canyons, ridges, seabed iceberg scouring and even shipwrecks. Here are a few of the great underwater visualisations that you can learn more about.

    3
    About three million shipwrecks litter the oceans across the globe. About 8000 of these are believed to lie around the shores of Australia. The SS Lake Illawarra (pictured) wreck is located in the Derwent River in Hobart and surveyed in detail.

    4
    You may have heard of the Hawaiian volcano chain. But what about our own Australian chain? The Tasmantid seamount chain consists of 16 extinct volcanoes, some with elevations of more than 4000 metres. The volcanoes are aged from six to 40 million years old. The seamount chain spans 2000 km across the Coral and Tasman Seas. Data sourced from GEBCO.

    4
    When an iceberg drifts into shallow waters, its base or keel can come into contact with the seabed. And this causes scours. We’ve mapped scours carved into the seabed by icebergs adrift in the Southern Ocean.

    5
    Bremer Canyon, off the coast of Bremer Bay in Western Australia, is one of Australia’s marine biodiversity hotspots. It starts atop the continental shelf in 100–200 metres of water before plunging to abyssal depths of more than 4000 metres. Background data sourced from GEBCO.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:05 pm on June 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Powering our future oceans with floating research labs", And for tackling plastic waste, CSIROscope, Floating lab a big tick for ecosystem rehabilitation, , Wait – don’t we already have a floating lab?   

    From CSIROscope: “Powering our future oceans with floating research labs” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    18 June 2020
    Sophie Schmidt

    From Wes Anderson to Jules Verne and the masterpiece that was Waterworld, for decades, the fictional idea of a floating science lab or research ark has captivated our imaginations.

    The fourth and final winner of our World Oceans Day Competition got us wondering about fact versus fiction. Here’s what Rita de Heer suggested.

    “Convert large superfluous still-seaworthy freighters into floating island arks to accompany gyre clean-up efforts, using onboard sustainable power plants to fuel living and research quarters, labs, pools and ponds for rehabilitation of sea-creatures to arrest the ongoing losses to plastics.”

    1
    Convert large sea freighters? Rita had a winning idea. Illustration by Campbell Whyte.

    So, what’s the viability of a floating lab? We asked our scientists for their thoughts.

    Floating lab a big tick for ecosystem rehabilitation

    Each year, our coral reef researcher Christopher Doropoulos heads to the Great Barrier Reef to witness and learn from annual coral spawning events.

    When it comes to studying coral, it’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments. Some coral species spawn like clockwork. On a set number of days after the full moon and hours after sunset – but there are always exceptions.

    “It’s a bit nerve wracking, because there’s so much anticipation leading up to it. We have a general idea of when it’s going to happen but not the exact moment,” Chris said.

    “So every day we prepare in case the spawning event occurs. The initial set-up requires continual maintenance. Our research activities can go on for 48 or 72 hours, often running on limited sleep.”

    Being able to travel on an equipped research ark to observe and harness coral spawning events around the world would come in handy. Coral researchers need to take samples during the spawning event, so a research ark would allow them to access the events and then mimic the natural environment on board.

    Chris’ fieldwork is critical to understanding the lifecycle of coral. It provides essential knowledge for future rehabilitation efforts. Researchers usually rely on aerial surveys to capture the span of coral bleaching events. Then water surveys are used to diagnose the mortality of the corals on the reef. Surveys conducted on the ark could include diving or technology deployed off the research ship. For example towed cameras, or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) or remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

    We could put more research stations where they are needed, bolstering future rehabilitation with improved data collection. This could help researchers target known areas for rare and endangered species. There are over 600 different types of coral in the Great Barrier Reef alone!

    “Corals can recover from bleaching. But it depends on the severity of the event on whether those corals will die or recover,” Chris said.

    2
    Coral spawning is one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments. Itusually only happens once a year after a full moon. Image: Christopher Doropoulos.

    And for tackling plastic waste

    Dr Qamar Schuyler is a research scientist in our marine debris team. She looks at the impact of marine debris on creatures like sea turtles.

    “There are a lot of things that appealed to me about this idea. Especially reusing something that already exists, like a vessel,” Qamar said.

    “One of the challenges of studying ocean plastics is that we have a mammoth area of ocean and we can only hit a targeted number of spots.”

    Much of Qamar’s current research is on land and nearshore areas. In 2018, her team shed light on the impact of plastic on sea turtles found in coastal areas.

