southwest research institute
Measuring radiation exposure for a journey to Mars
The Radiation Assessment Detector, the first instrument on NASA’s next rover mission to Mars to begin science operations, was powered up and began collecting data Dec. 6, almost two weeks ahead of schedule. RAD is the only instrument scheduled to colle…
IBEX makes first images of magnetotail structures, dynamic interactions occurring in space
Invisible to the naked eye, yet massive in structure around the Earth is the magnetosphere, the region of space around the planet that ebbs and flows in response to the million-mile-per-hour flow of charged particles continually blasting from the Su…
Demise of large satellite may have led to the formation of Saturns rings and inner moons
Simulations performed at Southwest Research Institute may explain how Saturn’s majestic rings and icy inner moons formed following the collision of a Titan-sized satellite with the planet, according to a paper published in Nature magazine’s Dec. 12 …
Cassini Spacecraft Camera Sights Saturn
The Cassini Imaging Team today is releasing a color composite image of Saturn and its moon, Titan, 20 months before the Cassini spacecraft arrives at the planet. The image is available online from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at and from the Cassini Imaging Team’s University of Arizona site. The image shows the shadow of the planet falling across its famous rings and includes Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
‘Dust belt’ causing some cosmic rays
Researchers have found that a portion of anomalous cosmic rays — charged particles accelerated to enormous energies by the solar wind — results from interactions with dust grains from a belt of comet-sized objects near Pluto’s orbit. These objects make up what is known as the Kuiper Belt, a remnant of the formation of the solar system.
‘People’s chemist’ dead at 72
Oh, to be as well-regarded and useful as recently departed polymer chemist William Mallow. Mallow, the man credited with inventing clumping cat litter and perfecting Liquid Paper, was remembered this week by family and friends as a scientist with a knack for practicality. In addition to litter and white-out, Mallow worked on the space shuttle’s heat-resistant tiles, developed a way to artificially age Scotch whiskey and improved the rubber skin used on robot dinosaurs at Walt Disney World, Reuters reports.
“He was a people’s chemist,” said Dr. Robert Bass, a colleague at the Southwest Research Institute. While at the institute, Mallow also helped Liquid Paper inventor Bette Nesmith Graham perfect the white goo. (Nesmith Graham, it should be noted, is the mother of former Monkees member Michael Nesmith).
Mallow’s latest project was a military-grade slip-n-slide gel called the Mobility Denial System. Meant to foil attacks on government buildings and control crowds, “it can be sprayed on any surface and causes people to slip and fall and prevents vehicles from getting traction.”
Mallow, a native of Akron, Ohio, died of leukemia at age 72 in a San Antonio hospital on Tuesday, Reuters says.