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Antimatter created during the Big Bang.
An international team of researchers have recently launched a huge balloon, the size of a football field, in Antarctica. The instrument, called BESS-Polar launched from McMurdo Station on December 13, and will spend at least 10 days at an altitude of 39 km (24 miles); at the edge of space. The experimenters hope that BESS-Polar will be able to detect any evidence of antimatter created during the Big Bang. And as a bonus, if the instrument can find low-energy antiprotons, it would be evidence of radiation from evaporating black holes, predicted by Stephen Hawking.
The European Space Agency has produced a detailed temperature map of the Mediterranean Ocean from space that would have required millions of thermometres. All 3 million square km (1.9 million miles) of the ocean are getting their temperature checked every single day as part of the ESA's Medspiration project. The data is being gathered by instruments on several spacecraft and then combined by researchers to help understand climate models. Once the bugs are ironed out, future experiments could keep track of almost the entire Earth's temperature in a similar manner.
Researchers from the University of Rochester are working on a new kind of laser communications system that could dramatically improve the bandwidth that future rovers would use to send data, video and images back to Earth. The team has overcome one of the problems of an efficient fibre laser system, which caused them to shut down at high levels of power. Fired from Mars, a traditional laser would spread out hundreds of kilometres during the long journey, but a fibre laser would still concentrate to within a couple of km, and allow the rovers to transmit high-bandwidth data.
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