    “We found that it is a numbers game. 14 ingested pieces of plastic causes a relatively high rate of mortality for coastal turtles but we have far fewer data on the turtles in the open ocean.”

    “Not all plastics are created equal. Some are quite harmful and some are not. Out in the open ocean, there are different types of plastic, and they tend to be smaller. It would not be out of the question to think that a turtle out there could eat far more plastics before having a 50 per cent mortality risk.”

    A platform at sea would also allow specialists to come across animals that might have a chance at rehabilitation. Before they have washed up on shore.

    As for Rita’s suggestion on ocean clean ups, there are lots of challenges. Even at the densest points in oceanic gyres, Qamar describes it as “only specks of plastic in the big soup of an ocean. It’s not as simple as putting a net in and scooping it up.”

    “Do we have the knowledge and technology to create a plastic–free ocean? I think we do, but achieving that will take a global effort,” Qamar said.

    “Ultimately, we want to stop plastics entering the ocean in the first instance. Our research is looking at the whole of the pipeline. Starting at the top by changing how we manufacture materials. Then working down the chain to avoid single use plastics. By the time plastic reaches the ocean, we’re about as far down the pipeline as you can get. In that sense, cleaning up is the least useful point.”

    3
    Investigator was purpose-built for a wide-range of research. The ship before it was the Southern Surveyor which was a converted fisheries trawler that was refitted for research.

    Wait – don’t we already have a floating lab?

    We have our own research vessel, Investigator, which can spend up to 300 days at sea per year!

    Marine geophysicist Tara Martin was part of the team who commissioned the scientific equipment on board Investigator. Tara said the ship can support some live animals on board and has a raft of sustainability measures in place.

    “We have incubation tanks on the deck, which we sometimes fill with seawater to grow and transport sea creatures we’re studying such as krill,” Tara said.

    “The vessel is capable of making its own fresh water from the sea water around it. We have a strict recycling program on board too.”

    Before Investigator, we had Southern Surveyor which was originally a trawler converted into a research vessel. But we’ll explain why it might not be what Rita had in mind.

    “We know large vessels require lots of people and power to run. Ships use a lot of energy to get to where they’re going and to ‘keep the lights on,’” Tara said.

    “Gyres are marine creature hotspots, but they also move, so it would need to travel to keep up with one. The ocean is also a harsh environment for metal.”

    And in terms of renewable energy on research vessels like solar power, it isn’t out of the question. But there’s some considerations around the technology being ready.

    “So far, only smaller vessels, like AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) operate on renewables like wave or solar power,” Tara said.

    Tara agrees it would be fantastic to find a job for the many old freighters which roam our oceans. But it might be more viable to consider some small-scale autonomous solutions for our future oceans instead.

    Congratulations again Rita for your thought-provoking idea for a floating lab!

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:53 am on June 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Closing in on the cosmic mystery of fast radio bursts", ASKAP radio telescope in Western Australia, , , , , CSIROscope, , Professor Duncan Lorimer from West Virginia University first discovered fast radio bursts in 2007.   

    From CSIROscope: “Closing in on the cosmic mystery of fast radio bursts” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    12 June 2020
    Annabelle Young

    1
    Our ASKAP radio telescope in Western Australia [below] has detected the precise location of four fast radio bursts. Image: Sam Moorfield.

    Imagine you’re part of a team working to solve today’s biggest mystery in astronomy. Well, our very own Dr Shivani Bhandari is on that team and she just led a recent breakthrough.

    The team is the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) CRAFT survey science team. And they’ve been investigating the phenomenon known as fast radio bursts.

    Professor Duncan Lorimer from West Virginia University first discovered fast radio bursts in 2007. It was an unexpected discovery while he was analysing data from our Parkes radio telescope (aka ‘The Dish’).

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level

    Fast radio bursts are brief explosions in the distant Universe. They are extremely bright. They release more energy in a millisecond than our Sun emits in 80 years. See video below for a visual explainer.

    Fast radio bursts are the hottest topic in astronomy. These bright bursts baffle researchers. But they’re pretty sure whatever is causing them is associated with an extreme astrophysical environment. The hunt is on to solve this cosmic mystery.

    ASKAP pinpoints location of one-off radio burst 4 billion light years away.

