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  • richardmitnick 1:22 pm on October 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A chance encounter with a pulsar", , , , , CSIROscope, Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered pulsars,   

    From CSIROscope: “A chance encounter with a pulsar” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    22 October 2019
    Louise Jeckells

    1
    The ASKAP radio telescope in all it’s glory.

    When you think you’ve seen it all, look again – there might be a pulsar staring back at you.

    Our scientists accidentally stumbled upon a pulsar, which is not an easy, or simple, task.

    Ok, hold on – what is a pulsar?

    When a giant star explodes, the core it leaves behind is a neutron star
    Neutron stars are roughly 10 km in radius and about 1.4 times heavier than the Sun
    A teaspoon of neutron star material would weigh about 10 million tons
    A highly-magnetized rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation (think of a lighthouse) is a pulsar.

    Astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered the first pulsar in 1967.

    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.

    Today, astronomers have discovered most of the brighter and slower pulsars using large telescopes like our Parkes Radio Telescope (aka The Dish).

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    Emil Lenc is a research scientist with our Astronomy and Space Science team. He’s not a pulsar astronomer. Emil works on the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in remote Western Australia. His job is to put the telescope through its paces. To experiment with innovative ways to process telescope data.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    But Emil, alongside a group of other scientists, discovered one of these highly-magnetized rotating neutron stars. It’s called PSR J1431-6328. Very creative.

    3
    The densely packed matter of a pulsar spins at incredible speeds, and emit radio waves that can be observed from Earth. Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions/CAASTRO.

    The accidental discovery

    In May, PhD student Andrew Zic planned to observe the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri – the closest star to the Sun. He wanted to better understand the flaring process and the implications for life on exoplanets around that star. But his four-day observation helped discovered something new.

    During the Proxima Centauri observation, Emil wanted to test a new feature on ASKAP. The feature gave ASKAP the ability to see in circular polarisation. This is where the wave component of light from a source rotates in a circular motion. This form of light is not common in astronomical sources but can be seen in flaring stars and some pulsars.

    “Our eyes can’t distinguish between circularly polarised light and unpolarised light. But ASKAP has the equivalent of polaroid sunglasses that can help highlight such sources against the glare of thousands of unpolarised sources,” Emil said.

    “It worked a treat. Proxima Centauri stood out like a sore thumb. But I noticed another weaker source at the edge of the image. I had one of those ‘hmm, that’s weird’ moments.”

    Emil let the Variable and Slow Transients (VAST) team that he collaborates with know of the potential discovery. They gathered clues from any previous observations to track down the culprit. Was it a flare star, a new pulsar, or perhaps something else?

    “My colleague Shi Dai used the Parkes Radio Telescope to confirm that our mystery source had periodic pulses and was indeed a newly discovered pulsar.”

    A rare sighting

    Not only was this the first pulsar discovered with ASKAP but also the first pulsar revealed by its circular polarisation. As it turns out, it’s also in the top 90 fastest spinning pulsars (out of about 2700 known pulsars). And it’s spinning at a rate of around 360 times a second!

    “When you’re looking at the sky for the first time through a new instrument, you’re bound to find something fascinating. In this case, there was nothing else in the field. It’s very rare you have something that sticks out so much.”

    “There are hints the pulsar we discovered is part of a binary system,” Emil explained.

    A binary system is simply one in which two objects orbit around a common centre of mass. That is, they are gravitationally bound to each other. Binary systems with pulsars are of immense importance to astronomers as they allow them to test our understanding of gravity.

    “Being part of this system would affect the timing of the pulsar ever so slightly depending on whether it is heading towards us or away from us during its orbit around a companion.”

    The team has been given extra time with the Parkes Radio Telescope to get a better estimate of the timing. And to see if they can find evidence of its companion.

    If you’d like to read more, these findings have been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

    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 9:50 am on October 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Chasing the sun with the World Solar Challenge", , CSIROscope,   

    From CSIROscope: “Chasing the sun with the World Solar Challenge” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    7 October 2019
    Kate Cranney

    1

    When you think of road-tripping through central Australia, what kind of vehicle do you picture? A beat-up campervan with faded curtains? A caravan with funky decor and a funkier smell? How about a sleek, futuristic machine that’s powered by the sun?

    Every two years, teams of university and high school students from around the world descend on Darwin for a very different kind of road trip… the World Solar Challenge!

    2
    The World Solar Challenge chases the sunshine along the Stuart Highway (Image: WSC)

    World Solar Challenge: 3000 kilometres of sunshine and speed

    It’s a solar-powered journey through Australia’s red centre.

    Since 1987, the World Solar Challenge has pushed the boundaries of vehicle technology. The event has a star-studded list of alumni, including Larry Page (Google co-founder) and JB Straubel (Tesla co-founder and Chief Technical Officer), who says the event was a “key thing at the beginning of Tesla” and that he hired most of the initial Tesla staff from his World Solar Challenge team!

    This year, nearly 50 teams (some of them with 40 members), will drive their sleek solar-powered machines from Darwin to Adelaide. That’s over 1500 participants from around the world, who will be watched by a global audience of 25 million. It’s certainly not your average drive through the countryside!

    3
    No scientists were injured in the taking of this photo! Scrutineering in full flight at the Convention Centre in Darwin. (Image: World Solar Challenge)

    Who ya gonna call?! (If there’s something strange under your hood …)

    Our scientists have played a key role in the World Solar Challenge since it began in 1987.

