Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Январь 2021 г.
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Январь
2021 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

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    SciTechDaily / January 2, 2021
    New Scintillator Detector Developed for Investigating the Sun
    Ученые из МФТИ разработали прототип нового детектора солнечных частиц, способного улавливать протоны и электроны с кинетическими энергиями 10-100 МэВ и 1-10 МэВ соответственно, которые составляют основную часть потока высокоэнергетичных частиц от Солнца. С помощью сцинтилляционного детектора можно будет усилить защиту космических кораблей и космонавтов от радиации, а также продвинуться в изучении солнечных вспышек.

Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have developed a prototype detector of solar particles. The device is capable of picking up protons at kinetic energies between 10 and 100 megaelectronvolts, and electrons at 1-10 MeV. This covers most of the high-energy particle flux coming from the sun. The new detector can improve radiation protection for astronauts and spaceships, as well as advancing our understanding of solar flares. The research findings are reported in the Journal of Instrumentation.
As energy gets converted from one form to another in the active regions of the solar atmosphere, streams of particles - or cosmic rays - are born with energies roughly between 0.01-1,000 MeV. Most of these particles are electrons and protons, but nuclei from helium to iron are also observed, albeit in far smaller numbers. The current consensus is that the particle flux has two principal components. First, there are the narrow streams of electrons in brief flares lasting from tens of minutes to several hours. And then there are the flares with broad shockwaves, which last up to several days and mostly contain protons, with some occasional heavier nuclei.
Despite the vast arrays of data supplied by solar orbiters, some fundamental questions remain unresolved. Scientists do not yet understand the specific mechanisms behind particle acceleration in the shorter- and longer-duration solar flares. It is also unclear what the role of magnetic reconnection is for particles as they accelerate and leave the solar corona, or how and where the initial particle populations originate before accelerating on impact waves. To answer these questions, researchers require particle detectors of a novel type, which would also underlie new spaceship security protocols that would recognize the initial wave of electrons as an early warning of the impending proton radiation hazard.
A recent study by a team of physicists from MIPT and elsewhere reports the creation of a prototype detector of high-energy particles. The device consists of multiple polystyrene disks, connected to photodetectors. As a particle passes through polystyrene, it loses some of its kinetic energy and emits light, which is registered by a silicon photodetector as a signal for subsequent computer analysis.
The project’s principal investigator Alexander Nozik from the Nuclear Physics Methods Laboratory at MIPT said: "The concept of plastic scintillation detectors is not new, and such devices are ubiquitous in Earth-based experiments. What enabled the notable results we achieved is using a segmented detector along with our own mathematical reconstruction methods."
Part of the paper in the Journal of Instrumentation deals with optimizing the detector segment geometry. The dilemma is that while larger disks mean more particles analyzed at any given time, this comes at the cost of instrument weight, making its delivery into orbit more expensive. Disk resolution also drops as the diameter increases. As for the thickness, thinner disks determine proton and electron energies with more precision, yet a large number of thin disks also necessitates more photodetectors and bulkier electronics.
The team relied on computer modeling to optimize the parameters of the device, eventually assembling a prototype that is small enough to be delivered into space. The cylinder-shaped device has a diameter of 3 centimeters and is 8 centimeters tall. The detector consists of 20 separate polystyrene disks, enabling an acceptable accuracy of over 5%. The sensor has two modes of operation: It registers single particles in a flux that does not exceed 100,000 particles per second, switching to an integrated mode under more intense radiation. The second mode makes use of a special technique for analyzing particle distribution data, which was developed by the authors of the study and does not require much computing power.
"Our device has performed really well in lab tests," said study co-author Egor Stadnichuk of the MIPT Nuclear Physics Methods Laboratory. "The next step is developing new electronics that would be suitable for detector operation in space. We are also going to adapt the detector’s configuration to the constraints imposed by the spaceship. That means making the device smaller and lighter, and incorporating lateral shielding. There are also plans to introduce a finer segmentation of the detector. This would enable precise measurements of electron spectra at about 1 MeV."
The research reported in this story was commissioned by the RAS Space Research Institute with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation. The detector was manufactured at the RAS Institute for Nuclear Research.

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    Ancient Origins / 8 January, 2021
    Hunters Melted and Sculpted Ivory 12,000 Years Ago
    • By Ashley Cowie
    Более 12 тысяч лет назад люди владели технологией, позволявшей размягчать бивни мамонта до состояния пластичной массы. Сделанные таким способом фигурки и заготовки для них были обнаружены в начале 2000-х на территории археологического памятника Афонтова гора-2 на берегу Енисея и недавно вновь исследованы в Красноярской лаборатории археологии и палеогеографии Средней Сибири Института археологии и этнографии СО РАН.

A report out this week has evidence of ivory softening for creating tools and ornamental animals being achieved by ancient people more than 12,000 years ago. However, the Siberian scientist who made this discovery is at a total loss explaining how the ancient hunters made the playdoh-like material used to make the collection of ancient animal forms. This evidence would suggest that ancient people had craft skills that were far more complex than previously believed.
Ancient Science That Baffles Modern Scientists
The ivory animals were discovered in the early 2000s by archaeologists digging in the Afontova Gora-2 archeological site, by the River Yenisey in Krasnoyarsk, often regarded to be the most beautiful city in Siberia. Twelve ivory bars were discovered that had been "shaped after being softened." The Siberian Times reports that the fact ancient people knew how to make such tools and decorations "still puzzles modern science."
The ivory ornaments were recently examined by Dr. Evgeny Artemyev of the Krasnoyarsk Laboratory of Archaeology and Paleogeography of Middle Siberia, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. The researcher thinks the figurines are either "Ice Age toys" made by people who populated this area of the modern-day Siberia, "or a form of primeval art." He discovered that when you look at each one from different angles "they resemble different types of animals" using technologies that the international scientific community is "not aware of yet," the archaeologist said.
Reshaping "Fluid Like" Ivory
Dr. Artemyev says two of the animal-like figurines that were made from spongy parts of woolly mammoth and bear bones. What’s more, when you look at one of them on its side it resembles a sleeping human. Returning to the playdoh reference, this came about because some of the phallic-shaped ivory bars discovered at the same site were created with a technique which made them "almost fluid-like."
Traces of stone implements marked on "the flows" of the malleable substance before it stiffened indicated that before being shaped the creatures’ tusks were "softened significantly, the consistency was viscous," said Dr. Artemyev. While scientists are not yet sure how ancient people managed to achieve that semi-molten state, Dr. Artemyev said one particular mammoth tusk "was softened to the extent that it resembled modern-day playdoh."
Dr. Artemyev said that archaeologists have never come across anything like this at contemporary Palaeolithic sites and that traditional views of ancient people being more primitive than ourselves needs updating. The world seldom gets to see such artifacts because scientific teams "rarely publish about items that can’t be properly explained," the archaeologist claimed. These elongated ivory bars could be blanks prepared to make tools, or future toys, but the scientists can’t yet fathom how these shapes were made. But they now accept that the ancient people had much greater skills than they have ever imagined.
How to Make Soft Ivory?
Researching into the mystery of how ancient hunters might have softened ivory, some answers are to be found in a Scientific American article titled How to Make Soft Ivory. With time ivory becomes friable (easily crumbled), and it can be softened and made translucent by boiling it in gelatin and laying it in a bath of phosphoric acid, before drying it in pure linen. When the treated ivory has hardened it can then be re-softened with a bath of warm water and milk. Herein lies the mystery.
We know the ancients had access to water, milk and gelatin, from animal hoofs, but where on Earth did 12,000-year-old hunters in Siberia get phosphoric acid? This essential ingredient is available from foods that are high in protein like meats, beans, eggs, chicken, and fish, which are all high in phosphorus, but how the hunters gathered and refined the acid to make ivory malleable is they key to understanding this whole situation. Hence the conclusion "these ancient people had much greater skills than they have imagined."

Ancient Origins © 2013-2021.
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    Popular Mechanics / Jan 11, 2021
    Some Black Holes May Actually Be Secret Wormholes
    This is deep.
    • By Caroline Delbert
    Сотрудники Пулковской астрономической обсерватории опубликовали в журнале Monthly Notices of the Royal Society статью, в которой высказали предположение, что некоторые сверхмассивные черные дыры, находящиеся в центрах галактик, могут быть «червоточинами» - проходами, позволяющими преодолевать огромные космические расстояния. Теоретически такую дыру можно определить по характеру гамма-излучения.