    Neighourhood galaxy watch

    ASKAP is a survey telescope, based in remote Western Australia. And to date it has revealed some vital clues about fast radio bursts. In 2017, it detected its first fast radio burst after just eight hours of searching. Then in 2018, it found 20 more, almost doubling the number of known bursts. And then in 2019, it traced a fast radio burst to its originating galaxy six billion light years from Earth.

    Now, this is where Shivani’s research comes in [The Astrophysical Journal Letters]. Using a specially designed detector on ASKAP, Shivani and her team found the exact location of four new fast radio bursts.

    Then astronomers conducted follow-up observations with the world’s largest optical telescopes.

    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo,

    Frederick C Gillett Gemini North Telescope Maunakea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft), above sea level,


    Shivani used these images to study the neighbourhood surrounding each burst, providing clues about their origins.

    “I wanted to see if there were any patterns in the sort of galaxies that host fast radio bursts. Similarities between their neighbourhoods could suggest a common cause,” Shivani said.

    Pieces of the puzzle

    Shivani’s research is the first detailed study of the galaxies that host fast radio bursts. It rules out several of the more extreme theories put forward to explain their origins.

    “The precisely localised fast radio bursts came from the outskirts of their home galaxies. This removes the possibility they have anything to do with supermassive black holes,” Shivani said.

    Even more surprising, the astronomers found all four bursts came from massive galaxies with modest star-forming rates. Very similar to our own Milky Way galaxy.

    This means the CRAFT team has also ruled out other theories like extremely bright exploding stars and cosmic strings. Other ideas like collisions of compact stars, such as white dwarfs and neutron stars are still looking good.

    Glowing commendations

    Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a postgraduate student in 1967 when she first detected rapidly spinning neutron stars now known as ‘pulsars’. Now a legend in international astronomy, Dame Jocelyn praised Shivani’s research.

    “Positioning the sources of fast radio bursts is a huge technical achievement and moves the field on enormously,” Dame Jocelyn said.

    “We may not yet be clear exactly what is going on, but now, at last, options are being ruled out.”

    2
    Pioneer of pulsars Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell-Burnell (right) and Dr Shivani Bhandari (left) in 2018.

    Shivani and the ASKAP CRAFT team continue to lead the world in identifying the location of fast radio bursts. Finding and localising more bursts will lead to a better understanding of their galaxy hosts. And ultimately solve the mystery of what causes them.

    Our ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia. CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri Yamatji as the traditional owners of the MRO site.

    ___________________________________________________

    Women in STEM – Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell Discovered pulsars

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered pulsars with radio astronomy. Jocelyn Bell at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge University, taken for the Daily Herald newspaper in 1968. Denied the Nobel.

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell at work on first plusar chart 1967 pictured working at the Four Acre Array in 1967. Image courtesy of Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory.

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell 2009

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell (1943 – ), still working from http://www. famousirishscientists.weebly.com

    Biography

    British astrophysicist, scholar and trailblazer Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered the space-based phenomena known as pulsars, going on to establish herself as an esteemed leader in her field.Who Is Jocelyn Bell Burnell?
    Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a British astrophysicist and astronomer. As a research assistant, she helped build a large radio telescope and discovered pulsars, providing the first direct evidence for the existence of rapidly spinning neutron stars. In addition to her affiliation with Open University, she has served as dean of science at the University of Bath and president of the Royal Astronomical Society. Bell Burnell has also earned countless awards and honors during her distinguished academic career.

    Early Life

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell was born Susan Jocelyn Bell on July 15, 1943, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her parents were educated Quakers who encouraged their daughter’s early interest in science with books and trips to a nearby observatory. Despite her appetite for learning, however, Bell Burnell had difficulty in grade school and failed an exam intended to measure her readiness for higher education.

    Undeterred, her parents sent her to England to study at a Quaker boarding school, where she quickly distinguished herself in her science classes. Having proven her aptitude for higher learning, Bell Burnell attended the University of Glasgow, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1965.

    Little Green Men

    In 1965, Bell Burnell began her graduate studies in radio astronomy at Cambridge University. One of several research assistants and students working under astronomers Anthony Hewish, her thesis advisor, and Martin Ryle, over the next two years she helped construct a massive radio telescope designed to monitor quasars. By 1967, it was operational and Bell Burnell was tasked with analyzing the data it produced. After spending endless hours pouring over the charts, she noticed some anomalies that did not fit with the patterns produced by quasars and called them to Hewish’s attention.

