Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Апрель 2012 г.
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Апрель
2012 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
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    Служба науки, технологии и космоса посольства Франции учредила премию имени академика М.А.Лаврентьева для российских ученых, работающих во Франции. В этом году два гранта по 4000 евро получат российские пост-докторанты, работающие во Франции по одной из следующих областей: математика, механика, физика, химия, науки о земле, биология, медицина, информационные технологии.

Le service Science, Technologie et Espace de l'ambassade de France en Russie a institué un prix nommé en l'honneur de l'académicien Mikhaïl Lavrentiev, le fondateur d'Akademgorodok, la Cité des sciences de Novossibirsk.
Deux bourses de quatre mille euros pour l'année en cours seront octroyées à des post-doctorants russes travaillant en France dans l'un des domaines suivants : mathématiques, mécanique, physique, chimie, sciences de la terre, biologie, médecine et technologies de l'information.
Pour participer au concours, les scientifiques doivent avoir la nationalité russe, avoir défendu leur thèse sur le territoire russe après le 31 août 2009 et posséder une expérience de stage scientifique d'au moins six mois dans un laboratoire de recherche français. La liste complète des conditions est disponible sur le site du département sibérien de l'Académie russe des sciences www.sbras.nsc.ru.
Les bourses seront versées sur le compte des deux laboratoires d'accueil choisis et l'utilisation des fonds sera décidée par les post-doctorants en accord avec le laboratoire. La subvention peut être dépensée, par exemple, pour la tenue d'une conférence ou d'un séminaire, un déplacement professionnel, l'achat d'équipement, l'acquisition de littérature scientifique pour la bibliothèque personnelle du post-doctorant, etc.
Après avoir défendu sa thèse de doctorat en 1927, Mikhaïl Lavrentiev a réalisé un stage de six mois en France. En 1971, il a été décoré de la Croix de commandeur de la Légion d'honneur et a été élu membre étranger de l'Académie française des sciences.

© 2007-2012 Russia Beyond The Headlines.
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    Ускорительный масс-спектрометр, созданный в Институте ядерной физики им. Г.И.Будкера СО РАН и установленный в Центре коллективного пользования «Геохронология кайнозоя» Института археологии и этнографии СО РАН, прошёл тестовые испытания. Прибор позволяет датировать геологические и археологические находки возрастом до 70 тыс. лет, причем для анализа достаточно всего несколько миллиграммов вещества.

Russian scientists of the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in Novosibirsk have developed a spectrometer to establish the exact age of archaeological finds. Thanks to a new know-how the Russian spectrometer may even outmatch high accuracy spectrometers which are now used in Germany the US and Japan.
For their new spectrometer the scientists in Novosibirsk have created a special center which they call "Geo-chronology of Cenozoic era". In an interview with our radio station, the center's executive director Vasily Zenin explained this difficult name: "Geo" means "Earth", chronology comes from the word "kronos" which is "Time" and Cenozoic era is the last geological epoch we live in."
The scientists of the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics called their news spectrometer simply a "barrel". Unlike many Western spectrometers which are fixed horizontally the Russian one has a vertical shape and more complicated technology. In particular, foreign spectrometers have semi conductive detectors which operating life is only about 1 year. The detectors in the Russian spectrometer serve longer and at the same time the whole device cost less than similar foreign installations.
In the Russian spectrometer a modern super sensitive method of isotope analysis is applied. It enables archaeologists to determine the age of organic substances throughout a time span of over 70,000 years. The spectrometer needs minimum amount of material to conduct its expertise, Vasily Zenin continues.
"Radiocarbon dating - a traditional method, which was developed in the last several decades in Russia and abroad, required, for example, dozen grams of charcoal on an item in order to determine its age. It happens very seldom that archeological items carry this amount of charcoal. With the new spectrometer a tea spoon of the substance will be enough."
Spectrometers enable archeologists to determine even the age of unique items. Earlier, to determine the age of the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth of Jesus Christonly 150 miligrams of cloth were required. The research in three laboratories in the US and Europe did not confirm the expectation that the cloth was about 2,000 years old. It turned out that the material was manufactured only 7 centuries ago.

