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Kilogram to be based on physical absolute instead of single, physical object

Kilogram to be based on physical absolute instead of single, physical object

Science
May 20 (UPI) -- The kilogram is no longer defined by a physical object. Instead, from here on out, the unit of measurement will be based on fundamental constants, atomic properties and physical absolutes. Scientists around the world will be able to reproduce the mass constant. Until now, a kilogram unit was based on the mass of a cylinder made of platinum-iridium alloy. Housed in Paris, the cylinder has been the standard-bearer for the base unit of mass for 130 years. Of course, physical objects change. Each time the cylinder was hauled out of storage to calibrate an instrument, the object shed a handful of atoms. Over the last 130 years, the cylinder lost 50 micrograms. The abandonment of the physical kilogram was made official on May 20, 2019, which is World Metrology Day, a celebrati...
NASA spacecraft survives flyby of the most distant object ever visited

NASA spacecraft survives flyby of the most distant object ever visited

Technology
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft pulled off the most distant exploration of another world Tuesday, skimming past a tiny, icy object 4 billion miles from Earth that looks to be shaped like a bowling pin. Flight controllers in Maryland declared success 10 hours after the high-risk, middle-of-the-night encounter at the mysterious body known as Ultima Thule on the frozen fringes of our solar system, an astounding 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto. "I don't know about all of you, but I'm really liking this 2019 thing so far," lead scientist Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute said to applause. "I'm here to tell you that last night, overnight, the United States spacecraft New Horizons conducted the farthest exploration in the history of humankind, and did so spectacula...
Fastest manmade spinning object to aid quantum mechanics science

Fastest manmade spinning object to aid quantum mechanics science

Science
July 20 (UPI) -- The creators of the world's fastest manmade rotor believe their invention will boost the study of quantum mechanism, the branch of physic devoted to the behavior of subatomic particles. The new rotor can spin at a rate of 60 billion revolutions per minute. Most airplane turbines top out at 3,000 revolutions per minute. Scientists described their impressive new device this week in the journal Physical Review Letters. "This study has many applications, including material science," Tongcang Li, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University, said in a news release. "We can study the extreme conditions different materials can survive in." The rotor is composed of a tiny silica dumbbell. Scientists used a laser to levitate the dumbbell inside a vacuum. T...
Interstellar object may hold 'alien' water

Interstellar object may hold 'alien' water

Science
The first known interstellar asteroid may hold water from another star system in its interior, according to a study.Discovered on 19 October, the object's speed and trajectory strongly suggested it originated beyond our Solar System.The body showed no signs of "outgassing" as it approached the Sun, strengthening the idea that it held little if any water-ice.But the latest findings suggest water might be trapped under a thick, carbon-rich coating on its surface.The results come as a project to search for life in the cosmos has been using a radio telescope to check for radio signals coming from the strange, elongated object, named 'Oumuamua.Astronomers from the Breakthrough Listen initiative have been looking across four different radio frequency bands for anything that might resemble a sign...
Astronomers may have found solar system's first observed interstellar object

Astronomers may have found solar system's first observed interstellar object

Science
Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Astronomers are tracking what they believe may be the first observed interstellar asteroid or comet to travel through Earth's solar system, NASA said.The space agency said the object is less than a quarter mile in diameter and is traveling "remarkably fast." They're not sure what exactly it is.Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, said the agency has been "waiting for this day for decades.""It's long been theorized that such objects exist -- asteroids or comets moving around between the stars and occasionally passing through our solar system -- but this is the first such detection. So far, everything indicates this is likely an interstellar object, but more data would help to confirm it," he added.The University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 teles...