    Over the ensuing months, the team systematically eliminated all possible sources of the radio pulses—which they affectionately labeled Little Green Men, in reference to their potentially artificial origins—until they were able to deduce that they were made by neutron stars, fast-spinning collapsed stars too small to form black holes.

    Pulsars and Nobel Prize Controversy

    Their findings were published in the February 1968 issue of Nature and caused an immediate sensation. Intrigued as much by the novelty of a woman scientist as by the astronomical significance of the team’s discovery, which was labeled pulsars—for pulsating radio stars—the press picked up the story and showered Bell Burnell with attention. That same year, she earned her Ph.D. in radio astronomy from Cambridge University.

    However, in 1974, only Hewish and Ryle received the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work. Many in the scientific community raised their objections, believing that Bell Burnell had been unfairly snubbed. However, Bell Burnell humbly rejected the notion, feeling that the prize had been properly awarded given her status as a graduate student, though she has also acknowledged that gender discrimination may have been a contributing factor.

    Life on the Electromagnetic Spectrum

    Nobel Prize or not, Bell Burnell’s depth of knowledge regarding radio astronomy and the electromagnetic spectrum has earned her a lifetime of respect in the scientific community and an esteemed career in academia. After receiving her doctorate from Cambridge, she taught and studied gamma ray astronomy at the University of Southampton. Bell Burnell then spent eight years as a professor at University College London, where she focused on x-ray astronomy.

    During this same time, she began her affiliation with Open University, where she would later work as a professor of physics while studying neurons and binary stars, and also conducted research in infrared astronomy at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. She was the Dean of Science at the University of Bath from 2001 to 2004, and has been a visiting professor at such esteemed institutions as Princeton University and Oxford University.

    Array of Honors and Achievements

    In recognition of her achievements, Bell Burnell has received countless awards and honors, including Commander and Dame of the Order of the British Empire in 1999 and 2007, respectively; an Oppenheimer prize in 1978; and the 1989 Herschel Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, for which she would serve as president from 2002 to 2004. She was president of the Institute of Physics from 2008 to 2010, and has served as president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh since 2014. Bell Burnell also has honorary degrees from an array of universities too numerous to mention.

    Personal Life

    In 1968, Jocelyn married Martin Burnell, from whom she took her surname, with the two eventually divorcing in 1993. The two have a son, Gavin, who has also become a physicist.

    A documentary on Bell Burnell’s life, Northern Star, aired on the BBC in 2007.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:50 am on June 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mapping our oceans: running the machines that go ‘ping’", , Collecting multiple ‘pings’ provides a 3D picture of the seafloor. They show features like canyons; seafloor mountains (called seamounts); valleys and abyssal plains., CSIROscope,   

    From CSIROscope: “Mapping our oceans: running the machines that go ‘ping’” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    9 June 2020
    Matt Marrison

    1
    Matt Boyd is a hydrographic surveyor who has been on many research voyages with RV Investigator. He helps with mapping the seafloor.

    RV Investigator Australia. CSIRO

    The year is 2018. Matt Boyd is on board RV Investigator on a journey down the East Australian Current. He’s on a ship full of eager scientists, support staff, teachers, a camera crew and 20 of the ship’s crew. Little do they know what adventures and discoveries lie ahead!

    There’s a lot of advanced equipment on board our research vessel (RV) Investigator. But one piece of equipment often surrounded by a crowd of excited onlookers is the machine that goes ‘ping’! It’s many people’s favourite.

    Putting the ‘ping’ in mapping the seafloor

    Researchers use the machine that goes ‘ping!’ for mapping the seafloor and its features.

    On this particular voyage, researchers are using the machine to map the seafloor beneath the East Australian Current. And to hunt for shipwrecks!

    The man who switches everything on and makes the machine go ‘ping’ is Matt. He’s a hydrographic surveyor from our Oceans and Atmosphere team. Matt works with the scientists to support the research on RV Investigator and interpret the data from the machine that goes ‘ping’. He actually looks after three machines that go ‘ping’ on board. Each of which has a slightly different purpose and ‘ping’.

    2
    Matt Boyd and Emily Jateff from the Australian National Maritime Museum look at seafloor mapping results.

    What is the ‘ping’?