Some scientists believe black holes aren’t all the same - and that some are really wormholes. To find out, we’ll need a way to tell the difference with certainty. In a new paper, Russian scientists posit that the right blast of gamma radiation could reveal wormholes in black hole disguise.
How would a black hole wormhole work? The answer is actually relatively simple, and it also reveals why such a wormhole would have a detectable physical "tell." Space's Charles Q. Choi explains:
"Any matter falling into a mouth of a supermassive wormhole would likely travel at extraordinarily high speeds due to its powerful gravitational fields. The scientists modeled the consequences of matter flowing through both mouths of a wormhole to where these mouths meet, the wormhole's "throat." The result of such collisions are spheres of plasma expanding out both mouths of the wormhole at nearly the speed of light, the researchers said."
This "outburst," in the literal sense, is what scientists can look for. "The spheres of plasma from wormholes can reach temperatures of about 18 trillion degrees Fahrenheit (10 trillion degrees Celsius)," Choi writes. "At such heat, the plasma would produce gamma rays with energies of 68 million electronvolts."
This radiation signature is distinct from even the most powerful and radiative known kinds of black holes. Because of that, the "fingerprint" could immediately tell scientists they were looking into a wormhole.
This part is important, because the theory of black holes as wormholes overlaps with one specific kind of black hole: the active galactic nucleus (AGN), which is gigantic and extraordinarily powerful.
AGNs give centers of galaxies their trademark brightness, hence the name, and scientists have argued about their true nature for a long time. "The underlying hypothesis of this work is that the active galactic nuclei are wormhole mouths rather than supermassive black holes," the researchers explain.
AGNs aren't well understood, with qualities of supermassive black holes mixed with extreme brightness. They’re broken into categories based on different factors, but the idea that they blast out a huge amount of radiation is what plays into this research. Their radiation signature is different enough from what would emerge from a true wormhole that scientists won’t mistake one for the other.
So how would such a test work? Think about looking at two lamps, where one has a "warm" compact fluorescent bulb and the other has a "natural" tone. You can immediately tell not just that they’re different, but likely what the difference indicates about what they both are. For cosmologists, the difference between wormholes and AGNs will be just as immediately clear. One of the authors of the paper told Space that he’s surprised this hasn’t been thought of before because of how simple it is.
In future research, if scientists can identify gamma radiation coming from a suspected galactic nucleus, these study findings mean they can hazard a guess that the object isn't galactic nucleus at all. It could, in fact, be a wormhole. At the very least, it’s something new.

© 2021 Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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    Graphene-Info / Jan 12, 2021
    Researchers design method that makes graphene nanoribbons easier to produce
    • By Roni Peleg
    Российские физики предложили новую технологию синтеза высококачественных графеновых нанолент путем осаждения из газовой фазы. Это дешевле и проще в производстве, чем используемая сейчас самосборка нанолент на подложке из благородных металлов. В будущем графеновые наноленты могут быть использованы в создании гибких электронных и оптических устройств.

Russian researchers have proposed a new method for synthesizing high-quality graphene nanoribbons. The team's approach to chemical vapor deposition offers a higher yield at a lower cost, compared with the currently used nanoribbon self-assembly on noble metal substrates.
Unlike silicon, graphene does not have the ability to switch between a conductive and a nonconductive state. This defining characteristic of semiconductors is crucial for creating transistors, which are the basis for all of electronics. However, once you cut graphene into narrow ribbons, they gain semiconducting properties, provided that the edges have the right geometry and there are no structural defects. Such nanoribbons have already been used in experimental transistors with reasonably good characteristics, and the material’s elasticity means the devices can be made flexible. While it is technologically challenging to integrate 2D materials with 3D electronics, there are no fundamental reasons why nanoribbons could not replace silicon.
A more practical way to obtain graphene nanoribbons is not by cutting up graphene sheets or nanotubes but the other way around, by growing the material atom by atom. This approach is known as bottom-up synthesis, and unlike its top-down counterpart, it yields structurally perfect, and therefore technologically useful, nanoribbons. The currently dominant method for bottom-up synthesis, known as self-assembly, is costly and difficult to scale up for industrial production, so materials scientists are seeking alternatives to replace it.
"Graphene nanoribbons are a material whose properties are of interest to fundamental science and hold a promise for applications in all sorts of futuristic devices. However, the standard technique for its synthesis has some drawbacks," explained Pavel Fedotov, a senior researcher at the MIPT Laboratory of Nanocarbon Materials. "Maintaining ultrahigh vacuum and using a gold substrate is very costly, and the output of material is comparatively low."
"My colleagues and I have proposed an alternative way to synthesize atomically flawless nanoribbons. Not only does it work under normal vacuum and with the much cheaper nickel substrate, the yield increases by virtue of the nanoribbons being produced as multilayer films, rather than individually. To separate these films into monolayer ribbons, they are put in suspension," the researcher went on. "Importantly, none of that compromises the quality of the material. We confirmed the absence of defects by obtaining the appropriate Raman scattering profiles and observing photoluminescence of our nanoribbons."
Graphene nanoribbons come in different types, and the ones that the Russian scientists manufactured using their original chemical vapor deposition technique have the armchair structure. They are seven atoms wide and have edges someone found reminiscent of an armchair, hence the name: 7-A graphene nanoribbons. This type of nanoribbons has the semiconducting properties valuable for electronics, unlike its 7-Z cousin with zigzag edges, which behaves like a metal.
The synthesis occurs in an airtight glass tube evacuated to one-millionth the standard atmospheric pressure, which is still 10,000 times higher than the ultrahigh vacuum normally required for nanoribbon self-assembly. The initial reagent used is a solid substance containing carbon, hydrogen, and bromine and known as DBBA. It is placed in the tube with a nickel foil, pre-annealed at 1,000 degrees Celsius to remove oxide film. The glass tube with DBBA is then subjected to heat treatment for several hours in two stages: first at 190 C, then at 380 C. The first heating leads to the formation of long polymer molecules, and during the second stage, they transform into nanoribbons with atomically precise structure, densely packed into films that are up to 1,000 nanometers thick.
After obtaining the films, the researchers suspended them in a solution and exposed them to ultrasound, breaking up the multilayer "stacks" into one-atom-thick carbon nanoribbons. The solvents used were chlorobenzene and toluene. Prior experiments showed these chemicals to be optimal for suspending nanoribbons in a stable manner, preventing aggregation back into stacks and the appearance of structural defects. Nanoribbon quality control was also done in suspension, via optical methods: The analysis of Raman scattering and photoluminescence data confirmed that the material had no significant defects.
Because the new synthesis technology for manufacturing defect-free multilayer 7-A carbon nanoribbons is comparatively cheap and easy to scale up, it is an important step toward introducing that material into the large-scale production of electronic and optical devices that would eventually vastly outperform the ones existing today.
"Experience shows that once a new carbon material is discovered, that means new properties and new applications. And graphene nanoribbons were no different," the head of the MIPT Laboratory of Nanocarbon Materials, Elena Obraztsova, recalled. "Initially, nanoribbons were synthesized inside single-walled carbon nanotubes, which served to constrain ribbon width. It was on these embedded nanoribbons that luminescence was originally demonstrated, with its parameters varying with nanotube geometry."
"Our new approach - bottom-up chemical vapor deposition - enables ultranarrow graphene ribbons to be produced in large amounts and under fairly mild conditions: moderate vacuum, nickel substrate. The resulting material exhibits bright excitonic photoluminescence. It is promising for many applications in nonlinear optics, which we are going to pursue," the researcher added.

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    Simplemost / Jan 13, 2021
    Ancient Intact Woolly Rhino Found In Siberian Permafrost
    • Claire Gillespie
    Ученые сообщили о первых результатах исследования останков шерстистого носорога, найденных летом этого года в Якутии в районе реки Тирехтях. Животное с отлично сохранившимся мехом и мягкими тканями скорее всего утонуло в возрасте примерно 3-4 лет.

