With hot teams, Davis, Lillard hot names in MVP discussion

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard drives to the basket on New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Lillard scored 37 points as the Blazers won 111-87.(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)With the Houston Rockets on top of the NBA and James Harden on top of the scoring race, he may be running away with the MVP vote.Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard might have something to say about that.ADVERTISEMENT Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano ___The top four teams in the Western Conference have combined for 39 straight victories.And if a couple of them have even a minor slump, they might fall right out of the playoff picture.That’s how tight things are in the West headed down the stretch. Golden State is 6-0 since the All-Star break and can’t gain on Houston, which has won 16 in a row to remain a half-game ahead.Third-place Portland has won eight consecutive games and is a game up on New Orleans, winner of nine in a row. Yet the Pelicans are just three games ahead of ninth place, and there remains just a 4 ½-game difference between No. 3 and No. 10.“There’s just not a whole lot of separation,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said, “so I think that’s what you’re going to see for the rest of the year.”___Christmas? Certainly.Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Same.Those were the dates of the two Golden State-Cleveland matchups, so they were obvious. New York at Milwaukee, Friday. It’ll bring up bad memories for the Knicks, since it was against the Bucks last month that Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL.Cleveland at the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday. Think Isaiah Thomas would like to have a good game against the team that sent him west at the trade deadline?Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next What about March 9?That date probably wasn’t circled by many looking for potential NBA Finals previews this season, but it sure looks possible now.Houston visits Toronto in that Friday night showdown, a matchup of the best in the West and the leaders in the East.The Rockets take a 16-game winning streak and the league’s best record into their game Wednesday at Milwaukee. They have won nine straight on the road.The Raptors are an NBA-best 27-5 at home and have won five in a row overall.___Other games to watch this week:San Antonio at Golden State, Thursday. Start of a treacherous three-game trip for the Spurs, who then go to Oklahoma City and Houston.Philadelphia at Miami, Thursday. The sixth-place 76ers are two games ahead of the Heat, who are eighth in the East.Golden State at Portland, Friday. The Blazers beat the Warriors 123-117 on Feb. 14, when Kevin Durant scored 50 points and Lillard had 44. It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson LATEST STORIES Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City With stellar play steering their sizzling teams, they have at least entered their names in the conversation with a little more than a month left in the regular season.Harden has been runner-up to Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook in recent years, but it’s looked like his time this season. With more than 31 points and nearly nine assists per game — third in the league in that category — for a team with the league’s best record, it’s hard to imagine needing to look elsewhere.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk“What Harden and Houston is doing right now, he’s the MVP of the league right now,” Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas said on NBA TV.Davis and Lillard could deserve some thought. Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Davis has carried New Orleans with dominant basketball since DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season last month. The Western Conference player of the month for February opened March by winning player of the week, largely on the strength of a 53-point, 18-rebound, five-block effort that rallied the Pelicans from a 17-point deficit to a victory over Phoenix on Feb. 26.Then he went for 41 points and 13 rebounds Tuesday in his first game this week, hitting the tiebreaking shot as the Pelicans beat the Clippers in Los Angeles.He’s second in the league in scoring and blocks, and eighth in rebounds.Lillard is building a good resume for this week’s honor. He’s scored 39 and 37 in two games thus far, with 19 in the fourth quarter Monday to rally Portland past the Lakers, and eight 3-pointers Tuesday in a rout of the Knicks. That gave the league leader in second-half scoring 35 or more in seven of the last 10 games.Most importantly — for their teams and their candidacies — their clubs are rolling. New Orleans has won nine straight and Portland has won eight in a row.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings US women’s hockey goalie challenges Justin Bieber to score goal against her View commentslast_img read more