    The ‘ping’ the machines produce – which are also known as multibeam echosounders (MBES), a type of sonar – is a sound wave. The sound wave is emitted from a gondola (large wing-shaped structure) mounted beneath the ship’s hull. It travels through the water to the seafloor below, where it bounces and then returns to the ship. Basically, the machine creates echoes. Scientists record the time taken for this echo to return to the ship and figure out the speed of sound in the seawater. Both allow the depth of the ocean to be accurately determined.

    On RV Investigator, the machines that go ‘ping’ don’t just put out one beam of sound though. They can pump out hundreds of ‘pings’ at once. This allows the ship to map a ribbon of seafloor called a ‘swath’ every time. These beams can map a swath up to six times the ocean depth with widths up to a massive 30 kilometres in a single pass of the ship when in the deepest water.

    Collecting multiple ‘pings’ provides a 3D picture of the seafloor. They show features like canyons, seafloor mountains (called seamounts), valleys and abyssal plains. All many thousands of metres below the ocean surface. These seafloor features can have a big impact on the movement of water in the East Australian Current. For example, features such as seamounts can force deep ocean water towards to surface. As a result, it creates ‘upwellings’ of nutrients to create a bloom of life in the sea above.

    3
    Seafloor features such as seamounts can push deep ocean currents carrying nutrients towards the surface. Supplied: Wild Pacific Media.

    Different ways to say ‘ping’

    The three machines that go ‘ping’ on RV Investigator operate on slightly different frequencies. They’re designed to produce seafloor maps in different depths of the ocean. Between them, they can create high-quality maps from anywhere in Australia’s vast marine environment. Two of these machines are always on board, while the third joins the party when mapping in shallow water.

    The lowest frequency of ‘ping’ is produced by machine EM122.

    3
    EM122.

    This is used to map the ocean floor down to 11,000 metres. The next machine, the EM710, produces a higher frequency ‘ping’ and is capable of mapping down to 2500 metres. Lastly, the highest frequency ‘ping’ is produced by machine EM2040. This is a portable system added to RV Investigator to map in high resolution at depths down to 300 metres.

    6
    EM2040

    Only a small percentage of Australia’s vast marine environment has been mapped in detail. This means the advanced equipment on RV Investigator has plenty of opportunities to make interesting discoveries every time the ship puts out to sea.

    On this particular voyage, Matt is working with a maritime archaeologist from the Australian National Maritime Museum to look for shipwrecks off the NSW coast. Two previously identified shipwrecks were mapped during the voyage. But it’s a shipwreck discovery made the year before that creates excitement when it’s finally announced to the world during this voyage.

    And it was Matt who helped make the discovery.

    4
    Ping! Can you spot it? This blip is sailing vessel Carlisle, a 60m shipwreck lying on the sandy seafloor of Bass Strait.

    5
    Sailing vessel Carlisle, which was wrecked in 1890 and found in 2017 by RV Investigator. Image: Heritage Victoria

    The ‘blip’ that was Carlisle

    While doing a routine mapping survey in Bass Strait in 2017, Matt and the team chanced upon an unusual reading from the seafloor. It’s called by those in the know as a ‘blip’.

    On closer investigation, the ‘blip’ looked a lot like a ship. So the team onboard deployed a drop camera to take a closer look. The images captured, along with the dimensions of the vessel from the mapping, confirmed it as a previously unidentified shipwreck in Bass Strait.

    Volunteers from the Maritime Archaeological Association of Victoria later visited the site. They identified the vessel as the barque Carlisle, which was lost at sea in 1890. It was a 26-year old collier (coal transport ship) which had departed Melbourne bound for Newcastle. It sank after hitting an uncharted rock but luckily all members of the crew escaped into life rafts.

    Coincidentally, improving charts for shipping was the reason RV Investigator was in the area doing mapping in the first place. This work is important to improve charting for navigation – both surface and subsurface. But it’s often gruelling work. So, it is termed ‘mowing the lawn’ because the ship sails lines back and forth over the ocean like a floating lawnmower!

    Matt says seafloor surveys can be monotonous at times. But you never know what you might stumble across with a machine that goes ‘ping’!

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:35 am on June 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Flashback Friday: our ocean exploration glow ups", CSIROscope, Now: acoustic optical system, Now: it’s so digital, Now: pass the remote, Oceanography advances, Then: fish on film, Then: temperature checks, Then: towed bodies surveying the ocean, We have only explored around five per cent of oceans. That’s a tiny amount. Just let that sink in for a minute.   

