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Preview: Space - Short Sharp Science

Space - Short Sharp Science

A New Scientist blog

Updated: 2013-04-17T15:19:56Z


Spring warmth sets Atlantic aflame


This fiery infrared satellite image shows the Gulf Stream as it bends and stretches eastward toward Europe

Rebecca Summers, reporter


(Image: NASA/NOAA)

This fiery infrared satellite image, centred about 290 kilometres off Atlantic City, New Jersey, shows the Gulf Stream as it bends and stretches eastward toward Europe. The dark orange twirls are warm waters (around 30 °C on the surface) and the lighter, carroty colours are roughly 10 °C. The black splodges are clouds.

As the warm ocean-surface water of the Gulf Stream swirls northward from the equator, it collides with cooler coastal currents flowing off the eastern US. In the spring and autumn, the colours in such infrared images flare as the temperature differences between the currents increase.

NASA's Suomi NPP satellite captured the image yesterday on one of its 14 daily polar orbits of the Earth.

World's biggest telescope gets green light


The Thirty Meter Telescope – due to be the world's widest eye on space – has got the go-ahead for construction on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Rebecca Summers, contributor


(Image: TMT Observatory Corporation)

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) - due to be the world's widest eye on space - has got the go-ahead for construction on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

TMT will join 13 others on the extinct volcano but will dwarf them all: the biggest now are the twin 10-metre Keck telescopes. The summit is a perfect location as it offers clear skies for 300 days of the year.

If all goes well, observations will start in earnest in 2021. TMT may soon have to cede its size record, though: the European Southern Observatory is planning to have the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope on the mountain Cerro Armazones in Chile working early next decade.

Not everyone in Hawaii is celebrating: the TMT site is being subleased from the University of Hawaii, but some Native Hawaiian groups are opposing the project, as the land is sacred to them.

Speedy astronauts make fastest trip yet to the ISS


For the first time, astronauts riding a Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station have launched and docked in under 6 hours – it usually takes days Victoria Jaggard, physical sciences news editor (Image: NASA/Carla Cioffi) Now you can get to the International Space Station in less time than it takes to fly from London to New York. A Russian Soyuz capsule usually takes at least two days to rendezvous with the ISS, because of the carefully timed dance of manoeuvres that must take place for a spaceship to safely meet the orbiting laboratory. Using a new launch process, three astronauts have now made the trip in just under 6 hours. Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy launched at 20:43 GMT on 28 March from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Soaring high above the western coast of Peru, they successfully docked with the space station at 02:28 GMT on 29 March - a flight time of just 5 hours, 45 minutes. After a slight delay getting the pressure equalised between the two craft, the Soyuz hatch opened at 04:35 GMT. With a flurry of hugs and camera flashes, the record-setting spacefarers greeted the three crew members already aboard the ISS. The Soyuz itself has not been supercharged and wasn't flying any quicker than normal. The shorter time allowance simply required that mission managers had to be more precise. When a Soyuz capsule enters orbit, it is on an orbital path a bit lower than the space station's, which means it circles the Earth faster. As the craft closes in on the ISS, a series of thruster burns boosts the capsule into the right orbit for docking. Getting Soyuz to match the station's altitude and speed is a tricky business. If the capsule has a couple of days before docking, the thruster burns can be spaced out over 34 orbital laps. Shrinking the time between launch and docking gives the astronauts just 4 orbits to meet up with the ISS, according to NASA. The speedier meeting also means the space station has to do some of the work. On 21 March an uncrewed cargo vehicle already docked with the ISS fired its thrusters to shift the station about 4.8 kilometres higher, putting it in the right position to meet the Soyuz craft. "Conducting a single-day launch-to-docking takes considerable amounts of planning and maneuvering of the space station in order to set both the station and the Soyuz on the proper orbit so they can chase each other," says NASA spokesman Joshua Buck at the agency's headquarters in Washington DC. "It also requires a compressed timeline for the Soyuz crew, with them having to conduct two days' worth of operations within 6 hours." For safety reasons the astronauts must stay in restrictive pressurised space suits during the faster trip, but the 6-hour journey drastically reduces the time they have to spend in the cramped Soyuz capsule, as well as the amount of food and fuel they need for the trip.Now that fast-track launches have been shown to work for Soyuz flights, ISS managers can decide whether to use the method on a case-by-case basis, says Buck. He adds that SpaceX's Dragon capsule will continue to take the slow road to the space station. [...]

