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Dark Matter's Effect Is 10x What It Should Be, Scientists Say – Futurism

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According to new research, dark matter may be an even bigger mystery than previously believed.

The stuff is thought to make up a significant percentage of the mass of the universe — yet it’s near impossible to study, let alone observe.

Physicists have had to resort to studying the way dark matter bends light between distant sources such as a galaxy and the observer, an effect called “gravitational lensing.” The higher the concentration of dark matter, the more pronounced the effect.

But when a team of European researchers looked at data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, they found that the gravitational lensing effect around massive structures called “galaxy clusters” was ten times as strong as predicted by simulations.

“We have done a lot of testing of the data in this study, and we are sure that this mismatch indicates that some physical ingredient is missing either from the simulations or from our understanding of the nature of dark matter,” said Massimo Meneghetti, of the INAF-Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science of Bologna in Italy and lead author of a paper about the research published today in the journal Science, in an ESA statement.

In other words — we’re missing a key ingredient.

“One possible origin for this discrepancy is that we may be missing some key physics in the simulations,” Meneghetti said in a NASA statement.

To conduct their research, Meneghetti’s team produced a “dark-matter map” using observations from of a sample of three massive galaxy clusters.

They discovered something unexpected: smaller-scale images nested within larger lens distortions in each galaxy cluster’s core. In other words, the gravitational lensing effect was significant, leading them to believe they had stumbled upon dense concentrations of dark matter.

The discrepancy highlights just how little we know about the mysterious stuff that appears to make up most of the known universe.

READ MORE: Dark matter might be even stranger than we thought, according to Hubble [Digital Trends]

More on dark matter: Astronomers Discover Deep-Space “Structure,” 1.4 Billion Light Years Across

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Any signal up here? Nokia to build mobile network on moon – Edmonton Sun

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HELSINKI — Struggling to get a phone signal at home on planet Earth? Perhaps you’ll have better luck on the moon.

Nokia has been selected by NASA to build the first cellular network on the moon, the Finnish company said on Monday, as the U.S. space agency plans for a future where humans return there and establish lunar settlements.

NASA aims to return humans to the moon by 2024 and dig in for a long-term presence there under its Artemis program.

Nokia said the first wireless broadband communications system in space would be built on the lunar surface in late 2022, before humans make it back there.

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It will partner with a Texas-based private space craft design company, Intuitive Machines, to deliver the equipment to the moon on their lunar lander. The network will configure itself and establish a 4G/LTE communications system on the moon, Nokia said, though the aim would be to eventually switch to 5G

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Losing flight had huge benefits for ants, Researchers Say

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Losing flight had huge benefits for ants, Researchers Say

Ants are one of the most successful groups of animals on the planet, occupying anywhere from temperate soil to tropical rainforests, desert dunes and kitchen counters. They’re social insects and their team-working abilities have long since been identified as one of the key factors leading to their success. Ants are famously able to lift or drag objects many times their own weight and transport these objects back to their colony. But with previous research having focused on the social aspects of an ant colony, looking at an individual ant has been somewhat neglected.

Now, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Sorbonne University in Paris have investigated why individual worker ants are so strong by taking X-ray images and creating 3-D models of their thorax—the central unit of their bodies—to analyze their muscles and internal skeleton. Their study, published in Frontiers in Zoology, examines the hypothesis that loss of flight in worker ants is directly connected to the evolution of greater strength.

“Worker ants evolved from flying insects,” said Professor Evan Economo, who leads OIST’s Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit. “We’ve always assumed that losing flight helped to optimize their bodies for working on the ground, but we have much to learn about how this is achieved.”

Being able to fly might be a common dream amongst people, but the reality of flight is that it puts strong constraints on the build of a body. In flying insects, the wing muscles occupy a major part of the thorax—sometimes more than 50%. This means that other muscles, which are used to support and move the head, legs, and abdomen are constrained and squeezed up against the exoskeleton.

But once the constraints of flight are removed, all that space in the thorax is open, which, the researchers surmised, would allow the remaining muscles to expand and reorganize.

Previous research in this area had focused on the external structure of ants but, with the technology available at OIST, the researchers were able to gain a highly detailed picture of what was going on inside the thorax. The aim was to analyze the general features common across all ants, rather than focus on the specialization of certain species. To do this, the researchers did a detailed analysis of two distantly related ant species, including both the wingless workers and the flying queens, and confirmed their findings across a broader sample of species.

They used advanced X-ray technology to scan the internal and external anatomy, like CT scans used in a hospital, but at much higher resolution. From these scans, the researchers mapped all the different muscles and modeled them in 3-D. The result was a comprehensive image of the inside of the thorax. They then compared findings from these two species to a range of other ants and wingless insects.

As predicted, the researchers found that loss of flight had allowed for clear-cut reorganization of the thorax. “Within the worker ant’s thorax, everything is integrated beautifully in a tiny space,” said the late Dr. Christian Peeters, lead author of this paper, who was a research professor at Sorbonne University. “The three muscle groups have all expanded in volume, giving the worker ants more strength and power. There has also been a change in the geometry of the neck muscles, which support and move the head. And the internal attachment of muscles has been modified.”

Interestingly, when looking at wingless wasps, the researchers found that these insects had responded to the loss of flight in a completely different way. Wingless wasps are solitary and consume food as they find it. On the other hand, ants are part of a colony. They hunt or scavenge for food that then needs to be carried back to the nest for the queen and younger nestmates, so it makes sense that there was a selection pressure to promote carrying ability.

Ants have been studied for centuries in terms of their behavior, ecology, and genetics but, the researchers emphasized, this story of strength has, so far, been somewhat overlooked. The next step is to develop more detailed biomechanical models of how different muscle groups function, do similar research on the mandible and legs, and explore the diversity seen between ant species.

“We’re interested in what makes an ant an ant and understanding the key innovations behind their success,” explained Professor Economo. “We know that one factor is the social structure, but this individual strength is another essential factor.”

Source: – lintelligencer

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Finland's Nokia selected to build mobile network on moon for NASA – The Journal Pioneer

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HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s Nokia has been selected by NASA to build the first cellular network on the moon, the company said on Monday.

The lunar network will be part of the U.S. space agency’s efforts to return humans to the moon by 2024 and build long-term settlements there under its Artemis programme.

Nokia said the first wireless broadband communications system in space would be built on the lunar surface in late 2022, before humans make it back there.

The Finnish company will partner with Texas-based private space craft design firm Intuitive Machines to deliver the network equipment to the moon on their lunar lander.

After delivery, the network will configure itself and establish the first LTE (Long-Term Evolution) communications system on the moon, Nokia said.

“The network will provide critical communication capabilities for many different data-transmission applications, including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video,” Nokia said.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Edmund Blair and Pravin Char)

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