Scientists observe ‘diamond rain’ similar to that found on icy giant planets

August 24, 2017 by  
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You may have heard that icy planets like Neptune and Uranus experience diamond rain. But now, scientists have been able to mimic conditions of those planets and observe diamond rain at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Since it’s difficult for us at this point to directly observe the interiors of these planets, such research could help scientists better understand and classify worlds. For a long time, scientists have hypothesized that diamond rain arises over 5,000 miles below the surface of planets like Neptune and Uranus. In this recent experiment, a group of researchers simulated the conditions of these planets “by creating shock waves in plastic with an intense optical laser ” in the laboratory , according to a recent press release. They were able to observe that almost every carbon atom of the plastic was incorporated into diamond structures. The diamonds were tiny – only around a few nanometers wide – but on Uranus and Neptune, the researchers think the falling diamonds could weigh millions of carats. Related: Mysterious object near Neptune just made space a lot weirder Study lead author Dominik Kraus of research center Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf said in a statement, “We can’t go inside the planets and look at them, so these laboratory experiments complement satellite and telescope observations.” The scientists think diamond rain could produce an energy source, generating heat as it falls. Beyond observing a neat phenomenon, the experiment could help scientists learn about how elements mix together under pressure in the interiors of planets, providing them with more information on a planet’s defining features. These researchers plan to apply their methods to study the processes of other planets as well. Nature Astronomy published the study online this week. 23 scientists of institutions in Germany, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom contributed to the research. Via SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Images via Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

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Scientists observe ‘diamond rain’ similar to that found on icy giant planets

Fly down a zipline in the Willy Wonka-esque Future Forest in London

August 24, 2017 by  
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Bompas & Parr are like real-life Willy Wonkas—and they brought their magic touch to the inside of a UK shopping mall. The design duo launched a free ‘Future Forest’ in the Westfield London shopping center with the theme of urban reforestation. The immersive experience is an incredible indoor forest playground with a fantastical Fruit Cloud, electricity-producing plants, a historic tree circus, and even a 40-meter-long zip-line that starts atop a 5.3-meter-high treehouse. The Future Forest is envisioned as rural escapism in the concrete jungle that promotes relaxation, health, and wellness as well as environmental awareness . “Imagining how we can co-exist in nature is one of the key challenges facing our collective future, where we face increased urban populations while climate change and pollution threatens the stability of the natural world,” says Harry Parr, Director of Bompas & Parr. “We’ve tried to bring to life these concerns in a fun and interactive way that conveys important messages and delivers big on the fun factor too. What better way to engage young people in the future of our urban environment than by zorbing through Westfield or experiencing the fruit cloud?” Related: London to Launch Edible Fireworks Display to Ring in the New Year! The temporary nature-inspired installation first popped up earlier this summer at Westfield Stratford City and has now moved to Westfield London , where it will stay until August 28. The move to Westfield also comes with the new addition of the Adventure Zip-Line that offers an exhilarating 40-meter descent front the top of a treehouse . It is the only indoor zip-line in the UK, and free to the public. A Fruit Cloud that immerses visitors in a breathable aromatic cloud with regularly changing flavors, as well as other inspiring installations, complements the zip-line. + Bompas & Parr Images © Ann Charlott Ommedal and Bompas & Parr

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Fly down a zipline in the Willy Wonka-esque Future Forest in London

A wave of buckets hijacks public space in Mexico City

August 24, 2017 by  
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How much fun can you have with paint buckets? The designers at Factor Eficiencia and 5468796 Architecture prove that objects as mundane as paint buckets can be transformed into a vibrant public space with the power of creative thinking. The interactive installation, called ‘One Bucket at a Time,’ is a wave-shaped space with seating developed for MEXTROPOLI 2017, a four-day architecture festival in Mexico City. Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world with a population of over 20 million. Unsurprisingly, traffic is a nightmare in the city as is the shortage of available parking. To capitalize on the situation, thousands of “viene viene” entrepreneurs swarm the city streets, using painter’s buckets to claim a piece of the street in order to charge drivers a fee in exchange for parking in the illegally claimed spot. Inspired by this hijacking of public (parking) space, Factor Eficiencia and 5468796 Architecture created One Bucket at a Time, a pop-up installation made from paint buckets. Related: Giant animal faces take over Mexico City’s forest for environmental awareness Curled up on the edges, the wave-like pavilion is created with a grid of ropes that form the underlying structure. The attached buckets are strong enough to withstand the weigh of visitors who walk, run, and play on its modular surface. Overturned buckets are also used as seating around the installation. “By using buckets—a symbol of holding the public space hostage—we are highlighting and questioning this pervasive condition, and also empowering people of Mexico City to reclaim ownership of their public space, one bucket at a time, even if only for a few days,” wrote the designers. + Factor Eficiencia + 5468796 Architecture Via Contemporist Images by Jaime Navarro