    Apart from overseeing the scrutineering, we travel with the teams, providing expert advice and helping with technical problems; we oversee the electric vehicle chargers along the journey; and our scientist, Dr Glenn Platt, will be on the expert panel at the event finale—the Smart Grid Pitch in Adelaide.

    At the finish line, Dr David Rand AM will be checking the vehicles’ batteries as they arrive into Adelaide, to make sure they’re still within regulations. David has worked with CSIRO for 50 years. He is now the chief energy scientist at the World Solar Challenge, and he’s been involved in the event since it began some 32 years ago.

    It’s a big call, but we might be the world’s biggest fans of the world’s biggest solar challenge!

    What’s under the bonnet? Scrutineering in the Top End

    This week, the teams will gather for a week in Darwin, where scientists will scrutineer the vehicles ahead of the journey. It’s a heady start to the event. The students have spent months designing and building their cars, and our scientists will be there to make sure everything is up to scratch.

    4
    Scrutineering in action. The ‘white shirts’ (event officials) inspecting a concentrating solar collector from their 2013 car. From left to right: Prof John Storey (UNSW), Dr David Rand (CSIRO) & Dr John K Ward (CSIRO) (Photo: JLousberg).

    Dr John Ward is the assistant chief scrutineer. In other words, this week he’ll be making sure the cars are above board. During the ‘static scrutineering’, the cars will be pulled apart to be inspected, to make sure they’re roadworthy, safe, and that they abide by regulations.

    John started volunteering with the event in 2005. Back in Newcastle, he leads one of our research team that tackles the challenges of integrating large amounts of intermittent renewable energy into Australia’s electricity networks. But out on the road, he’ll be something of a solar-car doctor on call. He’ll be there to help teams out if things go wrong, if there’s are any curly situations.

    “Some of the most interesting stories have been the overcoming of the challenges or problems,” John says. “One year, a car caught fire not long out of Darwin [no-one was hurt]. We had to put it on a trailer to Alice Springs. Then Glenn [Platt], myself and other volunteers all descended on the car, stayed up all night and we rebuilt this car and got it back on the road.”

    High-tech science in outback Australia

    “These cars are always at the forefront of the best solar cells, the highest efficiency electric motors, highest specific energy storage,” says John. He adds that if you want a glimpse into the future of solar-powered cars, “This is where you can see it.”

    The World Solar Challenge shows the promise of solar and batteries for our energy future. The event has been happening since 1987, so we know these technologies work. We also know solar technology works because we’ve now exceeded 2 million rooftop installations in Australia, well beyond what anyone predicted! Demonstration events like this drive innovation along.

    But how do we transition these technologies into the broader energy network? That’s something our researchers are working on by, for instance, modelling renewable energy in the grid.

    5
    The World Solar Challenge parade at Victoria Square in Adelaide. (Image: Susan Sun Nunamaker and Sunisthefuture)

    Join the solar-powered celebrations!

    No matter where you live in Australia, we have you covered for this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. We’ll be updating you on what’s happening on the way via our @CSIROevents twitter.

    If you live in Darwin, Adelaide or anywhere in between, you can come and see the world’s most advanced solar cars for yourself! You can event meet the team members … future Tesla creators, perhaps …

    Check out the program here for more information.

    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 11:59 am on October 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CSIROscope, , ,   

    From CSIROscope: “Home and array: Investigator shedding light on the EAC” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    1 October 2019
    Dr Thomas Moore

    CSIRO RV Investigator. CSIRO Australia

    1
    Our RV Investigator leaves the shelter of Moreton Bay, steaming for the core of the East Australian Current. Photo: Dr Thomas Moore

    Australia is an ocean nation – we’re girt by 10 million square kilometres of water. Whether you live near the coast or far from the shore, there’s no doubt the oceans are central to your life. From our weather and climate, to our food and energy, right down to our overall lifestyle and wellbeing.

    But much of our surrounding ocean and our four major currents, including the East Australian Current (EAC) remain a mystery. Therefore, scientists are getting out there to see what it’s all about.

    Deepening our understanding of these colossal currents is core business for the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and its Deep Water Moorings Facility, led by our very own Dr Bernadette Sloyan.

    Wait – what exactly is the EAC?

    Bernadette and her science and engineering team have been continuously observing a key slice of the EAC since 2015. We chatted to the Bernadette to break down what the EAC is all about. She’s just returned from a three-week voyage aboard our research vessel Investigator in the Coral Sea.

    “The EAC is the largest ocean feature off Australia’s east coast,” Bernadette said.

    “Changes in the EAC just beyond our beaches impact our coastal industries and communities. Over in Australia’s regional and rural centres, life beats to a drum of climate conditions that is partly influenced by our dynamic ocean and its relationship with the atmosphere.”

    From Queensland to Tasmania, the powerful EAC is up to 100 kilometres wide, 1.5 kilometres deep. And it can carry up to 40 million cubic metres of water each second. That’s 70 billion pint glasses, refilled at sixty times a minute – it’s HUGE!

    Bernadette explained that the EAC serves an important role beyond its powerful flow.

    “It also acts as a kind of salty delivery van. Transporting warm water and nutrients that fertilise our ocean ecosystems,” she said.

    “The EAC is also very fickle, hugging the coast one day and then flowing hundreds of kilometres out to sea the next. This unstable behaviour renews fish stocks, impacts water quality and weather, and sets the water temperature for swimmers and surfers.”

    2
    Dr Bernadette Sloyan, a Chief Research Scientist with our Oceans and Atmosphere team and leader of the IMOS Australian Bluewater Observing System facility, explains her voyage plans to Drs Océane Richet and Violaine Pellichero. Photo: Dr Thomas Moore

    Keeping tabs on the EAC

    In order to monitor how the EAC is changing over time, we use an array of deep-water moorings.

