News Article | May 12, 2017
HUNT VALLEY, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TESSCO Technologies (NASDAQ: TESS), a value-added distributor and solutions provider for the wireless industry, has announced an exclusive US distribution agreement with STRAX (NASDAQ: STRAX). Germany-based STRAX is a global company focused on mobile device accessories and connected devices. They are a house of brands, including proprietary, licensed, and partner-branded lines. As part of their agreement, TESSCO will stock accessories from STRAX proprietary and licensed brands including Adidas, Bugatti, FLAVR, and Urbanista. Adidas leverages their iconic brand heritage to create fashionable device cases with a sporty inspiration. Bugatti draws inspiration from the rich heritage of Europe in designing their fashion accessories, which include full-grain leather cases for smartphones and tablets. FLAVR lets users add their own unique style to their devices with fashion-conscious cases designed for the latest trends. They also offer a variety of patterned, seasonal cases. Finally, Urbanista delivers a range of audio accessories inspired by Scandinavian design, with simple lines and vivid colors. “We’re really excited about our distribution agreement with STRAX,” said Liz Robinson, TESSCO Sr. VP of Retail Sales & Product Marketing. “The variety of brands they deliver lets us provide an even greater assortment to our customers and each of the STRAX brands we’ll be selling fills a unique style niche that I’m confident will be extremely popular with shoppers.” “We have been monitoring the US mobile accessory market for several years and we believe that now is the right time to launch our brands in the US,” said Gudmundur Palmason, CEO of STRAX. “We are very excited to partner with such a leader in value added distribution – TESSCO, and support them to develop their unique proposition with their channel partners.” TESSCO Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: TESS) is a value-added technology distributor, manufacturer, and solutions provider. TESSCO was founded more than 30 years ago with a commitment to deliver industry-leading products, knowledge, solutions, and customer service and supports customers in the public and private sector. TESSCO supplies more than 50,000 products from 400 of the industry’s top manufacturers in mobile communications, Wi-Fi, Internet of Things, and wireless backhaul. As Your Total Source®, TESSCO is a single source for outstanding customer experience, expert knowledge, and complete end-to-end solutions for the wireless industry. STRAX is a global company specializing in mobile accessories and connected devices. STRAX is listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm Stock Exchange. STRAX offers proprietary, licensed and partner branded accessories. The proprietary brands include XQISIT, GEAR4, Urbanista, THOR, AVO+ and FLAVR. The company represents over 30 major OEM as well as mobile accessories brands and sells to a wide channel landscape ranging from telecom operators, specialized mobile and consumer electronics retailers to online, lifestyle, convenience stores and supermarkets. STRAX was founded in Miami and Hong Kong in 1995 and has since grown significantly across the globe. STRAX now has over 185 employees in 12 countries and its operational HQ and logistics center is based in Germany.
News Article | May 8, 2017
HUNT VALLEY, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TESSCO Technologies Incorporated (NASDAQ: TESS), today reported financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2017, ended March 26, 2017. * EBITDA per diluted share and EBITDA (on which EBITDA per diluted share is based) are Non-GAAP financial measures. Non-GAAP financial measures indicated by an asterisk (*) in the text of this press release are so indicated as a means to direct the reader to the discussion of Non-GAAP Information below and the reconciliation of Non-GAAP to GAAP results included as an exhibit to this press release. “We achieved year-over-year revenue growth for the second straight quarter, as our new sales initiatives continued to drive improved top-line results,” said Murray Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Sales were strong in most markets year over year, especially in the public carrier and government markets. In addition, we are beginning to see more activity from our carrier and contractor customers, which is a very good sign for us. The overall effect of executing our plans is that we believe we are winning more share in many of our markets. “We remain focused on growing our business and improving overall profitability,” Wright continued. “Our sales and product team restructuring was done flawlessly and is resulting in improved collaboration between our teams and our vendor partners. This, in turn, is leading to additional profitable market opportunities. Our overall go-to-market strategy is nearly complete and includes better regionalization, strategic account teams and more growth-oriented incentive compensation plans. Finally, our margin enhancement programs and cost management initiatives are designed to enhance profitability. We saw early confirmation of our efforts with improved, year-over-year, top- and bottom-line results during the last six months of fiscal 2017. “After six months with TESSCO, some key additions to our leadership team and the redesigned organizational structure are firmly in place. I am optimistic about our early results and our opportunities. I am also confident in our ability to continue the trend of year-over-year growth during the first quarter of the new fiscal year and to achieve revenue growth with improved profitability for fiscal 2018,” Wright concluded. For the fiscal 2017 fourth quarter, revenues totaled $122.6 million, compared with $114.2 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 and $147.2 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2017. The increase in revenues from the prior-year period resulted in part from significant orders from several key public carrier customers and from strong government sales. The decline in revenue from the sequential third quarter was in line with typical seasonal order patterns. Gross profit was $25.9 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, compared with $23.0 million for the same quarter of fiscal 2016 and $30.0 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2017. The year-over-year increase in gross profit was primarily the result of an increase in overall sales. Gross margin was 21.2% of revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, compared with 20.2% for last year’s fourth quarter and 20.4% for the third quarter of fiscal 2017. The increases in gross margin, both year over year and sequentially, were largely due to changes in the customer and product mix, including a 28% year-over-year increase in sales of higher-margin Ventev products for the fourth quarter. Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were $27.7 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. This compares with $26.2 million for the same quarter of the prior year and $27.9 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2017. The increase in SG&A expenses year over year primarily was driven by higher costs to service the Company’s retail market customers, increased compensation expenses related to the Company’s sales and marketing initiatives, and severance costs related to the previously announced sales organization restructuring. The slight sequential decline in SG&A expenses resulted from lower variable costs related to lower sequential revenues. Net loss and loss per share were $0.9 million and $0.10, respectively, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, compared with net loss and loss per share of $2.0 million and $0.24, respectively, for the prior-year fourth quarter, and net income and earnings per share of $1.2 million and $0.15, respectively, for the third quarter of fiscal 2017. TESSCO’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 per common share payable on June 7, 2017 to common stockholders of record on May 24, 2017. Any future declaration of dividends, and the establishment of record and payment dates, is subject to future determinations of the Board of Directors. The Company is not providing earnings guidance at this time for fiscal 2018. Management will host a conference call to discuss fourth quarter 2017 results tomorrow, May 9, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. ET. To participate in the conference call, please call: 855-319-5921 (domestic call-in) or 503-343-6034 (international call-in) and reference code #4584225. A live webcast of the conference call will be available at www.tessco.com/go/corporatepresentations. All participants should call or access the website approximately 10 minutes before the conference begins. A telephone replay of the conference call will be available from 11:30 a.m. ET on May 9, 2017 until 11:59 p.m. ET on May 16, 2017 by calling 855-859-2056 (domestic) or 404-537-3406 (international) and entering confirmation #4584225. An archived replay of the conference call will also be available on the Company's website at www.tessco.com/go/corporatepresentations. EBITDA and EBITDA per diluted share are measures used by management to evaluate the Company’s ongoing operations, and to provide a general indicator of the Company's operating cash flow (in conjunction with a cash flow statement which also includes among other items, changes in working capital and the effect of non-cash charges). EBITDA is defined as income from operations, plus interest expense, net of interest income, provision for income taxes, and depreciation and amortization. EBITDA per diluted share is defined as EBITDA divided by TESSCO’s diluted weighted average shares outstanding. Management believes EBITDA and EBITDA per share are useful to investors because they are frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of companies. Because not all companies use identical calculations, the Company’s presentation of these Non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies. Neither EBITDA nor EBITDA per diluted share is a recognized term under GAAP, and EBITDA does not purport to be an alternative to net income as a measure of operating performance or to cash flows from operating activities as a measure of liquidity. Additionally, neither EBITDA nor EBITDA per diluted share is intended to be a measure of free cash flow for management's discretionary use, as certain cash requirements, such as interest payments, tax payments and debt service requirements, are not reflected. A reconciliation of Non-GAAP to GAAP results is included as an exhibit to this release. The convergence of wireless and the Internet is revolutionizing the way we live, work and play. New systems and applications are creating challenges and opportunities at an unprecedented rate. TESSCO is there‒enabling organizations to capitalize on the opportunities in wireless by providing Your Total Source® of end-to-end solutions. TESSCO delivers the knowledge and product and supply chain solutions required to build, use and maintain wireless voice, data, video, connectivity and control network systems. This press release contains forward-looking statements as to anticipated results and future prospects. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and analysis, and actual results may differ materially. These forward-looking statements may generally be identified by the use of the words "may," "will," "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," and similar expressions, but the absence of these words or phrases does not necessarily mean that a statement is not forward-looking. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those described in or contemplated by any such forward-looking statement for a variety of reasons, including those risks identified in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the heading "Risk Factors" and otherwise. Consequently, the reader is cautioned to consider all forward-looking statements in light of the risks to which they are subject. We are not able to identify or control all circumstances that could occur in the future that may adversely affect our business and operating results. Without limiting the risks that we describe in our periodic reports and elsewhere, among the risks that could lead to a materially adverse impact on our business or operating results are the following: termination or non-renewal of limited duration agreements or arrangements with our vendors and affinity partners that are typically terminable by either party upon several months or otherwise relatively short notice; loss of significant customers or relationships, including affinity relationships; loss of customers as a result of consolidation among the wireless communications industry; the strength of our customers', vendors' and affinity partners' business; economic conditions that may affect consumer confidence or consumer or business spending or otherwise adversely impact customers' ability to fund or pay for our products and services; changes in customer and product mix that affect gross margin; effect of “conflict minerals” regulations on the supply and cost of certain of our products; failure of our information technology system or distribution system; system security or data protection breaches; technology changes in the wireless communications industry or technological failures; third-party freight carrier interruption; increased competition; our relative bargaining power and inability to negotiate favorable terms with our vendors and customers; our inability to access capital and obtain financing as and when needed; claims against us for breach of the intellectual property rights of third parties; product liability claims; our inability to hire or retain for any reason our key professionals, management and staff; and the possibility that, for unforeseen or other reasons, we may be delayed in entering into or performing, or may fail to enter into or perform, anticipated contracts or may otherwise be delayed in realizing or fail to realize anticipated revenues or anticipated savings.
News Article | May 8, 2017
"The purchase of The TESS Company is in line with Linde's commitment to expand our reach to meet customers' needs and to invest for growth in the Americas," said Chris Ebeling, Vice – President Sales and Marketing for Linde North America, Inc., The TESS Company acquisition follows Linde's recent purchase of The Service Center LLC, a similar company serving customers in the Midwest and Southeast regions of the U.S. "We are delighted to welcome the TESS team to the Linde family," Ebeling said. "The TESS Company's capabilities complement Linde's world class line of medical gases and devices, and will further enhance and broaden our services," Ebeling said. "It strengthens our ability to be a one-stop shop to meet the requirements of the national network of healthcare providers." "As founders and owners of The TESS Company for the last 19 years, Kent and I would like to thank our employees for their years of dedicated service and assure our customers that we have the complete confidence in the professionalism and service excellence of The Linde Group," stated David W. Graves, President/CEO, of The TESS Company. Linde Gas North America LLC is a member of the Linde Group, a world-leading gases and engineering company. In the 2016 financial year, The Linde Group generated revenue of USD 17.9 bn (EUR 16.948 bn), making it one of the leading gases and engineering companies in the world, with approximately 60,000 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business, with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The company is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. For more information, see The Linde Group online at www.linde.com To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/linde-completes-purchase-of-transfill-equipment-supplies-and-services-inc-300453221.html
News Article | May 16, 2017
HUNT VALLEY, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TESSCO Technologies Incorporated (NASDAQ:TESS), a value-added distributor and solutions provider for the wireless industry, today announced that management will be presenting to investors at the East Coast IDEAS Conference at 1:50 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at the Boston Park Plaza in Boston. A link to the live webcast of the presentation can be found in the Events section of the Company’s investor relations website. An archive of the presentation also will be available on the Company's website for approximately 90 days. TESSCO Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: TESS) is a value-added technology distributor, manufacturer and solutions provider. TESSCO was founded more than 30 years ago with a commitment to deliver industry-leading products, knowledge, solutions and customer service and supports customers in the public and private sector. TESSCO supplies more than 50,000 products from 400 of the industry’s top manufacturers in mobile communications, Wi-Fi, Internet of Things and wireless backhaul. As Your Total Source®, TESSCO is a single source for outstanding customer experience, expert knowledge and complete end-to-end solutions for the wireless industry.
