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Nasa genius invents engine concept that travels at 99% the speed of light – and it could ‘break the laws of ph – The Sun

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A NASA scientist has cooked up plans for a bonkers new rocket engine that can reach close to the speed of light – without using any fuel.

Travelling at such speeds, the theoretical machine could carry astronauts to Mars in less than 13 minutes, or to the Moon in just over a second.

However, the real purpose of the so-called “helical engine” would be to travel to distant stars far quicker than any existing tech, according to Nasa engineer Dr David Burns.

Dr Burns, from Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, unveiled the idea in a head-spinning paper posted to Nasa’s website.

“This in-space engine could be used for long-term satellite station-keeping without refuelling,” Dr Burns writes in his paper.

“It could also propel spacecraft across interstellar distances, reaching close to the speed of light.”

 Nasa engineer Dr David Burns has come up with a bonkers new engine design

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Nasa engineer Dr David Burns has come up with a bonkers new engine design
 It's not clear if it's possible to actually build the Sci-Fi engine concept (stock image)

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It’s not clear if it’s possible to actually build the Sci-Fi engine concept (stock image)Credit: Getty

Travelling at these speeds, light would struggle to keep up with you, warping your vision in bizarre ways.

Everything behind you would appear black, and time would appear to stop altogether, with clocks slowing down to a crawl and planets seemingly ceasing to spin.

Dr Burns’ mad idea is revolutionary because it does away with rocket fuel altogether.

Today’s rockets, like those built by Nasa and SpaceX, would need tonnes of propellants like liquid hydrogen to carry people to Mars and beyond.

The problem is, the more fuel you stick on the craft, the heavier it is. Modern propellant tanks are far too bulky to take on interstellar flights.

The helical engine gets around this using high-tech particle accelerators like those found in Europe’s Large Hadron Collider.

Tiny particles are fired at high speed using electromagnets, recycled back around the engine, and fired again.

Using a loophole in the laws of physics, the engine could theoretically reach speeds of around 297million metres per second, according to Dr Burns.

The contraption is just a concept for now, and it’s not clear if it would actually work.

“If someone says it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first to say, it was worth a shot,” Dr Burns told New Scientist.

 Bonkers engine concepts that do away with rocket fuel have been proposed before by scientists. Pictured is an artist's impression of an EM Drive, an engine that could theoretically generate thrust using rays of light

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Bonkers engine concepts that do away with rocket fuel have been proposed before by scientists. Pictured is an artist’s impression of an EM Drive, an engine that could theoretically generate thrust using rays of light

“You have to be prepared to be embarrassed. It is very difficult to invent something that is new under the sun and actually works.”

In its simplest terms, the engine works by taking advantage of how mass changes at the speed of light.

In his paper, Dr Burns provides a concept to break this down that describes a ring inside a box, attached to each end by a spring.

When the ring is sprung in one direction, the box recoils in the other, as is described by Newton’s laws of motion: Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction.

“When the ring reaches the end of the box, it will bounce backwards, and the box’s recoil direction will switch too,” New Scientist explains.

However, if the box and the ring are travelling at the speed of light, things work a little differently.

At such speeds, according to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, as the ring approaches the end of the box it will increase in mass.

This means it will hit harder when it reaches the end of the box, resulting in forward momentum.

 The engine would propel a rocket a bit like a ring inside a box, attached to each end by a spring. When the ring is sprung in one direction, the box recoils in the other (a). When the ring reaches the end of the box (b), it will bounce backwards (c), and the box's recoil direction will switch too (d)

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The engine would propel a rocket a bit like a ring inside a box, attached to each end by a spring. When the ring is sprung in one direction, the box recoils in the other (a). When the ring reaches the end of the box (b), it will bounce backwards (c), and the box’s recoil direction will switch too (d)

The engine itself will achieve a similar feat using a particle accelerator and ion particles, but that’s the general gist.

“Chemical, nuclear and electric propulsion systems produce thrust by accelerating and expelling propellants,” Burns writes in his paper.