Of all the things you might expect to come across on a walk, an extinct rhinoceros probably isn’t one of them. But Alexei Savvin, a resident of Yakutia, Siberia, found the ancient carcass of a juvenile woolly rhino while walking near the Tirekhyakh river last August.
According to researchers, the carcass is between 20,000 and 50,000 years old. With most of its internal organs, hooves and fur coat intact, it’s the most complete young woolly rhino that’s ever been discovered. Researchers even found its horn not far from its body.
"The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when it died, most likely by drowning," Valery Plotnikov, a paleontologist from the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the Siberian Times. "The rhino has a very thick, short underfur. Very likely, it died in summer."
There are still lots of unanswered questions, and scientists hope to carry out radiocarbon dating on the carcass to narrow down the time of the rhino’s death, and also determine its sex.
Plotnikov believes the mammal used its horn to gather food, due to the traces of wear found on it, Reuters reported. The news outlet also shared a picture of the remains on Twitter.
The carcass, estimated at 80% complete, will be sent to a lab in Yakutia’s capital city, Yakutsk, for additional analysis. After that, it’ll go to Sweden, where scientists are sequencing rhino genomes to better understand their history.
The woolly rhino was common throughout Europe and northern Asia during the Pleistocene period (the most recent Ice Age), which ended around 11,700 years ago. It had a thick fur coat and two horns, a small one between its eyes and a larger one toward its nose, which pointed upward.
The as-yet-unnamed woolly rhino isn’t the only one of its kind to have been found near the Tirekhtyakh river. In 2014, another young woolly rhino - later named Sasha by researchers - was found in the same area. And the remains of other extinct animals, including foals, puppies and cave-lion cubs, have been discovered in parts of Siberia in recent years, the BBC reported. This is a result of global warming thawing out the permafrost in Russia’s extreme north and eastern regions.

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    India Education Diary / January 14, 2021
    Tomsk State University entered the largest international project for study of the Arctic
    Томский государственный университет вошел в масштабный международный проект по изучению Арктики «Пан-Арктическая система систем наблюдений: осуществление наблюдений для нужд общества (Arctic PASSION)». Задача проекта, в котором участвуют 18 стран и 36 научных организаций - получение комплексных результатов в исследованиях окружающей среды, важных для обеспечения устойчивого развития Арктики. Еще один российский участник - Институт океанологии им. П.П.Ширшова РАН.

Tomsk State University is now working with a new large-scale international project, Pan-Arctic Observation System: Observation for Society Needs (Arctic PASSION), a collaboration of 36 scientific organizations and programs that research the northern territories and the Arctic. Its goal is to obtain comprehensive results in interdisciplinary environmental studies that are important for ensuring sustainable development of the Arctic and adaptation of communities to changing conditions in a global context. The amount of financing is 15 million euros.
"Arctic PASSION includes 18 Arctic and non-Arctic countries - Norway, Sweden, Germany, USA, Canada, Russia, China, and others", says Lyudmila Borilo, director of the TSU StrAU Trans-Siberian Scientific Way. "Russia is represented by TSU and Shirshov’s Institute of Oceanology RAS. Our participation in such a large-scale project became possible primarily due to the scientific potential and the presence of extensive research infrastructure of the SecNet network, created in 2016 under the auspices of TSU".
The network brings together Russian and international scientific centers engaged in research in Siberia and the Arctic. Partners not only exchange the results of research but also carry out joint work and provide each other with the opportunity to use research bases.
Arctic PASSION will fill critical observation gaps and improve the archiving, processing, and interoperability of Arctic data systems. These improvements will be used in new EuroGEO programs, which are aimed at building emergency preparedness systems, addressing food security issues, and adequately responding to climatic and socioeconomic changes in the Arctic.
The project is designed for 2021-2024. The head organization is the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Germany), which is one of the world leaders in the study of the interaction of the ocean and land on the northern area of the planet. In addition to it, there are such strong and active partners as Lund University (Sweden), the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Polar Institute, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), and INTERACT.
"The participation of the university is very important from the point of view of international recognition and positioning of TSU as a world leader in the study of global climate change and its consequences", notes Lyudmila Borilo, project manager from TSU. "Work in the Arctic PASSION project will expand working contacts and attract leading world scientists to SecNet research, will bring funding that will be used for the further development of the network".
At the same time, TSU and SecNet will not only have access to a large number of updated databases but will also be able to contribute to the formation of strategic program documents of international organizations by providing information on climate-related processes and their socially significant consequences in the Arctic and southern borders of the pan-Arctic zone.

© Copyright IndiaEducationDiary, 2020.
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    Ancient Origins / 15 January, 2021
    Recreating The Faces Of Two Scythian Empire Rulers With High Tech
    • By Ashley Cowie
    Сотрудники Института этнологии и антропологии им. Н.Н.Миклухо-Маклая РАН и Института археологии и этнографии СО РАН реконструировали облик скифского вождя и его жены, чье захоронение возрастом 2600 лет было обнаружено в 1997 г. в Долине царей (Республика Тыва).

High technology has brought back a pair of super wealthy ancient nomadic Scythian Empire nobles discovered in a gold laden tomb in East Siberia. Described as a "Scythian King and Queen," their skeletons were first discovered by a Russian-German expedition in 1997 at the center of a wooden chamber beneath a 262-foot (80-meter) mound in the River Uyuk valley, in the remote Tuva Republic, a federal subject of Russia. Known as the "Arzhan-2 burial," the two bodies, from the Scythian Empire period, were studied between 2001-2003. A recent report in the Siberian Times says that the 2,600 year old faces of the "Siberian Tutankhamun and his Queen" have now been reconstructed.
Scythian Empire Rulers: A Caucasoid and Mongoloid Mixture
An article in World Archaeology states that when the site was first discovered, at the center of the Scythian Empire burial mound, a wide funnel was left by a team of ancient grave robbers. However, they made "one big mistake" when they assumed that the burial tomb was in the center of the mound. Anticipating such criminal activity, the rectangular gold laden tomb was built slightly to one side of the circle at a depth of more than 13 feet (4 meters), and this is why it remained untouched until 1997.
Archaeologists also found the remains of 33 other people in the tomb, including five children, as well as the remains of 14 stallions dressed in gold, bronze, and iron.
Anthropologists from the Moscow Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology and the and Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography said the "battle-hardened Scythian warrior," or "King," had a unique combination of Caucasoid and Mongoloid features.
Using laser scanning and photogrammetry, the team of researchers recreated detailed 3D models of the powerful couple’s two skulls.
The Scythian Empire King And Queen Were "Covered" In Gold
Moscow-based anthropologists Elizaveta Veselovskaya and Ravil Galeev published an article in the Russian Journal of Archeology, Anthropology and Ethnography. They say the radiocarbon dating of the king’s and queen’s remains proved that they lived at the end of the 9th century BC or in the early years of the 8th century BC, and that perhaps they had ruled vast regions of the steppes at that time
The rulers were found wearing gold-encrusted clothing and this too has been recreated in all it’s glory and is reconstructed at the Hermitage Museum with some of the Arzhan 2 collection. The rest of the extraordinarily valuable collection is held in Kyzyl, a Tuvan regional capital.
The restoration-reconstruction project was carried out with sculptural clay and hard polyurethane foam. Only half of the "Tsar’s’ skull" was preserved and the researchers said they faced "great difficulties" restoring his facial area. The lower jaw was found to be preserved, however, and with this the 3D artists were able to reconstruct the destroyed upper jaw. Their two skulls were found dislocated from their bodies, as they had fallen from their long-decayed burial pillows. One theory suggests the woman might have been the "King's" favorite concubine, who had been sacrificed to accompany him to the afterlife.
An Astonishingly Rich Scythian Empire Burial Tomb
According to a report in the Siberian Times, the find is described as an "astonishingly-rich burial." The inside walls of the tomb were covered with felt carpets and a boarded wooden floor was also softened with felt.
The ancient male ruler was buried wearing a heavy gold torque (crown) decorated with figures of animals. And thousands of tiny golden panther figures measuring 0.79 to 1.2 inches (2 to 3 centimeters) in length were sewn in vertical rows on his clothes. The remains of a quiver, a bow and arrows, a belt, a battle axe, a whip, and a bronze mirror were all found with the king.
The so-called queen wore "turquoise beads, golden badges and pins, a miniature golden cauldron, a golden bracelet and a bag with cosmetics," and on her belt she wore an iron dagger decorated with gold.
All designed in the Scythian Empire art style, a total of 9,300 individual gold artifacts were found in the tomb including "golden earrings, pendants and uncountable beads." In total, this was an astonishing 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of gold.
Dr Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum, told the New York Times that the tomb was "an encyclopaedia of Scythian Animal Art," featuring the panthers, lions, camels, and deer that roamed the region 2,600 years ago. The researchers added that the artistic style "almost resembles an Art Nouveau" design, and that this original Altai-region Scythian style eventually reached as far as the Black Sea region and the territories of ancient Greece.