News Article | May 23, 2017
President Trump’s $19.1-billion budget proposal for NASA will allow the space agency to continue its long-term efforts to explore the universe, including sending humans to the moon and to Mars. The 2018 funding plan, released Tuesday, includes support for about 100 space missions even as it cuts some well-known programs, including one aimed at inspiring future generations of scientists and engineers. “We’ve got $19.1 billion as an agency, and it really reflects the president’s and the administration’s confidence in us,” said NASA’s acting administrator, Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., at a presentation to employees at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. That level of funding will allow NASA to continue leading the world in space, he added. The James Webb Space Telescope, one of NASA’s marquee projects, is set to launch next year, Lightfoot said. Also on track for 2018 are the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars InSight lander and Solar Probe Plus. And, as it did in March, the budget plan largely allows NASA to continue its push for getting humans to Mars by the 2030s, Lightfoot said. In preparation, JPL will be sending a new rover to the Martian surface in 2020. “What this budget tells us to do is keep going, keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he said. However, the budget does away with the Asteroid Redirect Mission, a program based at JPL in La Cañada Flintridge that intended to capture a large asteroid and bring it close to Earth. This mission was targeted in a White House budget blueprint in March and garnered mixed reactions. Some praised its intent, while others called it a distraction from the agency’s longer-term goals. Lightfoot said some of the propulsion technology developed for the asteroid mission will be salvaged and put to other uses, including efforts to send humans to deep space. The budget also follows through with a proposal to eliminate NASA’s Office of Education, which received an estimated $115 million in 2016. That move was criticized by a group of U.S. senators who pointed to the office’s role in equipping students to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. “Its mission is critical to boosting the nation’s workforce competitiveness,” the senators, led by Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), wrote last week in an open letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging that the office be kept open. Lightfoot said NASA would find other ways to engage and inspire educators and the public, including by carrying out its missions safely and successfully. About 60 people would be affected by the cut, Andrew Hunter, NASA’s acting chief financial officer, said in a briefing. In general, these staffers would be placed in new positions in different parts of the agency. “We won’t have any layoffs,” Hunter said. Tuesday’s budget proposal confirmed the White House’s plan to cut several environmental science missions in development. These include: “There’s some hard things we had to do,” Lightfoot said. The trimming of environmental science missions, many of which are rooted at JPL, worried Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), whose district includes the lab. “A lot of the cuts are all directed to undermine efforts to understand how the planet is warming, and our capacity to determine what we ought to do about it,” Schiff said. “That’s probably my biggest concern about the budget vis-a-vis NASA.” He praised the decision to fund the upcoming Europa Clipper mission, which would put an orbiter around Jupiter’s icy ocean moon. But the budget does not include money for a long-proposed Europa lander mission, which would allow NASA to directly explore the surface. Europa is considered one of the prime spots to search for extraterrestrial life in the solar system; both missions would come out of JPL. While the Trump administration’s initial budget plan included proposals to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health, NASA was largely spared. The new numbers served as a confirmation of that earlier vote of confidence, Lightfoot said. “We are the leaders in human exploration,” he said. “That’s what we do.” Follow @aminawrite on Twitter for more science news and "like" Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook. Scientific research would take a big hit under Trump's budget — and that's bad for the economy, experts say
News Article | April 25, 2017
HUNT VALLEY, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TESSCO Technologies Incorporated (Nasdaq: TESS), a consultative provider of the end-to-end wireless solutions to deploy network and connectivity systems, will report financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter ended March 26, 2017 after the market closes on Monday, May 8, 2017. Management will host a conference call to discuss these results the following day, May 9, at 8:30 a.m. ET. To participate in the conference call, please call 855-319-5921 (domestic
News Article | May 1, 2017