NASA is planning four of the largest space telescopes ever But which

first_img C. Bickel/Science A race to the stars Four NASA space telescope concepts targeting different wavelengths and goals are competing to fly in the 2030s. Astronomers are now picking a favorite. Related content NASA is planning four of the largest space telescopes ever. But which one will fly? For NASA astronomers, this was not a good year. In June, a review board found that the agency’s prized observatory—the already overdue and vastly overbudget $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)—was still years away from taking flight and capturing the faint light of the universe’s first stars. The holdup: torn sunshields and loose bolts. Also in trouble was the next big astrophysics mission in line, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), intended to pin down the nature of mysterious dark energy by surveying wide swaths of the sky. Not even off the drawing board, WFIRST was predicted to burst its $3.2 billion budget by $400 million, another review panel found—not a plus for a mission that the administration of President Donald Trump was already thinking of canceling.Yet astronomers are about to look skyward and dream even bigger dreams. The decadal survey in astrophysics, which sets priorities for future missions by NASA, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation, began last month. Dozens of astronomers, broken into committees, will identify science goals and develop a wish list of telescopes, both on the ground and in space, that could best address them. One of the toughest tasks will be to decide which—if any—of four proposed successors to the JWST and WFIRST most deserves to fly as a NASA flagship observatory. It would be launched in the 2030s to L2, a gravitationally balanced spot beyond Earth’s orbit, on the far side of Earth from the sun.In a special online presentation, Science examines those dream telescopes. The Large UV Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR), a 15-meter-wide giant with 40 times the light-collecting power of the Hubble Space Telescope, is a bid to look back at the universe’s first galaxies, and to answer the question: Is there life elsewhere in the universe? The Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) would also focus on that question, but with a smaller mirror. HabEx would fly in tandem with a separate spacecraft carrying a starshade the size of a soccer field. By blocking the glare of a star, the starshade would reveal Earth-like exoplanets, enabling HabEx to scrutinize their faint light for signatures of life. The Lynx Xray Observatory would gather x-rays from the universe’s first black holes to learn how they help galaxies form and evolve. And the Origins Space Telescope, with machinery to chill its telescope to just 4° above absolute zero, would study a little-explored kind of infrared radiation emanating from the cold gases and dust that fuel star and planet formation. By Daniel CleryDec. 13, 2018 , 2:00 PM Origins would look back in time to see how dust and molecules coalesced to create the first galaxies and black holes and how the disks around young stars clump into exoplanets. But the JWST and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile can capture some of the same wavelengths, squeezing Origins’s discovery space.Lynx would take up the mantle of NASA’s aging Chandra X-ray Observatory, zooming in on hot gas swirling into a black hole or jetting from the center of a galaxy. That would placate x-ray astronomers still smarting from the low rating their International X-ray Observatory proposal received in the 2010 decadal survey. “We got robbed at the last decadal,” says STScI x-ray astronomer Rachel Osten. “Is it time for x-rays?”Whichever mission wins the decadal’s favor, funders will ask: How do we know it won’t be another JWST, swallowing up budgets and delaying other projects? Study director Dwayne Day of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) in Washington, D.C., which organizes the decadals, says the survey is taking a sophisticated approach to estimating costs, hoping “to avoid sticker shock, committing to something that is too expensive to afford.”Day says project teams usually estimate costs by tallying labor, materials, and testing. “It’s good, but it leaves out unforeseen circumstances, threats.” So, for the past decade NASEM has been paying The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, California, to apply a cost model called CATE (for Cost And Technical Evaluation) to any proposals a decadal wishes to consider.CATE draws on a database that goes back decades and contains details of cost and performance for more than 150 NASA missions and 700 instruments. When presented with a new mission, CATE can say how similar missions have fared in the past. The model is particularly powerful in assessing the things that can go wrong. “The best forecasters can’t have hands on all the unknown unknowns,” says Debra Emmons, a senior manager with Aerospace in Chantilly, Virginia. For example, if a sensor takes longer than expected to develop, or if an international partner delivers an instrument late, the project can be delayed and costs can rise. “[CATE] assesses technical threats, monetizes them, and makes a forward projection,” she says. Paul Hertz, NASA’s astrophysics chief in Washington, D.C., calls it “a great addition to the tool set.”The project teams are wary of the exercise, fearing that if they produce a scientifically bold and technically challenging proposal, CATE might judge it to be risky and expensive, Emmons says. And NASA wants the four project teams to be ambitious. “The missions had better be hard to do because the questions are hard,” Hertz says.But with the still-grounded JWST on everybody’s mind, astronomers are eager to ensure that the winner of the great space telescope bake-off is at once dreamy and real. Blandford says: “It gives a rationale for making these terrible decisions.”For more on these telescopes, also see here.*Correction, 2 January, 1:15 p.m.: An earlier version of the story misstated the location of L2. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe This time, NASA wants the concepts on a firmer footing. Not only did the agency identify the four flagship concepts early, back in 2015, but it has since funded teams to work up rough designs for each one. In June 2019, the teams will deliver to NASA a report that includes two concepts—one expensive and big, the other constrained and relatively affordable at less than $5 billion in most cases. (Here, Science examines the larger concepts.)”This prepreparation will put the survey in a better situation to evaluate the possibilities,” says Fiona Harrison, a high-energy astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena who was named last month as co-chair of the survey along with Robert Kennicutt of Texas A&M University in College Station. The product of the decadal survey—a prioritized list of missions delivered in 2020—is supposed to be consensual, in part so that agencies and scientists can lobby Congress for funding with a unified voice. But competition among the four flagships will be fierce.LUVOIR’s backers tout its wide appeal as a general-purpose observatory in the mold of Hubble. LUVOIR’s instruments cover the parts of the spectrum where the universe is brightest, and the huge size of its mirror means it can peer the farthest, at the faintest objects, with the sharpest vision. “It transcends astrophysics,” says Jason Kalirai of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. Critics argue that LUVOIR’s huge mirror will lead to a huge price tag and inevitable delays, as the JWST’s 6.5-meter mirror already has.Proponents of the cheaper HabEx hope it will ride high on surging enthusiasm for exoplanets—and a concern for simplicity and thrift. But flying in formation with a distant starshade is an untested technique. And though HabEx can study a few nearby planets in detail, its smaller mirror—4 meters compared with LUVOIR’s 15 meters—means more distant worlds will be out of reach. LUVOIR and HabEx will compete head-to-head for the committee’s attention, and HabEx and LUVOIR team member Chris Stark of STScI says there won’t be a need to launch both. “There are only so many nearby stars.” Sciencetargets Spectrum Firstgalaxies Firstsupermassiveblack holes Planet-forming disks Earth-likeexoplanets Visible Ultraviolet Infrared X-ray ORIGINS HABEX LUVOIR LYNX Explore NASA’s dream space telescopes in our interactive visual EIKO OJALA Whichever concept rises to the top, researchers hope it has a smoother path to space than the missions chosen in previous surveys. The 2001 survey picked the JWST as its top priority, but that telescope will be lucky to meet its scheduled launch in 2021, 2 decades later. WFIRST was the top pick of the 2010 survey, but it won’t fly before 2025. There’s a general sense that the initial proposals were immature and unrealistic, says Roger Blandford of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who chaired the 2010 survey. “There’s frustration all around.”last_img read more