SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
U.S. Astronomers Discover It, Then It's Outsourced
from the San Francisco Chronicle
When three U.S. astronomers won the Nobel Prize in physics last year, for discovering that the expansion of the universe was speeding up in defiance of cosmic gravity--as if change fell out of your pockets onto the ceiling--it reaffirmed dark energy, the glibly named culprit behind this behavior, as the great cosmic surprise and mystery of our time.
And it underscored the case, long urged by U.S. astronomers, for a NASA mission to measure dark energy--to determine, for example, whether the cosmos would expand forever or whether, perhaps, there might be something wrong with our understanding of gravity.
In 2019, a spacecraft known as Euclid will begin such a mission to study dark energy. But it is being launched by the European Space Agency, not NASA, with U.S. astronomers serving only as very junior partners, contributing $20 million and some infrared sensors.
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Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.
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