Noting how, "The search for life in the Universe has been transformed from speculation to a data-driven science," speakers like Stanford physicist Peter Michelson offered detailed plans for finding life on exoplanets. Over the course of two days on April 20-21, dozens of scientists attending the Breakthrough Discuss Conference contemplated options for exploring planets in other star systems. These option included using a new generation of powerful telescopes for long distance observations, as well as advancing a first-of-its-kind technology to visit other star systems—all within the next generation. What these strategies had in common was a focus on observing habitable zone planets in our local stellar neighborhood. In this neighborhood alone, within 30 light-years or so of our solar system, astrobiologists have already identified several Earth-like exoplanets and dozens of systems that may harbor Earth-like worlds. These exoplanets, identified by the effect they have on their parent star, are rocky and roughly the same size and density as Earth. They orbit their stars at a distance that would allow liquid water to exist on the surface. There is, however, at least one major difference between our planet and these potentially-habitable exoplanets. That is, they aren't circling stars like our sun. On the spectrum of stars, our sun is what's know as a yellow dwarf. It's bright, and not terribly large compared to the largest stars in our galaxy. Yet, even middling stars like our Sun aren't all that common. Our local stellar neighborhood -— and probably in the Universe as a whole -— is filled with many more low-mass stars. There are 20 yellow dwarf stars like our sun nearby and 250 M-dwarfs, a variety of star so small and dim that, despite their abundance, can't be seen with the naked eye. Over the last three-to-four years, every single low-mass star we've studied appears to have at least one planet. Usually, they have more than one. "How common are planets orbiting low-mass stars? Very common indeed," explained Courtney Dressing, an astronomer at UC Berkeley to the assembled group. "For a typical M-Dwarf, there tends to be 2.5 planets. One-in-four of the stars has a planet the same size and temperature as Earth in the habitable zone." Dressing's point was that given the number of M-dwarfs in the local region, there should be at least 60 potentially Earth-like planets in habitable zones within 32 or so light-years from here, and perhaps many more. To date, most of our exoplanet data comes from the Kepler spacecraft. The Kepler spacecraft has focused its search for planets on large M-dwarf stars. In the near future, when the small and medium-sized M-dwarfs are studied, we may discover that closer to one-in-three stars have an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone. Apart from just being more abundant, studying the potentially-habitable exoplanets around these low mass stars comes with other advantages. These exoplanets have tight orbits around their stars because the habitable zones are close in, giving scientists opportunities to view their transits every few weeks. It is during these transits, when the exoplanets pass in front of their stars, that we have the best opportunity to study their atmospheres for signs of life. Many conference attendees, including Mercedes López-Morales from the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, explained how we will be surveying the atmospheres of the closest habitable zone planets for signs of life dwelling on the surface or in an ocean. "We're going to look for oxygen," she said. Because the rise of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere corresponded with the appearance of life, we frequently use that particular molecule as a marker for the presence of life elsewhere. Also, oxygen likes to interact with other chemicals. If we discover a planet where oxygen is still hanging around in the atmosphere, something, possibly life, is actively making it. So, the search for life will focus on elements and molecules like hydrogen, oxygen, and methane. However, as López-Morales explained, there is a downside to this approach. "A planet's atmosphere is only 1 percent the size of the planet. The size of the signal is tiny. You need to collect at least one trillion photons to be very certain that you are truly looking at oxygen." The good news is that a new generation of telescopes designed for planetary exploration and astrobiology will be coming online to help us gather those photons. Around this time next year, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will be readying for launch. During its two-year mission, TESS will survey 200,000 stars, including the brighter ones in our local systems. The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) in Chile, slated to be operational by 2022, will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope. The GMT will feature a device called the G-CLEF spectrograph, which will be able to see molecules like oxygen in far-off planetary atmospheres. Finally, when the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) opens