Awesome Science Stuff That Happened Today [Sep 5]

It was a good day for science-loving geeks everywhere. Here are the day’s big announcements, from neuroscience to plasma physics.

Physicists teleport quantum data 143km between Canary Islands


Just a few months ago, researchers in China set a new distance record for transferring quantum (or light) data at 97 kilometers. That record didn’t hold long, as Wednesday it was announced that a team from the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences has “successfully transmitted quantum states” between the islands of La Palma and Tenerife, measuring a total 143km apart. The achievement bodes well for the future of a quantum internet and all sorts of fancy-pants technology, but don’t expect your kids to put teleporters on the Christmas list: the transportation of quantum states is separate from that of matter, and we haven’t really worked out that whole “sending something from one place to another instantly” thing. [PhysOrg]

Researchers learn to manipulate dreams… in rats

It’s no secret that lab rats run through a lot of mazes. Their progress is an excellent indicator of cognitive ability, especially when under the influence of… whatever scientists are testing. But now it seems there’s no escape from the maze for these poor rats, even in their sleep: researchers at MIT have successfully learned to manipulate the content of rats’ dreams, and that content is — what else — the maze they ran through yesterday. Working at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, neuroscientist Matt Wilson developed a system of audio cues that associated the rats’ memories to an activity (maze-running), which was then replayed during times of rest. The rats then dreamed about the parts of the maze associated with each audio cue, according to neural activity measured during the maze run and sleep. [Discovery News]

35-year-old Voyager I stubbornly refuses to leave home

Voyager I may be the most distant man-made object in space, but it seems the spacecraft is bent on becoming the Sun’s version of a middle-aged basement dweller. After years of reports that Voyager is finally ready to exit our solar system, it seems the craft is still quite a distance from reaching interstellar space. Recent data received from Voyager 1 indicate that it is solidly within the Sun’s influence, which means it could still be another 15 years before it reaches the heliopause — the boundary between our solar system and te rest of the universe. [New Scientist]

NASA releases footage of a really, really ridiculously good-looking solar flare

Once again, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory delivers. Recently a solar prominence called a filament erupted from the Sun and wrought gorgeous havoc on the local spaceweather. And of course, SDO captured it all. [NASA]