Science News Roundup: Scientists prepare for CERN collider restart in hunt for ‘dark matter’; Omicron BA.2 globally accounts for more than 90% of COVID variants in the US – CDC and more

Here is a summary of current scientific news.

Scientists prepare for CERN collider restart in hunt for ‘dark matter’

Scientists at the European Center for Physics Research will this week turn on the 27-kilometre-long Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the machine that found the Higgs boson particle, after a prolonged shutdown for maintenance and upgrades by the COVID-19 delays. Restarting the collider is a complex procedure, and researchers at the CERN center have champagne on hand if all goes well, ready to join a row of bottles in the control room celebrating milestones including the discovery of the elusive subatomic particle ten years ago.

Omicron BA.2 globally accounts for more than 90% of COVID variants in the United States – CDC

Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant and its BA.2.12.1 sublineage are estimated to account for more than 90% of coronavirus variants in the United States as of April 16, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) the United States. said Tuesday. Overall, cases have fallen sharply nationwide since hitting record highs in January, but COVID-19 infections have been on the rise in recent weeks, particularly in northeastern states. is like New York and Connecticut.

Europa’s similarity to Greenland hints that Jupiter’s moon may harbor life

The uncanny resemblance between features on the frozen surface of Europa and a landform in Greenland that sits atop a major water pocket provides intriguing new indications that this moon of Jupiter may be capable of supporting life. A study published on Tuesday explored similarities between elongated landforms called double ridges that look like huge gashes on the surface of Europa and a smaller version in Greenland examined using ice-penetrating radar. .

Japanese researchers develop electric chopsticks to enhance salty taste

Japanese researchers have developed computerized chopsticks that improve salty tastes, potentially helping those who need to reduce sodium in their diets. Co-developed by Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita and beverage maker Kirin Holdings Co., the chopsticks enhance tastes using electrical stimulation and a mini-computer worn on a wristband.

Surprised astronomers discover a new type of star explosion – a micronova

Astronomers have detected a previously unknown type of stellar explosion called a micronova involving thermonuclear explosions in the polar regions of a type of scorched star called a white dwarf after siphoning material from a companion star. Researchers said Wednesday that a micronova is by far the least powerful type of star explosion currently known – less energetic than an explosion called a nova in which the entire surface of a white dwarf explodes and tiny compared to a supernova that occurs during the agony of some giant stars.

Australian scientists will propel Tesla on a 15,000km journey with printed solar panels

Australian scientists are testing printed solar panels they will use to power a Tesla on a 15,100 km (9,400 mile) journey from September, which they hope will inspire the public to think about what action to take to avoid climate change. The Charge Around Australia project will power a Tesla electric car with 18 of the team’s printed plastic solar panels, each 18 meters (59ft) long, by deploying them alongside the vehicle to absorb sunlight when it needs a charge.

Amazon and SpaceX land space communications contracts with NASA

Amazon’s satellite business, SpaceX’s Starlink network and other satellite companies won a combined $278.5 million contract from NASA on Wednesday to demonstrate communications in space as the agency American spacecraft is preparing to replace its current network of satellites in orbit with privately built systems. NASA is increasingly looking to rely on private space companies for its operations and wants to stimulate more commercial activity in areas ranging from space communications to sending humans into orbit.

(With agency contributions.)

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