© 2005-2012 Voice of Russia.
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    Le Figaro / le 24/04/2012
    Une orque albinos filmée au large des côtes russes
    C'est la première fois que les chercheurs observent un spécimen entièrement blanc chez cette espèce
    • Par Tristan Vey
    У побережья Камчатки российские ученые обнаружили косатку нетипичной белой окраски, причем взрослую - возрастом не менее 16 лет, хотя до сих пор из белых косаток встречались только молодые особи. По некоторым данным, впервые кит был замечен еще два года назад, но лишь сейчас биологи обнародовали фото- и видеоматериалы. В этом году они надеются увидеть косатку снова и получить дополнительные сведения, после чего, возможно, удастся определить причину странной окраски.

Une équipe de chercheurs russes a découvert un petit Moby Dick: la première orque parfaitement blanche.
Observé au large du Kamtchatka, en Russie orientale, et baptisé Iceberg, ce mâle adulte vivait avec une dizaine de ses congénères, des orques de type «résident» qui se nourrissent de poissons (alors que les «transients» mangent des petits mammifères).
Il s'agit du premier cas documenté d'albinisme total chez l'orque.«Il existe quelques cas ressemblants, mais ils ont généralement de nombreuses taches jaunâtres; celui-ci est parfaitement blanc, c'est du jamais-vu», s'enthousiasme Paul Trixier, jeune doctorant du CNRS qui étudie les orques des îles Crozet, un archipel sub-antarctique français de l'océan Indien. «Il faudrait voir si sa pupille est bien rose pour être sûr qu'il s'agit bien d'un albinos intégral», précise-t-il.
Dans les années 1970, une orque célèbre, mais un peu moins blanche, Chimo, avait été attrapée dans le Pacifique et placée dans un aquarium. «Les espèces albinos ont toutefois un système immunitaire très affaibli et il a rapidement attrapé des maladies en captivité», souligne Paul Trixier. Quelques mois seulement après sa capture, l'animal est mort. «Deux autres specimens ont été observés en 2008 et en 2010, mais ils étaient très jaunes», se rappelle enfin le jeune chercheur. «Cette découverte est vraiment exceptionnelle», appuie-t-il.
La surpêche menace les orques
Les chercheurs russes ont fait leur découverte pendant une vaste campagne de recensement des orques de la région. Selon leurs premières estimations, il y en aurait près de 4500 dans une zone où on pourrait s'attendre à ne pas en trouver plus de quelques centaines. Cette abondance ne rassure pas les biologistes marins pour autant. Ils s'inquiètent notamment de la surpêche dans ce secteur qui prive le mammifère d'une grande partie de ses ressources alimentaires.
À noter par ailleurs que l'albinisme n'est pas l'apanage des orques. Au moins deux cas célèbres de baleines ont déjà été recensés. Une première, appelée Migaloo, est observée régulièrement au nord de l'Australie depuis des années. En septembre 2011, un bébé baleine complètement blanc a aussi été observé et baptisé Migaloo Junior en hommage à son aînée.

© Lefigaro.fr.
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    MarketWatch / April 19, 2012
    Russian Researchers to Unveil Revolutionary Fuel Cell Project at Hannover Messe-2012
    Fuel cell technology, which runs on water and is capable of producing eco-friendly energy to heat buildings, is destined to reshape our energy future
    На ганноверской промышленной ярмарке Hannover Messe-2012 будет представлен совместный проект ученых Томского политехнического университета и исландского профессора Торстейнна Сигфуссона по водородной энергетике будущего - безопасные для окружающей среды «топливные ячейки», способные выделять водород из воды в результате процесса электролиза. «Топливные ячейки» экологически безопасны и дают высокую производительность.

