Just how quickly is the dark matter near Earth zipping around? The speed of dark matter has far-reaching consequences for modern astrophysical research, but this fundamental property has eluded researchers for years. In a paper published Jan. 22 in the journal Physical Review Letters, Princeton researchers provided the first clue: The solution to this mystery, it turns out, lies among some of the oldest stars in the galaxy.
A joint China-Austria team has performed quantum key distribution between the quantum-science satellite Micius and multiple ground stations located in Xinglong (near Beijing), Nanshan (near Urumqi), and Graz (near Vienna). Such experiments demonstrate the secure satellite-to-ground exchange of cryptographic keys with ?kHz rate during the passage of the satellite Micius over a ground station. Using Micius as a trusted relay, a secret key is created between China and Europe at locations separated up to 7,600 km on the Earth.
Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility. Portland State University biology professor Ken Stedman and colleagues are trying to change this through their article "Astrovirology: Viruses at Large in the Universe," published in the February 2018 issue of the journal Astrobiology.
Like the waistband of a couch potato in midlife, the orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun's gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. Now, a team of NASA and MIT scientists has indirectly measured this mass loss and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury's orbit.
Miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques successfully identified and characterized microorganisms living in Arctic permafrost -- one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. By avoiding delays that come with having to return samples to a laboratory for analysis, the methodology could also be used on Earth to detect and identify pathogens during epidemics in remote areas.
An international group of astronomers has found that the Cornell University-discovered fast radio burst FRB 121102 -- a brief, gigantic pulse of radio waves from 3 billion light years away -- passes through a veil of magnetized plasma. This causes the cosmic blasts to 'shout and twist,' which will help the scientists determine the source.
NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments.
Santa's winter workshop might be in space, as University of Warwick researchers are exploring whether snowy moons over a billion kilometres away from Earth are potentially habitable. According to Dr David Brown, and colleagues at Warwick's Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability, life could be supported on moons of ice and snow with vast oceans under their frozen surfaces, orbiting Jupiter and Saturn.
A University of Leicester scientist leads a Cassini mission study into immense northern storms on Saturn.
A 60-year-old mystery regarding the source of some energetic and potentially damaging particles in Earth's radiation belts is now solved using data from a shoebox-sized satellite built and operated by University of Colorado Boulder students.