As expected, the college hoops season is off to a rocky start. Here’s what health experts have to say about the upcoming season

We’re a week into the 2020-21 college basketball season, and the 11-time national champion UConn women’s basketball team has been strangely absent from fans’ TV screens. That’s how it’ll stay until at least mid-December.

Five days prior to what would have been the Huskies’ season opener, a member of the program (not a player or coach) tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in a two-week pause of team activities that wiped out the team’s three early nonconference games. The shutdown arose less than a week after the UConn men returned from a shutdown of their own due to a player testing positive.

With COVID-19 cases surging nationwide, UConn is far from the only school that needed to delay the start of its basketball season or pause things a few days in after someone contracted the virus. In the Big East alone, nine of 11 member schools have publicly disclosed temporary shutdowns

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Radioactive elements may be crucial to the habitability of rocky planets

Radioactive elements may be crucial to the habitability of rocky planets
These illustrations show three versions of a rocky planet with different amounts of internal heating from radioactive elements. The middle planet is Earth-like, with plate tectonics and an internal dynamo generating a magnetic field. The top planet, with more radiogenic heating, has extreme volcanism but no dynamo or magnetic field. The bottom planet, with less radiogenic heating, is geologically “dead,” with no volcanism. Credit: Melissa Weiss

The amount of long-lived radioactive elements incorporated into a rocky planet as it forms may be a crucial factor in determining its future habitability, according to a new study by an interdisciplinary team of scientists at UC Santa Cruz.

That’s because internal heating from the radioactive decay of the heavy elements thorium and uranium drives plate tectonics and may be necessary for the planet to generate a magnetic field. Earth’s magnetic field protects the planet from solar winds and cosmic rays.

Convection in Earth’s

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Comsat Architects of Rocky River awarded $250,000 grant; could be just the beginning

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Comsat Architects in Rocky River specialize in space communication technology. The firm has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research—known as the Phase I Seed Fund.

Comsat Architects, an engineering service, was founded in 2014 with the goal of enhancing the communication between Earth and space equipment such as satellites, landers and rovers. The company’s motto is, “Connecting Earth to the Moon and Beyond.”

The purpose of the NSF grant is to conduct research and development work on “a comprehensive cognitive communications payload module to enhance communications functions for groups of small satellites called CubeSats.”

The module has several applications that include Earth observation as well as science and space communications, according to NSF. In addition, the module will be involved in data transmission for commercial, government and academic uses.

“It is an honor that NSF chose to

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This lava planet has a magma ocean and ‘rocky’ weather

That’s the portrait painted in a new study by scientists from McGill University, York University and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata published on Tuesday in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The researchers described conditions on this planet, called K2-141b, which is located about 210 light-years from Earth. It orbits extremely closely around its star, which is just slightly smaller than our sun.

This “lava” planet completes a revolution in about six or seven hours, just about grazing the star’s surface as it hurtles through space.

By contrast, Mercury, the closest planet to the sun in our solar system, takes 87 days to orbit the sun.

“Almost half of the planet is molten magma,” said lead study author Tue Giang Nguyen, a doctoral student at York University in Toronto. “The atmosphere created by vaporized rocks spreads around the planet.”

That vaporized silicon dioxide,

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We’ve Found Oceans Of Molten Lava And ‘Rocky Rain’ On The Most Extreme Planet Yet, Say Scientists

Scientists have found an exoplanet of molten lava oceans where they forecast supersonic winds and “rocky rain.”

A fiery hot world that orbits its star so closely that a year takes less than seven hours, K2-141b is among the most extreme planets discovered thus far beyond the Solar System.

According to a study published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, scientists from McGill University, York University and the Indian Institute of Science Education, K2-141b has a surface, ocean and atmosphere all made up of the same thing—rock.

It’s thought that K2-141b is a place where rock is vaporized and falls as a mineral “rocky rain” that replenishes an ocean of molten lava.

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Rogue Rocky Planet Found Adrift in the Milky Way

Not all planets orbit stars. Some are instead “free-floating” rogues adrift in interstellar space after being ejected from their home systems. For decades astronomers have sought to study such elusive outcasts, hoping to find patterns in their size and number that could reveal otherwise hidden details of how planetary systems emerge and evolve.

Of the handful known so far, most free floaters have been massive gas giants, but now researchers may have found one small enough to be rocky—smaller even than Earth. If its rogue status is confirmed, the roughly Mars-to-Earth-mass object would be the most diminutive free-floating planet ever seen. Yet finding such small worlds could soon become routine, thanks to NASA’s upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, set to launch in the mid-2020s.

Most planet-hunting methods rely on observing subtle changes in a star’s light to discern any orbiting companions. But free-floating worlds, of course, have no star.

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