Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Chemical’

Martian Laser Surpasses 100,000 Zaps

December 6, 2013 1 comment

The ChemCam laser instrument aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover fired its 100,000th shot recently, chronicling its adventures on Mars with a coffee-table-book’s worth of spectral data that might rival snapshots gathered during a long and satisfying family vacation here on Earth. ChemCam zaps rocks with a high-powered laser to determine their composition and carries a camera that can survey the Martian landscape.

“ChemCam has greatly exceeded our expectations,” said Roger Wiens, Los Alamos National Laboratory planetary scientist and Principal Investigator of the ChemCam Team. “The information we’ve gleaned from the instrument will continue to enhance our understanding of the Red Planet, and will nicely complement information from the other nine instruments aboard Curiosity as we continue our odyssey to Mount Sharp.”

Link To Full Story

The Quantum Secret To Alcohol Reactions In Space


Image credit: Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin

Image credit: Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin

Chemists have discovered that an ‘impossible’ reaction at cold temperatures actually occurs with vigour, which could change our understanding of how alcohols are formed and destroyed in space.

To explain the impossible, the researchers propose that a quantum mechanical phenomenon, known as ‘quantum tunnelling’, is revving up the chemical reaction. They found that the rate at which the reaction occurs is 50 times greater at minus 210 degrees Celsius than at room temperature.

It’s the harsh environment that makes space-based chemistry so difficult to understand; the extremely cold conditions should put a stop to chemical reactions, as there isn’t sufficient energy to rearrange chemical bonds. It has previously been suggested that dust grains – found in interstellar clouds, for example – could lend a hand in bringing chemical reactions about.

Full Story: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/3412/the_quantum_secret_to_alcohol_reactions_in_space

Search for Evidence of Life on Mars Heats Up

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Scientists are expressing confidence that questions about life on Mars, which have captured human imagination for centuries, finally may be answered, thanks in part to new life-detection tools up to 1,000 times more sensitive than previous instruments.

“The bottom line is that if life is out there, the high-tech tools of chemistry will find it sooner or later,” said Jeffrey Bada, Ph.D., co-organizer of a special two-day symposium on the Red Planet, which began here today during the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). “It certainly is starting to look like there may be something alive out there somewhere, with Mars being the most accessible place to search,” Bada added.

Full Story: http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=222&content_id=CNBP_028102&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=d8e072c4-1aa2-4455-b597-e7079aeeb9c6