Physics News of the Week: New Solutions to the Three Body Problem and Clay on Mars

| March 18, 2013 | 0 Comments

So as always let’s have a look at the most important physics news from the last week. If you can subscribe to these news you can do it here.

1. Curiosity Finds Clay on Mars (March 14)

So, as it was announced in the press conference on March 12, the Curiosity rover drilled into the dirt and extracted a clay sample that, could have  formed in a wet, neutral, and slightly salty environment favorable to life on Mars. “We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it,”  said John Grotzinger — the head scientist for the mission. For more info head here.

The great red planet still hides many mysteries

2. 13 new solutions to Newtonian three-body orbit problem (March 15)

When two bodies in space orbit one another, their paths can be easily described by Newton’s laws of gravity, as we have all learned in high school. The interesting thing is, however, that when another body is introduced, the problem becomes significantly harder. Actually, the things become so hard that the scientists are not able to find a way to predict the sorts of patterns that are possible for a stable system. Until now, just three families of such patterns have been identified: The Lagrange-Euler, the Broucke-Hénon, and the figure-eight.

Physicists Milovan Šuvakov and V. Dmitrašinović of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade in Serbia have discovered 13 new solutions to the three-body problem by using computer simulations. The two researchers started with a known solution then changed some of the parameters in their computer simulations and ran the results to see what would happen. This resulted in 13 new solutions. For a full review of the discovery visit this page.

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