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Science Ticker

A roundup of research and breaking news

Science News Staff

Science Ticker


Science Ticker

Early tests pave the way for a giant neutrino detector

Using a house-sized prototype, physicists traced the path of charged particles

prototype detector

COMING SOON  A prototype detector (shown), built to test technology for the DUNE neutrino experiment, has detected its first particle tracks.

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An enormous future particle detector is now within closer reach. The first data from a prototype experiment hint that scientists may have what it takes to build the planned neutrino detector.

Known as the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, the experiment will use 70,000 metric tons of liquefied argon to study the secrets of these neutrinos — bizarre, nearly massless particles that may help reveal why matter is common in the universe but antimatter is rare. DUNE will eventually detect the tracks of charged particles, including electrons and their heavier cousins, muons, that are produced when neutrinos interact.

A smaller prototype built at CERN in Geneva has spotted its first particles, researchers announced September 18. The scaled-down detector traced the paths of muons produced when protons traveling through space slam into Earth’s atmosphere. The prototype is one of two detectors known as ProtoDUNE, which were built to test DUNE’s technology.

Beginning in 2026, DUNE will detect neutrinos beamed from Fermilab in Batavia, Ill. to the detector’s location more than a kilometer underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota.

Health

Ebola vaccinations begin in Congo

By Helen Thompson 5:58pm, May 21, 2018
A vaccination campaign is up and running to fight the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Congo. It’s the first of its kind.
Planetary Science

China is set to launch a satellite to support a future lunar rover

By Lisa Grossman 10:00am, May 20, 2018
China is set to launch a satellite to support a future lunar rover that will make the first-ever visit to the farside of the moon.
Physics

Despite a new measurement, the neutron’s lifetime is still puzzling

By Emily Conover 5:50pm, May 9, 2018
Two techniques for gauging the subatomic particle’s longevity disagree.
Anthropology

Anthropologists in Peru have unearthed the largest known child sacrifice

By Bruce Bower 5:00pm, April 26, 2018
The largest known mass sacrifice of children occurred around 550 years ago in the Chimú empire in Peru.
Quantum Physics

Split atom clouds get entangled in quantum tests

By Emily Conover 2:00pm, April 26, 2018
Scientists create quantum links between clouds consisting of thousands of atoms.
Genetics,, Animals

Cicadas on different schedules can hybridize

By Helen Thompson 5:00pm, April 20, 2018
A new genetic study suggests that cicadas that emerge every 17 years have swapped genetic material with those that emerge every 13 years.
Microbes,, Pollution

This plastic-gobbling enzyme just got an upgrade

By Laurel Hamers 7:00am, April 19, 2018
Scientists tweaked a bacterial enzyme and made it more efficient in breaking down plastics found in polyester and plastic bottles.
Exoplanets

NASA’s TESS spacecraft launches to begin its exoplanet search

By Lisa Grossman 7:36pm, April 18, 2018
After reaching its orbit in about two months, the telescope will start scanning nearby stars telltale dips in light that signal a passing planet.
Astronomy

Delayed launch of NASA’s next exoplanet hunter is now set for tonight

By Lisa Grossman 2:53pm, April 16, 2018
NASA’s next exoplanet hunter, TESS, launches today to seek planets in 85 percent of the sky.
Animals,, Physics

In a colony, king penguins behave like molecules in a 2-D liquid

By Dan Garisto 12:03pm, April 6, 2018
Positions of king penguins in a breeding colony resemble molecules in a 2-D liquid.
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