Potential for Microbial Life on Mars

Courtesy of NASA

When the Mars Perseverance rover landed on the planet in February, it astonished the world with detailed photos of the planet and audio of the surface. After discovering water and ice on Mars, the next endeavor starting the search for evidence of possible life and life-supporting properties on the planet. A new study conducted by the Astrobiology Journal concluded that there is indeed the right amount of ingredients to support microbial life. The study looked at the planet’s Martian meteorites and their chemical makeup. Observing the chemical reaction whenever these meteorites had continuous constant contact with water once the meteorites fell back to Earth.

Among the many reactions studied, Radiolysis was of massive interest. The reaction is created when radioactive elements like potassium uranium and thorium could be converted sulfates, so much so that they tap water. One of the reasons is that there’s water on the planet because there is a flowing lake somewhere on the planet in the subsurface. It is now believed that once the components of that lake are studied further, how microbial life could exist could possibly be revealed. Also, different wavelengths of light being investigated to potentially give way to a better understanding of Mars’s past.

Further study will be ongoing, but the full extent of the findings may not be known for some time. The idea of life on another planet could be an extraordinary mark left on history forever. We wish all the very best of luck to the teams in their search for answers.

If you would like to read more, please click here.

2012 Psychophysics Study Using Optical Slits

               Over the years, science has given us many ways of studying and exploring vast possibilities. One of those miraculous ways is psychophysics, which is defined as the part of psychology the deals with mental phenomena and physical stimulation. Psychophysics works by studying the specifics of physical stimulation and sensation and looking at the responses produced. In psychophysics, three models of study are most used: the method of constant stimuli, the method of limits, and the method of adjustment. The limits method determines the sensory threshold by increasing or decreasing stimulus level gradually. The method of adjustment is, as it sounds, studying the patient’s adjustment to stimulus levels. These are just some examples of what psychophysics can do. Young’s double-slit formula is another physics example using light that studies and displays light particles’ characteristics and defines light waves.

               In a 2012 study, the double-slit experiment was used in about 25 people to record their individual reactions to stimulus. With the initially planned analysis, there was no psychophysical effect found on the subjects. However, as the study notes, there may be causal links found with more detailed analyses. To look at the study more in-depth, please click here.

               At Lenox Laser, we offer various optical products that are probably built in many ways that use the ideas of psychophysics. We have everything from apertures to slits to pinhole photography, gas and liquid separators, particle counters, molecular beam masks, and more. To see our product line, please visit us here and explore our many variations and possibilities.

               It will be interesting to see just how far the evolution of psychophysics will go, along with the uses of Young’s double-slit experiment. Science never stops evolving, and neither should our eagerness to learn all that we can for future endeavors. That curiosity could make the future even brighter.

NASA and Aerosol Jet Printing

Through the years, there have been many different styles of printing, from newspapers on paper presses to photo printing and art design. With these techniques, the amount of ease using them continues to evolve. Aerosol jet printing is a method that allows contactless direct printing for mass manufacturing that uses inkjet technology to put materials on substrates. It is the process of coding a base material used as a foundation for the object or image being printed on material. This process would also aim to significantly reduce printing time and manufacturing costs for companies. Aerosol jet printing can allow fine detail printing of 10 µm for high resolution printing onto different types of hardware and electronics.

The technique is also being used recently by NASA with a combination of 3-D printing that can print electronics such as transistors, conductors, and even cell phone cases. NASA is using it to create motherboards with digital to analog converter chips. If successful, NASA could later use it to mass-produce and print hardware for their many spacecraft.

Non-particle ink such as silver ink would allow extraction of silver non-particles from 10 to 100 µm of extraction. The type of non-particle can also be determined by the metal material used, such as titanium, aluminum, alloy, steel, and more. The difference between inkjet printing and aerosol printing is that aerosol allows 2 to 4 times higher resolution than inkjet, print resolution, and ink viscosity. Aerosol also has a clone-resistant nozzle; inkjet does not; aerosol is more tightly focused on its direction when printing, whereas inkjet is random directionality. Inkjet is a single drop; aerosol can be continuous.

Lenox Laser was able to use our cutting-edge processes in laser drilling flow restrictive orifices to assist in these technological advancements in the field. The full potential of aerosol printing has yet to be realized. However, we at Lenox Laser very helpful for the future and happy to be a part of it.

If you would like to read more about this piece of news, click here for an article from 3DPrintingIndustry and here for an article from ResearchGate.

James Webb Telescope Mirror Packing Update

               The James Webb Space Telescope has taken many years to get to where it is today. It survived complete cancellation in November 2011, infrared systems installation, and other instrument installs in 2012 through 2014. Despite a delay last year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the project is still managing to gain momentum toward the finish line. The James Webb Space Telescope is continuing towards its Halloween 2021 launch by hitting the milestone of having its massive protective sunshield folded and packed up to journey into space.

