February 1, 2017

Australian Teen Denied Visa For Space Camp in US Because His Parents Are From Iran (Source: Gizmodo)
An Australian teen was denied a visa to attend space camp in the United States today. The 15-year-old, Pouya Ghadirian, was born in Australia but his parents are from Iran, giving him dual citizenship. The visa denial is believed to be the first for an Australian citizen under the Trump regime’s so-called Muslim ban, interpreted by many legal scholars to be grossly unconstitutional. (1/31)

What Can NASA's Twin Study Results Actually Tell Us? (Source: Popular Science)
Scott and Mark Kelly—NASA astronauts and identical twins—have given countless blood and saliva samples this past year as part of NASA’s first twin study. According to the first findings announced by NASA, there certainly are differences between the twins’ DNA. But understanding what those differences might mean is a long way off. Click here. (1/30)

Possible Sign of Dark Matter Shows Up Again (Source: Science News)
A strange X-ray signal has popped up again in new measurements, raising hopes that it could be a sign of dark matter. Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory reveal an excess of X-rays at a particular energy, creating a bump on a plot, scientists report online at arXiv.org on January 29. The X-ray “line,” as it is known, could reveal the presence of dark matter — an unknown substance that scientists believe constitutes most of the matter in the cosmos.

While the X-ray line has been found previously using several different telescopes, some searches have come up empty. The new observation strengthens the case that the odd feature is real, and eliminates some possible mundane explanations. The new analysis uses data taken when the telescope was observing deep space, rather than pointing at a particular cluster of galaxies. So if the signal indicated dark matter, it would be due to particles in the region surrounding the Milky Way, known as its halo. (1/30)

World’s Biggest Telescope Needs Half a Billion Dollars More (Source: Ars Technica)
It has been a long road for planners of the Giant Magellan Telescope, which will become the world's largest telescope—if it's completed on schedule. Casting of the first of seven mirrors, each formed from about 20 tons of borosilicate glass made from Florida sand, began way back in 2005. The project seems to finally be closing in on first light as the team amps up fundraising and construction efforts.

The organizers of the telescope are gearing up for fundraising needed to bring the project to completion and have hired a new president with significant executive experience: Robert Shelton, a former president of the University of Arizona. In the last 15 years or so, the project to build a 24.5-meter telescope in Chile's Atacama desert has raised slightly more than half of the project's $1.05 billion cost. The telescope would be about two-and-a-half times larger than any existing optical telescope. Raising the remainder will not be easy for a telescope, Shelton acknowledged. (1/31)

Study Reveals Evidence That the Universe is a Hologram (Source: U. of Waterloo)
Theoretical physicists and astrophysicists first identified the concept of a holographic universe in the 1990s. Today, researchers have published observational evidence to support a 2D holographic explanation of the universe.  This work could lead to a functioning theory of quantum gravity, a theory that harmonizes quantum mechanics with Einstein’s theory of gravity.

“The key to understanding quantum gravity is understanding field theory in one lower dimension,” said Afshordi. “Holography is like a Rosetta Stone, translating between known theories of quantum fields without gravity and the uncharted territory of quantum gravity itself.” Holography, with its more simplified approach, allows the researchers to study the dense conditions of quantum gravity during the Big Bang at its boundary, which provides as much information as studying the Big Bang itself. (1/31)

Florida Governor Proposes $83.5 Billion State Budget for 2017-18 (Source: SPACErePORT)
Florida Governor Rick Scott has released a draft budget of $83.5 billion for the coming fiscal year, including millions of dollars for aerospace-related programs. Included are $19.5 million for Space Florida; $3.2 million for a Space, Defense, and Rural Infrastructure economic development incentive; $3 million is included for the Aerospace Academy high school program managed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; and $2.73 million for the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.

A total of $90.46 million is proposed for economic development incentives including a "Qualified  Defense Contractor and Space Flight (QDSC) Business Tax Refund and Innovation Incentive Fund" and other broadly accessible incentives that have been used for aerospace business recruitment and expansion projects. Click here. (1/31)

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