    From CSIROscope: “Flashback Friday: our ocean exploration glow ups” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    5 June 2020
    Sophie Schmidt

    1
    We have so much ocean exploration to do to find out what mysteries lie below.

    We have only explored around five per cent of oceans. That’s a tiny amount. Just let that sink in for a minute.

    Astronomers have totally been nailing it in terms of locating half the Universe. And yet, the deep blue ocean right here on Earth remains one of the most under-explored places known to humans. So why are our oceans still a mystery? Well, let’s just say, it’s not from lack of trying!

    Our ocean technology has been at the forefront helping the astronomers-of-the-sea answer the age-old question. What exactly is down there? Looking back at historical oceanic technology, the modern-day ocean tech barely resembles their older counterparts. Let’s peek into the oceanic archives at our ‘glow ups’.

    Then: towed bodies surveying the ocean

    2
    The towed body was designed to help determine stock numbers and whether they were in recovery or decline. It transmitted and received on four different frequencies simultaneously.

    We’ve all heard the expression, ‘plenty of fish in the sea’. But how many fishes are there exactly? In the 90s, one of our scientists developed a ‘towed body’ tool to find out.

    It was first designed to locate critically low stocks of Orange roughy found lurking 700-1400 metres deep. The towed body can quickly estimate the abundance of fish in a designated area. It works by ‘pinging’ fish using acoustic sound energy transmitters and receivers. These are part of the echosounder tech, usually found on the bottom of research ships.

    They’re attached by a cable to the ship, rather than fixed onto the ship itself. Towed bodies allow scientists to get up close and personal to the fishes. They can approximate fish stocks within 200 metres at depths of 1 kilometre.

    Back then, towed bodies had to be attached via winches to research ships or large commercial trawlers. Like many other technological grievances of the 90s, (dial up internet anyone?) it had some challenges. Deploying a commercial trawler meant the ship wasn’t catching fish at the same time . They would have to send another commercial trawler, alongside to trawl and catch fish. Not terribly efficient.

    In rough weather, the heaving motion of the vessel could transfer to the towed body. Aside from an extra dose of sea sickness (no thanks!), this degraded the quality of the data collected.

    Now: acoustic optical system

    2
    Our first generation Acoustic Optical System has been deployed on multiple Investigator voyages and combines both acoustics and cameras.

    The latest generation of acoustic fisheries assessment tools easier to deploy and operate. These tools have become known as the ‘acoustic optical system’. This allows for deployment from a trawl net which saves time and fuel because it’s one commercial vessel instead of two.

    Then: fish on film

    3
    Researchers used a cable connected video system for shallow operations for Derwent estuary scallop studies. (circa mid-late 80s)

    While divers have been using undersea cameras since the 40s, early technology relied on a bit of hand-holding. And by this we mean the diver had to physically hold the camera for it to work. We’ve been using camera systems allowing us to go beyond depths accessible to humans. we first did this to help scientists with research into Derwent estuary scallops.

    Camera tech has come a long way!

    Back in the 80s, if you wanted to find out what lied beneath, there were only two options. A cable-connected video system with underwater lights along with a live video feed of up to 100 metres. Or a commercial stills camera deployed in ‘drop-camera mode’ to depths of up to 1500 metres. The camera would use a spool of slide film which would capture hundreds of shots. And you’d get to develop the film yourself in a dark room on board the ship – fun!

    Now: it’s so digital

    3
    Modern day ocean exploration: The deep towed camera today has still image and HD video cameras capable of taking high resolution imagery of the sea floor.

    Our current Deep Towed Camera platforms deliver 1080 HD – soon 4K – vision at depths of up to 6 km.

    What triggered this development? In the 90s onboard the Southern Surveyor, a tow-cable operated camera lost contact with the ship. It was in challenging terrain in the far north west of Australia when its ‘umbilical’ was damaged.

    This prompted a ‘design rethink’ which led to the next generation of deep towed cameras being developed.

    Then: temperature checks

    4
    Early CTDs were able to read temperature and salinity through sampling bottles like today, but you’d need to head to the lab after retrieval to analyse the readings.

    In the 50s and 60s, scientists would measure ocean temperature and salinity by attaching reversing thermometers to water sampling bottles. These bottles were set at specific intervals along a wire. They would mechanically close to take a water sample triggered by a falling weight on the wire. Once retrieved, the temperatures were read and samples were analysed back at the lab for salinity.