A million photos from space map the astronaut's gaze


A plot of over a million photos taken from the International Space Station reveal a map of the world as seen by 12 years' worth of space travellers

Julia Sklar, reporter


(Image: Nathan Bergey/NASA)

Since the International Space Station (ISS) hosted its first crew 12 years ago, astronauts aboard have taken over a million pictures of Earth. Data scientist Nathan Bergey crawled NASA's freely available archive of pictures and plotted the location of each image. The result is this ghostly map of our planet, picked out in points that piqued an astronaut's interest.

Photos from each of the ISS's 34 missions are mapped in a different colour. Purple dominates: these are the thousands of images taken by Don Pettit during ISS 31 and 32. These pictures were combined to make stunning time-lapse images, and breathtakingly animated in a video by Christoph Malin.

The pattern of photo locations reveals coastlines, islands and cities - including a dense collection highlighting Florida, home of Kennedy Space Center. "I'm sure every astronaut has taken at least one photograph of the town they grew up in," writes Bergey on the project's website.

Bergey specialises in ideas that help us connect with the space station's lofty presence. Previously, he created a lamp that lights up when the ISS is orbiting overhead.

Apollo moon mission engines rise from the ocean floor


Rockets that sent people to the moon have just been pulled from the bottom of the sea as part of an effort led by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos

Lisa Grossman, physical sciences reporter


(Images: Bezos Expeditions)

Rockets that sent people to the moon have just been pulled from the bottom of the ocean. Billionaire Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and of the private space-flight company Blue Origin, announced yesterday that his team has recovered parts of a Saturn V rocket used on Apollo missions to the moon.

Driven by five F-1 engines at its base, the powerful Saturn V is the only rocket that has ever taken humans to another world. About 2 minutes after launch, these engines would run out of fuel and the bottom section of the rocket would separate and fall into the sea. Until recently, the fate of these lost pieces of history was unknown.


About a year ago, Bezos announced that his expeditions team had found some of the F-1 rocket engines from the Apollo flights about 4.3 kilometres below the surface of the Atlantic. The team has now dredged up parts of them using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) - but not before taking haunting photos of the 40-year-old relics sitting on the ocean floor.

"We on the team were often struck by poetic echoes of the lunar missions," Bezos wrote on his expedition website. "The buoyancy of the ROVs looks every bit like microgravity. The blackness of the horizon. The gray and colorless ocean floor. Only the occasional deep sea fish broke the illusion."

Pieces recovered so far are enough to reconstruct two full F-1 engines - but it's not yet clear if they are from Apollo 11, the first mission to land on the moon, or some other Apollo flight. Future restoration efforts may reveal the details. After restoration, Bezos hopes one of the engines will go on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, where Amazon is based. The other engine will probably go to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

World's largest telescope array opens for business


ALMA, the largest ground-based astronomical project in the world, officially opens today high in the Chilean Andes

Flora Graham, digital editor


(Image: C. Malin/ESO)

ALMA has arrived, and she is enormous. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, was officially opened today in the high desert of the Chilean Andes. Guests including the president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, gathered to celebrate the the largest ground-based astronomical project in the world.

ALMA consists of 64 of these huge antennas, shown here against a backdrop of the southern Milky Way on the left and the Magellanic Clouds at the top. They work together to produce images of extended objects in the night sky such as giant cosmic clouds of gas and dust.

Even during its construction, ALMA has been working hard. With only a dozen of its antennas online, it produced stunning images of the colliding Antennae Galaxies and a glowing red, spiral star system.

