di: Dott. Giuseppe Cotellessa (ENEA)
Anche nel campo della CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) l’utilizzo del brevetto può essere molto utile, cosi come per l’elaborazione delle immagini acquisite durante le missioni scientifiche del Sistema Solare da parte delle sonde .
Seeing Crime in a New Light
Seeing Crime in a New LightThe forensic services unit at the St. Paul, MN police department boasts $1 million in upgraded equipment, including a new Reflective Ultra Violet Imaging System (RUVIS) to detect fingerprints. The new imaging system allows investigators to lift prints from a wide variety of surfaces — plastic bags, sticky tape, glossy magazine paper, linoleum, and more — without damaging the object.
St. Paul police show off their crime lab's $1 million face-lift
Police showed off new processing equipment at Thursday open house.
St. Paul Police Officer Alta Schaffer showed how a superglue fuming cabinet is used to find latent fingerprints on demonstration evidence during a tour of the St. Paul crime lab.
The St. Paul police crime lab — now dubbed the forensic services unit — had a show-and-tell of sorts Thursday at an open house designed to show off its new equipment and also help it shed its tainted image.
The crime lab came under fire last year after two public defenders challenged its scientific credibility in several drug cases. Subsequent audits found widespread failings in staff skills, poorly maintained testing instruments and illegible lab reports.
“We did an extensive, extensive review of what we had, where we had some challenges, what we were doing right, what we were doing wrong and where we needed to make some changes,” said Mayor Chris Coleman, who toured the new unit Thursday with Police Chief Tom Smith.
The city invested $1 million to upgrade equipment and lab space and make improvements in the unit on the third floor of the Police Department’s main offices. The new forensic services unit, which opened in June, also got a new civilian manager — Rosanna Caswell, a certified latent print examiner — to oversee the lab.
Police hope the unit will become accredited within the next two years, Smith said.
“This was a tough challenge, and I said a year ago we’re going to unturn every stone, we’re going to take a look at what we need to change, and we’ve done just that,” the chief said.
Thursday’s tour offered attorneys and city officials demonstrations of how the new equipment is used.
One of the most promising new technologies is a reflective imaging system called RUVIS that uses ultraviolet light to detect fingerprints.
In one homicide case, it was visualized a fingerprint on a cellphone that was dropped at a crime scene. Examiners ran the fingerprint through a database and were able to report an ID to officers within a few hours.
Unlike other methods at the lab’s disposal, RUVIS didn’t damage the phone and police could still retrieve data from it, Caswell said. “It is something that adds a lot of functionality to this latent print unit,” she said.
The forensic services unit does general crime scene processing, fingerprint processing and comparison, and reconstructions of crash and crime scenes. The city pays for the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to conduct drug testing.
When asked if drug testing could return to St. Paul’s unit, Assistant Chief Kathy Wuorinen said the department may look at that at some point, but now it’s focused on accreditation for fingerprint comparison.
The forensic services unit has added two officers to crime scene processing to bring its total to four, Wuorinen said. It used to have three forensic scientists doing drug testing and only one doing fingerprint comparisons, but now there will be three doing the latter work, she said.
Street officers have been trained to help lab personnel when needed. Smith said the unit was also planning to hire more forensic scientists and a quality assurance manager.
Martian rover Curiosity's high resolution Mast Camera has taken the first-ever video of the larger of the two moons of Mars eclipsing the smaller. The moons, named Phobos and Deimos (fear and dread in Greek, respectively), are theorized to be captured asteroids. The video may shed light on that theory, as well as help scientists better understand the moons' orbits and how they affect the Martian surface.
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A spectacular new video from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the Red Planet's two tiny moons eclipsing each other in an otherworldly skywatching first.
Curiosity snapped 41 images of the Mars moons in the night sky on Aug. 1, with rover scientists then stitching them together to make the final 30-second video. It is the first time a view of the two Martian satellites — called Phobos and Deimos — eclipsing each other has been captured from the vantage point of the planet's surface, NASA officials said.
The new Curiosity video has plenty of scientific value in addition to its gee-whiz appeal, officials said. For example, researchers are studying the images to refine their knowledge of the orbits of Phobos and Deimos, both of which appear to be captured asteroids.
"The ultimate goal is to improve orbit knowledge enough that we can improve the measurement of the tides Phobos raises on the Martian solid surface, giving knowledge of the Martian interior," Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University said in a statement.
"We may also get data good enough to detect density variations within Phobos and to determine if Deimos' orbit is systematically changing," added Lemmon, who is a co-investigator for Curiosity's Mastcam instrument, which took the pictures using its telephoto lens.
Phobos' orbit is taking it closer to the surface of Mars very slowly, researchers said, while Deimos may gradually be getting farther and farther away from the planet.
mars moonsThis illustration provides a comparison for how big the moons of Mars appear to be, as seen from the surface of Mars, in relation to the size that Earth's moon appears to be when seen from the surface of Earth. Deimos, at far left, and Phobos, beside it, are shown together as they actually were photographed by the Mast Camera .
Phobos is just 14 miles (22 kilometers) wide on average, while Deimos is even smaller. But Curiosity was able to spot both of them because they orbit quite close to the Red Planet's surface — 3,700 miles (6,000 km) in Phobos' case and 12,470 miles (20,070 km) for Deimos.
Earth's moon is gigantic compared to Phobos and Deimos, with a diameter of about 2,160 miles (3,475 km). But our planet's natural satellite orbits much farther away — its average distance is 239,000 miles (384,600 km) — so Phobos appears half as big in the sky to Curiosity as Earth's moon does to human skywatchers, NASA officials said.
The 1-ton Curiosity rover landed on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012 to determine if the Red Planet could ever have supported microbial life. The six-wheeled robot has already achieved that mission goal, finding that a site called Yellowknife Bay was indeed habitable billions of years ago.
Curiosity is now embarked upon a long drive to the foothills of the huge Mount Sharp, whose many layers hold a record of the Red Planet's changing environmental conditions over time. Mission scientists want Curiosity to read that history like a book as it climbs up through the mountain's lower reaches.