in 2024, it will have more light-gathering-power than of Earth's current 8 to 10 meter telescopes combined. Astrobiologists are counting on these large telescopes coming online between now and 2024 to identify the prime candidates to look for oxygen and life in our stellar neighborhood. Even as we anticipate a treasure trove of atmospheric data from these missions, scientists are discovering species that live quite happily without oxygen, light, and other features that we used to believe were required for life. These discoveries highlight how atmospheric bio-signatures like oxygen are an imperfect, if tantalizing, way to look for life from afar. The question then becomes: Could there be there another way to look for extraterrestrial life beyond studying exoplanet atmospheres? Ideally, to definitively identify life on other worlds, we would visit nearby planets like Proxima b, only 4 light-years away, either in person or with a spacecraft. This is the goal of the Breakthrough's Starshot initiative. Announced a little more than a year ago, Starshot's goal, according to its founder, is to "literally reach the stars in our lifetimes." The plan to accomplish this feat involves launching a fleet of very small spacecraft. Starshot will then accelerate those craft to as close to lightspeed as possible. By aiming high-powered lasers at these gram-sized cameras in space we may be able to cut down the time, cost, and weight required to gain an up- close look at planets around other stars. "The goal is to fly a probe very close to a planet and figure out if it has life," said Avi Loeb, a physicist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "What is the color of the planet? Is it green? Does it have vegetation? Is it blue, are there oceans? Or is it desert-like?" At the conference, NASA engineer Ruslan Belikov premiered simulations of what an exoplanet might look like from Starshot's point of view. Even if the craft were moving at 90 percent the speed of light, the onboard cameras should still be able to pick up signs of large oceans, clouds, and land masses that an exoplanet might have. The hope is that someday, by combining laser acceleration of these very small craft with cameras and other sensors, we might finally be able to take a firsthand look at habitable-zone-planets circling nearby stars, and in doing, perhaps definitively find life elsewhere in the Universe. Combining data from our new generation of very large telescopes with atmospheric observations of nearby exoplanets around M-dwarfs may help us choose the best targets for small Starshot craft flyby. "We are going to be the generation that is remembered for finding exoplanets. That's a fact," said López-Morales. "Are we going to be also the generation that will be remembered as the first ones who found life on those planets?" That, indeed, would be the breakthrough of a lifetime. Explore further: The space weather forecast for Proxima Centauri B
News Article | April 17, 2017
A team of astronomers says they’ve caught wind of an atmosphere around a super-Earth known as GJ 1132b, just 39 light-years away. The findings, described in the Astronomical Journal, mark another step on the road to determining whether alien worlds near and far might be capable of hosting life. “It’s a great proof of concept that we can observe atmospheres on these small, rocky planets even from the ground,” said Laura Schaefer, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University who was not involved in the paper. “That’s really exciting and that means that we’ll be able to do it with more planets down the line as we find more planets of this size.” The planet, Gliese 1132b, was first spotted in 2015 orbiting a small, dim M dwarf (a type of red dwarf) star about one-quarter of the Sun’s radius. At the time, the discovery excited scientists even though — with a surface temperature of about 620 degrees Fahrenheit — the planet wasn’t considered habitable. “Receiving 19 times more stellar radiation than the Earth, the planet is too hot to be habitable but is cool enough to support a substantial atmosphere,” the authors of the 2015 study in Nature wrote. Because the host star was so close by, they added, “existing and upcoming telescopes will be able to observe the composition and dynamics of the planetary atmosphere.” Astronomers often try to find exoplanets using the transit method: They wait for a planet to cross in front of its star and measure how much starlight is blocked. It’s much easier to pick out gas giants akin to Jupiter than it is to pick out small, rocky planets because oversized gas giants cause more dramatic dips in the amount of starlight. Those few other exoplanets whose atmospheres have been studied are gas-giant planets or very large super-Earths, with something like eight times our planet’s mass. But because GJ 1132b is so close, and because its star is so small, the rocky planet blocks proportionally more light, making it easier to study. Gliese 1132b is interesting not just because it’s the first low-mass super-Earth to have a