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Life outside our Solar System? Hubble finds oxygen signature of water in ring of debris around dead star

Life outside our Solar System? Hubble finds oxygen signature of water in ring of debris around dead star | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it

The likely remains of a water-rich asteroid have been discovered orbiting a dead star 50 parsecs (150 light years) from Earth. The finding suggests that from cradle to grave, a wide range of stars might harbor rocky material rich in water — key ingredients for building a habitable planet.

 

Jay Farihi at the University of Cambridge, UK and his colleagues had been looking for several years at signs of rocky planets or their chemical building blocks around white dwarfs — the remains of stars between one and eight times the mass of the Sun crammed into a volume no bigger than Earth. White dwarfs are natural laboratories for studying the composition of exoplanets (planets outside the Solar System), as their strong gravitational pull shreds nearby asteroids and minor planets and pulls in their debris, Farihi notes. The remnants are relatively easy to detect because they pollute a white dwarf’s pristine atmosphere of hydrogen or helium with heavy elements. The team focused on the white dwarf GD 61, the compact core of a star about three times heavier than the Sun. Previous observations had revealed a disk of rocky debris orbiting GD 61 and an abundance of oxygen in its atmosphere, a clue that water might be present.

 

Using an ultraviolet spectrometer aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, the team took a more precise inventory of the oxygen content. Using the abundances of other elements measured by the Keck Observatory atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the team determined how much oxygen should be present if it were all bound up in rock. The actual oxygen abundance revealed by Hubble was much greater, indicating that the additional oxygen was carried by either water or by carbonaceous material.

 

The white dwarf, however, contains very little carbon, leaving water as the only possible source of the oxygen abundance, Farihi says. The team calculates that if the debris disk surrounding GD 61 is the remains of a single object, then that would probably have been about the size of the Solar System asteroid Vesta, which has a diameter of around 500 kilometres, and would have possessed abundant water (26% by mass). That would make it similar to the asteroid Ceres, the type of asteroid thought to have ferried water to the young Earth.

 

“This is the first convincing case” that an object pulverized by a white dwarf was both rocky and water-rich, says astronomer Ben Zuckerman of the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study.

 

The putative asteroid must have broken up relatively recently, because debris disks around white dwarfs last only for about a million years and material polluting their atmosphere sinks to the core in about 20,000 years or less, says Farihi.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
James Jandebeur's insight:

Of course, finding the remains of life in space would not necessarily be good news.

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Computer Enhanced Teaching

Computer Enhanced Teaching | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Computer Enhanced Teaching
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Mind-controlled prosthetic arm from Segway inventor gets FDA approval

Mind-controlled prosthetic arm from Segway inventor gets FDA approval | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Nearly eight years ago, DARPA, the US Defense Department's advanced research agency, set out to find a better solution for amputees than the metal hooks still widely used today. Now, the Food and...
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9-year-old kid debates asteroid destruction with Neil deGrasse Tyson

9-year-old kid debates asteroid destruction with Neil deGrasse Tyson | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Seriously folks, you need to watch 9-year-old Jacob debating about how to deflect or destroy asteroids that may hit Earth with Cosmos' host Neil de Grasse Tyson. The non-Newtonian fluid line is pure gold.
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Moss-Powered Electricity

Moss-Powered Electricity | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Are mosses the new solar panels?
James Jandebeur's insight:

Several problems potentially solved at the same time, if this works out.