MOSCOW, April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ - A state-of-the-art joint project spearheaded by the Tomsk Polytechnic Research University and Icelandic professor, Thorsteinn I. Sigfusson, who was awarded the Global Energy International prize in 2007, will be showcased at Russia Day as part of the international exhibition Hannover Messe-2012, which is to be held from 23rd to 27th of May, 2012 in Germany.
Researchers are to showcase a project on eco-safe fuel cells capable of separating oxygen from hydrogen as a result of the electrolysis process at the round table "The role of hydrogen in the energy sector: Russian research and innovations," which will take place at 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday 24th April, 2012, Hannover Messe, Hall 27, Technical Forum.
Hydrogen fuel cells are ecologically friendly and offer zero emissions. Moreover, they are highly efficient, featuring low energy consumption in the work process and high performance, as 60-70% of fuel energy is converted directly into electricity.
According to Yury Tyurin, a leading research worker at the Tomsk Polytechnic University, "the main idea behind the project is encapsulated in the need to move away from using fossil fuel, which is expensive, pollutes the environment and will be depleted within the next 20-30 years."
Cell fuel technology can be implemented in vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions and as a power source for distributed energy units. High capacity fuel cells can be used as backup power generators, and are suitable for CHP industrial application due to high operating temperature (800-1000 C).
This clean and green fuel can be used in submarines, aircraft and also to heat low-rise buildings.
Dr. Thorsteinn I. Sigfusson comments: "In the project in Tomsk we have been able to use the sophisticated experimental facilities to make fuel cell components to convert for example natural gas into heat and electricity in the same unit. Russian technology is very deep reaching and is based on very sound theoretical understanding of the physics and chemistry of energy conversion."
This project has already found application in the transportation industry. A German automotive concern which uses this technology manufactured three buses which were specially designed for Iceland. Other such buses have been ordered in Portugal, the United Kingdom and other European countries.
This technology is very promising and the present joint research project is yet another vindication of this claim. But in order to take fuel cell technology to the next level, it will be necessary to gain broad support from public organizations and business alike. The implementation of this project has received backing from Global Energy Non-Profit Partnership and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.
The round table will also feature presentations by leading Russian experts of the hydrogen power industry, who will share their insights into cutting-edge industry trends with the general public and journalists.

Copyright © 2012 MarketWatch, Inc. All rights reserved.
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    Провал миссии «Фобос-Грунт» привел к масштабному пересмотру лунной и марсианской программ, и в ближайшие годы Россия намеревается сосредоточиться именно на лунной - в качестве подготовки для будущих экспедиций на Марс.

Après l'échec de Phobos-Grunt, la Russie modifie ses plans de l'exploration robotique de la Lune et de Mars. Elle reporte le lancement des missions prévues et redéfinit leurs objectifs. Quant aux missions martiennes, à l'exception des européennes ExoMars, elles ne sont pas envisagées avant la décennie 2030.
L'échec de la mission Phobos-Grunt en novembre 2011 contraint l'Agence spatiale russe Roscosmos à modifier profondément ses plans d'exploration robotique de la Lune et de Mars. La Planète rouge reste un objectif emblématique mais lointain. Durant les prochaines années, la Russie va se concentrer sur ses programmes lunaires, présentés comme une préparation aux futures expéditions vers Mars.
L'envoi d'une mission habitée sur la Lune n'est d'ailleurs pas considéré comme prioritaire pour les trois prochaines décennies. Le programme robotique lunaire sera conçu comme une mise au point des technologies nécessaires pour envoyer des sondes sur Mars ou Phobos.
Cette nouvelle feuille de route remet à plat l'ensemble des missions robotiques en préparation.
Concernant Mars, elle se traduit par la participation russe au programme Exomars de l'Agence spatiale européenne qui prévoit deux missions en 2016 et 2018. Dès que les missions lunaires auront fait leurs preuves, la Russie pourrait de nouveau tenter une deuxième mission Phobos-Grunt mais pas avant la décennie 2030.
Les projets lunaires de la Russie sont repoussés
Tenant compte de l'échec de Phobos-Grunt, le programme lunaire a été révisé en profondeur. Les deux missions qui étaient en préparation - Luna-Resurs prévue en 2013 et Luna-Glob en 2014 - ont été reportées de plusieurs années. Ce ne sont pas seulement les dates de lancement qui changent mais aussi les objectifs scientifiques et l'architecture des sondes. Il faut savoir que ces deux satellites devaient être construits autour de la même plateforme que Phobos-Grunt, responsable de l'échec de la mission.
En attendant que Lavochkin livre une version de nouvelle génération en 2017, Luna-Resurs est reportée à cet horizon. C'est également un coup dur pour l'Inde qui fournissait le lancement et embarquait sur l'atterrisseur un petit rover (Chandrayaan-2).
Quant à Luna-Glob, son lancement est prévu en 2016. Elle se composera d'un orbiteur portant une centaine de kilogrammes d'instruments et d'un atterrisseur utilisé pour tester un système d'atterrissage de précision.
Quant aux objectifs scientifiques, il seront revus, mais à la marge. Ces deux missions sont conçues pour étudier les régions polaires où de vastes quantités d'eau à l'état glacé ont été identifiées. L'atterrisseur de Luna-Glob pourrait être doté d'un bras robotique capable de forer jusqu'à deux mètres de profondeur.
Au-delà de ces deux missions, il est ensuite prévu l'envoi de rovers capables de fonctionner plusieurs années et d'une mission de retour d'échantillons des régions polaires.