Ancient Origins © 2013-2021.
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    Popular Mechanics / Jan 17, 2021
    The Terrifying History of Russia’s Nuclear Submarine Graveyard
    The equivalent of six-and-a-half Hiroshimas lies just beneath the ocean's surface.
    • By Cory Graff
    Свалка ядерных отходов в Карском море включает в себя минимум полтора десятка реакторов советских подводных лодок - некоторые из них все еще полностью заряжены - и целую подводную лодку К-27, лежащую на глубине всего 50 метров. Практически все эксперты согласны с тем, что Карское море находится на грани ядерной катастрофы, но обезвредить эти бомбы замедленного действия не так-то просто. Россия объявила о планах поднять К-27, К-159 и еще четыре реакторных отсека. Целью номер один является К-159, но для ее подъема требуется специальное судно, проектирование и строительство которого должно начаться только в этом году.

In the icy waters north of Russia, discarded submarine nuclear reactors lie deteriorating on the ocean floor - some still fully fueled. It’s only a matter of time before sustained corrosion allows seawater to eat its way to the abandoned uranium, causing an uncontrolled release of radioactivity into the Arctic.
For decades, the Soviet Union used the desolate Kara Sea as their dumping grounds for nuclear waste. Thousands of tons of nuclear material, equal to nearly six and a half times the radiation released at Hiroshima, went into the ocean. The underwater nuclear junkyard includes at least 14 unwanted reactors and an entire crippled submarine that the Soviets deemed proper decommissioning too dangerous and expensive. Today, this corner-cutting haunts the Russians. A rotting submarine reactor fed by an endless supply of ocean water might re-achieve criticality, belching out a boiling cloud of radioactivity that could infect local seafood populations, spoil bountiful fishing grounds, and contaminate a local oil-exploration frontier.
"Breach of protective barriers and the detection and spread of radionuclides in seawater could lead to fishing restrictions," says Andrey Zolotkov, director of Bellona-Murmansk, an international non-profit environmental organization based in Norway. "In addition, this could seriously damage plans for the development of the Northern Sea Route - ship owners will refuse to sail along it."
News outlets have found more dire terms to interpret the issue. The BBC raised concerns of a "nuclear chain reaction" in 2013, while The Guardian described the situation as "an environmental disaster waiting to happen." Nearly everyone agrees that the Kara is on the verge of an uncontrolled nuclear event, but retrieving a string of long-lost nuclear time bombs is proving to be a daunting challenge.
Nuclear submarines have a short lifespan considering their sheer expense and complexity. After roughly 20-30 years, degradation coupled with leaps in technology render old nuclear subs obsolete. First, decades of accumulated corrosion and stress limit the safe-dive depth of veteran boats. Sound-isolation mounts degrade, bearings wear down, and rotating components of machinery fall out of balance, leading to a louder noise signature that can be more easily tracked by the enemy.
At the same time, newer vessels incorporate the latest advances in power plant technology, metallurgy, hull shape, low-friction coatings, and propeller design, making for faster, quieter, deeper-diving, and more deadly undersea combat vessels. "Technology advances and proliferation will make the submarine's stealth, endurance, and mobility even more important attributes in the future," says a 1998 Defense Science Board Task Force report. In combat, older subs won’t cut it.
The Soviet Union and Russia built the world’s largest nuclear-powered navy in the second half of the 20th century, crafting more atom-powered subs than all other nations combined. At its military height in the mid-1990s, Russia boasted 245 nuclear-powered subs, 180 of which were equipped with dual reactors and 91 of which sailed with a dozen or more long-range ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.
The Soviet Union’s first nuclear-powered submarine was the K-3, the first of the NATO code-named November class (the Soviets called them the "Whale class"). The K-3 prototype sailed for the first time using nuclear power on July 4, 1958. All but one of the 14 November class vessels cruised with dual VM-A water-cooled nuclear reactors, with the final sub, the experimental K-27, powered by a pair of VT-1 liquid metal-cooled reactors.
The November class vessels were top-of-the-line attack submarines designed to locate surface vessels and opposing submarines using a powerful MG-200 sonar system. Once in range, Novembers would strike with ship-killing 533mm SET-65 or 53-65K torpedoes, each carrying up to 300 kilograms of hull-shattering explosives.
Eight hotel-class submarines, built to house and launch a complement of ballistic missiles, joined the Soviet fleet between 1959 and 1962. While Novembers were the USSR’s hunters, the Hotel-class subs were meant to stay undetected, using a pair of pressurized water-cooled reactors to cruise within striking distance of potential targets. Once enemy military bases or civilian population centers were in range, a Hotel class sub could unleash a barrage of R-13 or R-21 nuclear missiles, each of the latter with a blast yield of 800 kilotons. A strike of this magnitude over Midtown Manhattan would probably kill over two million people, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Fatalities would extend to parts of Queens, Brooklyn, and sections of New Jersey west of the Hudson.
Echo-class Soviet nuclear submarines took to the seas in 1960. These housed twin water-cooled reactors and carried conventional and nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, along with a complement of torpedoes. The Soviets built five Echo Is - equipped with six P-5 turbo-jet powered cruise missiles to hit targets on land - then launched 29 Echo IIs, specifically equipped with anti-shipping missiles meant to neutralize American aircraft carriers.
A majority of the Soviet’s nuclear submarine classes operated from the Arctic-based Northern Fleet, headquartered in the northwestern port city of Murmansk. The Northern Fleet bases are roughly 900 kilometers west of the Kara Sea dumping grounds. A second, slightly smaller hub of Soviet submarine power was the Pacific Fleet, based in and around Vladivostok on Russia’s east coast above North Korea. Additional Soviet-era submarines sailed from bases in the Baltic and Black Seas.
For decades, these pioneering Soviet submarine classes served around the world, awaiting the moment when the Cold War would turn hot. That moment never came. By the mid-1980s, the boats were reaching the end of their useful lifespan. Starting in 1987, the oldest Echo Is left the fleet for decommissioning, and November class attack submarines followed in 1988. But the disposal of these submarines posed more problems than previous conventional vessels. Before crews could chop the vessels apart, the subs’ reactors and associated radioactive materials had to be removed, and the Soviets didn’t always do this properly.
Mothballed nuclear submarines pose the potential for disaster even before scrapping begins. In October of 1995, 12 decommissioned Soviet subs awaited disposal in Murmansk, each with fuel cells, reactors, and nuclear waste still aboard. When the cash-strapped Russian military didn’t pay the base’s electric bills for months, the local power company shut off power to the base, leaving the line of submarines at risk of meltdown. Military staffers had to persuade plant workers to restore power by threatening them at gunpoint.
The scrapping process starts with extracting the vessel’s spent nuclear fuel from the reactor core. The danger is immediate: In 1985, an explosion during the defueling of a Victor class submarine killed 10 workers and spewed radioactive material into the air and sea. Specially trained teams must separate the reactor fuel rods from the sub’s reactor core, then seal the rods in steel casks for transport and storage (at least, they seal the rods when adequate transport and storage is available - the Soviets had just five rail cars capable of safely transporting radioactive cargo, and their storage locations varied widely in size and suitability). Workers at the shipyard then remove salvageable equipment from the submarine and disassemble the vessel’s conventional and nuclear weapons systems. Crews must extract and isolate the nuclear warheads from the weapons before digging deeper into the launch compartment to scrap the missiles’ fuel systems and engines.
When it is time to dispose of the vessel’s reactors, crews cut vertical slices into the hull of the submarine and chop out the single or double reactor compartment along with an additional compartment fore and aft in a single huge cylinder-shaped chunk. Once sealed, the cylinder can float on its own for several months, even years, before it is lifted onto a barge and sent to a long-term storage facility.
But during the Cold War, nuclear storage in Soviet Russia usually meant a deep-sea dump job. At least 14 reactors from bygone vessels of the Northern Fleet were discarded into the Kara Sea. Sometimes, the Soviets skipped the de-fueling step beforehand, ditching the reactors with their highly radioactive fuel rods still intact.
According to the Bellona, the Northern Fleet also jettisoned 17,000 containers of hazardous nuclear material and deliberately sunk 19 vessels packed with radioactive waste, along with 735 contaminated pieces of heavy machinery. More low-level liquid waste was poured directly into the icy waters.
One of the most egregious and dangerous disposal capers was that of the K-27, the experimental November-class submarine with two liquid metal-cooled reactors. While at sea in 1968, one reactor aboard the K-27 suffered a leak and partial meltdown. Radiation exposure killed nine crewmen and sickened 83 more. The K-27 limped back to port, but after years of analysis, naval crews deemed it impossible to save. In 1981, tugs towed K-27 into the Kara and scuttled the hulk, sending everything - fuel, reactors, and other waste - to the bottom. Experts suggest safely sinking nuclear material to at least 3,000 meters. The K-27 lies at 50 meters.
In 2012, a joint Norwegian/Russian inspection of the K-27 wreck revealed little deterioration - but naval experts think the sub might only stay intact until 2032.
Another submarine is perhaps a bigger risk for a radioactive leak. K-159, a November class, suffered a radioactive discharge accident in 1965 but served until 1989. After languishing in storage for 14 years, a 2003 storm ripped K-159 from its pontoons during a transport operation, and the battered hulk plunged to the floor of the Barents Sea, killing nine crewmen. The wreck lies at a depth of around 250 meters, most likely with its fueled and unsealed reactors open to the elements.
Russia has announced plans to raise the K-27, the K-159, and four other dangerous reactor compartments discarded in the Arctic. As of March 2020, Russian authorities estimate the cost of the recovery effort will be approximately $330 million.
The first target is K-159. But lifting the sunken sub back to the surface will take a specially built recovery vessel, one that does not yet exist. Design and construction of that ship is slated to begin in 2021, to be finished by the end of 2026. Now, in order to avoid an underwater Chernobyl, the Russians are beginning a terrifying race against the relentless progression of decay.