SpaceX Grasshopper rocket hops to new heights in Texas


SpaceX's reusable rocket prototype doubled its own hovering record in the company's latest move to make space travel cheaper and less wasteful

Paul Marks, senior technology correspondent

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It's like a scene from a 1950s sci-fi feature: a rocket lifts off atop a searing tongue of flame, hovers and then touches down gently, kicking up billowing clouds of smoke. But this time the backdrop is not Mars - it's Texas. In a real-life demo conducted on Saturday, a hovering rocket made by commercial space-flight wunderkind SpaceX climbed 80 metres, or 24 storeys, doubling the rocket's previous reach into the sky.

The flight brought the Hawthorne, California-based company another step closer to building a reusable rocket, a feat that should one day make orbital and interplanetary travel far cheaper and less wasteful.

Last year, SpaceX founder Elon Musk told New Scientist that fuelling a Falcon 9 rocket costs a mere $200,000. But large rockets like the Falcon 9 are built in sections, called stages, which fall away as the fuel is spent. Rocket stages get jettisoned into the sea, burned up or dumped in low Earth orbit, so a new $60 million rocket has to be made for each trip to orbit. Musk's goal is to have the rocket stages fly back to the pad for reuse - boosting space-flight economics and limiting debris.

At its test site in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX has been trying out a potentially reusable rocket stage called the Grasshopper, which stands 10 storeys tall and has four hydraulically damped landing legs. Grasshopper lifts off like a regular rocket, but then a self-stabilising guidance system lets it come to a halt in mid-air and gently land on the pad.

Grasshopper has been gradually increasing in capability: last September it flew to a height of 2.5 metres before touching down, in November it reached 5.4 metres and in December 40 metres.

In addition to breaking Grasshopper's height record, the most recent flight tested out a new landing algorithm that ensured the craft touched down with uber-high accuracy on the centremost part of the launch pad. The algorithm controlled the thrust so that it continually but marginally exceeded the rocket's changing weight as fuel was burned, a feat that generated a particularly satisfying exhaust flame - a ring of fire - on touchdown. Perhaps in a nod to the famous country-western tune, the down-home dudes at SpaceX dubbed the flight the Johnny Cash Hover Slam, and gave the video an appropriate soundtrack.

SpaceX capsule hits a glitch on space station trip


The second commercial cargo flight to the ISS lifted off today – but SpaceX's Dragon capsule had trouble spitting fire once in orbit

Paul Marks, chief technology correspondent


The Falcon 9 rocket on its way up (Image: NASA)

Update 20:15 GMT 3 March 2013: With all four thruster pods online, the Dragon capsule was cleared to rendezvous with the space station today. Astronauts successfully grappled the craft with the station's robotic arm at 10:31 GMT, as they passed high over northern Ukraine. A smooth docking occurred about 3 hours later. Dragon is still on schedule to return to Earth on 25 March. Meanwhile, SpaceX officials promise a full review of what went wrong with the thrusters.

Update 23:27 GMT: Two more thruster pods on the Dragon capsule have come online, Elon Musk announced on Twitter, but the glitch has forced a delay in the capsule's rendezvous with the space station. A planned Saturday docking has been cancelled. NASA doesn't expect a decision on the next possible docking time until tomorrow, though Sunday may be an option.

Original post, published 18:03 GMT, 1 March 2013

The high-fives in SpaceX's mission control centre were short-lived today as the commercial space-flight company's Dragon cargo capsule made it into orbit but then failed to ignite all its thrusters. The snag adds some drama to SpaceX's second official mission delivering supplies to the International Space Station.

Until that point, the company's Falcon 9 rocket launch had been flawless. The launch vehicle lifted off on schedule and the Dragon capsule separated smoothly, entering orbit at about 15:20 GMT. Dragon's batteries powered up the craft, and commentary on the SpaceX and NASA webcasts of the launch suggested solar panel deployment was imminent. But then nothing happened.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk, tweeting from the company's mission control centre in Hawthorne, California, said the issue is with three of Dragon's four thruster pods, groupings totalling 18 small thrusters. Normally Dragon waits for these pods to come online before deploying the solar arrays, because they are needed to steer the craft once in orbit.