© 2001-2012 Futura-Sciences, tous droits reserves.
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    Роскосмос и Европейское космическое агентство (ESA) окончательно договорились о полноправном участии России в проекте «ЭкзоМарс» (запуск орбитального марсианского зонда в 2016 году и марсохода - в 2018). Соглашение о сотрудничестве будет подписано до конца этого года.

Russia told European Space Agency officials last week it will partner with Europe on the ExoMars orbiter and rover missions after NASA dropped out of the project in February due to budgetary concerns, according to the Russian space agency.
The leaders of the space agencies - Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin and ESA director general Jean-Jacques Dordain - met in Moscow on Friday to discuss the joint Mars missions, which are due to launch in 2016 and 2018. ESA calls the 2016 and 2018 missions ExoMars.
ESA began courting Russia as a full partner in the ExoMars project last year as NASA's funding commitment wavered before the U.S. space agency pulled out of the mission in February.
According to a statement by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, officials agreed the exploration of Mars "represents a joint scientific interest" for both agencies.
Roscosmos and ESA will sign a formal accord on the ExoMars project by the end of 2012, according to a communique issued by the Russian space agency.
Russia will provide two Proton launchers to dispatch the ExoMars orbiter and rover on two flights in 2016 and 2018. Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor for the 2016 orbiter, which will carry detectors to measure methane and other trace gases in the Mars atmosphere.
A European entry, descent and landing demonstrator will fly to Mars with the 2016 orbiter.
A rover developed by Astrium Satellites in the United Kingdom will launch two years later in 2018. A Russian-built entry, descent and landing package will shepherd the rover to the red planet's surface.
Before the agency retreated from the program, NASA was on the hook for both ExoMars launches using Atlas 5 rockets. NASA was also providing research instruments and the rover's landing system, an elaborate apparatus based on the Mars Science Laboratory's sky crane architecture.
ESA's ruling council approved continued funding of the ExoMars program in March, ensuring the orbiter mission stays on schedule for launch in January 2016.
Officials at ESA's next ministerial meeting, scheduled for November, will attempt to sort through an ExoMars funding shortfall.
ESA's member states have subscribed to 850 million euros, or $1.1 billion, in funding commitments for ExoMars. The redrawn ExoMars missions with Russia would cost ESA about 1.2 billion euros, or nearly $1.6 billion.
European officials expect to secure the extra funding before signing formal agreements with Russia.

