Wednesday, 2 October 2013


This new rapidly-growing field of scientific research is devoted not just to finding exoplanets but to discovering and analysing detailed information about them.

This report presents fascinating observations on an exoplanet Kepler-7b, which circles a star some 1,000 light years from Earth using Nasa's Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes. Brice-Olivier Demory of MIT interprets the measurements as a reflective signature of clouds on the exoplanet. Variations of the intensity of light from the parent star reflected from the exoplanet clouds yield information about the planetary cloud cover.

If this approach is extended to other (and closer to Earth) exoplanets among the hundreds of these planets already discovered beyond our solar system the research may reveal significant discoveries.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


This new critical analysis by Rupert Wingfield-Hayes exposes the devastating legacy of Fukushima, sounding a dire warning about the future of nuclear power.

His visit to a small town 5 miles from Fukushima is a poignant reminder of the human cost of the disaster. All the inhabitants have gone, still refugees two and a half years after the tsunami which wrecked the nuclear reactors at Fukushima. There is a huge task removing radioactive contaminated topsoil and trees within a 20 mile radius of  ground zero. Where do you put it all?  For how many hundreds of years?

Professor Kurokawa comments: 'Many senior bureaucrats from Japan's Nuclear Industry Safety Agency would take lucrative jobs in the nuclear industry after leaving government'.

Could it happen again?  Wingfield-Hayes concludes that if the complacency prior to the disaster could  happen in Japan, it can almost certainly happen elsewhere. The myth that it is safe has gone.