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July 2, 2012 at 5:01 PM   |   0 comments

Tevatron offers Higgs boson data

BATAVIA, Ill., July 2 (UPI) -- Scientists say data from the U.S. Energy Department's Tevatron collider offer the strongest indication to date for the long-sought Higgs particle.

The Tevatron scientists announced their findings Monday, just two days before the release of highly anticipated results from Europe's Large Hadron Collider.

"Our data strongly point toward the existence of the Higgs boson, but it will take results from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to establish a discovery," said Rob Roser of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.

The Large Hadron Collider results will be announced Wednesday at a scientific seminar at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.

"It is a real cliffhanger," said DZero representative Gregorio Bernardi, physicist at the Laboratory of Nuclear and High Energy Physics. "We know exactly what signal we are looking for in our data, and we see strong indications of the production and decay of Higgs bosons in a crucial decay mode with a pair of bottom quarks, which is difficult to observe at the LHC. We are very excited about it."

The Higgs particle is named after Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, who helped develop the theoretical model that explains why some particles have mass and others don't, a major step toward understanding the origin of mass, Fermilab said. The model predicts the existence of a new particle, which has eluded experimental detection.

Only high-energy particle colliders such as the Tevatron at Fermilab, which was shut down in September 2011, and the Large Hadron Collider, which produced its first collisions in November 2009, have the chance to produce the Higgs particle.

The Tevatron results indicate that the Higgs particle, if it exists, has a mass between 115 and 135 GeV/c2, or about 130 times the mass of the proton.

"During its life, the Tevatron must have produced thousands of Higgs particles, if they actually exist, and it's up to us to try to find them in the data we have collected," said Luciano Ristori, a physicist at Fermilab and the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare. "We have developed sophisticated simulation and analysis programs to identify Higgs-like patterns. Still, it is easier to look for a friend's face in a sports stadium filled with 100,000 people than to search for a Higgs-like event among trillions of collisions."

The final Tevatron results corroborate the Higgs search results that scientists from the Tevatron and the LHC presented at physics conferences in March 2012, Fermilab said.


NASA's Orion spacecraft arrives in Florida

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., July 2 (UPI) -- The first space-bound Orion spacecraft has been delivered to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA said Monday.

The spacecraft, which will launch in 2014 on an uncrewed test mission, is designed to carry astronauts farther into space than ever before.

"Orion's arrival at Kennedy is an important step in meeting the president's goal to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s," NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said in a statement.

"As NASA acquires services for delivery of cargo and crew to the International Space Station and other low-Earth destinations from private companies, NASA can concentrate its efforts on building America's next generation space exploration system to reach destinations for discovery in deep space. Delivery of the first space-bound Orion, coupled with recent successes in commercial spaceflight, is proof this national strategy is working."

NASA said Orion will provide emergency abort capability, sustain astronauts during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space.

The 2014 test flight will travel 3,600 miles above the Earth's surface, 15 times farther than the International Space Station's orbital position and farther than any spacecraft designed to carry humans has gone in more than 40 years.

Along with preparations to the spacecraft, Kennedy's facilities are being refurbished to handle the next generation of rockets and spacecraft.

"Work is under way on America's next great spacecraft that will surpass the boundaries within which humanity has been held," William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate at NASA in Washington, said in a statement.

"In a facility that once processed cargo for space shuttles and various components for the International Space Station, hundreds of people at Kennedy are coupling advanced hardware assembly systems with a new human-rated spacecraft designed for deep space travel."


Sony to buy cloud-based Gakkai gaming

TOKYO, July 2 (UPI) -- Sony Computer Entertainment says it has agreed to buy cloud-based U.S. gaming company Gakkai Inc. for approximately $380 million.

The acquisition will provide Sony with a foothold in streaming video games and other entertainment over the Internet, company officials said Monday.

"SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of Internet-connected devices," Andrew House, head of Sony Computer Entertainment, said in a statement.

Gaikai, established in 2008. has headquarters in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

The Wall Street Journal said the video game industry is preparing to shift from its old model of providing games on disks or cartridges in a dedicated console to a purely online model.


Mozilla to launch Firefox for phones

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., July 2 (UPI) -- Mozilla says it will launch Firefox OS as a standalone operating system for mobile phones in Brazil next year.

The first devices will be manufactured by TCL Communication Technology and ZTE, the California company said Monday. Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor are backing the initiative, Mozilla said.

"Industry support is growing behind Mozilla's plans to launch a new fully open mobile ecosystem based on HTML5," a blog post on Mozilla's Web site said. The operating system "will power the launch of smartphones built entirely to open Web standards, where all of the device's capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications."

The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefonica's commercial brand, Vivo.

"The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers," Mozilla Chief Executive Officer Gary Kovacs said in a statement. "The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings."

Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefonica Digital, said Firefox OS "will bring a better smartphone experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost."

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