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Work starts to upgrade Large Hadron Collider

Work starts to upgrade Large Hadron Collider

Science
Work has begun on a major upgrade to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle smasher.The High-Luminosity LHC will make it possible to study the fundamental building blocks of matter in more detail than ever before.Cern, the organisation that operates the LHC, held a ground-breaking ceremony on Friday to mark the beginning of civil engineering works.The vast LHC is housed beneath the French-Swiss border, near Geneva.The upgrade will boost the accelerator's potential for new discoveries in physics, starting in 2026."The HiLumi project will allow us to get a lot more out of the LHC than we have been able to get so far," said theoretical physicist Prof John Ellis."It's going to enable us to probe much deeper into the history of the Universe, look at very rar...
Stars turn out for Stephen Hawking memorial at Westminster Abbey

Stars turn out for Stephen Hawking memorial at Westminster Abbey

Science
Tributes have been paid to renowned physicist Prof Stephen Hawking in a Westminster Abbey memorial service.British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Hawking in a BBC drama, and astronaut Tim Peake were among those giving readings at the ceremony.Prof Hawking died in March, aged 76, after a long battle with motor neurone disease.His ashes are being buried alongside other great scientists like Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton.25,000 applicationsEnglish Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, and Prof Hawking's collaborator and Nobel prize winner, Kip Thorne, also gave tributes during the service.TV personalities David Walliams and Piers Morgan, musician Nile Rodgers and Prof Brian Cox were among those who joined members of the publ...
Satellite image shows rain puddles in the world's largest contiguous sand desert

Satellite image shows rain puddles in the world's largest contiguous sand desert

Science
June 15 (UPI) -- An image shared by NASA this week features a rare sight, rain puddles in Rub' al-Khali, the world's largest contiguous sand desert. At the end of May, the tropical cyclone Mekunu passed across the Arabian Peninsula. The port of Salalah, in Oman, received 11 inches of rain in just 24 hours -- two times the city's average annual precipitation total. The storm slowed and dissipated as it traveled inland across the desert, but still had plenty of moisture left to drop. On May 29, three days after the storm, Landsat 8's Operational Land Imager snapped a picture of the dunes of Rub' al-Khali as the satellite passed 435 miles overhead. The basins between the sand dunes can be seen filled with standing water. NASA shared the remarkable image online this week. The portion of the ...
Prehistoric frogs in amber surface after 99 million years

Prehistoric frogs in amber surface after 99 million years

Science
Frogs trapped in amber for 99 million years are giving a glimpse of a lost world.The tiny creatures have been preserved in sticky tree resin since the end of the Age of the Dinosaurs.The four fossils give a window into a world when frogs and toads were evolving in the rainforests.Amber from Myanmar, containing skin, scales, fur, feathers or even whole creatures, is regarded as a treasure trove by palaeontologists.Dr Lida Xing of China University of Geosciences in Beijing said it was a "miracle" find."In China, frogs, lizards and scorpions are called three treasures of amber," he told BBC News. "These amber fossils provide direct evidence that frogs inhabited wet tropical forests before the mass extinction event at the end of the ...
Astronomers identify 121 giant planets likely to host habitable moons

Astronomers identify 121 giant planets likely to host habitable moons

Science
June 14 (UPI) -- Astronomers have identified 121 giant planets that potentially host habitable moons. Scientists believe the next generation of telescopes will be able to target alien moons in search of signs of life. Scientists identified the candidates among exoplanet data collected by NASA's Kepler telescope. Kepler's main goal is to help astronomers locate habitable planets outside the solar system. Exoplanets are said to exist in the habitable zone when they orbit their host star at a distance that allows water to persist in solid, liquid and gas forms. Earth-like rocky planets are the first choice for astronomers searching for potentially habitable alien worlds, but as recent studies inside the solar system have revealed, moons surrounding gas giants also possess the potential for ...