“Deep space travel is often a trade-off between thrust and large propellant storage tanks that eventually limit performance.

“The objective of this paper is to introduce and examine a unique engine that uses a closed-cycle propellant.”

 If the idea ever comes to fruition, we could see the introduction of "warp speed" spaceships like those seen in Star Wars

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If the idea ever comes to fruition, we could see the introduction of “warp speed” spaceships like those seen in Star WarsCredit: Kobal Collection – Rex Features

The design is capable of producing a thrust up to 99 per cent the speed of light without breaking Einstein’s theory of relativity, according to Dr Burns.

However, the plan does breach Newton’s law of motion – violating the laws of physics.

That’s not the only thing holding the helical engine back: Dr Burns reckoned it would have to be 650ft long and 40ft wide to work.

The gizmo would also only operate effectively in the frictionless environment of deep space.

Travelling at the speed of light – what would happen?

Here’s what you need to know…

  • We use light to see and understand the world around us
  • Going at the speed of light would mean it could not keep up with you
  • As such, everything would go dark behind you
  • Light to the sides of you would likely streak past in lots of bands of colour
  • Light in front of you would arrive quicker than normal and thus appear bright and intense
  • Time would appear to slow down, causing clocks to look like they’ve stopped, or planets to look like they no longer spin
  • Your field of view would narrow dramatically

It may sound like a harebrained scheme, but engine concepts that do away with rocket fuel have been proposed before.

They include the EM Drive, a machine that could theoretically generate thrust rocket using rays of light. The idea was later proved impossible.

“I know that it risks being right up there with the EM drive and cold fusion,” Dr Burns told New Scientist.

“But you have to be prepared to be embarrassed. It is very difficult to invent something that is new under the sun and actually works.”

Mysterious Martian sounds described as ‘dinks and donks’ by Nasa captured by Insight probe on Mars

In other news, Nasa has announced it will soon  stop “hitching rides with Russia” and instead run all-American manned rocket flights from 2020.

A Nasa report revealed that Apollo 11 astronauts had no toilet and instead relieved themselves using bags taped to bums and “pee condoms”.

And here’s why some people still think the Moon landings were faked 50 years later – and the man who started the hoax theory.

Would you like the opportunity to travel to space? Let us know in the comments!


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Scientific advance delves deeper into cancer than ever before – Abbotsford News

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Republished with permission from the BC Cancer Foundation

VANCOUVER, B.C. – BC Cancer scientists, in partnership with the University of British Columbia, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Microsoft have developed a new method for analyzing cancer tissue, allowing them to learn more about cancer than previously possible. Researchers can now read the genomes of single cells within a tumour, opening up a new wave of understanding of how and why cancer develops and changes over time.

This new method is so sensitive that researchers will now be able to analyze single cells from a tissue, and decode their genomes individually. This is a key element to understanding cell evolution – including how normal, seemingly healthy cells become cancerous and why cancerous cells spread and become resistant to treatment over time. The method will unlock the answers to crucial questions like: the origins of cancer, why cancers evolve, why they become resistant to drugs and why they metastasize. This research will also be a key pathway to cancer prevention, understanding the root environmental causes of the disease.

“The ways in which the cells differ from each other turns out to be important for understanding why they stop responding to treatments,” says Dr. Samuel Aparicio, BC Cancer distinguished scientist and co-lead author on the study with Dr. Sohrab Shah, BC Cancer scientist and current chief of computational oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering. “It also tells us something about the history of the cancer; how it developed, how long it’s been inside healthy tissue, and how long it’s been growing. In some cases, a pattern of mutation in the genome might tell us that that person has been exposed to a carcinogen or some other thing in the environment which predisposes to that cancer. That’s what the methodology brings – the ability to address all of those questions.”

The new approach brings together leading-edge methods in genomics and computer science from the laboratories of Dr. Aparicio and Dr. Shah.

