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Jake Latreille

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Last month on February 11th, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) announced that they had discovered gravitational waves (GWs). Using two arms, the pathways containing the vacuum chambers, at a distance of 2.5 miles each, the group had used laser interferometry to detect a distortion in local spacetime caused by these waves. They were able to observe that lasers had shifted their end position by about one one-thousandth the diameter of a proton due to the change in lengths the lasers travelled. While they had made the observation back in September, it had taken until this point to ensure the validity of the data. For those unfamiliar, GWs are a significant result of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Einstein’s theory predicts, unlike the Newtonian model, which couldn’t explain what caused gravity, that large bodies curve spacetime around us. It is this curvature that causes the constant attachment to bodies that…

NASA made a monumental announcement on September 28: the discovery of liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars, the Red Planet Before everyone gets excited, there are two caveats to this discovery. The first is primarily that it isn’t pure water, but a saline solution containing various salts. The second is that the discovery was only made under certain atmospheric temperatures, indicating that the flow is seasonal. Ok, you can get excited again now because this is still a monumental discovery for the “follow the water” mantra. The discovery started with the launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), a satellite equipped with imaging spectrometry that began monitoring Mars in 2006. First observed in 2010, the MRO recorded images of flowing hydrated salts composed on dark streaks, moving down large peaks during warm seasons and stopping during the colder seasons. These downhill flows, known as recurring slope lineae, were…