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A wave of buckets hijacks public space in Mexico City

New research shows there may be 10 planets in our solar system

June 23, 2017 by  
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Don’t get your hopes up – scientists aren’t making Pluto a planet again just yet. But the number of possible planets that we haven’t discovered was recently bumped up to two. Last fall researchers published a study on the mysterious Planet Nine , which could explain the unusual tilt of the sun. Now University of Arizona (UA) scientists think they may have found evidence for yet another planetary mass object – and it could be closer than Planet Nine. Planet Nine – which scientists think might be 10 times Earth’s mass – could be lurking out past Pluto’s orbit. But Planet Nine might not be all we’ve missed in our solar system . Kat Volk and Renu Malhotra of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at UA think they’ve found an unknown planet that’s between the mass of Earth and Mars. What gave this potential planet away was the fact it could be controlling the orbital planes of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) – a group of space rocks. Related: New research suggests an unseen 9th planet may be tilting the solar system In the Kuiper Belt, the furthest away of the KBOs don’t orbit the sun with orbital tilts scientists would expect. Instead, they’re tilted away by around eight degrees, suggesting a mysterious something might be warping their orbital planes. Volk, lead author on a study slated for publication in the Astronomical Journal , said in a statement, “The most likely explanation for our results is that there is some unseen mass. According to our calculations, something as massive as Mars would be needed to cause the warp that we measured.” Why haven’t we yet stumbled across this potentially rather large planet? Volk and Malhotra say we haven’t searched the whole sky for distant objects in the solar system – Planet 10 may have been hiding among the densely packed galactic plane. We might catch a glimpse of Planet 10 when the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope – an instrument operated by a consortium including UA – is completed, possibly in 2020. Via Futurism and the University of Arizona Images via Heather Roper/LPL

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New research shows there may be 10 planets in our solar system

Solar-powered Cloverdale house is made of reclaimed wood from a 1970s kit home

June 23, 2017 by  
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This solar-powered home in Cloverdale, California was built using reclaimed wood from an existing 1970s kit log home. Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects utilized existing site elements to create the new 2150-square-foot house with minimal impact on the environment. The owners of the property commissioned the architects to design a sustainable home that’s easy to use and doesn’t disrupt its natural surroundings. Inspired by traditional screened porches , the architects designed a screened-in living space and included the porch in the body of the house as an entry to the guest bedrooms. This double role of the porch reduced the need for circulation and helped keep the footprint of the house to it minimum . Related: Kentfield Hillside Residence Rises Under a Green Roof North of San Francisco A solar array installed on the south-facing roof, along with solar hot water panels, provide enough power to meet most of the energy requirements of the house. PV-powered heat pumps provide radiant heating or cooling, depending on the weather conditions and seasonal needs. In order to reduce construction costs, the architects reused the wood of the original kit log house as decking, interior and exterior wood paneling. + Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects Via Dwell Photos by Matthew Millman

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Solar-powered Cloverdale house is made of reclaimed wood from a 1970s kit home