© 2021 Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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    PRNewswire / Jan 18, 2021
    Scientists Develop Fastest-Ever Quantum Random Number Generator
    Команда ученых из России, Великобритании и Германии создала самый быстрый квантовый генератор случайных чисел, выдающий числа со скоростью 8,05 Гб в секунду с подтверждением их случайности в режиме реального времени. Такие генераторы используются для шифрования в криптографии и численном моделировании.

An international research team has developed a fast and affordable quantum random number generator. The device created by scientists from NUST MISIS, Russian Quantum Center, University of Oxford, Goldsmiths, University of London and Freie Universität Berlin produces randomness at a rate of 8.05 gigabits per second, which makes it the fastest random number generator of its kind. The study published in Physics Review X is a promising starting point for the development of commercial random number generators for cryptography and complex systems modeling.
Random number generation (RNG) is used in encryption with a multitude of applications, including cryptography, numerical simulation, gambling and game development. Random numbers are at the core of strong, unique encryption keys used to protect cryptographic operations from being breached. RNG can also enhance the performance of AI-powered systems.
Even though computer-generated numbers might seem random, true randomness is extremely hard to achieve. Random number generators implemented in software based algorithms produce random-looking yet deterministic sequences of numbers, which poses numerous information security vulnerabilities.
In search for true randomness scientists have turned to quantum mechanics. Since randomness is a fundamental property of quantum processes, quantum events can be harnessed to generate truly random numbers. In their experiments, the researchers used the inherently unpredictable behavior of photons to generate randomness. They created an optical generator with a built-in certification protocol to ensure the random nature of the number generation process.
"Quantum events allow the generation of numbers whose randomness is asserted based upon the underlying physical processes. Quantum-based random number generators can have very broad applications," noted Alex Fedorov, head of the Russian Quantum Center research group and the Quantum Communications Theory Lab Head at NUST MISIS.
In their experiments, the researchers sent light from the "untrusted" light source into one input of a beam splitter while the other input was the vacuum. The consequent pair of output beams was then measured using two separate optical detectors. Since each photon that hits the beam splitter has an equal chance of being reflected or transmitted, the difference between the numbers of photons recorded by each detector is impossible to predict. It is a truly random number.
To confirm that randomness generated by the device was reliable, the researchers performed another measurement to make sure that the light signal contains a sufficient number of photons. If the number of photons is insufficient, the number of possible unpredictable events will be too low for the obtained randomness to be confirmed true. If the photon input is too high, both detectors will hit their maximum value, resulting in the measurement being fully predictable.
The new RNG generates random numbers at a rate of 8.05 gigabits per second - which makes it the fastest composably secure quantum random number generator ever reported- and provides real-time randomness certification. According to the researchers, the device is significantly faster that the previously existing prototypes. The inclusion of the real-time randomness certification and the use of off-the-shelf components to build the generator makes this technology applicable to commercial RNGs that have rather broad applications. This level of practicality, combined with high performance speed and reliability makes it suitable for use in cryptography, computer studies, statistics, scientific research etc.

Copyright © 2021 Cision US Inc.
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    Nuclear Engineering / 20 January 2021
    Russian scientists develop a supersorbent for radioactive iodine
    Ученые из Российского химико-технологического университета им. Д.И.Менделеева разработали новую технологию изготовления сорбента для трудноуловимого радиоактивного йода-131. Фильтр на основе этого сорбента задерживает до 99,5% опасного изотопа.

Scientists at Russia’s DI Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology (MUCTR) have developed a new technology for the manufacture of a sorbent for the elusive form of radioactive iodine - methyl iodide.
A filter based on the sorbent retains up to 99.5% of the hazardous isotope, does not require a large amount of expensive raw materials and reduces the cost of adsorption by an order of magnitude.
Radioiodine, iodine-131, is a fission product of uranium and plutonium nuclei. It does not occur in nature, but it enters the environment from damaged man-made sources at nuclear power plants or pharmaceutical industries and after nuclear weapons tests.
Radioiodine has a high volatility, and quickly spreads over large areas. Its various organic derivatives easily contaminate the air, soil and water, but also penetrate the human body, where they are carried by blood to all organs and tissues, causing cell mutation and death. During the disasters in Chernobyl and Fukushima 1, it was radioiodine that caused the greatest damage to biological objects.
The unauthorised release of iodine-131 from reactors is closely monitored. There are techniques by which you can capture a significant part of the radioiodine vapour during leaks, but up to 70% of the total content of iodine-131 in the air of work rooms at nuclear plants is methyl iodide. Elemental iodine is easily absorbed by cheap sorbents due to physical interactions, but methyl iodide requires sorbing substances that can form chemical bonds with them or exchange isotopes.
There are already such products on the market, but they are not perfect. Generally, they are made from activated carbon, the granules of which wear out rapidly due to air currents, which leads to the formation of dust that clogs the channels, and therefore sharply increases the energy losses for the cleaning process. In addition, the best sorbents are made using carbon produced from imported raw materials - coconut shells. This greatly increases the cost of the material and a filter for one iodine adsorber can cost around RUB100,000 ($1360).
Now MUCTR scientists have developed a more efficient and more economical technology for the manufacture of methyl iodide sorbents.
"We also used coconut shell charcoal, but about ten times less than in traditional filters, and not in granules, but in the form of powder of different fractional composition applied to a highly porous polyurethane foam matrix, which can significantly reduce energy losses," said Eldar Magomedbekov, head of the Department of High Energy Chemistry and Radioecology.
"To increase the efficiency of sorption, the powder was impregnated with 4% triethylenediamine, a substance that can enter into chemical reactions with methyl iodide. When selecting the components, we were guided by such parameters as specific surface area, porosity and mechanical strength of the substance," he explained.
As a result, the optimal samples of the composite iodine sorbent were selected. To test them, a collapsible sectioned column made of stainless steel was developed, where variants of absorbers were placed in a special way, zigzag or twisted into a roll, and radioiodine was fed into it in the form of vapours mixed with the main gas flow. After the experiment, the column with the sorbent was disassembled and the activity of each section was measured on a gamma-x-ray spectrometer. The best samples showed a very high absorption efficiency of methyl iodide - 99.5%.
Scientists expect that the results of the work will interest the manufacturers of radioactive iodine sorbents, who will be able to expand their product range through a new efficient and cost-effective development that surpasses the analogues on the market in terms of price and quality.

© 2021, All Rights Reserved.
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    UrduPoint News / Fri 22nd January 2021
    Russian Telescope Catches Rare "Triple Elve" In Earth's Upper Atmosphere
    Российский скоростной ультрафиолетовый телескоп, установленный на МКС, уловил редкое атмосферное явление - тройных «эльфов». «Эльфы» - кольца оптического и ультрафиолетового излучения, быстро распространяющиеся в ионосфере на большие расстояния. Тройной «эльф» - сразу три кольца, бегущие друг за другом.