This advance comes nearly a decade after Dr. Aparicio and Dr. Shah and their team’s first foundational shift in decoding cancer: the ability to sequence human cancer genomes, which opened up a new era in understanding cancer and has since been transformational in the field.

The team began with two genomes, in a 2009 landmark study of cancer metastasis in a breast cancer and today has decoded more than 500,000 single cell cancer genomes, 50,000 of which are released into the public domain through this study. In the last ten years, cancer genomics findings have sparked new drug treatments, new ways of diagnosing cancer and new ways of monitoring cancer.

“Basic and translational research is essential to advancing medical discoveries that will have a profound impact on patient care,” says Dr. François Bénard, vice president, research, BC Cancer. “We are proud of the work our researchers do and the collaboration between partners including the University of British Columbia and Memorial Sloan Kettering.”

“A new era of breakthrough cancer research and treatment is here, thanks in large part to our donors who have supported Dr. Aparicio and his team at BC Cancer for the past decade, bringing hope and promise to patients in B.C.,” says Sarah Roth, president & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation.

“Sometimes obtaining the knowledge takes a bit of time and persistence, but there’s a message of hope in here,” says Dr. Aparicio. “Over the next ten years, we anticipate this technology will enable a fundamentally improved understanding of cancer biology leading to better ways to target cancers, predict response to therapy and combine interventions to improve the lives of patients.”

“We’re excited to be able to present this technology to other scientists, both at MSK and beyond,” adds Dr. Shah.

Research teams in the United Kingdom and United States have already begun to adopt the methodology developed at BC Cancer in Vancouver.

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Scientific advance delves deeper into cancer than ever before – Barriere Star Journal

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Republished with permission from the BC Cancer Foundation

VANCOUVER, B.C. – BC Cancer scientists, in partnership with the University of British Columbia, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Microsoft have developed a new method for analyzing cancer tissue, allowing them to learn more about cancer than previously possible. Researchers can now read the genomes of single cells within a tumour, opening up a new wave of understanding of how and why cancer develops and changes over time.

This new method is so sensitive that researchers will now be able to analyze single cells from a tissue, and decode their genomes individually. This is a key element to understanding cell evolution – including how normal, seemingly healthy cells become cancerous and why cancerous cells spread and become resistant to treatment over time. The method will unlock the answers to crucial questions like: the origins of cancer, why cancers evolve, why they become resistant to drugs and why they metastasize. This research will also be a key pathway to cancer prevention, understanding the root environmental causes of the disease.

“The ways in which the cells differ from each other turns out to be important for understanding why they stop responding to treatments,” says Dr. Samuel Aparicio, BC Cancer distinguished scientist and co-lead author on the study with Dr. Sohrab Shah, BC Cancer scientist and current chief of computational oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering. “It also tells us something about the history of the cancer; how it developed, how long it’s been inside healthy tissue, and how long it’s been growing. In some cases, a pattern of mutation in the genome might tell us that that person has been exposed to a carcinogen or some other thing in the environment which predisposes to that cancer. That’s what the methodology brings – the ability to address all of those questions.”

The new approach brings together leading-edge methods in genomics and computer science from the laboratories of Dr. Aparicio and Dr. Shah.

This advance comes nearly a decade after Dr. Aparicio and Dr. Shah and their team’s first foundational shift in decoding cancer: the ability to sequence human cancer genomes, which opened up a new era in understanding cancer and has since been transformational in the field.

The team began with two genomes, in a 2009 landmark study of cancer metastasis in a breast cancer and today has decoded more than 500,000 single cell cancer genomes, 50,000 of which are released into the public domain through this study. In the last ten years, cancer genomics findings have sparked new drug treatments, new ways of diagnosing cancer and new ways of monitoring cancer.

“Basic and translational research is essential to advancing medical discoveries that will have a profound impact on patient care,” says Dr. François Bénard, vice president, research, BC Cancer. “We are proud of the work our researchers do and the collaboration between partners including the University of British Columbia and Memorial Sloan Kettering.”

