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A Hitchhiker's Guide to Early Earth
High-pressure experiments with one of Livermores 6.2-meter-long
light-gas guns are exploring the theory that amino acids and other building
blocks of life may have arrived on Earth by hitchhiking on icy comets.
Some modeling has been done in the past, but these are some of the first
experiments to test the theory. Mixtures of amino acids and water are
placed in a small capsule prior to the experiment, and in the few dozen
high-pressure gas-gun experiments to date, 40 to 95 percent of the initial
amino acids survived shock compression. More importantly, the dominant
reaction products are various peptide pairings of the initial amino acids.
Identical experiments using chemical weapon simulants have also begun
to reveal what might happen to a missile-borne chemical weapon if it were
intercepted by another missile en route to its target. These two disparate
subjects are connected at a fundamental level by concern about the fate
of organic liquids subjected to strong shock compression.
A New World of Maps
The relatively new field of geographic information systems (GIS) marries
the power of computers with the ever-increasing amount of information
that is geospatially based. GIS tools organize, relate, analyze, and visualize
data to help discover new meanings and insights. GIS maps are composed
of layers of geographically superimposed data that allow analysts to handle
and visualize large amounts of information simultaneously. GIS is helping
a growing number of Livermore researchers to understand and communicate
their research data. GIS is particularly effective when paired with computer
modeling. Livermore projects using GIS include international and homeland
security, the Department of Energys National Atmospheric Release
Advisory Center, prescribed burns and wildfire modeling, ecologic monitoring,
and seismic studies.
Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells Stack Up to Efficient, Clean Power (pdf
goal of Livermore's research in solid-oxide fuel cells is electric power
generated cleanly and efficiently at an affordable cost.
Empowering LightHistoric Accomplishments in Laser Research (pdf
the past 40 plus years, the laser program at Livermore has played a
seminal role in taking high-energy lasers from concept to reality.
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October 7, 2002