Midnight In The Desert — cosmic rays

Rogue cosmic rays from outer space are causing havoc with our smartphones

Posted by K R on

Rogue cosmic rays from outer space are causing havoc with our smartphones

Under Earth's protective magnetic field, we don't usually need to worry too much about the health effects of cosmic radiation – although it's something that's known to impact astronauts in space, and even passengers traveling in airplanes. But the same can't be said for our technological systems – fierce solar storms can wreak havoc on Earth's communication networks, and new research shows that even ordinary levels of cosmic radiation can have a disruptive effect on our personal devices. "This is a really big problem, but it is mostly invisible to the public," says electrical engineer Bharat Bhuva from Vanderbilt University....

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Alien life could feed on cosmic rays

Posted by K R on

Alien life could feed on cosmic rays

A bizarre microbe found deep in a gold mine in South Africa could provide a model for how life might survive in seemingly uninhabitable environments through the cosmos. Known as Desulforudis audaxviator, the rod-shaped bacterium thrives 2.8 kilometers underground in a habitat devoid of the things that power the vast majority of life on Earth—light, oxygen, and carbon. Instead, this “gold mine bug” gets energy from radioactive uranium in the depths of the mine. Now, scientists predict that life elsewhere in the universe might also feed off of radiation, especially radiation raining down from space. “It really grabbed my attention...

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