Mois : January -


23/01/2015 - Rosetta reveals Churi's secrets

With its surprising two-lobed shape and high porosity, the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (nicknamed Churi) has a wide range of features, revealed by the MIRO, VIRTIS and OSIRIS instruments of ESA's Rosetta mission, which involves researchers from the CNRS, the Paris Observatory and several universities , with support from CNES. The seven papers published on 23 January 2015 in Science also show that the comet is rich in organic material and that the geological structures observed on the surface mainly result from erosion processes. In addition, the RPC-ICA instrument traced the evolution of the comet's magnetosphere, while the ROSINA spectrometer searched for evidence of the birth of the Solar System. more...

20/01/2015 - Seeing inside Herculaneum's charred scrolls

An international team1 comprising researchers from the CNRS (Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes), CNR (Italy) and ESRF (Grenoble synchrotron) has made a major breakthrough in the study of the papyrus scrolls buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD and discovered in Herculaneum 260 years ago. Using a new non-invasive X-ray imaging technique, the researchers were able to reveal Greek letters hidden deep inside a charred scroll. Their findings also enabled them to formulate a hypothesis about the identity of the text's author. This interdisciplinary work, published on January 20 in Nature Communications, raises hopes that it may eventually be possible to decipher all the papyri in the ancient library of Herculaneum. more...

19/01/2015 - A contractile gel that stores light energy

Living systems have the ability to produce collective molecular motions that have an effect at the macroscale, such as a muscle that contracts via the concerted action of protein motors. In order to reproduce this phenomenon, a team at CNRS's Institut Charles Sadron led by Nicolas Giuseppone, professor at the Université de Strasbourg, has made a polymer gel that is able to contract through the action of artificial molecular motors. When activated by light, these nanoscale motors twist the polymer chains in the gel, which as a result contracts by several centimeters. Another advantage is that the new material is able to store the light energy absorbed. This paper is published in Nature Nanotechnology dated 19 January 2015. more...