US-Russian crew returns from space station: NASA TV

Crew members of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 55-56, NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel (L), Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev (C) and Richard Arnold pose as they attend the final training for their upcoming space mission in Star City outside Moscow on February 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 28 February 2018
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US-Russian crew returns from space station: NASA TV

WASHINGTON: A capsule carrying two US astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut from the International Space Station landed in snowy Kazakhstan on Wednesday after a five-and-a-half month mission, a NASA TV live broadcast showed.
The Soyuz spacecraft brought back Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei, from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Alexander Misurkin, from Russian space agency Roscosmos.
The capsule landed in the snow covered steppe some 90 miles southeast of the central city of Zhezkazgan at 8.31 a.m. (0231 GMT).
Misurkin was the first to emerge from the spacecraft, assisted by members of the Russian search and recovery team, and he was followed by Acaba who smiled and made a thumbs-up gesture.
The trio had spent five-and-a-half months at the ISS, a $100 billion lab that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
The are due to be replaced by NASA’s Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold, and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, whose spacecraft will blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome, also in Kazakhstan, on March 21.


Upgrade to boost capacity of CERN’s giant particle smasher

Updated 15 June 2018
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Upgrade to boost capacity of CERN’s giant particle smasher

  • The LHC is undergoing a major upgrade to help further explore the fundamental building blocks of the universe
  • The work involves heavy civil engineering at CERN's LHC’s two main sites in Switzerland and France

GENEVA: A major upgrade began Friday for the world’s most powerful proton smasher to increase the number of particle collisions inside the Large Hadron Collider and help further explore the fundamental building blocks of the universe.
The work involves heavy civil engineering at the LHC’s two main sites in Switzerland and France which are run by Europe’s physics lab CERN, that will allow it to operate in a high-luminosity mode from 2026.
“By 2026, this major upgrade will have considerably improved the performance of the LHC, by increasing the number of collisions in the large experiments and thus boosting the probability of the discovery of new physics phenomena,” CERN said.
The aim is increase tenfold the amount of data which can be picked up by the LHC, which is housed in a 27-kilometer (17-mile) ring-shaped tunnel buried more than 100 meters underground that runs beneath the border of Switzerland and France.
The powerful accelerator, which began operating in 2010, smashes high-energy protons into each other at velocities near the speed of light.
These collisions generate new particles, giving physicists an unprecedented look at the laws of nature in the hope of better understanding particles and matter.
Until now, the LHC has been able to generate nearly a billion collisions per second but the so-called high-luminosity upgrade will allow it to increase the collision rate, thereby allowing for the accumulation of 10 times more data between 2026 and 2036.
“The High-Luminosity LHC will extend the LHC’s reach beyond its initial mission, bringing new opportunities for discovery, measuring the properties of particles such as the Higgs Boson with greater precision, and exploring the fundamental constituents of the universe ever more profoundly,” said CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti.
In 2012, the LHC was used to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson — also dubbed the God particle — which has allowed scientists to make great progress in understanding how particles acquire mass.
A year later, two of the scientists who had theorized the particle’s existence nearly five decades earlier, won the Nobel physics prize for its discovery.
In the works since 2011, the upgrade will allow the LHC to start producing data in high-luminosity mode from 2026.
The project will involve the replacement of high-tech components along 1.2 kilometers of the machine, such as magnets, collimators and radiofrequency cavities.
It will also see the construction of new buildings, shafts, caverns and underground galleries, as well as tunnels and halls to house the new cryogenic equipment, as well as power supplies and cooling and ventilation kit.