SHORT SCIENCE

China opens lunar programme to private firms; CERN returns to boson

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 March, 2015, 8:44am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 March, 2015, 10:17am

Vibrating vest helps the blind to navigate

Palestinian students from the Polytechnic University in Hebron have created a vest that uses vibrations and voice commands to help the blind to walk unaided. Their Smart Assist System for Blind People can be used in place of the traditional white cane. Abdel Rahman al-Barmeel, who helped design the system, said it was simple and convenient to use. Reuters

China's moon mission opens to private firms

China will open up its ambitious moon exploration programme to private companies rather than simply relying on the state-owned sector as before, hoping to boost technological breakthroughs. The next mission to the moon, to be carried out by the Chang'e 4 probe in the next two years or so, would serve as a platform "for technological research and development, product tests as well as data application" for private companies, the official China Daily reported. Reuters

Closest measurement of Higgs boson particle

Physicists at the world's largest particle collider have made the most accurate measurement yet of the Higgs boson. The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said two labs that were normally in friendly competition at the Large Hadron Collider forces for the first time in making the combined estimate. Using different technologies, the labs Atlas and CMS found the elusive particle had a mass of 125.09 gigaelectronvolts. The figure "corresponds to a measurement precision of better than 0.2 per cent", CERN said. AFP

Mexico launches new space observatory

Perched atop a volcano in Mexico, a new-generation observatory capable of detecting exploding stars, black holes and solar flares began operating this month, scientists said. The gamma ray High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory, built at an altitude of 4.1km in the central city of Puebla was the only one in the world with permanent, powerful capacity to detect electromagnetic radiation from the universe, said Alberto Carraminana Alonso, head of the Mexican National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics. It will allow researchers to study explosions of supernovas and the centre of the Milky Way, among several other things. AFP