    In the 70s, one of our former scientists Neil Brown was working in the US. He developed a better way, using a CTD.

    Conductivity, temperature, depth or CTD instruments are the bread and butter of oceanographic research. But obtaining accurate readings over a large area was not so easy.

    It was attached to the ship via an electrical cable with which it was lowered. Not surprisingly, most oceanographic ships in the 80s and 90s got on board using the Neil Brown CTD tech on voyages. It was capable of being deployed to depths of up to 6 kilometres. So, there was no excuse not to have one onboard when it was able to measure almost all ocean depths in the world.

    Now: pass the remote

    6
    New CTDs are more accurate than ever – able to measure temperature with accuracy better than 2 thousandths of a degree Celsius, salinity to better than 3 thousandths of a PSU (Practical Salinity Units) and depth better than 1 metre to full ocean depth (10 km).

    The Seabird Inc Model 911 is widely used by oceanographic vessels worldwide (including our RV Investigator). This includes a frame, CTD instrument, various auxiliary sensors and water sample bottles. Niskin water sample bottles collected water for later analysis. On their way back up to the surface, the bottles can be closed remotely at predetermined depths. This allows scientists to collect water samples at regular intervals throughout the water column.

    Modern day CTDs can measure the ocean with incredible precision and accuracy. And up to the full ocean depth of 10 kilometres. This enables critical research into how deep ocean is changing as a result of climate impacts.

    As technology continues to advance, so will our ocean exploration. We’re continuing to explore what lies beneath the waves to better manage our oceans and our climate.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:46 am on May 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Australian quantum technology could become a $4 billion industry and create 16000 jobs", CSIROscope, , Scientists can now isolate individual quantum particles (such as electrons and photons) and detect and control their behaviour.   

    From CSIROscope: “Australian quantum technology could become a $4 billion industry and create 16,000 jobs” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    22 May 2020
    Cathy Foley
    Dominic Banfield

    1
    Image credit: Nick Bowers/Silicon Quantum Computing

    Quantum technology is not a phrase discussed over kitchen tables in Australia, but perhaps it should be.

    Australia’s quantum technology research has been breaking new ground for almost 30 years. Governments, universities and more recently multinationals have all invested in this research.

    Quantum technology is set to transform electronics, communications, computation, sensing and other fields. In the process it can create new markets, new applications and new jobs in Australia.

    So, what is quantum technology?

    Quantum physics explains the behaviour of the world at the smallest scale. Scientists can now isolate individual quantum particles (such as electrons and photons) and detect and control their behaviour.

    This opens the door to creating new types of quantum electronic devices. The possibilities range from precision sensors and secure communication networks to incredibly powerful computers to tackle problems that can’t be solved today.

    Commercial applications of these technologies are emerging, and Australia is one of the leaders.

    In the 1990s CSIRO led research into one of the first commercial applications of quantum research: using superconducting quantum interference devices to detect mineral deposits deep underground.

    More recently the University of Adelaide developed a way to produce one billion electrons per second and use quantum mechanics to control them one-by-one. Advances like these are paving the way for quantum information processing in defence, cybersecurity and big data analysis.

    Australia is also home to some of the top quantum technology companies in the world. They are working on advanced quantum control solutions (Q-CTRL), unique quantum computing hardware (Silicon Quantum Computing), and quantum-enhanced cybersecurity tools (Quintessence Labs).

    Multinationals like Microsoft and Rigetti Computing have also set up shop in Australia to work with our quantum experts.

    A multi-billion-dollar opportunity

    Australia has a strong research base in quantum technology. With the right approach, we at CSIRO believe this could become a A$4 billion dollar industry for Australia by 2040 and create around 16,000 new, high-value jobs.

    This is a competitive area, and the world is racing. Since 2019, the UK, US, European Union, India, Germany and Russia have established multibillion-dollar quantum technology initiatives. Reports also suggest China has committed around US$10 billion to quantum research and development.

    To maintain our leadership and capture this opportunity, Australia needs a coordinated, collaborative approach to growing our domestic quantum economy.

    A roadmap to 2040

    CSIRO has collaborated with industry, research and government to produce a roadmap to help position Australia for success. We have together defined the opportunities and what we need to do to turn this significant investment into a high technology industry for Australia.

