Harvard physicist claims meteor fragments might be items of ‘technological gadget’ from outer house

(NewsNation) — Just about a ten years back, a meteor touring faster than 95% of nearby stars crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Harvard College astrophysicist Avi Loeb claims there is a likelihood it wasn’t a room rock at all.

Loeb just returned from an tour to the Pacific Ocean, the aim of which was to get well parts of that meteor. He claims those fragments could be the continues to be of a “technological gadget” from yet another photo voltaic procedure.

The 50 very small spherules, or molten droplets, are believed to be designed up of metal-titanium alloy that is stronger than the iron identified in other meteors. That, along with the meteor’s pace, has Loeb and other researchers sure of one particular issue: It is not from this photo voltaic system.

A spherule, or a molten droplet, recovered from the floor of the Pacific Ocean is revealed. (Courtesy Avi Loeb)

“It’s the initially time that human beings are holding in their arms materials from a massive item that came from interstellar area,” Loeb claimed Wednesday on “CUOMO” even though demonstrating a vial made up of one particular of the spherules.

Loeb and his workforce recovered the molten droplets in the ocean off the coastline of Papua New Guinea, exactly where they determined the meteor, IM1, crashed in 2014. The Protection Division confirmed to NASA in 2022 that the velocity of the meteor does “indicate an interstellar trajectory.”

Placing out to come across fragments of the object, Loeb’s crew in June dredged the ocean ground with a magnet sled that picked up mostly volcanic ash.

About a week into the expedition, the scientists located the “metallic marbles,” as Loeb explained them, buried inside of the ash. The spherules are fewer than a millimeter in dimension.

“We discovered them concentrated alongside the route of the meteor, and moreover, the composition may perhaps be wholly unique from solar method objects,” Loeb explained. “We are planning to use electron microscopes to also picture them and examine what kind of isotopes they consist of, like radioactive isotopes.”

Loeb qualified prospects Harvard University’s Galileo Venture, set up to look for for signals of UFOs and other interstellar objects. The most recent expedition to the Pacific Ocean price $1.5 million and resulted in a discovery that “opens a new frontier in astronomy,” Loeb reported in a a Medium website post.

The samples will bear even more testing at Harvard to ascertain specifically what they are produced of.

“Either it is a rock that was made in an atmosphere very different than the solar system mainly because the material toughness was harder than all room rocks, together with iron meteorites,” Loeb stated. “But it is also feasible that it was some variety of an technological gadget. Just believe of (NASA’s) Voyager (spacecraft) in a billion several years colliding with an exoplanet and burning

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Carbon nanotubes could help electronics withstand outer space’s harsh conditions

Carbon nanotubes could help electronics withstand outer space's harsh conditions
A memory chip was made of transistors with carbon nanotubes that maintained their electrical properties and memory after being bombarded by high amounts of radiation. Credit: Adapted from ACS Nano 2021, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c04194

Space missions, such as NASA’s Orion that will take astronauts to Mars, are pushing the limits of human exploration. But during their transit, spacecrafts encounter a continuous stream of damaging cosmic radiation, which can harm or even destroy onboard electronics. To extend future missions, researchers reporting in ACS Nano show that transistors and circuits with carbon nanotubes can be configured to maintain their electrical properties and memory after being bombarded by high amounts of radiation.

The lifetime and distance of deep space missions are currently limited by the energy efficiency and robustness of the technology driving them. For example, harsh radiation in space can damage electronics and cause data glitches, or even make computers break down completely. One possibility is to include carbon nanotubes in widely used electronic components, such as field-effect transistors. These single-atom-thick tubes are expected to make transistors more energy efficient compared to more run-of-the-mill silicon-based versions. In principle, the ultra-small size of the nanotubes should also help reduce the effects that radiation would have when striking memory chips containing these materials. However, the radiation tolerance for carbon nanotube field-effect transistors has not been widely studied. So, Pritpal Kanhaiya, Max Shulaker and colleagues wanted to see if they could engineer this type of field-effect transistor to withstand high levels of radiation, and build memory chips based on these transistors.

To do this, the researchers deposited carbon nanotubes on a silicon wafer as the semiconducting layer in field-effect transistors. Then, they tested different transistor configurations with various levels of shielding, consisting of thin layers of hafnium oxide and titanium and platinum metal, around the semiconducting layer. The team found that placing shields both above and below the carbon nanotubes protected the transistor’s electrical properties against incoming radiation up to 10 Mrad—a level much higher than most silicon-based radiation-tolerant electronics can handle. When a shield was only placed beneath the carbon nanotubes, they were protected up to 2 Mrad, which is comparable to commercial silicon-based radiation-tolerant electronics. Finally, to achieve a balance between fabrication simplicity and radiation robustness, the team built static random-access memory (SRAM) chips with the bottom shield version of the field-effect transistors. Just as with experiments performed on the transistors, these memory chips had a similar X-ray radiation threshold as silicon-based SRAM devices.

These results indicate that carbon nanotube field-effect transistors, especially double-shielded ones, could be a promising addition to next-generation electronics for space exploration, the researchers say.

Radiation-immune and repairable chips to fabricate durable electronics

More information:
Carbon Nanotubes for Radiation-Tolerant Electronics, ACS Nano (2021). DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c04194
Provided by
American Chemical Society

Carbon nanotubes could help electronics withstand outer space’s harsh conditions (2021, October 27)
retrieved 29 October 2021
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