© 2012 Spaceflight Now Inc.
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    Российские и американские ученые начали совместное наблюдение при помощи цифровых инфракрасных камер за четырьмя видами тюленей в Беринговом море. Кольчатые и полосатые тюлени, пестрые нерпы и морские зайцы больше других нуждаются в плавающих льдах для обеспечения жизнедеятельности, поэтому таяние льдов Северного Ледовитого океана может нанести серьезный урон их популяциям.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A team of researchers will begin flights over Bering Sea ice to answer a basic question about four of the region's most important species: How many ice-dependent seals are out there?
Scientists from the United States and Russia will count ringed and bearded seals, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recommended for listing as threatened species due to climate warming.
The agency is conducting a status review of a third ice-dependent species, the ribbon seal, and will also count spotted seals, a species it rejected for listing three years ago.
Getting an accurate count has been challenging due to the expense of conducting research in a remote location, the difficulty of counting species that spend time on both water and ice, and the danger to scientists flying in small airplanes.
Scientists hope to obtain significant results beginning this week by combining thermal imaging with high-resolution photography.
"The most novel thing about the survey is the pairing of two devices that have already been used to survey other marine mammals," said Peter Boveng of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, in the announcement of the study.
The two aircraft picked for the project will fly at 1,000 feet, which is too high for the human eye to distinguish the seals. The thermal sensors, Boveng said, will locate the animals. The high-resolution cameras will take images to be analyzed in a lab.
"Thermal or infrared cameras are good at detecting seals on ice, which are very warm relative to their surroundings, but not good at revealing the species of seals," Boveng said. "High-resolution digital photos are good for species identification, but very labor intensive for detecting and counting seals."
He said putting the two technologies together creates a more efficient system in which the thermal camera finds the seals and the photo camera allows identification of species.
The survey will be conducted into May and plans call for flying nearly 19,000 nautical miles over U.S. waters and 11,000 nautical miles over Russian waters, making it the largest-ever seal survey in the Bering Sea.
The first flights will begin from Nome. Five- to seven-hour survey flights also will originate in Bethel and Dillingham in southwest Alaska and St. Paul Island, the largest of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea.
The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list ringed and bearded seals in 2008 and eventually sued to force a decision.
NOAA Fisheries in 2010 proposed listing ringed seals in the Arctic Basin and the North Atlantic and two populations of bearded seals in the Pacific Ocean because of projected loss of sea ice.
For ringed seals, the proposal also cited the threat of reduced snow cover because of climate warming. A final decision was due last December, but the agency announced a six-month delay.
Ringed seals are the main prey of polar bears, which were listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2008. They are the smallest of the ice seals but the only ones that can live in completely ice-covered waters. They give birth to young in snow-covered lairs on sea ice.
Bearded seals give birth and raise pups on drifting pack ice over shallow water where prey such as crabs is abundant. When females give birth, they need ice to last long enough in the spring and early summer to successfully reproduce and then molt.
NOAA Fisheries in December 2008 rejected a threatened species listing for ribbon seals. The decision was based on an interpretation of climate models that concluded that annual ice would continue to form for ribbon seals each winter during birthing and molting. The agency in December, however, announced it was taking another look because new information had become available.
The agency in October 2009 rejected listing spotted seals in waters off Alaska and the decision was not challenged.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
© 1996-2012 The Washington Post.
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    20 апреля на крупном нефтяном месторождении имени Р.Требса в Ненецком автономном округе произошел разлив нефти. Скважину удалось запечатать только через два дня. Объем разлившейся нефти составляет не менее 800 кубометров, полностью загрязнено около 8000 квадратных метров территории. Предварительные причины - технические проблемы в сочетании с человеческим фактором.

MOSCOW - Up to 2,000 tons of oil have spilled from a major field in northern Russia after workers struggled to contain the leak for two days, officials said.
The accident happened at the Trebs oil field in the Nenets Autonomous District on Friday following work on an exploratory well. The oil had been gushing for nearly two days before the workers finally capped the well Sunday morning, Emergency Ministry officials said.
Vladimir Bezumov, chief of the Russian Environmental Agency in the area, said the weekend spill could have produced between 800 and 2,000 tons and contaminated at least 8,000 square meters (86,100 square feet) of land. Another 6,000 square meters (64,600 square feet) of land are believed to have been slightly damaged.
Bezumov said it was too early to speak of the causes of the accident, but he said it was likely a combination of technical issues and human error.
The oil field is developed by a joint venture between Russia's largest private company Lukoil and another Russian oil major Bashneft. It holds some 153 million tons of oil.
Russian environmental officials will be preparing a lawsuit against the oil companies after the clean-up is over, Bezumov said. The area around the oil field is largely unpopulated but the oil spill has damaged pastures used by local reindeer herdsmen.
Russia has not seen major oil spills for years. But maintenance of pipelines in old fields is poor, and oil leaks from rusty pipes and poorly sealed wells daily, experts say. An AP investigation last year showed that at least 1 percent of Russia's annual oil production, or 5 million tons, is spilled into the environment every year.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
© 1996-2012 The Washington Post.
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    Российские ученые планируют отправить к астероиду Апофис искусственный спутник-радиомаяк, что позволит точно определить орбиту астероида и выяснить, насколько велика угроза его столкновения с Землей. В 2029 г. 300-метровый астероид пройдет совсем близко от Земли, из-за чего может изменить свою орбиту и при следующем сближении в 2036 г. столкнуться с нашей планетой.