Company spokeswoman Christina Ra told New Scientist that the spacecraft had experienced an issue with a propellant valve, and said that one thruster pod is running. The craft needs two pods to have a shot at completing the mission. "We did go ahead and get the solar arrays deployed. Once we get at least two pods running, we will begin a series of burns to get to the station," she said in an email.

Dragon is slated to deliver supplies and science experiments to the ISS, including a batch of frozen mouse stem cells for researchers into the human health effects of long-haul space flights.

Getting the solar arrays deployed does not necessarily mean Dragon is in the clear. Whatever stopped the thrusters from working - perhaps the spacecraft's onboard software - may have other surprises in store.

X-ray speed cameras clock superfast black hole


Two X-ray telescopes have teamed up to measure the spin of a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy – and it's pushing the cosmic speed limit

Douglas Heaven, reporter


(Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This came close to being the ultimate speeding ticket. Two X-ray telescopes - NASA's NuSTAR and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton - teamed up to measure definitively, for the first time, the spin rate of a supermassive black hole. The speed demon in question is at the heart of NGC 1365, a spiral galaxy 60 million light years away.

Supermassive black holes are monsters - some with masses a billion times that of the sun - that have grown by devouring stars and gas from their host galaxy or merging with other black holes when galaxies collide.

NGC 1365's black hole weighs in at a relatively puny 2 million solar masses, but it is spinning at just shy of the speed of light.

As they grow, supermassive black holes pull in more and more space debris, forming a flat accretion disc that circles their event horizon at speeds that push the cosmic speed limit. This artist's impression shows the spinning disc and a jet of energised particles that the black hole spits from its gaping maw.

That speed can now be confirmed thanks to the twin measurements. X-rays reflected from the inner edge of the spinning accretion disc can be used to judge the speed of revolution. But interstellar gas clouds can get in the way and throw off the readings. To be sure that this wasn't happening, the high- and low-energy X-ray readings of the two telescopes were combined to get a better view.

Journal reference: Nature, DOI 10.1038/nature11938

Newly spotted comet to buzz Mars in 2014


The icy visitor will cross Mars's orbit and may even get close enough to smack into the planet, based on early estimates of its orbital path

Lisa Grossman, physical sciences reporter


A Martian sunset, as seen by NASA's Spirit rover in 2005. (Image: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Texas A&M, Cornell, JPL, NASA)

There's a new comet in town, and it is making a beeline for Mars. If projections of its orbit are correct, the icy visitor will buzz the Red Planet in October 2014.

Dubbed C/2013 A1, the comet was discovered on 3 January by prolific comet hunter Robert McNaught at Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. Colleagues at the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona found images of the comet in their catalogue that date back to 8 December 2012, giving additional information about its movements.

These observations allowed astronomers to trace the comet's likely path around the sun. The calculated trajectory has C/2013 A1 crossing Mars's orbit on 19 October 2014, according to Australian blogger Ian Musgrave.

That doesn't necessarily mean a collision will occur. The best estimates right now have the comet passing a safe distance of 900,000 kilometres from the Martian surface. Asteroid 2012 DA14 got much closer to Earth last week, skimming by at a distance of 34,400 kilometres. But with so little data in hand, the calculations are not precise. It's possible the comet will miss Mars by as much as 36 million kilometres - or it could smack right into the planet. "An impact can't be ruled out at this stage," Musgrave wrote.

From Earth, we should be able to see the comet and Mars sitting side by side through small telescopes. And from Mars, the comet could be as spectacular as the expected "supercomet" ISON, which will come into view this year and could outshine the full moon.

Assuming the comet's orbit brings it close enough - but not too close - to Mars, the object should be visible either by rovers on the surface or the armada of Mars-orbiting satellites, which have a history of snapping spectacular shots of the Red Planet and its neighbourhood.

"Over the next few months, we and other observers will take more images of it that will reduce our uncertainty on the orbit. This will let us know if an impact will occur or not," Alex Gibbs at the Catalina Sky Survey told New Scientist. "The data will also help determine what probes might be able to see it."