detectable atmosphere. It’s near Earth, putting it in the sights of existing telescopes; and it was also thought to be about 1.2 times the Earth’s radius, making it very close in size — and potentially composition — to our planetary home. For this paper, a team of European astronomers used the 2.2-meter ESO/MPG telescope in Chile to track nine of the planet’s transits in front of its star. They studied the starlight in seven different bands of light across optical and infrared wavelengths. As a planet passes in front of the star, it blocks a certain amount of starlight across all seven bands. But the small amount of starlight that passes through the atmosphere will be selectively filtered: Certain chemicals in the atmosphere will absorb (and thus, block) certain wavelengths while allowing others to pass straight through. The missing wavelengths can tell scientists which atoms and molecules are present. The astronomers found that, based on the amount of light blocked, the silhouetted planet has a radius about 1.4 times that of Earth, making it a little bigger than previously thought. GJ 1132b also appears larger in one of the infrared wavelength bands than it does in the rest — signaling the presence of an atmosphere that is transparent to some wavelengths but opaque to others. The researchers then modeled different scenarios, finding that the atmosphere could potentially be rich in water and methane. If that’s true, then it means the planet could have a steamy atmosphere and perhaps a magma ocean, said Schaefer, who cautioned that many more follow-up observations need to be done to ensure the vapor-filled atmosphere really is there. “It’s not confirmed that it’s water,” she pointed out. “So it’s very exciting but we definitely need more data on it.” Because M dwarfs are so abundant throughout the galaxy, and habitable-zone planets circling them are easier to find, many scientists think these dim stars may offer one of the best chances for finding a life-friendly world. But these red dwarfs are also thought to be much more active than main-sequence stars like the sun — with flares, eruptions and other activity that could blow a planet’s atmosphere away. Keep in mind, Gliese 1132b circles its star so closely that its “year” lasts just 1.6 Earth days. So if the planet does turn out to have an atmosphere in spite of that proximity, it would be good news for astronomers — because it would mean that M dwarfs are more stable places for habitable planets than thought. For now, researchers are somewhat limited in what they can probe with existing ground and space telescopes. But with the launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) later this year and the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, researchers may soon be able to find more interesting nearby targets and then probe their atmospheric composition with precision. Follow @aminawrite on Twitter for more science news and "like" Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook. Why would beetles want to look, act and smell like army ants? To eat them, of course New view of dinosaurs could radically reshape their family tree Ancient relative of crabs, shrimps and lobsters is named in honor of David Attenborough
Deng Y.-S.,Beijing Jiaotong University |
Xia H.,Beijing Jiaotong University |
Zenda Y.,TESS Co. |
Inoue H.,TESS Co. |
Qi L.,TESS Co.
Gongcheng Lixue/Engineering Mechanics | Year: 2011
Ladder track is a new type of vibration-reduction track system that has been applied to several urban railways in China. A series of experiments were carried out on the ladder track installed on the trial section of an elevated bridge on the Beijing Metro Line 5. The vibration transmission behaviours of the track were tested in the lab. The track irregularities were measured and the dynamic responses were measured of rails, sleepers and bridge deck when the train running on the ladder track and the common non-ballasted slab track. The data were analyzed in the time domain and the frequency domain. The experimental results show that: compared with common non-ballasted track, the ladder track has good vibration reduction characteristics.
Handa and Tess Co. | Date: 2014-02-26
A three-wheel pedal-style wheelchair which includes a roller at a side, close to the ground, of the wheelchair, wherein the roller prevents the wheelchair from turning over, a steering wheel arranged at a side of the wheelchair, and two front wheels respectively arranged at two opposite sides of the wheelchair, wherein the two front wheels comprises a driving wheel led to rotate forward or backward by a user stepping and a loose wheel, wherein when the wheelchair turns to a direction in a small radius, the steering wheel is considerably rotated to a direction and the driving wheel is rotated forward, wherein when the wheelchair turns to another direction, the steering wheel is considerably rotated to a direction and the driving wheel is rotated backward. Accordingly, the wheelchair is easily controlled to have a small turn, like whirling in one spot, to move and to turn safely.