La Russie pourrait envoyer une sonde à destination de l'astéroïde Apophis, connu pour être l'objet le plus dangereux pour la Terre. C'est une des recommandations de l'Académie russe des sciences.
L'Académie des sciences russes vient de dévoiler une feuille de route ambitieuse qui s'étend sur plusieurs années. Guère échaudés par l'échec des deux dernières missions martiennes, Phobos-Grun en 2011 et Mars 96 en 1996, les membres de cette académie souhaitent que la Russie prépare le retour de l'Homme sur la Lune par l'envoi, à partir de 2020, de missions robotiques de surface, précurseurs aux premières missions habitées. Toutefois, ce qui retient le plus l'attention est le lancement d'un satellite à destination d'Apophis, un astéroïde de près de 300 mètres de diamètre connu pour être l'objet le plus menaçant pour la Terre.
Apophis est un géocroiseur, c'est-à-dire que sa trajectoire autour du Soleil l'amène fréquemment à croiser celle de la Terre. Ses 300 mètres de diamètre, s'ils venaient à s'écraser sur la Terre, correspondraient à une explosion équivalente à 58.000 fois la bombe qui a rayé de la carte la ville d'Hiroshima en 1945.
Apophis : que risque-t-on avec ce géocroiseur ?
Depuis sa découverte en 2004, on sait qu'il passera très près de la Terre en avril 2029, puis reviendra nous voir en 2036 et 2068. On sait également qu'il ne nous percutera pas, pour l'instant. En effet, les chercheurs russes ne s'inquiètent pas de l'imminence d'une collision avec la Terre. Ils craignent plutôt que lors d'un de ses passages proches de la Terre, celle-ci (ou bien la Lune), par un effet gravitationnel, perturbe et modifie son orbite de telle sorte qu'il se retrouverait sur une trajectoire de collision avec notre planète lors de ses prochains passages.
Un scénario, certes très peu probable, mais tout à fait plausible. En 1992, la comète Shoemaker-Levy 9 avait subi une forte attraction gravitationnelle lors de son passage près de Jupiter. Ce qu'il restait de la comète au passage suivant, en juillet 1994, s'était fracassé contre Jupiter.
Les astronomes sont également confrontés à un autre problème. Bien qu'il s'agisse de l'astéroïde connu le plus menaçant pour la Terre, on n'a aucune certitude sur sa nature et sa composition. S'agit-il d'un empilement d'agrégats rocheux ou d'un corps dense ? Des informations qu'il sera nécessaire de connaître en cas de trajectoire de collision avérée, pour protéger la Terre, sans quoi les scénarios de missions à l'étude contre les géocroiseurs risquent d'être insuffisants.
S'il trouve un financement, ce satellite pourrait être mis en chantier dès 2015 en vue d'une rencontre avec Apophis lors de la prochaine décennie.

© 2001-2012 Futura-Sciences, tous droits réservés.
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    Sky & Telescope / April 23, 2012
    New Eye for Giant Russian Telescope
    Opticians are working to transform an enormous, 42-ton slab of glass into a first-rate primary mirror for the 6-meter Large Altazimuth Telescope
    • By Kelly Beatty
    Крупнейший в Евразии (а до 1993 г. - и в мире) оптический телескоп БТА установлен в Специальной астрофизической обсерватории РАН на Северном Кавказе, диаметр главного зеркала - 6 метров, вес 42 тонны. Со временем поверхность зеркала постепенно повреждалась, и, чтобы не прерывать работу телескопа, было решено модернизировать второе главное зеркало, из-за ряда недостатков замененное еще в 1978 г. В 2007 г. зеркало было отправлено на Лыткаринский завод оптического стекла, где было когда-то изготовлено. После выравнивания, шлифовки и полировки (работу планируется завершить в 2013 г.) у БТА есть шансы войти в десятку самых точных телескопов мира.