               The telescopes mammoth sunshield will protect the telescopes many optics from the immense heat and light of the sun. Folding the mirrors took one month to complete; they fold up on two sides of the telescope when not in use. The sunshield is about the size of a tennis court when fully deployed and is made up of 18 individual mirrors composed of five layers. Its entire span measures an estimated 70′ x 47′ with a cost of almost $10 billion. Since this telescope has infrared to detect and read heat signatures, the mirrors must be kept extremely cold. Once in space, one side of the mirror will reflect the heat and light from the Earth, Sun, and the Moon, which studies show to be approximately 230°F on the outermost layers. NASA worked with Northrop Grumman to build James Webb into a reality.

               We, at Lenox Laser, designed and provided alignment targets for the infrared systems on James Webb, for which we are most grateful for the opportunity. If you would like to know more about Lenox Laser’s work for the James Webb telescope, click here. If you would like to read more about the latest development on the telescope, click here for an article by phys.org.

Using AI-powered Speakers to Monitor Heart Health

               Artificial intelligence has given the world many advantages over the years, from space travel to smart cars. Its next breakthrough is one of the biggest yet, the human heart. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new way to determine health issues with the heart and an utterly contactless manner. The current prototype built by academics at the university would use intelligent speakers to detect heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure. It would be able to do it with almost the same accuracy as devices used in today’s hospitals. The studies and prototypes use things like Amazon Alexa devices, Google Home pods, and smart speakers usually used for music.

               The way the technology works is, the patient would sit a few feet in front of the speaker. Depending on how the pitch and resonance of the sound coming back from the speaker changes, the doctor can determine what the heart issue may be to proceed with the treatment as needed. It would also be able to detect breathing patterns as well. If this works, the National Institute of Health (NIH) would undoubtedly take notice. With this exciting innovation, doctors hope that the new technology will help quickly diagnose patients for years to come even further than the heart, possibly even the brain.

               These recent innovations in medical devices like the one Lenox Laser worked with the NIH in a study about protein sampling and delivery into the brain could help doctors prevent and treat diseases. To all those involved with this new study prototype, Lenox Laser would like to send our best wishes for a profound positive outcome. If you would like to read more about the study, click here for an article from ScienceDaily.

The Moxie Box – NASA’s Oxygen Box

Courtesy of NASA

               About a month and a half ago, NASA’s Perseverance rover made landfall on Mars, bringing audio and video skimming across the planet’s surface. NASA sent the rover to Mars on a mission that ended in February this year to search for signs of life on the planet by collecting many different rock samples and broken rock and soil mixture called regolith. Mars is not the safest environment for human exploration. Its harsh atmosphere is a mix of molecular oxygen, carbon monoxide and dioxide argon, and molecular nitrogen.

Carrying several thousand pounds of oxygen for any mission on a rocket can be challenging. NASA created a box codenamed Moxie to take on the challenge. The Moxie box is almost no larger than a car battery. However, it allows explorers to explore the planet’s surface for longer because Moxie would convert Mars’s environment into breathable air for the astronauts. The Moxie box ways in total about 33 pounds and cost about $50 million to make.

               The Moxie box works by siphoning carbon dioxide; then, theoretically, it would split molecules electrochemically into oxygen and carbon monoxide. The Moxie box would mix in a tremendous amount of oxygen with the carbon monoxide. Scientists have plans of making more extensive versions of the Moxie box. At its current size, it should be able to produce about 10 grams of oxygen per hour. The box consumes 300 Watts of power.

               Once perfected, this box would be a game-changer for astronauts and planetary exploration. With the successful use of the box on board the Perseverance rover in February 2021, it is hoped that larger-scale devices can be launched possibly sometime in 2030 and beyond.

If you would like to read more, click here for an article by Popular Mechanics.

NASA and SpaceX International Space Station Agreement

The International Space Station (ISS) has a storied history. It took over 30 missions and thousands of person-hours to complete. It was clear that The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would need a space station to study the vastness of space in minute detail in the space age. The ISS began its construction in 1998 when the first segment launching in a Russian proton rocket on November 20 of that year. NASA engineers completed the massive station’s main parts in 2011, and the station has been occupied by astronauts and scientists since 2000. The ISS now enters its Golden age with a new agreement between SpaceX and NASA. 

The agreement allows SpaceX and NASA to work on any project together for the space station. The Starlink program by SpaceX, which is now the largest existing on the orbiting spacecraft group, is also part of the agreement. SpaceX recently launched 60 additional satellites for their internet network on March 24. This agreement is important as it allows both parties to work smoothly and in unison.

NASA’s taxi ride program, which is still in development with SpaceX, will allow quick and easy transport to and from the ISS on shorter missions. If all goes to plan, this taxi ride program could launch sometime in 2022 with NASA’s approval. Should the taxi ride program be successful, companies would plan additional missions, up to two per year, lasting a month each. Boeing is also interested in partnering on this venture.

