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Using X-rays and other forms of radiation has been a standard tool for testing pipelines for decades, but until now it's been largely confined to factories and land-based pipelines instead of the deep seabed. That’s changing as GE adapts its medical X-ray systems to work in the crushing pressures of the deep oceans, as part of a remote-controlled submersible rig for examining pipelines in place. Read More
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is unraveling the mystery of how stars go supernova by mapping the remnants of radioactive material left in the wake of a supernova. The findings go against previous theories to create a more chaotic view of the conditions prevailing directly before a star explodes. Read More
Manual filleting of fish can be a time-consuming task. Due to higher salaries in Nordic countries, processing of fish caught there is often carried out in places like Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia where labor costs are lower, before the fish is returned to Scandinavia for sale. The APRICOT (Automated Pinbone Removal In Cod and WhiTefish) project set out in January, 2012 to find an automated solution that would keep fish processing local and it has now developed a machine that achieves just that. Read More
X-ray machines are all large devices that can only image hard structures such as bone, unless a contrast-enhancing solution such as barium is present in the patient ... right? Well, no, not all of them. A new system developed by researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital is small enough to be considered portable, doesn't expose patients to as much radiation, and can image soft tissues in minute detail. Read More
Scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation have discovered that eucalyptus trees in the Australian outback are drawing up gold particles from deep underground through their root system and depositing the precious metal in their leaves and branches. Rather than being a new source of "gold leaf," the discovery could provide a cheaper, more environmentally friendly way to uncover valuable gold ore deposits. Read More
Every year, Australian mining companies discard hundred of millions of dollars worth of gold. They're not doing it on purpose, it’s just that the standard industry technique of scanning mineral samples isn’t sensitive enough to detect small traces of the precious metal. Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Canadian company Mevex have tested a new technique using powerful X-rays that can detect these small trace amounts quickly and accurately. Read More
It may consist of only three pieces, but at under a millimeter in size each, we imagine this jigsaw puzzle made at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a little on the fiddly side. The researchers involved used the latest in LIGA technology, which combines lithography, electroplating and molding, to make objects which are very tall for their thickness. Read More
The rotation of a supermassive black hole (SBH) has been definitively measured for the first time by combining x-ray data obtained by the x-ray space telescopes XMM-Newton (soft x-rays) and NuSTAR (hard x-rays). The SBH at the center of a galaxy called NGC 1365 was found to be spinning at 84 percent of the maximum speed allowed by general relativity – or roughly speaking, the edge of the black hole is rotating at 84 percent of the speed of light. Read More
Black holes, which abound in the Universe, convert matter into geometry – the larger the amount of matter that disappears through the event horizon, the larger they grow, with the only external sign of their presence being the warping of space due to their gravity. In the process, a great deal of extremely hot gas is generated, and that gas emits hard x-rays. Now NASA's NuSTAR space telescope can find black holes by forming high-resolution images of the cosmos in hard x-rays. Read More
While we’ve seen developments that could see T-ray spectrometers featuring in a future handheld tricorder-like device, good ol’ X-rays could also get a guernsey thanks to an engineering team from the University of Missouri. The team has invented an accelerator about the size of a stick of gum that can create X-rays and other forms of radiation, opening up the possibility of cheap and portable X-ray scanners. Read More