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Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 28.02.2024
Do we have cosmic dust to thank for life on Earth?
Do we have cosmic dust to thank for life on Earth?
It might be that what set prebiotic chemistry in motion and kept it going in the early days of the Earth was dust from outer space accumulating in holes melted into ice sheets. Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Cambridge have used a computer model to test this scenario. Before life existed on Earth, there had to be chemistry to form organic molecules from the chemical elements nitrogen, sulphur, carbon and phosphorus.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 26.02.2024
Earth as a test object
Earth as a test object
Physicists at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich wanted to know whether the planned LIFE space mission could really detect traces of life on other planets. Yes, it can. The researchers reached this conclusion with the help of observations of our own planet. Life is indeed possible on Earth. This has been demonstrated in a study conducted by the Institute of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zurich.

Astronomy / Space - 26.02.2024
Impact of the DART space probe could have deformed an asteroid
Thanks to simulations with a software system developed at the University of Bern, an international team under Bernese leadership has provided important insights into the impact of NASA's DART space probe on the asteroid Dimorphos: it is very likely that not just a crater was created, but the entire asteroid was reshaped.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2024
Water-worlds, the key to an exoplanet enigma
Water-worlds, the key to an exoplanet enigma
Exoplanets with a radius twice that of the Earth are rare. A team from MPIA, UNIGE and UNIBE has come up with new explanations. Why are so few exoplanets about twice the size of Earth detected? On the basis of computer simulations, a team from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and the Universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Bern (UNIBE) has confirmed that the migration of sub-Neptunes planets - water-worlds - could explain this absence.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 18.01.2024
Moon rocks with unique dust found
Moon rocks with unique dust found
A research team from the University of Münster has discovered for the first time meter-sized rocks on the surface of the moon that are covered in dust and presumably have unique properties - magnetic anomalies, for example. The findings help to understand the processes that form and change the lunar crust.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 15.12.2023
Scientists measure the distance to stars by their music
Scientists measure the distance to stars by their music
A team of astronomers has used asteroseismology, or the study of stellar oscillations, to accurately measure the distance of stars from the Earth. Their research examined thousands of stars and checked the measurements taken during the Gaia mission to study the near Universe. For most of us, the countless bright spots in the nighttime sky all seem to be stars.

Environment - Astronomy / Space - 14.12.2023
Accurate snow measurement thanks to AI and satellites
Accurate snow measurement thanks to AI and satellites
Snow measurement has never been so fast and accurate: researchers have developed an artificial intelligence capable of determining snow depth across Switzerland using satellite images. How much snow is there up in the mountains, and where exactly is it? The answer is of just as much interest to the winter tourism industry and operators of hydropower plants as it is to winter sport enthusiasts looking to gauge the risk of avalanches.

Astronomy / Space - 29.11.2023
An astronomical waltz reveals a sextuplet of planets
An astronomical waltz reveals a sextuplet of planets
An international collaboration between astronomers using the CHEOPS and TESS space satellites, including NCCR PlanetS members from the University of Bern and the University of Geneva, have found a key new system of six transiting planets orbiting a bright star in a harmonic rhythm. This rare property enabled the team to determine the planetary orbits which initially appeared as an unsolvable riddle.

Computer Science - Astronomy / Space - 22.11.2023
AI helps detecting plastic in oceans
AI helps detecting plastic in oceans
A research team from EPFL and Wageningen University has developed a new artificial intelligence model that recognises floating plastics much more accurately in satellite images than before. This could help to systematically remove plastic litter from the oceans with ships. Our society relies heavily on plastic products and the amount of plastic waste is expected to increase in the future.