For nearly 20 years, from 1975 until the completion of the Keck I telescope in 1993, Russia (or, officially, the Soviet Union) had the world's largest optical telescope. Situated on Mount Pastukhov in the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black and Caspian seas, the Bolshoi Teleskop Azimutal'ny - Large Altazimuth Telescope - has a primary mirror 238 inches (6.05 m) across. Conceived in 1960 to dethrone the 200-inch Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain, the BTA gave Russian astronomers serious bragging rights.
But while it might have been the biggest reflector, it was never really the best. For one thing, Mount Pastukhov has proved notorious for poor atmospheric seeing, strong winds, and changeable weather. Also the reflector's immense dome, 174 feet (58 m) high, is spacious to a fault. All that steel and concrete makes it nearly impossible to match the temperature inside with what's outside, degrading the optical performance further. While other observatories routinely boast of sub-arcsecond seeing, an astronomer using the BTA is lucky to get 1-arcsecond performance. (The average seeing is 1Ѕ arcseconds.) This degrades the big eye's value for imaging tasks, though its enormous light grasp is well suited for spectroscopy of faint cosmic sources.
All those woes might have been tolerable were it not for the quality of the telescope's optics, which have been subpar from the outset. The first blank cast for the BTA was a disaster. Opticians at the Lytkarino Optical Glass Factory, near Moscow, didn't have much experience with large optics and annealed it too quickly, which created cracks and bubbles that rendered it useless.
A second blank turned out better, but not great. Once installed in the BTA, the mirror showed significant imperfections. The staff resorted to blocking sections of the optical path with black cloth. A third primary, with no cracks and a more precise surface, was installed in August 1978.
But the BTA's optical problems weren't over. According to Aleksei Moiseev, an astronomer at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Special Astrophysical Observatory (which operates the telescope), the primary's surface has gradually degraded from the multiple washings with alkali-based solvents, used prior to applying a fresh coating of aluminum. "It will be impossible to put new fresh reflective layer without repolishing the mirror," Moiseev explains. But that would mean considerable downtime, bringing the 6-m telescope's crowded observing schedule to a standstill.
Originally SAO engineers had hoped to replace the mirror with one made of low-expansion ceramic glass, which would have lessened the nagging thermal problems. There was no money for that, however, so instead they hatched a plan to refurbish the original mirror - which had sat in storage for nearly 30 years!
In mid-2007, the original 42-ton mirror was gingerly transported down through the Caucasus range and returned to Lytkarino, a trek that took 3Ѕ weeks. Then opticians tackled the surface imperfections the only way they could: they ground them off!
Katerina Kuchaeva, one of SAO's assistant directors, recently sent me an update on the mirror's 5-million-euro overhaul. A milling machine has removed 8 mm of glass (more than a half ton!) from the upper surface, taking with that all of the optical imperfections. Now it's a matter of refiguring and repolishing. "New optical technologies make it possible to reconstruct the surface of the 6-m mirror," she explains, "eliminating the existing defects and creating a practically ideal parabolic surface, thereby significantly increasing the angular resolution of the mirror."
William Keel, a University of Alabama cosmologist who got to use the BTA in 1990, has been monitoring the effort. "To remove 8 mm of surface from a 6-m primary seems like a lot, but that does give them the ability to rescue the existing mirror and not have to shut the operations down to do so," he notes. "And they can benefit from measurement and figuring techniques that are very new compared to 1975."
According to Kuchaeva, SAO's schedule calls for the refurbished primary to return to the observatory in mid-2013, where it'll be coated with aluminum and swapped in for the existing mirror. That will surely be a red-letter day for Russian astronomers, who have struggled to get stable funding and state-of-the-art resources since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Perhaps then the "Cyclops of the Caucasus" will take its rightful place as one of the world's truly great telescopes.

Copyright © 2012 New Track Media. All rights reserved.
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    Лауреатами премии «Глобальная энергия» в этом году стали российские ученые Борис Каторгин - за создание ракетных двигателей, использующих криогенные топливо и окислитель, Валерий Костюк и британец Родни Джон Аллам - за создание новых технологий в области криогенных систем.

On Friday, the names of this year's winners of the Global Energy Prize were announced in Moscow. They are Russian scientists Boris Katorgin and Valery Kostyuk and UK scientist Rodney John Allam.
The awarding ceremony will take place in St. Petersburg, as a part of an international economic forum, which is traditionally held in this city.
The amount of the prize, if translated into dollars, is more than $ 360,000.
This year, the Global Energy Prize marks 10 years since its foundation. It is an international prize awarded for discoveries and inventions which help to save energy and are at the same time harmless to the environment.
Since 2003, scientists from Russia, the US, Germany, France, Japan, the UK, Iceland, Canada and Ukraine have become winners of this prize.
This year, all the three winners of the prize are awarded for inventions which have to do with space. Boris Katorgin and Valery Kostyk are awarded for inventing new types of space rocket engines, and Rodney John Allam - for inventing new kinds of rocket fuel.
The time when scientific discoveries and inventions were made by individuals has long passed away. Moreover, today, discoveries and inventions, as a rule, appear not as a result of work of one scientific institution, or even several institutions in one country, but as a result of scientists' international cooperation - and all the three winners acknowledge this.
Rodney John Allam says that he would not have made his inventions without cooperation with the Institute of Thermal Physics in the Russian city of Novosibirsk.
In an interview with the Voice of Russia, another winner, Boris Katorgin, said: "In fact, I don't know why the jury chose me personally - I believe that the whole staff of the Energomash company, for which I work, deserves this prize. Our company has been producing engines for rockets and other flying devices for a long time, and they have proved themselves very well."
At present, engines made by Energomash are used not only on Russian space devices, but on some US ones as well. Mr. Katorgin says that his company has already registered 13 patents in the US. Very soon, the Energomash engines will be used in a number of other countries - contracts to that end have already been signed. According to estimates, these contracts may bring an income of about $ 1 bln to Russia.