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In Science We Trust - YouTube

In science we believe... Edited By: Hashem AL-ghaili Music By: The Cinematic Orchestra (To Build a Home) For More Science, Join Me Here Facebook Page : http:...
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This Stanford surgeon shows us the future of medicine: Augmented reality & Google Glass (exclusive)

This Stanford surgeon shows us the future of medicine: Augmented reality & Google Glass (exclusive) | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
"You don't need to go in blind anymore," said Dr. Homero Rivas in an interview with VentureBeat.
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Mercedes could launch its next hydrogen fuel cell car in 2017

Mercedes could launch its next hydrogen fuel cell car in 2017 | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Mercedes-Benz has delved into the world of fuel-cell vehicles before, with several concepts and the F-Cell prototype from a few years back. But so far -- like most automakers -- there's not been a ...
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Predictive tech is getting smarter and more pervasive -- but more controversial, too

Predictive tech is getting smarter and more pervasive -- but more controversial, too | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
We're seeing the biggest change in how we interact with computers in years. And it'll mean much less input from you. Apps like Google Now, Tempo AI, and others represent the first wave of "predicti...
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Because Some Days You Just Want To Customize Your Pizza On A Giant Touchscreen Tabletop | TechCrunch

Because Some Days You Just Want To Customize Your Pizza On A Giant Touchscreen Tabletop | TechCrunch | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Chaotic Moon co-founder Ben Lamm says he "remembers when it was cool to go to Pizza Hut" with his family and play Ms. Pac-Man on the classic arcade table...
James Jandebeur's insight:

One of the consolation prizes for not having flying cars (yet). Hopefully, the costs can be brought down enough to make this a reality, though I wouldn't want to see them everywhere.

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Perovskite cells may make solar more affordable

Perovskite cells may make solar more affordable | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Cheap, abundant solar power from Britain's grey skies? Don't mock,

James Jandebeur's insight:

Overcoming the current ways we get energy are not just a matter of showing the future benefits. There is also the simple problem that we already have those systems in place and paid for. Anything that reduces the cost of change brings us closer to finally making that change, barring other problems.

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Rescooped by James Jandebeur from Digital Identity and Access Management
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The QuReP Project

The QuReP Project | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
QuReP: Quantum Repeaters for Long Distance Fibre-Based Quantum Communication - Site for the EU (STREP) FP7 Photonics project...

Via Sylvain, Frank J. Klein
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Augmented Reality System Could Improve Workplace Safety | Gadgets, Science & Technology

Augmented Reality System Could Improve Workplace Safety | Gadgets, Science & Technology | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Imagine working in a factory when suddenly an alarm goes off – one of the machines is on the fritz. But which one? Fujitsu’s smart glove and ...
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Report: Offshore wind farms could tame hurricanes before they reach land

Report: Offshore wind farms could tame hurricanes before they reach land | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
For the past 24 years, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, has been developing a complex computer model to study air pollution, energy, weather and ...
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3DPI's 3D Printing Beginner’s Guide PDF - 3D Printing Industry

3DPI's 3D Printing Beginner’s Guide PDF - 3D Printing Industry | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
3DPI releases its Free 3D Printing Beginner’s Guide in downloadable pdf format.
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Science Fiction As Science Fact | It's Okay To Be Smart | PBS Digital Studios

Science Fiction As Science Fact | It's Okay To Be Smart | PBS Digital Studios | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Why is some science fiction so good at predicting actual science? SUBSCRIBE, it's FREE! http://bit.ly/iotbs_sub ↓ More below ↓ Do Ray Bradbury, Ar
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An Algorithm Wrote The LA Times Story About The City’s Earthquake Aftershock Today | TechCrunch

An Algorithm Wrote The LA Times Story About The City’s Earthquake Aftershock Today | TechCrunch | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
As reporters around the country scrambled to push out stories on early-morning earthquakes that awoke southern California, The LA Times had a machine write..
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Siberian scientists announce they now have a ‘high chance’ to clone the woolly mammoth

Siberian scientists announce they now have a ‘high chance’ to clone the woolly mammoth | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Scientists believe they will be able to extract high quality DNA from remains which have undergone a unique autopsy in Yakutsk

James Jandebeur's insight:

I'm certainly not sure this is a good idea, especially if it's mostly just to show "we can do it". But we shall see how it works out.