“A new era of breakthrough cancer research and treatment is here, thanks in large part to our donors who have supported Dr. Aparicio and his team at BC Cancer for the past decade, bringing hope and promise to patients in B.C.,” says Sarah Roth, president & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation.

“Sometimes obtaining the knowledge takes a bit of time and persistence, but there’s a message of hope in here,” says Dr. Aparicio. “Over the next ten years, we anticipate this technology will enable a fundamentally improved understanding of cancer biology leading to better ways to target cancers, predict response to therapy and combine interventions to improve the lives of patients.”

“We’re excited to be able to present this technology to other scientists, both at MSK and beyond,” adds Dr. Shah.

Research teams in the United Kingdom and United States have already begun to adopt the methodology developed at BC Cancer in Vancouver.

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Scientific advance delves deeper into cancer than ever before – Similkameen Spotlight

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Republished with permission from the BC Cancer Foundation

VANCOUVER, B.C. – BC Cancer scientists, in partnership with the University of British Columbia, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Microsoft have developed a new method for analyzing cancer tissue, allowing them to learn more about cancer than previously possible. Researchers can now read the genomes of single cells within a tumour, opening up a new wave of understanding of how and why cancer develops and changes over time.

This new method is so sensitive that researchers will now be able to analyze single cells from a tissue, and decode their genomes individually. This is a key element to understanding cell evolution – including how normal, seemingly healthy cells become cancerous and why cancerous cells spread and become resistant to treatment over time. The method will unlock the answers to crucial questions like: the origins of cancer, why cancers evolve, why they become resistant to drugs and why they metastasize. This research will also be a key pathway to cancer prevention, understanding the root environmental causes of the disease.

“The ways in which the cells differ from each other turns out to be important for understanding why they stop responding to treatments,” says Dr. Samuel Aparicio, BC Cancer distinguished scientist and co-lead author on the study with Dr. Sohrab Shah, BC Cancer scientist and current chief of computational oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering. “It also tells us something about the history of the cancer; how it developed, how long it’s been inside healthy tissue, and how long it’s been growing. In some cases, a pattern of mutation in the genome might tell us that that person has been exposed to a carcinogen or some other thing in the environment which predisposes to that cancer. That’s what the methodology brings – the ability to address all of those questions.”

The new approach brings together leading-edge methods in genomics and computer science from the laboratories of Dr. Aparicio and Dr. Shah.

This advance comes nearly a decade after Dr. Aparicio and Dr. Shah and their team’s first foundational shift in decoding cancer: the ability to sequence human cancer genomes, which opened up a new era in understanding cancer and has since been transformational in the field.

The team began with two genomes, in a 2009 landmark study of cancer metastasis in a breast cancer and today has decoded more than 500,000 single cell cancer genomes, 50,000 of which are released into the public domain through this study. In the last ten years, cancer genomics findings have sparked new drug treatments, new ways of diagnosing cancer and new ways of monitoring cancer.

“Basic and translational research is essential to advancing medical discoveries that will have a profound impact on patient care,” says Dr. François Bénard, vice president, research, BC Cancer. “We are proud of the work our researchers do and the collaboration between partners including the University of British Columbia and Memorial Sloan Kettering.”

“A new era of breakthrough cancer research and treatment is here, thanks in large part to our donors who have supported Dr. Aparicio and his team at BC Cancer for the past decade, bringing hope and promise to patients in B.C.,” says Sarah Roth, president & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation.

“Sometimes obtaining the knowledge takes a bit of time and persistence, but there’s a message of hope in here,” says Dr. Aparicio. “Over the next ten years, we anticipate this technology will enable a fundamentally improved understanding of cancer biology leading to better ways to target cancers, predict response to therapy and combine interventions to improve the lives of patients.”

“We’re excited to be able to present this technology to other scientists, both at MSK and beyond,” adds Dr. Shah.

Research teams in the United Kingdom and United States have already begun to adopt the methodology developed at BC Cancer in Vancouver.

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