News Feature | February 9, 2022

Bright Ideas — NOAA Weather Satellite To Capture 16 Spectral Bands, Quantum State Longer Than 5 Seconds Reached

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By Abby Proch, former editor


A new weather observation satellite set to launch on March 1 will give forecasters an even richer view of the Earth’s weather patterns than ever before. The GOES-T satellite will debut with a brand new Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) capable of imaging in 16 different spectral bands, according to a report by The satellite is also host to a new lightning camera that can better record lightning activity and therefore enable improved storm tracking. Once in orbit, the GOES-T will be renamed GOES-18, a replacement for GOES-17, and begin providing observations of the western parts of the continental United States as well as Alaska and Hawaii starting in May 2023.

A study of methane ultra-emitters has revealed more than 1,200 entities in the oil and gas industry that have emitted at minimum 25 t/h (tonnes/hour) for two years starting in 2018. According to EurekAlert!, roughly 600 other sources fell within the categories of coal mining, agriculture, and waste management. This study was reportedly the first of its kind to use satellite data to elicit results typically by handheld and aerial detectors. The European Space Agency satellite mission, dubbed Sentinel-5P, targeted Russia, Turkmenistan, the United States, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Algeria, which house the bulk of ultra-emitters. A team of French and American scientists claim eliminating the leaks would be like “removing 20 million cars from the road based on the 100-year global warming power (GWP100) of methane.”

Rugged and low SWaP-C, the next generation of optical atomic clocks for modern warfare will outpace existing microwave atomic clocks with 100x more precision — at least, that’s what DARPA is calling for. Its new program, Robust Optical Clock Network (ROCkN), aims to provide increasingly accurate timing on the battlefield, with optical clocks better able to endure demanding conditions and deliver “timing accuracy and holdover better than GPS atomic clocks.” DARPA held a “Proposers Day” webcast on Feb. 3 and will publish full program details in the ensuing weeks.  

A tri-state research effort from universities in Montana, Arkansas, and South Dakota got a $2.2 million boost — and two more partners — from the National Science Foundation last week, according to a news report. Bolstering a $20 million grant to establish the MonArk NSF Quantum Foundry in 2021, this extension brings the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff, a historically Black university, and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology into the fold. The consortium’s task is to “rapidly create and test two-dimensional material quantum devices.”

Radar has long been used in imaging applications that consider the big picture, from weather observations to military communications. Now, researchers with the University of Sydney are considering how radar can be miniaturized for use in small-scale tasks such as monitoring patients’ movements and breathing rate, according to a report by Cosmos. It could be especially helpful in situations where patients are small (infants) or sensitive to the use of on-body monitoring (burn victims). By increasing both signal and bandwidth, and doing so with what they call “photonic radar,” researchers claim they can achieve resolution down to 1.3 cm.

Researchers with the Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory have for the first time maintained a qubit coherence time of five seconds. Typically, memory time plagues quantum computing experiments, but the team’s reliance on silicon carbide faired incredibly well. And, it’s widely available and low cost to boot. According to a report in Science Daily, the researchers “use carefully designed laser pulses to add a single electron to their qubit depending on its initial quantum state, either zero or one. Then the qubit is read out in the same way as before — with a laser.” The light indicates the presence of an electron and does so with nearly 10,000 times more signal.