    3
    Deep water mooring at Totten Glacier. Image credit: Steve Rintoul, CSIRO and ACE CRC.

    Consequently, IMOS has established a network of advanced marine equipment that tracks changes in the EAC. It’s currently lined up, across and down the slope of seabed near Moreton Bay, Queensland. This underwater observatory continuously monitors the EAC’s complex and highly energetic nature, discovering links to changes in our climate and coastal ecosystems.

    But, nothing lasts forever. Like a new smartphone, their advanced sensors and tiny computers working away under the waves need to be recharged. As a result, the mooring’s “batteries” go flat about every year and a half.

    The good news is that Bernadette and her team recovered the six deep-water moorings on this latest voyage. They boosted their batteries, downloaded their data, and have put the gear back to work for Australian science.

    4
    Blue-water deck work is a unique and critical capability of CSIRO’s Mooring Sensor Systems team. Jamie Derrick directs the winch driver as a syntactic float with current sensor is recovered from the ocean. Photo: Dr Thomas Moore

    Biologists and oceanographers, unite!

    Our oceanographers were also accompanied on board by biological specialists – collaborators from both University of New South Wales and Griffith University.

    The ecologists were exploring how the EAC and ocean eddies (big ocean whirlpools) that weave their way through it can support abundant and diverse communities of larval fish and sea jellies.

    5
    Paloma, one of the ecologists, examines larval fish. The IMOS Larval Fish & Deep Water Mooring programs link ocean physics to ecosystems driven by a dynamic East Australian Current.

    The voyagers deployed scientific equipment and net systems off Investigator in order to sample the ecology of this ever-changing region off the shore of Brisbane.

    This cooperation between ocean physics and marine biology boffins will help connect the dots between the apparent chaos of a mammoth ocean current and its often-unappreciated impact on our lives.

    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 12:40 pm on September 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Saving baby turtles one nest at a time", , CSIROscope, , Predation on turtle nests   

    From CSIROscope: “Saving baby turtles one nest at a time” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    16 September 2019
    Louise Jeckells

    1
    Every year thousands of sea turtles come to the beaches of the western Cape to nest. Photo by Gina Zimny

    When baby sea turtles, or hatchlings, break free from their eggs they have to make a long and difficult journey to the ocean. These tiny newborns face a number of threats just trying to make it to the water’s edge. This running of the gauntlet is critical for their survival and the continuation of the species.

    But before they even leave the nest they’re already under threat. Predators taking eggs from the nest is one of the most significant threats to marine turtles. Feral pigs, goannas and dingoes are disturbing turtle nests in parts of Queensland’s western Cape York Peninsula. Before our research scientist Dr Justin Perry and Indigenous rangers from Aak Puul Ngangtam (APN Cape York) started working in the area, there was 100 per cent predation on turtle nests. No baby turtles were reaching the ocean.

    We’ve been working with the local community since 2008 to understand the impacts of feral animals on the ecological and economic values of northern Australia. Justin and his team focussed on a biocultural assessment to understand the impacts on turtles and to collaboratively design a solution with local people.

    “This was a big problem and the management actions being applied weren’t working,” Justin said.

    “The science and monitoring was separated from the management, and management was separated from the community.”

    2
    Turtles survey team on Cape York beach. Photo by Gina Zimny

    Forging a pig plan together

    “We brought together the regional bodies that were responsible for managing pigs and turtles to create the Northern Nest Project. This was when we started to look at the turtle problem in a holistic way,” Justin said.

    The working group decided to tackle the problem using a targeted control method. They trialed a baiting system to target the specific pigs that were coming onto the beach and eating the eggs.

    This control method was not popular with Traditional Owners as the effects on other species such as dingoes and birds were unknown. The scientists ran a very small-scale project, monitoring every bait station with cameras and providing regular reports. The efforts were rewarded. The following year there was a 100 per cent success rate for baby turtles hatching and reaching the ocean.

    2
    Turtle measurements are essential to improving our understanding. The data is collected at night. Photo by Gina Zimny

    Specific predation plans

    After this success, we (through the Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub project) and APN funded a full-time researcher to patrol the beach during the turtle nesting season. This provided a complete overview of the predation events and turtle nesting habits across the year. Once the team started measuring the pig impacts, they could see the impact of other predators in the area.

    Another Indigenous group had been using cages to stop feral pigs. But the aluminum cages were heavy and hard to manage. So Justin and his team decided to test the effectiveness of inexpensive and easy to carry garden mesh for protecting nests from predators. APN’s resident scientist, Gina Zimny, meshed hundreds of nests across the season. When the team tallied up the impact, it was clear that this method was only stopping a handful of predators. The mesh protected nests from hungry dingoes but only stopped around 10 per cent of goannas. And they were helpless against the destructive power of feral pigs.

    4
    Mesh protects turtle hatchlings from predation but still enables them to head for the ocean. Photo by Gina Zimny

    Protecting the nests of marine turtles from raids by pigs, dingoes and goannas requires species-specific management strategies. To tackle this challenge, we designed an interactive dashboard that combined all the data that had been collected for the past four years. This way rangers could see how effective their management efforts had been.

    On target

    Justin said the most efficient way of controlling predation was linking the monitoring data with management.

    “Everyone agreed that the value was getting more baby turtles into the ocean. And turtle experts had set a target of 70 per cent of nests hatching to maintain a healthy population.

    “To hit this metric of success, we knew we had to apply an adaptive management process to the problem,” Justin said.

