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— Space

ESA's Sentinel-2A satellite arrives in French Guiana ahead of launch

ESA's Sentinel-2A satellite has arrived safely in French Guiana, ahead of its June 12 launch atop a Vega rocket. It was carried in the belly of an enormous Russian-made Antonov cargo plane, and protected within a specially-constructed air conditioned habitat. Once operational, the satellite will represent a cornerstone of the agency's Copernicus program, which is striving to revolutionize how we observe and understand our environment, and how we may be able to tackle the detrimental effects of climate change. Read More
— Biology

"Google Maps for the Body" zooms in from whole organs down to individual cells

The algorithms used for zooming in and out on Google Maps and Google Street View have made it possible to visually traverse through layers of the body – starting with a whole joint and drilling all the way down to the cellular level. The new imaging system could have huge implications in medicine because it drastically reduces the time required to analyze and compare data. Read More
— Electronics

New chip could turn phone cameras into high-res 3D scanners

As if smartphones can't already do enough, soon they may be able to scan three-dimensional objects and send the resultant high-resolution 3D images to a 3D printer that produces hyper-accurate replicas. This comes thanks to a small and inexpensive device called a nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI), which was developed by scientists at Caltech. The NCI could add 3D imaging to a variety of other devices and applications such as improving motion sensitivity in human machine interfaces and driverless cars. Read More
— Medical

MRI-based cancer detection technique could replace biopsies

While non-invasive imaging technologies, such as mammograms or CT scans, are capable of detecting tumors, identifying whether they are malignant or benign usually involves getting out the scalpel and conducting a biopsy. Now researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a technique that uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to noninvasively detect cancerous cells, offering the potential of supplementing biopsies or maybe one day replacing them altogether. Read More
— Space

Combination radio/radar imaging produces stunning view of Venus

A team of astronomers combining radio data from the Green Bank Telescope, West Virginia, and data from the radar transmitter at the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, have compiled a stunning new view of Venus. Often described as Earth's twin due to its similar proportions, capturing high quality images of the inhospitable planet has traditionally been a challenging prospect thanks to extreme atmospheric conditions. However, by combining observations from the instruments to create a more complete picture of Venus, astronomers can begin to observe how this enigmatic celestial object evolves over time. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Researchers advance ultra-thin flat lens to capture perfect colors

Ultra-thin flat lenses suitable for photography are one step closer after a team of researchers at Harvard University made a major leap forward with its prototype wafer-thin flat lens. The new lens builds on the original prototype, which we first heard about in 2012, by using an achromatic metasurface to focus different wavelengths of light at the same point. Read More
— Space

Infrared imaging shows Trifid Nebula in a new light

The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) VISTA survey telescope has revealed a beautiful new aspect of the Trifid Nebula, a star formation area that sits around 5,200 light years away from Earth, in the direction of the galactic center. By observing and imaging the nebula in infrared light, astronomers can look through the dust-filled, central parts of the Milky Way to expose new objects. Read More
— Environment

ESA successfully tests FLEX instrument, designed to create maps of photosynthetic activity

The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully tested its Fluorescence Explorer mission (FLEX), which is vying for a spot on the organisation’s eight Earth Explorer satellite. The mission, which aims to create global maps of photosynthetic activity, will allow for the identification of vegetation suffering degrees of stress that simply aren’t visible to the human eye. It has the potential to significantly further our understanding of the global carbon cycle, and could have an impact on agricultural management. Read More