Graphene wrinkles, lonely lunch and a geographical checkerboard

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Hurt and Wong Labs / Brown Unviversity

The more crumpled the better!

Research by engineers from Brown University have shown that graphene, wrinkled and crumpled in a multi-step process, becomes significantly better at repelling water.

This property could be useful in making self-cleaning surfaces.

Crumpled graphene also has enhanced electrochemical properties, potentially making it more useful as electrodes in batteries and fuel cells.

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Copernicus Sentinel data (2015)/ESA

Yuma checkerboard from space 

The Sentinel-2A satellite captured this false-colour image of the city of Yuma in the United States, in southwestern Arizona. 

Home to some 90,000 people, Yuma is situated along the Colorado River, with the Mexican frontier to the west and California to the north. 

The fence forming the border is visible as a fine and perfectly straight line, running from left to right through the image between the irrigation canal and the irrigated fields west of the city. Just north of the canal, a small square marks a water reservoir for irrigating the fields in this highly arid region. 

The false-colour bands render the farmed fields in varying shades of browns and red. The circular features are created by centre-pivot irrigation, while rectangular fields use different irrigation methods that deliver the water along straight lines.

The shades of red indicate how sensitive the multispectral instrument on Sentinel-2A is to differences in chlorophyll content, providing key information on vegetation health. 

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ESA/IPEV/PNRA–F. van den Berg

A freezing picnic at Concordia 

Dutch medical doctor Floris van den Berg scans the horizon and contemplates life at Concordia research station in Antarctica.

No arrivals will appear on the horizon for nine months – the winter months in Antarctica are too extreme for supplies or people to travel to the remote base, and the closest neighbour is 560 kilometres away.

This outside picnic allows van den Berg to soak in some last rays and get some much-needed Vitamin D. Concordia’s location almost 2,000 kilometres from the South Pole means that its inhabitants do not see the Sun for four months during the winter.

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United Launch Alliance

Cygnus spacecraft ready for launch

Here, the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft sits on top of an Atlas V rocket ready for launch to the International Space Station.

The mission successfully lifted off on Tuesday 22 March from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida – the second such mission in less than four months. 

The Cygnus is carrying more around three tonnes of cargo for the International Space Station, including crew supplies, vehicle hardware and experiments. That payload includes experiments ranging from an advanced 3-D printer to a flammability test that will be performed in the Cygnus after it leaves the station.

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ESO/VST/Omegacam Local Group Survey

Lonely galaxy Wolf-Lundmark-Melotteh

This image, captured by ESO’s OmegaCAM on the VLT Survey Telescope, shows a lonely galaxy known as Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte, or WLM for short.

Although considered part of our Local Group of dozens of galaxies, WLM stands alone at the group’s outer edges as one of its most remote members. In fact, the galaxy is so small and secluded that it may never have interacted with any other Local Group galaxy – or perhaps even any other galaxy in the history of the Universe.

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