    5
    Cape York. Photo by Gina Zimny

    “We’re working towards providing an immediate feedback loop on predation. The idea is to link an iPad application with a cloud server. Then when the rangers return every night, a summary dashboard updates and provides all the data required to react to the situation.

    “It’s such a vast landscape so the only way to win is to tackle one small task at a time. Trying to control the entire pig population is not feasible. But targeting the egg-eating individuals can be done and we have shown that it works,” Justin said.

    This year we are working on automating the data analysis and summaries so that rangers get to see what’s happening on their beaches in real-time. Having real-time data linked with planned management responses will close the adaptive management loop. And it will give the baby turtles the best chance of making it from nest to ocean.

    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 1:28 pm on September 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Along with the rock samples corals were also collected identified and catalogued., Another haul from the deep produced large pieces of ‘precious coral’ which are black on the outside but intensely pinkish-red inside., CSIROscope, Deep-sea coral for all intents and purposes comes from anywhere that sunlight doesn’t reach. This is where some of the more challenging finds came from., Glass sponges are hard to describe at the best of times but even more so when they are collected from the deep-sea!, , The most intriguing specimen has been a large dense glass sponge., The voyage covered over 8000 km in the waters of Australia; Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands; and New Caledonia., They collected samples from the seamounts rising thousands of metres from the seafloor., Understanding the formation of the seamounts and the plateau they start with will give us a better understanding of similar features on land., Volcanic seamounts could contribute to figuring out how Australia and the Pacific Islands were formed many millions of years ago.   

    From CSIROscope: “Finders keepers! What our Investigator found on its Coral Sea journey” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    6 September 2019
    Huw Morgan

    1
    Jeremy Horowitz looking at coral on RV Investigator. Image: Huw Morgan.

    Earlier this week, our research vessel Investigator returned to port in Brisbane after a 28-day voyage of discovery in the Coral Sea.

    CSIRO RV Investigator. CSIRO Australia

    The researchers onboard were mapping and collecting samples from two chains of volcanic seamounts which run parallel to the east coast of Australia. The team, led by Chief Scientist Associate Professor Jo Whittaker from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, were looking to better understand how the seamounts were formed. This research could contribute to figuring out how Australia and the Pacific Islands were formed many millions of years ago.

    On the way, the team on board discovered deep-sea corals, historic shipwrecks and everything else in between!

    The Contiki Tour we all wanted to go on

    The voyage covered over 8000 km in the waters of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. During that time the 35 scientists onboard completed 55 rock dredges and collected over 650 rock samples, including from depths of up to 4500 m. A rock dredge is where a large bag made of metal chain links attached to a heavy frame is lowered into the ocean to collect rock samples.

    The rocks collected included samples of the Earth’s mantle as well as from an area where the seafloor was believed to have been spreading. They also collected samples from the seamounts rising thousands of metres from the seafloor.

    “Understanding the formation of the seamounts and the plateau they start with will give us a better understanding of similar features on land and what impact they might have on resource development,” Associate Professor Jo Whittaker said.

    “The rocks we collected will provide materials to study for many years to come.”

    Forget Nemo, we’re finding coral

    Along with the rock samples, corals were also collected, identified and catalogued. But it wasn’t so easy to do.

    Jeremy Horowitz from James Cook University knows a lot about coral. But when it comes to coral from the deep-sea, he and a lot of other experts are stumped.

    2
    Bamboo Coral found from the Coral Sea. Image: Jeremy Horowitz

    Deep-sea coral, for all intents and purposes, comes from anywhere that sunlight doesn’t reach. This is where some of the more challenging finds came from.

    “What we know about coral and biodiversity has a bias toward the easy to access areas,” Jeremy said.

    “Those places that are harder to survey, such as the deep-sea, have much less known about them and a way to help protect all biodiversity is to survey all areas.”

    To help identify some of his finds from the voyage, Jeremy has had to send images to experts around the world, including the Smithsonian in Washington. They may well be new species never found before.

    Looking through the glass (coral)

    International links and collaborations are common on Investigator voyages. The ship creates a hub that brings together scientists, researchers and students from around the world.

    Jeremy, who grew up in New York, joined the voyage to the Coral Sea specifically to catalogue coral and biological samples. He also preserves small sections of these samples for DNA testing.

    Perhaps the most intriguing specimen Jeremy has encountered so far has been a large dense glass sponge. Glass sponges are hard to describe at the best of times but even more so when they are collected from the deep-sea! Basically, they are animals found in the deep sea and their tissues contain glass-like structural particles, called spicules, that are made of silica.

    4
    Coral known as the glass sponge. Image: Jeremy Horowitz

    The most well-known glass sponges are made up of a lattice-like framework which forms delicate ‘fingers’ reaching out into the water. This is not at all like the glass sponge Jeremy discovered on this voyage.

    “When you think of glass sponges you think of delicate, intricate maze-shaped sponges,” he said.

    “What is less well known are these dense glass sponges which are made from pure silica.

    “They were first mistaken for bone, like whalebone, because they were so big, dense and hard. They don’t resemble sponges at all.

    “We sent an image to an expert at the Queensland Museum and he confirmed that this was something that they rarely find alive. Plus it was highly likely to be a new species.

    “This one is so different from other glass sponges and glass sponges as a group are so different from other sponges – so this one is really weird and unique,” he said.

    Another haul from the deep produced large pieces of ‘precious coral’ which are black on the outside but intensely pinkish-red inside. The coral, which is also found in the Mediterranean Sea in shallower waters, has been used for jewellery since the times of ancient Egypt.