© 2005-2012 Voice of Russia.
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    Полет и дальнейшая работа на Марсе могут вызвать у космонавтов изменения в организме на уровне ДНК из-за повышенного радиационного излучения, сообщил научный руководитель Института медико-биологических проблем, академик Анатолий Григорьев на Международном симпозиуме по результатам проекта «Марс-500». Это не считая нарушений работы сердца, деминерализации костной ткани и ряда неблагоприятных психофизиологических факторов.
    Зато, как прозвучало в другом докладе по результатам одного из экспериментов, самодельный квас способен поддерживать и восстанавливать микрофлору кишечника космонавтов не хуже специальных пробиотических средств.

Future astronauts working on the Red Planet's surface risk general changes in health at the DNA level because of increased radiation exposure, a prominent Russian academic said on Monday.
"According to our estimates, researchers on the surface of Mars can expect a number of adverse factors, such as cardiac arrhythmia, reduced stability and performance, sensory impairments, as well as more long-term consequences in the form of changes at the DNA level, and demineralization of bone tissue," Anatoly Grigoryev, the deputy head of Russia's Academy of Sciences, told at a presentation at the International Symposium on the results of ground-based experiment Mars-500.
In addition, according to the academic, astronauts could also face a number of adverse psycho-physiological factors during the flight to Mars, such as hypokinesia (decreased motor activity), monotony and frustration. After leaving the laboratory module, all participants of the experiment of ground simulation of the flight to the Red Planet fully preserved the health and performance, according to the material published on the results of preliminary processing of scientific data, obtained during the 520-day isolation volunteers.
However, Grigoryev noted that during the ground experiments, it is impossible to examine the effect of heavy charged particles on a person.
The unique Moscow-based Mars-500 experiment was completed on November 4. It attempted to recreate at least some of the conditions of a flight to the Red Planet by locking six men away in a mock spacecraft.
They spent 520 days in an environment simulating space flight. The six volunteers - researcher Alexander Smoleyevsky, flight engineer Roman Charles, crew commander Alexei Sitev, medical doctor Sukhrob Kamolov, and researchers Diego Urbina and Wang Yueh - were isolated from the outside world in a specially designed complex simulating a spaceship.
Russian Kvass May Help Astronauts Sustain Long Space Travel
A traditional Russian drink may help crews of interplanetary spacecraft to maintain healthy microbacterial balance in the intestines, a report by Russian scientists said.
A group of Russian scientists from the Institute for Biomedical Problems monitored the changes in microbacterial levels in the intestines of the participants of the Mars-500 experiment, and the influence of certain probiotic substances, including kvass, on it.
Kvass is a traditional Russian fermented beverage made from regular rye bread. It is classified as a non-alcoholic drink by Russian standards, as the alcohol content from fermentation is typically less than 1.2%.
Three members of the "Martian" crew drank 200 milliliters of homemade kvass and registered an increase in the amount of bifidus bacteria in their bodies.
"Drinking kvass led to the increase in the amount of bifidus bacteria and the normalization of microbacterial flora in test subjects compared to the rest of the Mars-500 participants," said the report, which was delivered at the International Symposium on the results of the Mars-500 experiment.
The unique Moscow-based Mars-500 experiment was completed on November 4 last year. Six volunteers were isolated from the outside world in a specially designed complex simulating a spaceship for 520 days. The experiment attempted to recreate at least some of the conditions of a flight to the Red Planet.

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