Giant laser creates an artificial star to clear the sky


The Very Large Telescope's new laser looks like something off the Death Star, but its powerful beam is used for the peaceful exploration of the galaxy

Flora Graham, editor,


(Image: ESO)

It looks like a Stormtrooper's snapshot of the Death Star's superlaser in action, but this is actually a photo of a new laser that's just completed testing at the Very Large Telescope in Chile.

The laser shoots 90 kilometres into the atmosphere, where it interacts with the 10-kilometre-thick layer of sodium atoms left around our planet by meteoroid impacts. The laser makes the sodium fluoresce, producing a bright point of light that acts as an artificial star.

Astronomers use this pinpoint as a reference to monitor atmospheric turbulence in the telescope's line of sight. Deformable mirrors in the telescope shift in response to these measurements, compensating for the atmosphere's distortions and creating much sharper images of the heavenly bodies beyond.

Researchers say that the new laser is more flexible and reliable than the previous one, which is being retired after six years of service.

"When we started developing these lasers, everyone said our goal was nearly impossible - even many of the other experts," says Domenico Bonaccini Calia of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which runs the telescope.

Calia calls the new laser a "breakthrough" and hopes to share the technology "with the wider community". We hope that doesn't include moon-sized battle stations.

Vulcan and Cerberus win popular Pluto moon-naming vote


A public vote to help name Pluto's two newest moons received a boost from William Shatner – but the International Astronomical Union has the final say

Jacob Aron, reporter


First contact any time now (Image: CBS via Getty)

Nearly half a million votes are in, and Vulcan and Cerberus are the most popular names for the fourth and fifth moons of Pluto - currently known as P4 and P5.

The team that discovered the two moons asked the public to vote on 12 potential names, including Cerberus. But they also accepted write-in votes as long as they were taken from Greek and Roman mythology and related to Hades and the underworld - keeping to the theme used to name Pluto's three other moons.

"We have been overwhelmed by the world's response," says Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, who led the discovery of P4 and P5.

Despite not being on the original list of 12, Vulcan is most popular with nearly 175,000 votes. The name was originally suggested by Star Trek actor William Shatner, in honour of a planet from the show. It just about fits the criteria: in Roman mythology, Vulcan, the god of lava and smoke, is Pluto's nephew. "Any connection to the Star Trek TV series is purely coincidental," Showalter said at the time

Cerberus got the second slot with just under 100,000 votes, while the next favourite, Styx, trailed with fewer than 88,000. Showalter and the team will now present the names to the International Astronomical Union, which has final approval. If the IAU decides to reject either name, it won't be the first time it has gone against public opinion on Pluto - there were mass demonstrations following the union's decision to demote it to dwarf-planet status in 2006.

"Please be patient now," says Showalter. "It could take one to two months for the final names of P4 and P5 to be selected and approved. Stay tuned."

Curiosity offers up first scoop of buried Martian dust


The first sample taken by the Curiosity rover should give offer a glimpse into Mars's past, as the newly exposed rock is free of weathering

Jacob Aron, reporter


(Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Fresh powdered Mars, anyone? The upturned palm of NASA's Curiosity rover almost seems to be offering its first sample of Mars's insides to any passing geologists, but unfortunately they are all back on Earth. Drilled out of the Martian rock a couple of weeks ago, NASA scientists are now waiting for the rover to chow down on the sample, analyse it using an onboard chemistry lab and beam back the results.

The sample should give researchers a glimpse into Mars's past, as the newly exposed rock won't have undergone the same chemical weathering as the surface. It's already apparent that the grey powder in Curiosity's scoop is strikingly different from the rust-coloured soil we associate with the Red Planet. Ultimately the rover is looking for signs that Mars has ever been capable of supporting life.