    “There is not a lot known about how many species of precious coral there are and where they are found,” Jeremy said.

    “They are harvested so they need to be managed properly. To manage them we first need to know their abundance and distribution.”

    6
    Scientists analysing rock samples on board. Image: Huw Morgan.

    Plenty of ships in the sea

    There might be heaps of coral in its namesake sea, but there is one discovery that has warmed the hearts of researchers.

    Another James Cook University scientist onboard Investigator has led a team that thinks they may have discovered the wreck of the WWII US oil tanker USS Neosho. Neosho was sunk defending Australia in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The ship was hit seven times by Japanese aircraft as the US worked with Australia to defend against the Japanese advance. The possible location of the wreck was found near the tanker’s last reported position in the Coral Sea, at nearly 3 km deep. The survey was also Investigator’s deepest-ever targeted wreck survey.

    The Coral Sea marine park contains over 45 known shipwrecks. The data from this discovery will help inform future management activities and protect the heritage values of this significant offshore marine environment.

    A collaborative voyage of discovery that’s all in month’s work for RV Investigator.

    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 8:51 am on September 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Great leadership in innovation and science", As a nation we are not new to solving challenges., Australia has many gifted science leaders who integrate their science talents with the management skills necessary to make a difference., CSIROscope, We are going to harness the benefits of global disruption created by emerging new science and technology and turn challenges into opportunities., We need leaders who are ready to create bold new visions., We recognise a significant opportunity to help shape the foundations of Australia’s future through great science and technology leadership., We’ve taken on challenges and shown the world what Aussie ingenuity looks like.   

    From CSIROscope: “Great leadership in innovation and science” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    3 September 2019
    Cathy Foley, CSIRO Chief Scientist
    cathy.foley@csiro.au
    +61 2 9413 7413
    +61 419 200 544
    PO BOX 218
    LINDFIELD NSW 2070 AUSTRALIA

    1

    The annual Australian Museum Eureka Prizes has left a buzz in the air. CSIRO is proud to sponsor the Leadership in Innovation and Science Award. It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate the impact that great leadership has in science.

    The winner was announced on Wednesday night, 28 August. Congratulations Professor Branka Vucetic of University of Sydney for taking out the CSIRO-sponsored award.

    Australia’s success as a nation depends on its leaders. Science leadership is vital to blaze new trails, solve seemingly intractable challenges and inspire future generations.

    Australia has many gifted science leaders, who integrate their science talents with the management skills necessary to make a difference. They can be found in universities, research laboratories, government, the media and in schools.

    For me, leadership is about having the ability to see the bigger picture and share it with others. To see into the future and what is needed. To bring different voices to the table, creating an inclusive and collaborative environment with all involved feeling empowered to be their best.

    However, we can all demonstrate leadership regardless of our position. Leadership is more than a title, it’s a mindset, a way of thinking and way of showing initiative.

    If we are going to harness the benefits of global disruption created by emerging new science and technology and turn challenges into opportunities, we need leaders who are willing to think differently and see what others cannot. We need leaders who are ready to create bold new visions.

    As a nation we are not new to solving challenges; we bred cotton that’s grown around the world, invented fast WiFi for connecting us all – and even received the first images of humans landing on the Moon. We’ve taken on challenges and shown the world what Aussie ingenuity looks like. But what are we showing the world today?

    The challenges we face as a nation are spelt out in the Australian National Outlook 2019 report. This is a report CSIRO produced in consultation with 50 leaders across more than 20 leading Australian organisations.

    At CSIRO we are working hard taking a multidisciplinary approach and working collaboratively across the system to solve the greatest challenges we face.

    There are many examples of leadership in CSIRO but a couple come to mind because of the impact they had are Louisa Warren from our indigenous office, Xavier Mulet working on future materials and Lynne Cobiac linking together health data for greater impact.

    We recognise a significant opportunity to help shape the foundations of Australia’s future through great science and technology leadership that this Eureka prize acknowledges. We hope that through the recognition of leaders in innovation and science we will inspire others to step up.

    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 8:24 am on September 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "In data we trust: hacking a better future", A hack is basically ‘a quick or inelegant solution to a particular problem.’, CSIROscope, GovHack will bring together some of Australia’s brightest minds over one weekend across Australia., We’ll be presenting two challenges for GovHack hackers to integrate our data and supercharge science solutions.   

    From CSIROscope: “In data we trust: hacking a better future” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    3 September 2019
    Natalie Kikken

    1
    Heads down, thumbs up: GovHack will bring together some of Australia’s brightest minds over one weekend, across Australia.

    When you think about hacking, you probably think about callous and calculating scammers. But hacking can also be used for good.

    What the heck is a hack?

    A hack is basically ‘a quick or inelegant solution to a particular problem.’ And a group hack or a hackathon is where the brightest minds come together to brainstorm ideas and generate solutions for a range of challenges. And there’s usually prizes and prestige up for grabs.

    This year, we’re a part of GovHack. This event sees enthusiastic hackers getting together to try and solve some of Australia’s real and meaty challenges. It’s happening from 6-8 September all over the country and you could be part of it.

    We’ll be making our scientific data available – a lot of it – for hackers to show us their stuff. The hackers will use our Data Access Portal (DAP) that houses a plethora of data. This data is freely accessible, all year round. And it helps to deliver solutions to address Australia’s greatest challenges. From the changing climate, our future health and meeting the needs of a growing domestic space industry.

    Data, data everywhere

    Hackers can also tap into our Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), the most comprehensive data set on Australia’s biodiversity ever produced. ALA has more than 85 million records and more than 11,200 datasets… and counting.

