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Three Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Physics for Contributions to Cosmology

The committee said Peebles developed the framework that forms "the basis of our contemporary ideas about the universe"

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Scientists, Nobel Prize, Physics
A screen displays the portraits of the laureates of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics (L-R) James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, during a news conference at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, October 8, 2019. VOA

Three scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in helping understand “the evolution of the universe and the Earth’s place in the cosmos.”

The Nobel Committee announced Tuesday that half of the $918,000 prize was going to James Peebles, citing contributions to understanding how the universe evolved after the Big Bang.

The committee said Peebles developed the framework that forms “the basis of our contemporary ideas about the universe.”

The other half of the award went to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz.

Scientists, Nobel Prize, Physics
The Nobel Committee announced Tuesday that half of the $918,000 prize was going to James Peebles, citing contributions to understanding how the universe evolved after the Big Bang. Pixabay

In 1995, they announced the first discovery of a planet outside of our solar system that orbits a solar-type star.

Since then, researchers have found more than 4,000 exoplanets in the Milky Way galaxy.

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“With numerous projects planned to start searching for exoplanets, we may eventually find an answer to the eternal question of whether other life is out there,” the committee said. (VOA)

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Ice Deposits on Moon’s South Pole may have More than One Source: Research

 Scientists Report on the ages of Ice deposits in the area of the Moon's South Pole

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Moon's South Pole
Researchers have shed light on the ages of ice deposits reported in the area of the Moon's south pole. Pixabay

 Researchers have shed light on the ages of ice deposits reported in the area of the Moon’s south pole — information that could help identify the sources of the deposits and help in planning future human exploration.

The study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent.

“The ages of these deposits can potentially tell us something about the origin of the ice, which helps us understand the sources and distribution of water in the inner solar system,” said study lead author Ariel Deutsch from Brown University.

“For exploration purposes, we need to understand the lateral and vertical distributions of these deposits to figure out how best to access them. These distributions evolve with time, so having an idea of the age is important,” Deutsch said.

For the study, Deutsch worked with Professor Jim Head, and Gregory Neumann from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.

moon Surface
The ages of these deposits on Moon’s Surface can potentially tell us something about the origin of the ice. Pixabay

Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009, the researchers looked at the ages of the large craters in which evidence of south pole ice deposits was found.

To date the craters, researchers count the number of smaller craters that have accrued inside the larger ones.

Scientists have an approximate idea of the pace of impacts over time, so counting craters can help establish the ages of terrains.

The majority of the reported ice deposits are found within large craters formed about 3.1 billion years ago or longer, the study found.

The deposits have a patchy distribution across crater floors, which suggests that the ice has been battered by micrometeorite impacts and other debris over a long period of time.

If those reported ice deposits are indeed ancient, that could have significant implications in terms of exploration and potential resource utilisation, the researchers said.

Lunar Surface
The study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits on Moon’s South Pole are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent. Pixabay

While the majority of ice was in the ancient craters, the researchers also found evidence for ice in smaller craters that, judging by their sharp, well-defined features, appear to be quite fresh.

That suggests that some of the deposits on the south pole got there relatively recently.

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The best way to find out for sure is to send spacecraft to get some samples which event appears to be on the horizon. NASA’s Artemis programme aims to put humans on the Moon by 2024, and plans to fly numerous precursor missions with robotic spacecraft in the meantime, the researchers said. (IANS)