    The big opportunities are around advanced sensors, secure communication networks and quantum computing. Quantum computing presents the largest long-term opportunity, with potential to create 10,000 jobs and A$2.5 billion in annual revenue by 2040, while spurring breakthroughs in drug development, industrial processes and machine learning.

    While quantum computing is the big one, it may take a while to deliver benefits. We’re likely to see applications of quantum sensors and communication networks much sooner in defence, mineral exploration, water resource management and secure communication. These applications in turn could enhance productivity in Australian industries and help ensure our national security.

    The roadmap identifies areas where Australia needs to act to make the most of the quantum opportunity, including continued investment in research and development and changes to support translating research into commercial products.

    Crossing the “valley of death”

    It’s a long way from a technically proven technology to a successful commercial application. The gap between the two is often referred to as the “valley of death”.

    Australia often has trouble crossing this valley, where many of our innovations seem to wither. We need a concentrated effort to help our research make it through.

    We need new ways to help universities and researchers navigate the valley, and support the prototypes, testing and marketing needed to get ideas off the bench. Investment in purpose-built facilities to help this process will help create the new markets and new jobs we need.

    This system needs to be designed and developed jointly by federal and state governments, as well as industry and researchers. Success will only come from collective efforts and the collaboration of a strong network.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:42 am on May 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Space team ready: upgrading antenna for future travel", Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC), CSIROscope, DSS43 is the largest steerable parabolic dish in the southern hemisphere., For 48 years DSS43 has been a vital part of NASA’s global Deep Space Network.   

    From CSIROscope: “Space team ready: upgrading antenna for future travel” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    11 May 2020
    Glen Nagle

    1
    DSS43 (pictured above) is the largest steerable parabolic dish in the southern hemisphere. This year it gets an upgrade!

    There’s a saying at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory – ‘dare mighty things’. And our team is doing just that.

    We’re upgrading the 70-metre antenna Deep Space Station 43 (DSS43) at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC).

    NASA Canberra, AU, Deep Space Network

    For 48 years, DSS43 has been a vital part of NASA’s global Deep Space Network. It provides two-way radio contact with dozens of robotic spacecrafts exploring the Solar System and beyond. It is the largest steerable parabolic dish in the southern hemisphere.

    After all this time, some of the systems on the big dish are showing signs of age. To prepare the dish for decades to come, DSS43 is going offline for 10 months while a team of nearly 200 engineers and technicians, including local and overseas contractors, give it a top-to-bottom, inside-and-out spruce up.

    Despite the challenges caused by recent bushfires and COVID-19, the project is well underway. Our team is confident they will bring it in on time.

    2
    Despite recent challenges, the team are confident they will upgrade Deep Space Station 43 on time.

    Team on the ground

    Managing the project is Nigel Chauncy, our radio systems technician at CDSCC. In his 22 years at the complex, Nigel has worked on many projects. But this is the largest he has ever undertaken.

    “We’ll be installing two new high-powered transmitters on ‘43’, as well as upgrades to its entire electrical cabling, power supply, cooling systems. Plus a whole lot more,” Nigel said.

    “A major milestone is the replacement of one of the huge central feed cones. The logistics of bringing in a 450-tonne crane to lift the two-storey high cone and raising it over 70 metres to delicately position it inside the dish is a challenge I’ve been looking forward to.”

    Rhiannon Sutherland is overseeing personnel and site safety. A Ngunnawal woman who’s worked in the civil construction world, Rhiannon is enjoying the challenges her new role at CDSCC presents.

    “The hardest thing is we’re not only working to meet Australian legislative requirements but also American and Commonwealth guidelines. We’ve got to put all three together to make sure they all comply and are to an Australian standard,” Rhiannon said.

    “There is going to be multiple high-risk jobs undertaken throughout this project. My guiding principle is to ensure that at the end of the day, everyone gets to go home to their families.”

    Deep Space Station 43’s galactic plans

    The tracking station team has the talents and skills to return DSS43 to service by January 2021. This is in time for several new robotic missions arriving at Mars.

    DSS43’s improved capabilities will ensure these missions are supported. It will also enable NASA’s plans to return humans to the Moon in the mid-2020s and future human missions to Mars.

    We manage the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex for NASA.

    To keep up with the latest progress on Deep Space Station 43’s upgrades, follow @CanberraDSN on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
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