NASA discovers 7 Earth-sized planets outside our solar system

February 22, 2017 by  
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In a press conference today, NASA scientists revealed an extraordinary new discovery – the first known system of seven rocky, Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star. Three out of the seven planets are situated at the perfect distance from the sun to potentially harbor liquid water , making them habitable for life as we know it. This is the largest number of habitable-zone planets ever found around a single star outside our own solar system . It’s important to note that simply because these planets could potentially hold liquid water doesn’t mean that they do – but the likelihood is higher given their location. The planets are orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1, located about 40 light years (or 235 trillion miles) from Earth in the Aquarius constellation. The system is named after the TRAPPIST ( The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope ), located in an observatory in Chile. In May 2016, TRAPPIST researchers announced they’d discovered three planets in the system. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope was able to confirm those exoplanets’ existence and that of four additional planets. The results of NASA’s study have been published in the journal Nature today. Related: Astronomers just discovered an alien planet with three suns that shouldn’t exist What’s especially interesting about the TRAPPIST-1 system is how different its habitable zone is from that of systems like our own. Because the star is much cooler than our sun, planets much closer to the sun than Earth could potentially have liquid water. In fact, all seven of TRAPPIST-1’s planets are closer to the star than Mercury is to our own sun, and each of the planets are so close to one another they would appear in one another’s skies the same way the moon appears in ours. NASA scientists also speculate the planets may be tidally locked , so that the same side of the planet is always facing the star, casting one half of the planet in permanent daylight and the other in perpetual night. This could cause weather patterns unlike anything we’ve ever seen before on Earth, and extreme differences in temperature from one side to the other. The Spitzer telescope was able to detect the presence of the planets by observing the infrared wavelengths emitted by the star over a period of 500 hours. Each time a planet crossed in front of the star, the telescope could detect changes in the star’s brightness. NASA also followed up with a study using the Hubble Space Telescope to determine whether the planets were rocky, or likely had a “puffy” atmosphere like those of our own system’s gas giants. There’s still much about these planets we simply do not know, but studies will continue to help NASA learn more about them. Right now, the Kepler space telescope is also recording observations about the system, which will reveal more properties about the exoplanets in March. NASA’s new James Webb Telescope will also be pointed toward TRAPPIST-1 after its launch in 2018, and will analyze the planets’ temperature, surface pressure, and atmospheric makeup – all key factors that will reveal whether these worlds can actually sustain life. Via NASA Images via NASA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnKFaAS30X8

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NASA discovers 7 Earth-sized planets outside our solar system

NASA plans to unleash HAVOC into the clouds around Venus

December 22, 2014 by  
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We haven’t even laid eyes on the surface of Venus yet, but that’s not deterring NASA from daydreaming about sending manned missions to the planet. Although much of Venus is still a completely mystery, we do know that the surface of the planet is far too hot, and the atmospheric pressure too high, to sustain human life. As such, rather than targeting the planet itself, NASA is shooting for the clouds: the space agency recently announced its intention to send the robotic airship  HAVOC  (High Altitude Venus Operational Concept) to collect initial observations before delving into the planning of a manned mission. Read the rest of NASA plans to unleash HAVOC into the clouds around Venus Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: astronauts , atmosphere , havoc , HAVOC airship , High Altitude Venus Operational Concept , manned airships , nasa , planet Venus , planets , robot airship , robotic airship , space , space exploration , space travel , Venus , Venus atmosphere , venus exploration

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Crumpled paper transformed a gallery space into a grotto-like Yorunoma bar in Japan

December 22, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Crumpled paper transformed a gallery space into a grotto-like Yorunoma bar in Japan Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: crumpled paper , crumpled paper cave , gallery , gallery space , grotto-like bar , Japan , Japanese design , Matsumoto , Naoya , Naoya Matsumoto , Naoya Matsumoto Design , origami , osaka , Paper , Paper Cave , paper cave bar , paper crafts , paper grotto , paper interior , pop-up , pop-up bar , pop-up space , pop-up yorunoma bar , tracing paper , yorunoma , Yorunoma Bar

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Crumpled paper transformed a gallery space into a grotto-like Yorunoma bar in Japan

New Research Shows the Earth’s Water is Older Than the Sun

September 26, 2014 by  
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Hang on to your chair and prepare to have your mind blown. That water in the glass bottle on your desk is old, and I mean unfathomably ancient – even older than the Sun, according to new research. Motherboard reports that scientists have known for some time that the water on Earth is really old , but new research recently published in the journal Science shows that it’s even older than previously thought, and actually predates the formation of our solar system. The news increases the chances that water is present on other planets, along with other forms of life. Read the rest of New Research Shows the Earth’s Water is Older Than the Sun Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: deuterium , disk , earth , earth’s water is older than the sun , formation , heavy , heavy water , ice , interstellar , old water , older , protoplanetary , solar , system , than , water is older than the sun , water issues

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New Research Shows the Earth’s Water is Older Than the Sun

Earth Overshoot Day 2011 Is September 27 – By Mid-Century We’ll Need Two Full Planets For Us All

September 22, 2011 by  
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photo: Luis Markovic / CC BY Every year towards the end of summer the folks at the Global Footprint Network release their calculations on when Earth Overshoot Day will be for the year. In 2011, September 27th is the day when humanity as whole begins using more resources than the planet can perpetually regenerate a… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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