    The data fun doesn’t stop there. We have moorings across the country that collect long-term data on what happens under the waves. This includes chemical, physical and biological changes to our oceans. This information feeds in to the Integrated Marine Observatory System’s data collection, which will also be available.

    We’ll be presenting two challenges for GovHack hackers to integrate our data and supercharge science solutions. But shhh, the challenges are a secret until they’re announced at the start of the event.

    The results could be bigger than Pokemon Go, Bitcoin, and create real and tangible benefits for all Australians. We’re excited to see what will be generated.

    Want to help us unlock the future?

    As a future focussed organisation, we invest in our people and infrastructure to collect, store, share and analyse data. Our data allows us to develop insights and solutions to address Australia’s greatest challenges.

    We also recognise the importance of building digital literacy. This means we will be better prepared for the future by identifying emerging industries, generating new skills and jobs, and creating impacts in education and STEM.

    To get involved in GovHack, you don’t have to be a scientist, data lover or software engineer. Some of the most successful teams bring other skills to the table like business development, marketing and education. You can even participate online from the comfort of your lounge room!

    We’ll also have mentors on hand to help you analyse the data and to answer any of your burning questions!

    GovHack winners will be announced in November. We’re on the judging panel so we’ll keep you posted on the solutions generated to help drive creativity and innovation.

    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 3:11 pm on August 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AuScope is building a mineralogy database of Australia., CSIROscope, Hylogger staff run regular workshops across Australia to educate geoscientists about how to benefit from NVCL in research; mining and minerals exploration., NVCL tools or Hylogger mineral scanning systems are located in each of the state and territory geological surveys around the country., The current HyLogger-3 generation instruments are configured to recognise oxide and rare earth elements; hydrous silicates (including clays); and anhydrous minerals and mineral groups., The data is made available through the AuScope., There are six CSIRO-developed HyLogging systems (combining visible and infrared reflectance spectroscopy; robotics; materials-handling; automated mineralogical interpretation)., Using the HyLoggers in excess of 1000000 metres of drill core from over a 3000 drill holes has been scanned to date across the seven Survey jurisdictions .   

    From CSIROscope via AuScope: “Building a mineralogy database of Australia” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    via

    1

    AuScope

    Building a mineralogy database of Australia

    29 August 2019

    2
    Detail of an AuScope Hylogger tool which conducts semiquantitative mineralogical scanning in one of Australia’s state and territory geological surveys. Image: GSWA.

    Imagine an online library filled with mineralogy logs for, and imagery of more than one million metres drill core from all around Australia— a treasure trove for geoscientists to better understand the nation’s geology, and identify parts of it which might be most prospective for mineral deposits.

    NVCL

    Our NVCL tools, or Hylogger mineral scanning systems, are located in each of the state and territory geological surveys around the country. Staff at these agencies operate equipment, upload data to the AuScope Discovery Portal for open access.

    Hyloggers

    Six CSIRO-developed HyLogging systems (combining visible and infrared reflectance spectroscopy, robotics, materials-handling and automated mineralogical interpretation) are installed in each of the State and Territory geological surveys and are operated by survey staff to build internal and web-accessible databases for public interrogation to facilitate research.

    The current HyLogger-3 generation instruments are configured to recognise oxide and rare earth elements, hydrous silicates (including clays), and anhydrous minerals and mineral groups.

    4
    CSIRO Hylogger scanner. Image: AuScope Twiki.

    5
    Core racks feeding into a CSIRO developed Hylogger scanner. Image: Dr. Jon Huntington.

    The Spectral Geologist (TSG) Software

    The HyLoggers are supported by Australian-developed software known as TSG for the processing, analysis, visualisation and generation of information products comprising a part of the knowledge infrastructure and the basis of the ensuing research. Virtual semi-quantitative descriptions (geocoded digital tables, graphs and multiple resolution images) of the mineralogical composition of drill cores and drill chips are stored in web-accessible relational databases

    Copies of the processed TSG drill-hole files are also be available upon application to each Survey NVCL custodian. An early demonstration web site is available at NVCL CSIRO.

    7
    Log screen in CSIRO’s The Spectral Geologist (TSG) software. Image: TSG.

    Workshops

    Hylogger staff run regular workshops across Australia to educate geoscientists about how to benefit from NVCL in research, mining and minerals exploration. Find the next one in your state.

    Achievements

    Using the HyLoggers, in excess of 1,000,000 metres of drill core from over a 3,000 drill holes has been scanned to date across the seven Survey jurisdictions and the data made available through the AuScope project. The infrastructure has been successfully deployed and is being used operationally and routinely in all survey jurisdictions resulting in new geological knowledge that is being documented and used by each survey, students and academic researchers, industry researchers and explorers.

    Following successful establishment of the infrastructure, six geological surveys have continued to fund the maintenance and operations of the NVCL infrastructure, publish results, and train staff with support from the CSIRO. This contribution from jurisdictions is significant because the infrastructure is a new innovation system and each NVCL node requires on average 2.5 people for the operation of the equipment; instrument operators, interpreting geologists, IT specialists and managers.

    The total cost of these operations in 2012/13 averaged $286,000 per Survey per annum and $1,757,000 across all Surveys per annum. As the value of more detailed geological knowledge from drilling accrues both within the Geological Surveys and externally, the number of second generation users is increasing, including the number of student projects. The deployment of the unique thermal infrared, anhydrous mineral capability has, in particular, continued to lead to new research outcomes, opportunities and take-up.