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Mountain View author finds sci-fi success with Martian thriller

Mountain View author finds sci-fi success with Martian thriller | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
It's hard to believe that Andy Weir doesn't work for NASA: computer simulations, mathematical calculations and chemical studies all go into his work. But Weir is not literally sending a man to Mars, he is a novelist doing research for his recently published first book, a sci-fi thriller called "The Martian."
James Jandebeur's insight:

I place this here because it was electronically both researched and published, concepts that not terribly long ago would not have been possible. Certainly, an author with enough talent and passion could have published such a work before the modern day, but luck or money would have played a more important part. It's good to see this kind of thing can be done now more easily.

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Foldscope paper microscope can diagnose malaria, costs 50 cents

Foldscope paper microscope can diagnose malaria, costs 50 cents | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
A cheap, rugged microscope made of paper that performs as well as many commercial research microscopes could soon be yours.
James Jandebeur's insight:

Origami microscope. Anyone that can get a life-saving piece of technology in people's hands for 50 cents certainly deserves a mention.

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Creepy Black Balloon Will Follow You

Creepy Black Balloon Will Follow You | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it

How terrifying would it be to turn around and see a levitating black balloon following your every move and repeating the last conversation you just had?..

James Jandebeur's insight:

Rover. Not exactly a science fiction creation that I would want in reality, but here it is, though more compact.

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How these social robots are helping autistic kids

How these social robots are helping autistic kids | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Recent studies have shown that social robots like Romibo can be used to provide therapy (or co-therapy,in collaboration with a human), and potentially even help teach autistic individuals new skill...
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Rescooped by James Jandebeur from 3D Printing in Manufacturing Today
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Inflatable 3D Print Technology Makes These Flowers Bloom

Inflatable 3D Print Technology Makes These Flowers Bloom | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
3D printing technology is advancing quickly. It's becoming a popular and economical option for creating products ranging from sportswear and fashion gowns to manufacturing prototypes. Richard Clark...

Via ManufacturingStories
James Jandebeur's insight:

It's an interesting technology, since it may help make the printing process more flexible. The idea of artificial flowers that respond to you as an individual seems a bit odd, but as long as its in small doses it won't be too dystopian.

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Wearable Book Takes Some Imagination Out of Reading | Gadgets, Science & Technology

Wearable Book Takes Some Imagination Out of Reading | Gadgets, Science & Technology | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
Get ready for reading to become even more fun. A student team at MIT’s Media Lab has developed a wearable book that lets readers feel the emotions and ...
James Jandebeur's insight:

Not sure I like the idea, but if it gets people reading more it may not be so bad. I'd prefer to read a book first and establish my interpretation of it, rather than get someone else's, just as I do with movies based on books. 

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How do you build a large-scale quantum computer?

How do you build a large-scale quantum computer? | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Physicists led by ion-trapper Christopher Monroe at the JQI have proposed a modular quantum computer architecture that promises scalability to much larger numbers of qubits. The components of this architecture have individually been tested and are available, making it a promising approach. In the paper, the authors present expected performance and scaling calculations, demonstrating that their architecture is not only viable, but in some ways, preferable when compared to related schemes.


Via Szabolcs Kósa
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Andreas Pappas's curator insight, March 28, 1:40 AM

This article shows how scientists can increase the scale of quantum machine while still making them behave quantum mechanically by reading the qu-bits with lasers instead of conventional wiring.

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Robot 3D Printer Can Build Self-Supporting Metal Structures | Gadgets, Science & Technology

Robot 3D Printer Can Build Self-Supporting Metal Structures | Gadgets, Science & Technology | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it
3D printing is taking over the world, one new material at a time. First it was plastic, then ceramics and even food, and now a freestanding robot can print ...
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NASA telescope finds 715 new planets outside solar system

NASA telescope finds 715 new planets outside solar system | It Used to be Science Fiction | Scoop.it

Astronomers used a new confirmation technique to come up with the largest batch of planets announced at one time

James Jandebeur's insight:

1700 planets found outside the solar system in just twenty years. That's not bad.

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