A unique ultraviolet telescope installed in the Russian module of the orbital space station has documented a rare atmospheric phenomenon known as a triple elve, which is a ring of reddish light created by upward blue lightning striking from thunderclouds.
Russia and Italy launched an experiment in 2019 to observe some of the most spectacular but short-lived events that occur high above the Earth in stormy weather when thunderclouds shoot bright blue jets into the stratosphere and generate phenomena with eldritch-sounding names "elves" and "red sprites."
This light show lasts less than a millisecond and is very difficult to observe from the Earth's surface. Russia's Mini-EUSO telescope looking down on the Earth from the International Space Station can track electrical discharges as they propagate in the ionosphere, Nuclear Physics Institute senior researcher Pavel Klimov told Sputnik.
"Elves are perfectly visible. We have registered 15 to 20 of them. Their spatial-temporal propagation was observed, including rare phenomena that are called double elves a ripple chasing another one and even a triple elve, made up of three successive ripples," he said.
The European Space Agency is running a parallel experiment with the help of the space-based ASIM telescope. It published the first results in the Nature magazine this week. The article described the sightings of five blue flashes followed by a pulsating blue jet and elves.
Klimov said the European telescope lacked the capacity for high time-resolution observation and had to rely on the artistic rendition of the elve phenomenon. The Russian telescope can record events with a 2.5-microsecond precision.
"They simply look at the emission spectrum [of the electrical discharge] to figure whether they are dealing with an elve: a short-wave ultraviolet emission most likely means it is an elve," the physicist explained.
Only a tenth of research data has been transmitted from the orbital outpost to the Russian and Italian scientists, with the rest due to arrive on Earth on flash drives in June.
Both experiments are essential to understand these obscure weather phenomena happening right above our heads. The European Space Agency suggests that blue lightings and associated atmospheric events may affect the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

© 1997-2021, UrduPoint Network.
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    Science Times / Jan 22, 2021
    Aside From Pressure and Temperature, Small Electric Fields Found To Affect Diamond Formation
    Исследователи из Института геологии и минералогии им. В.С.Соболева СО РАН, НГУ и Потсдамского центра наук о Земле предположили, что на кристаллизацию алмазов в мантии Земли кроме высокой температуры и давления могут влиять электрические поля. Ученые разработали и экспериментально обосновали модель возникновения алмаза с учетом нового фактора.

Most naturally-formed diamonds are from the Earth's mantle, generally understood to be formed as carbon is exposed to extreme temperature and pressure. A new study looks at the effects of a new parameter - electric fields - in the formation of these precious minerals.
Diamond is also a special solid form of carbon, much like graphite. Its crystalline structure and arrangement of carbon molecules create its signature hardness. Naturally, diamonds form at depths of at least 150 kilometers deep inside the Earth - to temperatures of more than 1,500 degrees Celsius and several gigapascals of pressure.
While varying theories explain how diamonds exactly form, most of them agree that the starting material for the process is carbonate-rich melts, such as compounds containing magnesium, silicon, and calcium that also contain oxygen and carbon.
A New Factor For Diamond Formation
Since the Earth's mantle is filled with molten metal and liquid materials - materials with generally high electrical conductivity - at high temperature, electrochemical processes also occur at this layer. Researchers from the V.S. Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy SB from the Russian Academy of Sciences Novosibirsk, led by Yuri Palyanov, developed a new model that describes the formation of diamonds that consider a new factor: localized electrical fields. Details of their report appear in the journal Science Advances.
In the proposed model, applying less than one volt is enough to provide electrons that could kickstart a chemical transformation process, making it possible for carbon-oxygen components of carbonate materials to become carbon dioxide through chemical reactions, ultimately leading to pure carbon, which can then form into a diamond.
To test this theory, the Russian researchers developed their experimental setup that includes a miniature platinum capsule placed in a heating system, which in turn was encased in a high-pressure setup that could deliver up to 7.5 gigapascals of pressure. Small and precise electrodes lead into the capsule, which contains carbonate and carbonate-silicate powders. The setup was run at high temperatures - from 1300 to 1600 degrees Celsius - exposing the powders for as long as 40 hours at a time.
Small Electric Fields on Diamond Formation
As predicted, tiny diamonds started forming near the electrode after hours of exposure. However, this was only attained upon applying a small voltage, with close to 0.5 volts being enough to start the process. The resulting diamonds reached a diameter of 200 micrometers or about a fifth of a millimeter; these were generally smaller than a grain of sand, but diamonds nonetheless.
Additionally, other pure-carbon mineral graphite was also found to form under lower pressures. When researchers reversed the polarity of the voltage, diamonds formed on the other electrode, further lending credence to their theory. Running the setup without any voltage applied meant that diamonds, or even graphite, could form.
"The experimental facilities in Novosibirsk are absolutely impressive," says Michael Wiedenbeck, SIMS laboratory head at the GFZ, under Potsdam's Modular Earth Science Infrastructure (MESI) in Germany. His team has been working with the Russian researchers for more than ten years.

© 2021 ScienceTimes.com All rights reserved.
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    ROOM Space Journal / 22 January 2021
    Russia develops instrument to search for precious metals on the Moon and Mars
    • By Kerry Hebden
    Ученые Института космических исследований РАН разработали прототип прибора для поиска редкоземельных металлов на Луне и Марсе. Устройство лучше всего подходит для лунохода, но может быть установлено и на другие спускаемые аппараты.

Scientists at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have created a device for searching for precious metals on the Moon and Mars, that could be incorporated into either a future Russian lunar lander or be offered to other foreign landing vehicles and rovers.
The device is a prototype and has been in development for three years, says Igor Mitrofanov, head of the nuclear planetology department of the Space Research Institute, in news reported by Russian news site RIA Novosti.
"It is best suited for a lunar rover. Along the route we will be able to determine the elemental composition of the surface in a strip about 30 centimetres wide," Mitrofanov said.
The unnamed device works by reading the energy spectra of particles that have emitted gamma radiation, with an board gamma-ray detector. It will achieve this by first recording both the "flight" of a high-energy cosmic-ray particle, and then the gamma-photon that is emitted from the element when struck by the cosmic-ray, Mitrofanov explained. The device is also able to distinguish between false positive signals, such as those emitted by a lunar lander, and a genuine signal from a metal-bearing lunar rock.
"We can use these observations to determine the elemental composition of matter with high accuracy. This is the idea of the device," Mitrofanov said.
Once on the surface the device will be used to search for rare earth metals such as gold, silver and platinum, at depths of several tens of centimetres to a metre. The speed of element determination will presumably depend on the rover it is attached to. According to RIA Novosti when used on the Lunokhod, it will need to stop and stand in place for an hour or two in order to collect statistics of counts from gamma rays.
"Lunokhod-Geolog", could be referring to Luna-27. Also called the Luna-Resurs lander, Luna-27 is a planned lunar lander mission by Roscosmos in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). The two space agency’s have recently teamed up to work on three Luna missions, two landers and one orbiter.
Luna-27, which could reach the lunar surface by 2024/2025, is being designed not just to inspect the terrain, but also to prospect it for resources such as lunar water ice in permanently shadowed regions of the Moon. This will be a big step up from Russia’s first series of robotic lunar rovers, Lunokhod 1 and Lunokhod 2, that were first sent to the Moon in 1970.
Lunokhod 1 (which means "Moonwalker 1" in Russian) become the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on an extraterrestrial body when it landed on the lunar surface over 50 years ago. Although only designed for a lifetime of three lunar days (approximately three Earth months), Lunokhod 1 operated on the lunar surface for eleven lunar days (321 Earth days) and traversed a total distance of 10.54 kilometres. Its counterpart, Lunokhod 2, touched down on the lunar surface in 1973 and operated for about four months. However, before the Luna-27 mission gets underway, Russia plans on kickstarting its new moon ambitions with Luna-25. Luna-25 is set to demonstrate the landing technology for future missions and it will target the Boguslavsky crater near to the lunar south pole. Its flight is slated to leave from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, possibly in October 2021. Rover missions are just the start of Russia’s new moon directive and crewed missions to the lunar surface are planned for the end of the decade.
According to Russian state media news site Radio Sputnik, Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, announced that "a spacecraft carrying cosmonauts will fly around the moon in 2028, and their landing on the lunar surface in 2030." Previous statements from Russia had suggested that the 2028 launch would be carried out using a Yenisei super-heavy rocket, designed specifically for ferrying cosmonauts to the Moon. However, the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) has recently recommended postponing the creation of Yenisei for a later date when breakthrough and economically viable technologies become available, says RIA Novosti. Instead, several of the countries Angara-A5V carrier rockets will now be used. Manufacturing of the hydrogen stages of the A5V will start at the countries Khrunichev Center in 2024. Commissioning of the facility, which includes the construction of two new buildings, is expected in the fourth quarter of 2023.
"This will make it possible "to create the production capacities necessary for the production of final products - the Angara-A5V launch vehicles and upper stages (Breeze-M or a heavy-class oxygen-hydrogen unit) - up to 10 products per year," notes RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile the Russian Space Agency is busy ploughing billions of rubles into the development of the Oryol spacecraft; a crucial element of Russia's plans to land cosmonauts on the Moon. Formerly named Federatsiya (Federation), the Oryol spacecraft (which means "Eagle") has been in development for 10 years. Last month, Energiya, the crafts contractors, asked Roscosmos for an additional 18 billion rubles (about $261 million) for the project.
Roscosmos chief Rogozin later clarified that part of the money was necessary to build the necessary infrastructure at Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome. Speaking at a press conference at the Cosmodrome just over a month ago, Rogozin said the first test launch of the new generation Oryol spacecraft is slated for August or September 2023.
If everything goes to plan, the Oryol will begin crewed test flights to the International Space Station starting in 2025.