Astronomy / Space - Economics - 09.11.2023
Instrument from the University of Bern flies to the Moon
Instrument from the University of Bern flies to the Moon
Following the success of the Bern solar wind sail on the Apollo Moon missions of the U.S. space agency NASA in the 1960s, the Physics Institute at the University of Bern is to return to the Moon as early as 2027 with the LIMS mass spectrometer as part of the NASA Commercial Lunar Payoad A highly sensitive instrument for measurements on the lunar surface LIMS is a powerful instrument for the examination of a wide variety of samples which meets scientific lunar objectives.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 25.10.2023
Mystery of the Martian core solved
Mystery of the Martian core solved
Mars's liquid iron core is smaller and denser than previously thought. Not only is it smaller, but it is also surrounded by a layer of molten rock. This is what researchers conclude on the basis of seismic data from the InSight lander. For four years, NASA's InSight lander recorded tremors on Mars with its seismometer.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 27.09.2023
ALPHA experiment at CERN observes the influence of gravity on antimatter
Isaac Newton's historic work on gravity was apparently inspired by watching an apple fall to the ground from a tree. But what about an "anti-apple" made of antimatter , would it fall in the same way if it existed? According to Albert Einstein's much-tested theory of general relativity, the modern theory of gravity, antimatter and matter should fall to Earth in the same way.

Astronomy / Space - Microtechnics - 12.07.2023
Robot team on lunar exploration tour
Robot team on lunar exploration tour
Swiss engineers are training legged robots for future lunar missions that will search for minerals and raw materials. To ensure that the robots can continue to work even if one of them malfunctions, the researchers are teaching them teamwork. On the Moon, there are raw materials that humanity could one day mine and use.

Astronomy / Space - Computer Science - 29.06.2023
Unveiling the origins of merging black holes in galaxies like our own
Unveiling the origins of merging black holes in galaxies like our own
Harnessing advanced simulation tools, a team of scientists from UNIGE, Northwestern University and University of Florida shed light on the enigmatic nature of these celestial "beasts". Black holes, some of the most captivating entities in the cosmos, possess an immense gravitational pull so strong that not even light can escape.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 22.06.2023
Einstein and Euler put to the test at the edge of the Universe
Einstein and Euler put to the test at the edge of the Universe
A team from the University of Geneva has developed the first method for testing together Einstein's and Euler's theories for the accelerating expansion of the Universe and dark matter. The cosmos is a unique laboratory for testing the laws of physics, in particular those of Euler and Einstein. Euler described the movements of celestial objects, while Einstein described the way in which celestial objects distort the Universe.

Astronomy / Space - 13.06.2023
Measuring the mass of quasar host galaxies
Measuring the mass of quasar host galaxies
Scientists have managed to weigh - more precisely than any other technique - a galaxy hosting a quasar, thanks to the fact that it acts as a gravitational lens. Detection of strong gravitational lensing quasars is expected to multiply with the launch of Euclid this summer. A team of researchers from EPFL have found a way to use the phenomenon of strong gravitational lensing to determine with precision - about 3 times more precise than any other technique - the mass of a galaxy containing a quasar, as well as their evolution in cosmic time.

Astronomy / Space - 08.06.2023
Elusive planets play 'hide and seek' with CHEOPS
Elusive planets play ’hide and seek’ with CHEOPS
With the help of the CHEOPS space telescope an international team of European astronomers managed to clearly identify the existence of four new exoplanets. The four mini-Neptunes are smaller and cooler, and more difficult to find than the so-called Hot Jupiter exoplanets which have been found in abundance.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 16.05.2023
Martian crust like heavy armour
Martian crust like heavy armour
A strong quake in the last year of the NASA Mars InSight mission, enabled researchers at ETH Zurich to determine the global thickness and density of the planet's crust. On average, the Martian crust much thicker than the Earth's or the Moon's crust and the planet's main source of heat is radioactive.

Astronomy / Space - Campus - 11.05.2023
Celestial monsters at the origin of globular clusters
Celestial monsters at the origin of globular clusters
Researchers have found strong evidence that supermassive stars can explain the anomalies observed in large clusters of stars. Globular clusters are the most massive and oldest star clusters in the Universe. They can contain up to 1 million of them. The chemical composition of these stars, born at the same time, shows anomalies that are not found in any other population of stars.

Astronomy / Space - Life Sciences - 28.04.2023
Silence reveals insights in search for extraterrestrial life
Silence reveals insights in search for extraterrestrial life
The search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations has yet to yield evidence of alien technological activity. Research carried out at EPFL suggests we continue searching while optimizing the use of available resources. For over sixty years, amateur and professional astronomers have been monitoring the sky in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).
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