12,947 research outputs found

    Paleolakes and life on early Mars

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    Two distinct directions have begun to elucidate key parameters in the search for extinct life on Mars. Carbonate sediments, deposited about 10,000 years ago in association with biological activity, have been sampled from the paleolake beds of Lake Vanda and Meirs in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. These samples are being analyzed for simple biological signatures that remain in cold and dry paleolake sediments, namely microfossils, percent carbonate, and total organic carbon. Our second initiative is the study of Colour Lake, in the Canadian Arctic, that periodically maintains a perennial ice cover. Physical measurements started this year will be used to determine one end point for ice covered lake environments and will be compared to continuous measurements from Antarctic lakes started in November 1985. Interestingly, Colour Lake also supports benthic mat communities, but the low pH precludes carbonate deposition. This research will broaden our knowledge base for what conditions are necessary for ice covered lake formation and what biological signatures will remain in paleolake deposits

    A ROSAT Survey of Contact Binary Stars

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    Contact binary stars are common variable stars which are all believed to emit relatively large fluxes of x-rays. In this work we combine a large new sample of contact binary stars derived from the ROTSE-I telescope with x-ray data from the ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS) to estimate the x-ray volume emissivity of contact binary stars in the galaxy. We obtained x-ray fluxes for 140 contact binaries from the RASS, as well as 2 additional stars observed by the XMM-Newton observatory. From these data we confirm the emission of x-rays from all contact binary systems, with typical luminosities of approximately 1.0 x 10^30 erg s^-1. Combining calculated luminosities with an estimated contact binary space density, we find that contact binaries do not have strong enough x-ray emission to account for a significant portion of the galactic x-ray background.Comment: 19 pages, 5 figures, accepted by A

    A laser spectrometer and wavemeter for pulsed lasers

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    The design, construction, calibration, and evaluation of a pulsed laser wavemeter and spectral analyzer are described. This instrument, called the Laserscope for its oscilloscope-like display of laser spectral structure, was delivered to NASA Langley Research Center as a prototype of a laboratory instrument. The key component is a multibeam Fizeau wedge interferometer, providing high (0.2 pm) spectral resolution and a linear dispersion of spectral information, ideally suited to linear array photodiode detectors. Even operating alone, with the classic order-number ambiguity of interferometers unresolved, this optical element will provide a fast, real-time display of the spectral structure of a laser output. If precise wavelength information is also desired then additional stages must be provided to obtain a wavelength measurement within the order-number uncertainty, i.e., within the free spectral range of the Fizeau wedge interferometer. A Snyder (single-beam Fizeau) wedge is included to provide this initial wavelength measurement. Difficulties in achieving the required wide-spectrum calibration limit the usefulness of this function

    Factors Influencing Olfactory Perception of Selected Off-flavourcausing Compounds in Red Wine - A Review

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    Extensive work on the chemical aspects of off-flavour in wine has been carried out by international researchers, but not as many studies focus on the organoleptic effects. This literature review therefore has a focus on the status of the sensory aspects of compounds associated with specific off-flavours in red wine, viz. three volatile phenols, as well as 2-isobutyl-3-methoxypyrazine and 2,4,6-trichloranisole. The review discusses sources and effects of the selected compounds in red wine, and what previous workers have found pertaining to the mechanisms of the odour perception of aroma compounds, odour detection thresholds, and issues relating to the effects of the matrix. It also considers the factors that have been found to cause differences in olfactory perceptions between panellists/judges, and covers some of the work that has beencarried out in characterising perceptual interactions between compounds in wine. Gaps that exist in the current literature are highlighted

    Extension of the sun-synchronous Orbit

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    Through careful consideration of the orbit perturbation force due to the oblate nature of the primary body a secular variation of the ascending node angle of a near-polar orbit can be induced without expulsion of propellant. Resultantly, the orbit perturbations can be used to maintain the orbit plane in, for example, a near-perpendicular (or at any other angle) alignment to the Sun-line throughout the full year of the primary body; such orbits are normally termed Sun-synchronous orbits [1, 2]. Sun-synchronous orbits about the Earth are typically near-circular Low-Earth Orbits (LEOs), with an altitude of less than 1500 km. It is normal to design a LEO such that the orbit period is synchronised with the rotation of the Earth‟s surface over a given period, such that a repeating ground-track is established. A repeating ground-track, together with the near-constant illumination conditions of the ground-track when observed from a Sun-synchronous orbit, enables repeat observations of a target over an extended period under similar illumination conditions [1, 2]. For this reason, Sun-synchronous orbits are extensively used by Earth Observation (EO) platforms, including currently the Environmental Satellite (ENVISAT), the second European Remote Sensing satellite (ERS-2) and many more. By definition, a given Sun-synchronous orbit is a finite resource similar to a geostationary orbit. A typical characterising parameter of a Sun-synchronous orbit is the Mean Local Solar Time (MLST) at descending node, with a value of 1030 hours typical. Note that ERS-1 and ERS-2 used a MLST at descending node of 1030 hours ± 5 minutes, while ENVISAT uses a 1000 hours ± 5 minutes MLST at descending node [3]. Following selection of the MLST at descending node and for a given desired repeat ground-track, the orbit period and hence the semi-major axis are fixed, thereafter assuming a circular orbit is desired it is found that only a single orbit inclination will enable a Sun-synchronous orbit [2]. As such, only a few spacecraft can populate a given repeat ground-track Sun-synchronous orbit without compromise, for example on the MLST at descending node. Indeed a notable feature of on-going studies by the ENVISAT Post launch Support Office is the desire to ensure sufficient propellant remains at end-of-mission for re-orbiting to a graveyard orbit to ensure the orbital slot is available for future missions [4]. An extension to the Sun-synchronous orbit is considered using an undefined, non-orientation constrained, low-thrust propulsion system. Initially the low-thrust propulsion system will be considered for the free selection of orbit inclination and altitude while maintaining the Sun-synchronous condition. Subsequently the maintenance of a given Sun-synchronous repeat-ground track will be considered, using the low-thrust propulsion system to enable the free selection of orbit altitude. An analytical expression will be developed to describe these extensions prior to then validating the analytical expressions within a numerical simulation of a spacecraft orbit. Finally, an analysis will be presented on transfer and injection trajectories to these orbits

    A relation between moduli space of D-branes on orbifolds and Ising model

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    We study D-branes transverse to an abelian orbifold C^3/Z_n Z_n. The moduli space of the gauge theory on the D-branes is analyzed by combinatorial calculation based on toric geometry. It is shown that the calculation is related to a problemto count the number of ground states of an antiferromagnetic Ising model. The lattice on which the Ising model is defined is a triangular one defined on the McKay quiver of the orbifold.Comment: 20 pages, 13 figure