© 2014-2021 Copyright beta version "Room, The Space Journal of Asgardia". All Rights reserved..
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    PR Newswire / 25 Jan, 2021
    A new ranking by MIT Technology Review Insights highlights the countries making the fastest progress to a low-carbon future
    Массачусетский технологический институт опубликовал «Индекс зеленого будущего». Вошедшие в него 76 стран и территорий распределены согласно их усилиям по сокращению выбросов углерода, развитию «чистой» энергетики и ведению эффективной климатической политики. Россия оказалась в нижней части индекса в числе 16 стран, по разным причинам «воздерживающихся» от всего перечисленного.

The Green Future Index, a new study by MIT Technology Review Insights in association with Citrix, Morgan Stanley, and Salesforce ranks 76 countries and territories on the progress and commitment they are making toward a green future by reducing carbon emissions, developing clean energy, and innovating in green sectors, as well as the degree to which governments are implementing effective climate policies.
The interactive index shows which countries are progressing fastest in global efforts to decarbonize and limit global heating in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The key findings are as follows:
• Europe will be a future green leader. Europe dominates the top of the index, with 15 European nations in the top 20. Many countries across the region have already made progress with curbing emissions, transitioning energy production to renewable sources, and investing in green mobility. Since covid, the EU has committed more than €200 billion in bold green economy investments, accelerating decarbonization even in the most fossil-fuel dependent states.
• Iceland, Denmark, and Norway top the index. Iceland, in first place, aims to be carbon neutral by 2040. The country has become a world leader in clean energy and carbon capture technology. Denmark (2nd) is the largest producer of hydrocarbons in Europe to stop issuing new oil and gas exploration licenses. Norway (3rd) is also striving to decouple its economy from fossil fuels.
• Costa Rica and New Zealand secure top 10 positions. Costa Rica, ranked 7th, and New Zealand, ranked 8th, have made major strides with renewables and have world-leading agendas for decarbonization across industry and agriculture. Canada (14th), Singapore (16th), and Uruguay (20th), the other non-Europeans in the top 20, have strategies for decarbonization, transitioning energy sources, and government-led initiatives to promote green living, such as Singapore's Zero Waste Masterplan, which aims to reduce landfill waste by 30% between now and 2030.
• There is uneven progress across the world's largest economies. The United States (40th) has reduced emissions over recent years and is responsible for nearly one-fifth of the world's green patents. Yet it is emerging from four years of climate denial and remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels and unsustainable farming practices. China (45th) is responsible for more than one-quarter of global emissions but has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060 and is the world's fastest growing producer of renewable energy. France (5th), Germany (11th), and Canada (14th) are the highest ranked countries in the G20.
• The countries at the bottom of the index risk losing competitiveness in the green economy. The laggards include South Africa (47th), Vietnam (49th), and Indonesia (57th), where economic pressures run counter to sustainable development. Japan (60th) has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, although government targets for renewable energy remain modest. The 16 "abstainer" countries at the bottom include petrostates such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, and Russia. The latter's Energy Strategy 2035 for expanding oil and gas production identified the trend toward carbon neutrality as an existential threat.
"With hundreds of billions of dollars being injected into economies worldwide, covid-19 has created huge momentum for developing green industries and financing infrastructure that will be clean, technologically advanced, and climate resilient," says Nico Crepaldi, head of custom content, MIT Technology Review. "In the future, we're likely to see 'green' being synonymous with economic competitiveness."
To view the research findings, visit the interactive page or click here to download the report.

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    SciTechDaily / January 26, 2021
    New Ceramic Phosphors for High Power LED Lights Could Save 20-30% More Energy
    Дальневосточные (ДВФУ, ДВО РАН) и сибирские (ИХТТМ СО РАН) ученые совместно с китайскими коллегами усовершенствовали композиционные керамические материалы люминофоры, твердотельные преобразователи света, которые могут применяться в наземных и аэрокосмических технологиях. Энергоэффективность преобразователей на основе алюмоиттриевого граната повысилась на 20-30%, а рабочая температура понизилась почти вдвое.

Materials scientists at Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), in collaboration with an international research team, have advanced the design of composite ceramic materials (Ce3+:YAG-Al2O3), i.e. solid-state light converters (phosphors) that can be applied in-ground and aerospace technologies. The LED systems based on the developed materials can save 20-30 percent more energy compared to commercial analogs. A related article was published in the journal Materials Characterization.
Over 15% of the total global electricity production, or about $ 450 billion annually, is spent on lighting. According to the photonics development roadmap run in Russia, the development of LED technology with an efficiency of more than 150 lm/W will allow for the savings of up to 30% of electricity by 2025.
Based on the developed ceramic light converters, it is possible to produce both compact energy-efficient white light-emitting diodes (wLEDs) and high-power (high brightness) systems. The new material is in demand for many photonic applications from portable projectors and endoscopes to laser TVs with a diagonal of more than 100 inches, lighting devices for auto and aircraft construction, megastructures, etc.
"The consumption of white LEDs is more than half of the total consumption of high brightness LEDs. Some peculiarities of the technology for the production of organic phosphors for modern commercial white LEDs lead to the quick aging of the light-emitting diode that loses brightness and quality of color rendering. We get around the problem by creating completely inorganic light converters in the form of composite ceramics based on yttrium aluminum garnet, activated by cerium ions Ce3+:YAG, and a thermally stable phase of aluminum oxide Al2O3," says Anastasia Vornovskikh, a Junior Researcher at the REC for "Advanced Ceramic Materials" of the FEFU Polytechnic Institute (school, PI).
The new materials are characterized by high values of thermal strength and thermal conductivity, endure high pumping power, and generate bright white light without obvious thermal quenching of the photoluminescence intensity. This makes it possible to reduce the operating temperature of the LED device down to 120-70°C, more than 2 times in comparison with commercial samples of Ce3+:YAG.
"We synthesized materials by vacuum reactive sintering of initial oxide powders of aluminum, yttrium, cerium, and gadolinium. Particular attention we paid to the identification of the quantitative relationship between the main scattering centers that are residual pores and Al2O3 crystallites and the spectroscopic properties of ceramic phosphors. Our light converters meet all the requirements for new generation wLEDs. They have a long lifespan, high luminous efficacy and color rendering index while maintaining the requirements for the environmental friendliness and material dimensions," says project manager Denis Kosyanov, Director of the REC for "Advanced Ceramic Materials," of the Industrial Safety Department of FEFU PI.
In the study took part researchers from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU); Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, the Shanghai Technological Institute, the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Institute of Chemistry of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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    Almasdar News / 2021-01-27
    Russian scientists find ancient Roman port off Syria’s coast
    Археологи Севастопольского государственного университета обнаружили на дне акватории сирийского города Тартус развалины неизвестного ранее древнеримского порта или морской крепости I в. н. э.

Dmitry Tatarkov, director of the Institute of Social Sciences and International Relations, said that an ancient port was discovered off the Syrian coast unknown to science, presumably dating back to the Roman era.
The ruins were found during the second field season of the Russian-Syrian archaeological mission.
"It may not have even been a port, but it is a sea fortress from the 1st century AD. Remains of hydraulic structures, a lighthouse and four marble columns have been found. Accompanying ceramic materials will allow for a more detailed dating of the piece. This is a major finding."
According to him, scientists examined the sea floor visually and with the help of guided underwater vehicles. At the same time, in addition to the port, three previously unknown berths from the ancient period were discovered, as well as the remains of ancient hydraulic structures: breakwaters and quay walls. The ceramic material raised is now being processed in the Department of Antiquities of Tartous."
He added, "These are the remains of ancient Greek amphorae, Phoenician pots, Egyptian vases, and household items made of Roman stone. These materials will allow us to rebuild the maritime trade routes linking this region with the major Mediterranean regions. We will be able to determine the life cycle of the ports that existed at the time.’