    The co-registered imaging and integrated wavelengths of the HyLogging Systems make them globally unique and has led to overseas interest and the deployment of a system at the University in Chile in Santiago. Earlier model HyLogging Systems are also to be found in Geological Surveys and commercial laboratories in Mexico, China, South Africa and Australia.

    Check out recent achievements made by the geological surveys of Western Australia and South Australia.

    8

    Hype Over Hyperspectral

    Remember when CSIRO developed high-speed wifi technology to solve time challenges in digital communication? Equipped with AuScope’s HyLogger hyperspectral equipment, Australian researchers are set to prove a comparable feat, in both nature and size, for improved Australian mineral exploration practices.

    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 8:21 am on August 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Algae needs sunlight to grow so while the rocks were from about 1000 m down today in the past they were at sea level. This highlights how sea levels have changed over time., , Bathymetry, Birdlife Australia, CSIROscope, , , Kleptoparasite – it steals food from other birds., , Sampling in the waters of Australia; Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands; and New Caledonia, Sea plates, , Since the start of the voyage more than 6000 individuals from 23 species of bird have been logged.   

    From CSIROscope: “Every week is science week on RV Investigator!” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    CSIRO RV Investigator. CSIRO Australia

    The secrets of the Coral Sea are not given up easily. But the scientists, research assistants and crew on RV Investigator are more than equipped to delve deep for answers.

    Those onboard are an industrious and intrepid bunch, finding ways to overcome the challenges of remote work at sea. But what have they been up to in the last few weeks since the voyage began?

    Our 94-metre floating laboratory is now drawing a picture of a chain of ancient seafloor volcanoes. The researchers will then describe the interplay of the sea plates, which are the focus of this voyage.

    Analyse this!

    A typical geoscience voyage on Investigator comes with all the trappings of using dredges to sample the seafloor. This includes snagged dredging equipment 2500 m below the surface, broken shear pins which upend the basket carrying rock samples (sending them back to the seafloor), a two-to-three metre sea swell and 25 knot (46 km/hr) winds blowing for three straight days.

    So far on this voyage, there have been 22 dredges of the seafloor from sites starting about 1000 km south-east of Cairns. By the end of this voyage, it is hoped more than 36 sites will have been surveyed and sampled in the waters of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia.

    4
    This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Kahuroa. Wikipedia.

    Voyage Chief Scientist, Associate Professor Jo Whittaker from the University of Tasmania, said while most of the rocks being hauled to the surface were what was expected, the real value came when the ship arrives back at port.

    “There is a lot of geochemistry to be done and age dating,” Jo said.

    “We have basalt, lavas and carbonates. What we don’t have so far is continental rocks – rocks which could show that a large area of the seafloor out here was rifted from continental Australia millions of years ago.

    “Early in the voyage, we did get some cool carbonate rocks which had alternate layers of algal and coral fossils. Algae needs sunlight to grow, so while the rocks were from about 1000 m down today, in the past they were at sea level. This highlights how sea levels have changed over time.”

    2
    A bathymetry image (seafloor image) of Frederick Reef. The scientists use this to pick rock dredge sites and better understand the seamounts deep below.

    The early bird catches the flying fish

    The science on Investigator is all around you, and around the clock. The science team, as they are known, work alternating 12-hour shifts. Everywhere you look, there are scientists, researchers and students busy with their work 24 hours a day.

    Sitting in a small enclosed deck 25 m above the waterline is a dedicated trio of bird and mammal observers from Birdlife Australia. Led by Principal Investigator and BirdLife Tasmania Convenor, Dr Eric Woehler, the team (which includes volunteer observers Jessica Bolin and Josie Lumley) scan the horizon from dawn to dusk. They’re spotting, identifying and logging marine birds and mammals. And any plastic or other jetsam (rubbish from ships) that passes within range.

    Since the start of the voyage, more than 6000 individuals from 23 species of bird have been logged. Red-footed, brown and masked boobies have been the main species. But winging their way around the ship have also been storm petrels, wedge-tailed shearwaters, and frigatebirds. With the ship heading further north toward Papua New Guinea, the eagle-eyed observers are now seeing white-tailed tropicbirds.

    Eric has more than earned his sea legs and bird skills. He has clocked up more than 400 days at sea on the Australian Antarctic Division’s research and supply vessel (RSV) Aurora Australis. He’s been spotting, identifying and logging birds across the Southern Ocean from Australia to Antarctica. Now on his tenth voyage on Investigator, when Eric steps ashore from a voyage in January next year, he would have logged more than 140 days onboard and circumnavigated Australia in the process.

    3
    Look up! The scientists aren’t just looking deep below for the answers. Image: Huw Morgan

    Extreme birdwatching

    Eric’s enthusiasm for birds is matched by his passion for inspiring and educating anyone who comes within range on the life and times of seabirds.

    “Australia has about 130 to 140 seabird species and I would expect we will see about 40 of those on this voyage,” Eric says from behind binoculars which seem glued to his face.

    As he speaks, what seems like a black blur passes overhead.

    “The lesser frigatebird – an amazing bird,” Eric reveals.

    “They have the lowest body mass to wing-loading ratio of any bird. They hardly have to flap their wings at all.”

    “It’s a kleptoparasite – it steals food from other birds.”

    Pilot whales, dolphins, a 2.5 m hammerhead shark, and a lone whale shark have also made appearances.

    Lying about 1000 km east of Cairns, the ship is currently drawing near the very remote Mellish Reef. About 10 km long and 3 km wide, the reef has only a small area of land permanently above the highwater mark. This speck of land is the nesting ground for thousands of birds.

