Researchers understand it to be what they call a carbonaceous asteroid, meaning its rocks still retain a lot of the chemistry that was present when the Sun and the planets came into being more than 4.5 billion years ago. Hence the desire to bring some of its material home for analysis in sophisticated Earth laboratories.
The volcano is about the size of Arizona with a volume100 times larger than that of Mauna Loa’s,Earth’s largest volcano, NASA says. “In fact, the entire chain of Hawaiian islands (from Kauai to Hawaii) would fit inside Olympus Mons!”
Brighter than Jupiter this October! And the closest Mars will be until 2035.
“When you look at different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, that area of space is very different from the blackness we perceive with our eyes,” says Michele Bannister, an astronomer at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, who studies the outer reaches of the Solar System. “Magnetic fields are fighting and pushing and tied up with each other. The image you should have is like the plunge pool under Niagara Falls.”
“In the future, our system could be part of a global quantum network transmitting quantum signals to receivers on Earth or on other spacecraft,” says Aitor Villar, lead author of the study. “These signals could be used to implement any type of quantum communications application, from quantum key distribution for extremely secure data transmission to quantum teleportation, where information is transferred by replicating the state of a quantum system from a distance.”
OK, OK, so it’s not the first time quantum entanglement has been demonstrated. But it sure is the smallest. Only 20 cm by 10 cm!
Now we only need a few thousand of these things and a way of somehow making tangled photons actually carry encrypted messages…
(Sorry, thinking of the SF novel I should have published by now…still figuring out the last two chapters!)
See more at New Atlas (note: I seriously doubt the CubeSat actually looks like that picture when it’s doing its thing).