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    Futura-Sciences / Le 28/01/2021
    La fusion topologique KTHNY existe bien dans des cristaux exotiques
    • Laurent Sacco
    Российские физики из Объединенного института высоких температур и Московского физико-технического института впервые экспериментально подтвердили наличие промежуточной гексатической фазы между кристаллическим и жидким состояниями в плоской плазменно-пылевой системе. В 2016 году теоретически предсказавшие существование этой фазы американцы Дэвид Таулес, Дункан Холдейн и Джон Костерлиц получили Нобелевскую премию, а первым возможность фазовых переходов в двумерных системах доказал советский физик-теоретик Вадим Березинский в 1960-х годах, в связи с чем теория получила название «переход Березинского-Костерлица-Таулеса».

Des physiciens russes du prestigieux Institut de physique et de technologie de Moscou (MIPT) ont confirmé expérimentalement la présence d'une phase intermédiaire entre les états solides et liquides suite à la fusion topologique d'un cristal exotique que l'on trouve dans les plasmas poussiéreux. C'est la première fois que l'on observe cette fusion dans ce genre de cristal, confirmant une prédiction théorique impliquée par les travaux des lauréats du prix Nobel de physique 2016, Thouless, Kosterlitz et Haldane. Ces trois chercheurs ont renouvelé notre compréhension de la physique de la matière condensée et de ses transitions de phase. De nombreux lauréats du prix Nobel de physique se sont illustrés dans ces domaines avec pour commencer au début du XXe siècle deux Néerlandais, Johannes van der Waals et Heike Onnes. Le premier, pour avoir découvert l'équation d'état portant son nom éclairant le passage d'un gaz réel à un liquide et le second, pour sa découverte de la supraconductivité et la liquéfaction de l'hélium.
D'autres découvertes marquantes viendront quelques dizaines d'années plus tard toujours dans ces domaines avec les membres de l'école de physique russe, en particulier autour de Lev Landau, en ce qui concerne la superfluidité et la supraconductivité. On peut ajouter à cet égard les noms de Vitaly Ginzburg et Isaak Khalatnikov. Côté états-unien, il y aura également les travaux de John Robert Schrieffer, John Bardeen et Leon Cooper et ceux de Kenneth G. Wilson.
Des transitions de phase dans un monde en deux dimensions
Mais revenons au prix Nobel de physique 2016. Les travaux récompensés de Kosterlitz et Thouless portaient sur ce que l'on peut appeler des matériaux en dimension 2, dont on peut tenter de décrire la physique avec ce que l'on appelle des modèles XY dans un plan. On entend par là des structures que l'on peut considérer comme formant une seule couche d'atomes, par exemple des films d'hélium liquide ou des feuillets de graphène.
En contradiction avec les travaux dans les années 1930 de Rudolf Peierls et Lev Landau, Kosterlitz, Thouless et indépendamment un physicien soviétique du nom de Vadim Berezinskii hélas décédé en 1980, vont prouver au cours des années 1970 que des transitions de phase analogues à celles aboutissant à des structures ordonnées sur de longues distances quand un liquide cristallise sont possibles dans des structures bidimensionnelles.
Mais cet ordre n'est plus celui que l'on constate ordinairement dans des cristaux et que l'on peut analyser uniquement avec la théorie des groupes de réseaux cristallins. Ce nouvel ordre se comprend en utilisant une autre branche des mathématiques, la topologie, comme Futura l'expliquait dans l'article ci-dessous.
Toutefois, depuis un moment déjà, on étudiait théoriquement et expérimentalement des matériaux exotiques pouvant contenir l'équivalent de structures bidimensionnelles en rapport avec l'apparition des phénomènes de ferromagnétisme et de supraconductivité. Or, on observait bel et bien, par exemple, des transitions vers une phase supraconductrice ordonnée dans des couches minces en les refroidissant.
Des matériaux magnétiques pouvant s'étudier comme des réseaux de particules douées d'un moment magnétique et d'un moment cinétique propre, un spin, on les considérait aussi pour comprendre l'apparition spontanée d'une aimantation, c'est-à-dire d'une phase ferromagnétique, en deux et trois dimensions. On peut représenter le spin par un vecteur, de sorte que les systèmes XY sont comme des champs de vecteurs vitesses à la surface d'une sphère, champs qui peuvent se structurer en donnant des structures tourbillonnantes. Thouless, Kosterlitz et Berezinskii ont montré comment comprendre qu'une transition de phase exotique avec apparition d'un ordre à basses températures pouvait bel et bien se produire dans de tels systèmes en 2D, contrairement à ce que prévoyaient donc Landau et Peierls. Comme on l'a dit, des considérations de topologie se sont avérées centrales pour obtenir ce résultat que l'on a depuis baptisé la transition de Berezinsky-Kosterlitz-Thouless (ou transition BKT) et, tout comme l'explique Jean Dalibard dans la vidéo ci-dessus, des vortex quantiques dans les modèles XY en sont la manifestation.
La transition BKT peut apparaître dans bien des systèmes physiques et de fait, on a fait sa découverte dès 1978 dans des films d'hélium 4 superfluides, dans des supraconducteurs en 1979 et même dans des condensats de Bose-Einstein en 2006. Aujourd'hui, des physiciens du Joint Institute for High Temperatures Russian Academy of Sciences (JIHT RAS) et du mythique Institut de physique et de technologie de Moscou (MIPT) viennent d'annoncer dans un article publié dans Scientific Reports qu'ils avaient confirmé la pertinence de l'universalité dans la transition BKT en faisant pour la première fois son observation avec la formation d'un plasma poussiéreux.
Des cristaux qui fondent dans des plasmas
On observe des plasmas poussiéreux depuis 1924 lorsque le physicien Irving Langmuir, à qui l'on doit d'ailleurs le nom de plasma pour ce quatrième état de la matière, a fait leur découverte. Il s'agit d'un plasma, donc un gaz d'électrons et d'ions, contenant des particules de taille micrométrique (10-6) à nanométrique (10-9) en suspension. Ces plasmas poussiéreux se retrouvent en astrophysique (comètes, anneaux planétaires) mais aussi dans des expériences de micro-électronique et avec les tokamaks explorant le chemin menant à la fusion contrôlée.
Ces plasmas sont aussi des laboratoires intéressants pour étudier la physique fondamentale de l'auto-organisation, de la formation de motifs, et bien sûr des transitions de phase.
Elena Vasilieva, chercheuse principale au laboratoire de diagnostic du plasma poussiéreux du JIHT RAS explique dans un communiqué du MIPT que pour la première fois une expérience « permet d'observer clairement un processus de fusion cristalline en deux étapes et d'identifier les points de transition de phase avec la phase solide-hexatique et la phase hexatique-liquide », en rapport avec la fusion topologique d'un cristal dans un plasma poussiéreux.
C'est une manifestation d'une des prédictions de la théorie de la transition de phase BKT ou plus précisément de la théorie KTHNY qui décrit la fusion des cristaux en deux dimensions (son nom est dérivé des initiales des noms de famille de John Michael Kosterlitz, David J. Thouless, Bertrand Halperin, David R. Nelson et A. Peter Young).
Avec un solide cristallin ordinaire en 3D, comme de la glace d'eau, l'apport de chaleur permet de passer directement de l'état solide à l'état liquide. Mais avec une transition de phase topologique partant d'un cristal que l'on peut considérer comme bidimensionnel, le processus de fusion peut avoir lieu en deux étapes, passant par une phase topologique intermédiaire appelée phase hexatique. C'est cette phase intermédiaire qui ne correspond ni à un solide ni à un liquide que les chercheurs russes ont réussi à mettre en évidence dans leurs expériences faisant intervenir la formation de plasma poussiéreux.
On peut s'étonner du concept de fusion d'un cristal en rapport avec un plasma poussiéreux mais le paradoxe s'évanouit quand on comprend que le cristal décrit la répartition des particules de poussières dans le plasma et pas le plasma lui-même qui, évidemment, n'est pas un solide cristallisé. Cette découverte s'inscrit dans un programme de recherches sur les propriétés physiques des systèmes bidimensionnels. On espère qu'elles déboucheront sur de nouveaux matériaux aux propriétés souhaitées, des dispositifs basés sur eux en microélectronique et en médecine sur le séquençage de l'ADN, comme l'explique le communiqué du MIPT.

© 2001-2021 Futura-Sciences, tous droits réservés.
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