    Before we reach the reef, Eric hurries outside to the open deck with his camera and captures a truly remarkable image of a pair of red-footed boobies right on the tail of a flying fish spooked out of the sea by the ship.

    The booby wins.

    4
    Red-footed Booby vs flying fish – some of the sights on RV Investigator. Image: Eric Woehler, BirdLife Tasmania

    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 8:32 am on August 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2019 RoboCup Millennium Challenge, According to IDC the global robotics market was worth $151 billion in 2018 and that’s expected to double to $315.5 billion by 2021., , CSIROscope,   

    From CSIROscope- “Cashing in: Australia’s role in $1trn robotic revolution” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    19 August 2019
    Adrian Turner

    Fifteen international teams from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Iran, Japan and Portugal recently descended on Sydney for the 2019 RoboCup Millennium Challenge. Eleven fully autonomous virtual robots known as “agents” played as part of each team without the assistance of a remote control and complying with FIFA rules. The nail-biting final came down to the wire, with an Australian team emerging victorious over the 2018 world champions with seconds to spare.

    But this was more than a game, it highlighted Australia’s strengths in robotics and the speed with which the field is evolving.

    1
    Robots of the team NomadZ (ETH Zurich) of Switzerland, 1st and 2nd of left,and the Australian Runswift team (University of New South Wales), right, challenge for the ball during a soccer match.

    According to IDC the global robotics market was worth $151 billion in 2018, and that’s expected to double to $315.5 billion by 2021. Robots are used today in wide-ranging fields such as precision agriculture, mining, medical procedures, construction, biosecurity, transportation and even for companionship.

    Advancements in robotics have been accompanied by a fear that robots and automation will take our jobs along the way. While there are short-term risks with forecasts of 40 per cent of jobs potentially being displaced, it’s not clear that there will be an overall reduction in the number of jobs over time. The World Economic Forum suggests that the opposite will occur. In their Future of Jobs 2018 report, the authors concluded that while automation technologies including artificial intelligence could see 75 million jobs displaced globally, 133 million new roles may emerge as companies shake up their division of labour between humans and machines, translating to an additional 58 million new jobs created by 2022.

    A recent report by AlphaBeta estimates that automation can boost Australia’s productivity and national income by (up to) $2.2 trillion by 2030 and result in improved health and safety, the development of new products and services, new types of jobs and new business models. In that same report AlphaBeta concluded that by 2025 automation in manufacturing could increase by 6 per cent along with an 11 per cent reduction in injuries while wages for non-automatable tasks will rise 20 per cent.

    The key to unlocking economic and societal benefit from robotics will be to have them do things not possible or economic before. Take caring of an ageing population that is forecast to live longer but with a smaller workforce to support them. The math doesn’t add up without new methods for care to keep people out of hospitals and in their homes longer. Or supporting children with autism to develop social interaction and communication skills with Kaspar, a social robot being trialled by researchers at the University of New South and CSIRO. Robots can help with dangerous jobs too. CSIRO’s Data61 spinout Emesent develops drones capable of travelling in GPS-denied environments utilising 3D LiDAR technology. They travel down mineshafts to safely inspect hard to access areas of underground mines, so people don’t have to.

    On the other side of the world, a Harvard University group has spent the last 12 years creating a robotic bee capable of partially untethered flight powered by artificial muscles beating the wings 120 times a second. The ultimate objective of the program is to create a robobee swarm for use in natural disasters and artificial pollination given the devastating effectives of colony collapse disorder on bee populations and consequently food pollination. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that of the 1400 crops grown for food, 80 per cent depend on pollination and globally pollination services are likely worth more than $3 trillion.

    Robotic advancements

    Advancement in robotics is accelerating. They will increasingly evolve from isolated machines to be seamlessly integrated with our environments and each other. When one robot encounters an obstacle or new context and learns, the entire network of robots can instantaneously learn.

    Other advancements include the use of more tactile skins with embedded pressure sensors, and more flexible sensors. A team of engineers from the university of Delaware have created flexible carbon nanotube coatings on fibres that include cotton and wool, resulting in shape forming, flexible and pressure sensitive skins. Just as with the robobee there are also advancements in collaborative robots, or cobots, that can be used for resilient search and rescue operations among other things.

    We are also witnessing improvements in dexterity. The California-based Intuitive Surgical has developed a robot allowing a surgeon to control three fully articulated instruments to treat deep-seated damaged or diseased tissues or organs. Robots are also being developed that can unfold and soft robotics that will be important for applications that involve people contact. The challenge until recently has been a lack of actuators or artificial muscles that can replicate the versatility of real muscles. Advancements are being made with one design made from inexpensive materials reportedly able to lift 200 times its weight. Another compelling advancement is in augmenting our own muscles via wearable robots or exoskeletons. Applications today range from helping prevent workplace injury to helping people function more fully after spinal cord damage or strokes.

    Australia can benefit substantially from robotics in areas like managing environmental threats, maintaining vital urban infrastructure, maximise crop yields in drought-affected regions, transportation or supporting law enforcement. Australia was the first country to automate its ports and mine sites and we have strong university capabilities at QUT and Sydney University among others. Today there are about 1100 robotics companies in the country and CSIRO’s Data61 recently opened the largest robotic motion-capture facility in the southern hemisphere.

    The question of how Australia can capitalise on the trillion-dollar artificial intelligence and robotics revolution will be the focal point of the upcoming D61+LIVE conference in Sydney this October. Like all other industry creation opportunities in front of us right now, the opportunity is perishable and the way to maximise the benefit as a country is to be a global leader in parts. The Australian Robocup team has shown us how it’s done. Game on.

    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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