This agreement is a huge step forward in the history of space exploration. It will be exciting to see what can be achieved in the future of the ISS. It will also help strengthen and speed up communication between the two parties. SpaceX is an upcoming launch on April 22 for the Falcon 9 Crew 2 mission. We at Lenox Laser wish them all the best.

If you wish to read more, click here for an article by TechCrunch and here for an article by phys.org.

Hubble Space Telescope Discovers New Planet with Second Atmosphere

               The Hubble Space Telescope was created in the 1970s, funding started in 1977, it has made over 1.4 million observations since its creation. It is appeared in over 18,000 publications of literature. It is named after the famed astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble whose claim to fame was discovering the expansion of the universe in the 1920s. Hubble’s discovery in May 2015, a new red dwarf exoplanet codenamed GJ 1132 B, crossed Hubble’s path. An exoplanet is defined as a planet that orbits the star outside the solar system. The first detection of an exoplanet occurred in 1917, with the first official recognition until 1992. The unique thing about the newly discovered planet is that this one has two fully formed separate atmospheres, unlike a traditional planet. Studies showed that it once had a gaseous atmosphere made up of hydrogen and helium. The secondary atmosphere had formed over the first 100 billion years of its existence.

               As far as environmental properties, the helium and hydrogen-rich planet gradually evolved into a poisonous mixture of methane, aerosols, and hydrogen cyanide gases. On the planet’s ground, it formed heavy volcanic activity in several rocky formations. Unlike Earth, GJ 1132 B is so frighteningly close to the sun that it completes one full orbit every one and a half days. The question on scientists’ minds is whether the planet remains hot enough for fresh volcanic activity to occur and, if it does, to be able to continue. This could be made possible by a phenomenon known as tidal heating, which occurs when friction from and planets orbit and rotation stores of energy disperses heat into and around the planet.

               The planet’s statistics show that it is 1.4 million miles from its star, approximately 41 light-years from Earth. The temperature measures 278°F with a radius of 1.2 times that of Earth. Currently, it is thought that the James Webb telescope, once launched, will be able to study the planet in further detail.

If you would like to read more about the new planet discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope, please click here.

James Webb Space Telescope Final Tests

Courtesy of NASA

               Since its creation in 1996, the James Webb telescope has been a monolithic-sized project in scope and scale. The telescopes’ purpose is in-depth investigations of stars and galaxies, not only studying them but going deep inside them and studying them. This could potentially help scientists map the stars and planets. Webb is expected to be the world’s premier space observatory. Once fully operational and tested, the telescope is expected to launch into space on October 31st of this year. James Webb has some last-minute functionality tests to complete but once done, it will be 100% ready for launch on Halloween.

The project has passed many tests and milestones in recent months and years that ensure prospects become a reality. In December 2020, completed environmental testing of its sunshield deployments, to replacing turntables in 2019, the James Webb telescope’s build was completed in 2016. Testing and adjustments have been ongoing ever since. Webb completed a fully functional crown test of all its instruments in August of last year. It is not yet known exactly where in space the telescope will be launched when it finally happens. It is the definitive predecessor to the Hubble telescope. With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, scientists and engineers are taking every precaution possible during final preparations for launch. So far, James Webb’s team has confirmed that the telescope is sound enough to survive the rigorous tensions of the upcoming launch the satellite will experience.

Lenox Laser is excited to see what the future holds for James Webb and what far reaches of space it will explore. We send our congratulations and best wishes to the entire team involved with the telescope. To see a detailed timeline of the telescope, please click here.

NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover

NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover is making waves by sending its first hi-resolution images of Mars back to Earth. Perseverance is the fifth Mars Rover and the most technically advanced yet. For the first time in history, the Rover recorded the sound of Mars’s surface; 11 mile-per-hour winds could also be heard. Perseverance had been traveling since July 30 of last year and touched down on the planet’s surface on February 18, 2021. The current mission is scheduled to last for two years. Perseverance aims to study information about the geological processes that created the crust and surface of Mars and how it evolved over time.

Past findings have also indicated sources of water on the planet’s surface. As far as the planet’s environment goes, it has been found to have seasonal temperature changes, polar ice caps, past volcanic activity, found to be very dusty and cold. The idea of life on the planet has been explored in the past. In the last few days, a 360° panoramic view using high-resolution photos of Mars has been constructed and made available to the public. It shows the planet’s surface and the environment in detail never seen before.

Some of the challenges that the Rover faced were things like making sure the equipment could survive the extremely harsh atmosphere of the planet. In fact, at one point, the Rover’s systems went into safe mode shortly after launch. Despite this, the landing was a stunning success, and the ongoing mission continues to be very fruitful. 

What the future holds for Mars, mankind does not yet know. However, with technology on his side, we are very excited to find out just how bright that future could be. To see the panoramic photos in full, please click here.

1 2 3 4 16