First space tourist plans independent Mars mission


Dennis Tito paid $20 million to visit the International Space Station in 2001 – now he is promising to launch a Mars mission in 2018 Jacob Aron, reporter (Image: Sipa/Rex) An organisation led by Dennis Tito, the first ever space tourist, has announced its intention to launch a mission to Mars in 2018 - though just who or what will be on board remains to be seen. Tito paid $20 million to be the first paying guest of the International Space Station in 2001, marking the start of the space tourism industry. Now he has formed the Inspiration Mars Foundation, which plans to launch "an historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days", according to an announcement in advance of a press conference next Wednesday. The announcement does not give many more details of the mission, but other speakers lined up for the press conference give some clues. Jonathan Clark of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute in Houston, Texas, a former NASA crew surgeon and recent advisor on Felix Baumgartner's supersonic skydive from near the edge of space, will probably speak about the health risks of a long-term space mission, which hints at the possibility of a crewed mission. Also speaking are Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum of Paragon Space Development, a company with expertise in life support in extreme environments. The pair were both members of the Biosphere 2 mission, a controversial attempt at simulating a space colony two decades ago, and have previously proposed landing a greenhouse on the moon to grow flowers there. Speculation ahead of the announcement is rife. Wired reckons the mission will aim to be crewed. NBC is more cautious, suggesting that the plan might be to put plants or animals on board instead, as pulling a crewed mission together in five years would be expensive and risky. The 2018 date is particularly favourable because the orbits of Earth and Mars will be closely aligned, but NASA recently scrubbed a launch that year in favour of a 2020 sequel to its successful Curiosity rover. Bottom line: it's hard to get to Mars in a hurry. We also don't know whether the mission is meant to land on Mars or merely orbit the planet. Space Adventures, which booked Tito's ISS trip, has been selling moon fly-bys since 2005, though none has taken place so far. But even an uncrewed return mission to the surface of the Red Planet would make history if it brought Mars rocks back to Earth. Also to be announced is just how Tito plans to get to Mars. The obvious answer is to use Space X's Red Dragon craft, a planned variant of the Dragon capsule that has already serviced the ISS. Space X founder Elon Musk has promised to deliver humans to Mars within a decade, so five years might be slightly short notice. We'll find out more on 27 February. [...]

Higgs may spell doom, unless supersymmetry saves us


The mass of the celebrated boson may actually mean we live in an unstable universe, but heavier partner particles offer a glimmer of hope Lisa Grossman, physical sciences reporter (Image: CERN) Is the Higgs boson a herald of the apocalypse? That's the suggestion behind a theory, developed more than 30 years ago, that is back in the headlines this week. According to physicists, the mass of the Higgs-like particle announced last summer supports the notion that our universe is teetering on the edge of stability, like a pencil balanced on its point. "It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable," Joseph Lykken, of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, said on Monday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "At some point, billions of years from now, it's all going to be wiped out." Physicists have been wringing their hands about this scenario since 1982, when theorists Michael Turner and Frank Wilczek published a paper about it in Nature, NBC News points out. The pair showed that the vacuum of space can be in different energy states, and it will be most stable at its lowest energy. Trouble arises if we're not there yet, and we're inhabiting a temporarily stable state that should ultimately collapse. "The universe wants to be in a different state, so eventually to realise that, a little bubble of what you might think of as an alternate universe will appear somewhere, and it will spread out and destroy us," Lykken said at AAAS. Enter the Higgs boson, the particle form of the field that gives mass to several fundamental particles. The Higgs field permeates the vacuum of space, which means the mass of the boson and the stability of the vacuum are closely intertwined. Theory predicted that if the Higgs boson is heavier than about 129 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), the universe should be on safe footing. But in July 2012 physicists at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, announced that a particle closely matching the Higgs had been found by experiments in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The much celebrated particle has a mass of about 126 GeV - light enough to raise fears of instability. There is still hope for the universe as we know it. Some theorists pointed out that the relationship between the Higgs mass and the vacuum of space depends on the mass of a particle called the top quark. If the top quark's mass is different than we think it is, stability might reign. There are also anomalies with the Higgs measurement, like the fact that it decays into photons more often than predicted. That hints we may yet find particles from the theory of supersymmetry, which says each ordinary particle has heavier "superpartners". If the Higgs has such a relative, it might save us from destruction. But some of these predicted particles, particularly the superpartners of the top quark, can push the universe back into instability. The worries may remain unconfirmed for a while. The LHC is shutting down for a two-year break so engineers can prepare the machine to shoot higher-energy particle beams, which are needed to probe for superpartners. [...]