Riding a laser to Mars

Could a laser send a spacecraft to Mars? That's a proposed mission from a group at McGill University, designed to meet a solicitation from NASA. The laser, a 10-meter wide array on Earth, would heat hydrogen plasma in a chamber ...

Physicists confront the neutron lifetime puzzle

To solve a long-standing puzzle about how long a neutron can "live" outside an atomic nucleus, physicists entertained a wild but testable theory positing the existence of a right-handed version of our left-handed universe. ...

Atmospheric helium levels are rising, research confirms

Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego used an unprecedented technique to detect that levels of helium are rising in the atmosphere, resolving an issue that has lingered among atmospheric chemists ...

Solar beats nuclear at many potential settlement sites on Mars

The high efficiency, light weight and flexibility of the latest solar cell technology means photovoltaics could provide all the power needed for an extended mission to Mars, or even a permanent settlement there, according ...

Key to carbon-free cars? Look to the stars

For nearly half a century, astrophysicists and organic chemists have been on the hunt for the origins of C6H6, the benzene ring—an elegant, hexagonal molecule comprised of 6 carbon and 6 hydrogen atoms.

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