Science Friday: Little LHC Glitch, Giant Alien Planet, Tiny Life In Space + more

Time to engage your brain with Science Friday’s news of happenings in the scientific community. The LHC deals with some first beam glitches, a spacecraft captures some neat movies of solar activity, scientists get the first direct images of an alien world, and water bears in space!. All this plus our gadget of the week: the cute and functional Rovio.

Glitch Shuts Down Large Hadron Collider
The “Big Bang Machine” malfunctioned within hours of its launch. Thursday it was reported that a 30-ton transformer that cools part of the collider broke, forcing physicists to stop using the atom smasher just a day after starting it up last week. The faulty transformer has been replaced and the ring in the 17-mile circular tunnel under the Swiss-French border has been cooled back down to nearly zero Kelvin — minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit — its most efficient operating temperature. But never fear, science fans! With a contraption this large and complex, it was totally expected to hit a few minor snags.

Check out the interactive feature Inside the Big Bang Machine

Hinode Spacecraft Captures Cool Movies of the Sun
Japan’s Hinode spacecraft is beaming back movies that astonish even seasoned investigators. The movie shown below is of a polar crown prominence, a curved wall of 10,000° plasma about 90,000 km long and 30,000 km tall. A stack of planets three Earths high would barely make it to the top. Solar astronomers have seen prominences like this before, thousands of them, but never so clearly. The new view is challenging long-held ideas: In the past, researchers thought of prominences as mainly static structures, held motionless above the surface of the sun by magnetic force fields. “Now we know those ideas are too simple. Just watch the movie!”

Check out even more movies: #1, #2, #3

Scientists Take First Image of Alien Planet Around Sun-Like Star
Take a look at this: Encircled in the picture below is the first planet from an alien solar system ever seen by humans. Located 500 light years from Earth, it’s a planet eight times bigger than Jupiter. While it looks close to this sun-sized star in the picture, it’s actually 11 times farther away from it than Neptune is from our sun. This planet and the star it seems to orbit are located in our Milky Way galaxy about 500 light years from Earth. Before this, the only planets or similar objects that have been directly imaged outside of the solar system were either free-floating in space and not orbiting a star, or orbiting a brown dwarf, a failed star that did not reach the mass necessary to spark the nuclear fusion typical of a star.

Star 1RSX J160929.1-210524 and its likely ~8 Jupiter-mass companion

Tiny Creatures Brave the Vacuum, Become First To Ever Survive Open Space
Tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are hardy creatures ranging from below 0.1 mm to 1.5 mm. Seemingly against all logic, they can survive temperatures as cold as near absolute zero to over 300 °F, go for a decade without water and withstand almost 1,000 times more radiation than the rest of the creatures on the earth. So what do scientists do with these invincible little marvels? Toss them into space. They spent 10 days in the vacuum of space and were sent back for study. Congratulations, water bears, you are now the first creature ever known to be able to survive in open space!

Kind of cute, aren’t they?

Gadget of the Week: Rovio Now Navigating To A Store Near You
Rovio, is cute and extremely functional. His three roving wheels let him move in pretty much any direction. Using an indoor GPS system, Rovio is able to, quite impressively, find his way around the house. His Wi-Fi-enabled Webcam lets you see whatever Rovio sees from anywhere in the world. You can access Rovio via a compatible cell phone or your PC from the Web. Let’s say you’re on vacation and you want to make sure your cats have enough food in their bowl. You can remotely send Rovio over to their kettle–no doubt, horrifying them–and get a streamed MPEG-4 video and audio feed. You can even take pictures and e-mail them. The official release date is September 26th.

Like having a mars rover in your living room!


Science Quickies
Here’s a warp-speed look at science tid-bits that didn’t quite make the cut, but nonetheless merit mention.

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So are these “water bears” the same creature that attached itself to the Enterprise-D? Heh.

More precisely, the water bears are the first multicellular creatures known to be able to survive in space. Many species of bacteria can survive vacuum and hard radiation in a dormant spore state.

Arrrrr… Jake Busey sabotaged tha’ doomsday device at CERN…

While not a fully sentient life-form, I mightily believe me boxers could survive in tha’ vacuum o’ space… and still retain thar’ odors…

News from this time this year: East Anglian man arrested for sending robot into A-List actresses dressing rooms; robot partially consumed by Charlize Theron’s insatiable mechano-hunger.


Billions o’ aliens sue Earth over publishing candid photos o’ their nude vacation planet…


LHC – Checking…oh I am still here. I would hate to be sucked into the vacuum of a black hole and miss the new Star Trek movie.

Water bears – Yeah they are kinda cute.

Hinode Spacecraft Captures Cool Movies of the Sun: Way to go, Japan! Great pictures! Woo-Hoo!

I have loved water bears ever since I learned about them in my astrobiology class.

Great article this week . . . as always.

you know,,,

if you swap the letter R with the letter D in the word “Hadron”,,,in
Large Hadron Collider,,,,,,,,,,,,,you get a better name for it


Deinococcus radiodurans is also a strong organism…

The Terminatrix went down to CERN and got stuck to the collider, she cut her way out but caused a few glitches.

I wonder if the LHC is the next human gizmo to catch some Alien attention….
This after we popped a whole bunch of Nukes around the planet a while back which sent shockwaves into spaces and some Alien ship’s sensors console to go “beep-beep-beep-beep”

-“Captain, a bunch of cavemen have begun, detonating nuclear weapons, those fascinating attention whores!”

P8 Blue will be jealous of those little things.


:-) *snickers*

That story about Rovio and the cats has some gaping plot holes in it. Did we leave the cats with just one bowl full of food? And if Rovio shows us the bowl’s empty, what then? Do we return from vacation to feed the cats? Or do we call someone and ask him to do it? But does he have keys to our house?
That’s almost enough plot holes to build a Star Trek movie on it!

‘Water Bears’ may inherit the Earth….

wat comedic genius named the water bears ‘tardigrades’? LOL has doctor who been really visiting earth? are the water bears microbes that fell off the TARDIS? LMAO

I can’t believe solar scientists ever thought that prominances were ever static? That just seems to defy logic.

I want a Rovio for Christmas!

Can they live on Mars? Maybe there is life on Mars!!! Who knew?