Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 263
Back in 2018, astronomers watched an asteroid approaching Earth, and only a few hours later, they tracked the landing to Botswana.
The asteroid named 2018 LA began to break up as it entered Earth's atmosphere at 38,000 miles per hour. A group of researchers managed to find 23 fragments of the asteroid in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and according to the study from the group, the asteroid fragments actually came from the brightest and second-largest asteroid in our solar system named Vesta.
The team of researchers also found that the space rock had been traveling for nearly 23 million years after it somehow broke off Vesta. After analysis of the fragments, researchers determined based on the metal content that the asteroid is classed as a Howardite-Eucrite-Diogenite (HED) meteorite, which likely came from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. Additionally, the authors noted that nearly one-third of all HED meteorites that are found on Earth came from Vesta nearly 23 million years ago. For more information on this story, check out this link here.
A new study has been published in the journal Cell, and it regards researchers being able to develop the first human-monkey embryo in just 20 days.
Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte led the research and hopes from his results that he can eventually transfer his knowledge generated with human and monkey embryo's into curing diseases. Belmonte took twenty-five reprogramed human cells and introduced them to 132 monkey embryo's. Over time, many of these monkey embryo's became non-viable, and by day 19, there was only three embryo's left. The results of Belmonte's work prove that human cells can communicate successfully with different species.
Time states, once Belmonte "identifies the signals and processes that human cells use to differentiate into different tissues and organs, he can recreate that environment in pig embryos, and ultimately regenerate human tissues such as skin grafts for burn patients and heart, lung or liver tissue to replace damaged and diseased cells." One of the problems Belmonte faces when doing work such as this is the ethical questions that come with combining human cells with another species, which could be viewed as essentially "playing god".
NASA has put out a video detailing what you can see if you happen to look out at the night sky at the right time during May.
According to NASA, onlookers of the night sky will be able to spot the three rocky planets in our solar system; Mars, Venus, and Mercury. If you wanted to make sure you saw these three rocky planets, you want to pencil in May 14 on your calendar, as that will be the best opportunity for you to see them. NASA goes on to say that if you want to see the most of the three planets, you will need to have a clear view of the western horizon. NASA recommends places such as the beach, lakes, or open plains.
Additionally, you also have the opportunity to spot a total lunar eclipse. On May 26, the moon will pass through Earth's shadow, which will cause it to darken significantly and turn into a red hue. The redness of the moon is caused by the sunlight filtering through Earth's atmosphere. Due to the moon commonly being appearing in a red color, onlookers often describe it as a "blood moon". On top of that, the blood moon that will happen on May 26 will also be a "supermoon", which is when the moon's orbit brings it closest to Earth.
An invasion of thousands of carnivorous worms is happening off the coast in South Carolina, but should you be worried?
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, no, you shouldn't be worried. In fact, the invasion of these worms is actually a good thing. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said to USA Today, "A massive swarm of marine worms may not be ideal visitors near the water, but it's a good sign for local fish and birds that want an all-you-can-eat buffet for local fish and birds."
So, why are the worms surfacing in these such great numbers? The clam worms are usually found on the bottom of the seafloor, but "undergo an incredible transformation under new and full moons in spring - their bodies morph into reproductive forms called 'epitokes' as they swarm in coastal waters." If a clam worm if provoked, it will begin snapping with its ant-like jaw. However, they don't try and eat humans. For more information on this story, check out this link here.
A New York company has announced the recall of nearly 1,000 pounds of its pork products, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The company is Hempstead Foodservice, and according to the announcement, it will be recalling 972 pounds of pork chop products as it was found that the products may contain hydrolyzed soy protein. Products were developed between April 6 and April 30 and distributed to various grocery stores and restaurants throughout New York.
The product containing this allergen didn't clearly state it on the branding, which could lead to health complications if an allergic individual consumed it. The FSIS is concerned that the product could be in retailers' refrigerators, saying, "Retailers who have obtained these products are urged not to sell them. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them." FSIS recommends that if you own this product to throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a refund.
A Bill and Melinda Gates-funded biotech firm has released thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes in the United States.
The biotech firm Oxitec has confirmed in a press release that the release of these genetically modified mosquitoes is for population control of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread diseases such as dengue and malaria. All of the genetically released mosquitoes are male, and have a self-limiting gene that causes offspring to die before they can reach adulthood and reproduce again.
Oxitec has already begun testing this type of technology in Brazil, where it saw a 95% drop in the Aedes aegypti species after just 13 weeks. Oxitec announced a collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation back in 2018, check out the press release here. In a recent press release, the company emphasized that the genetically modified mosquitoes it was releasing are unable to bite. For more information on this story, check out this link here.
China is building its own space station, and last week, it launched the first module, the living quarters for future astronauts.
The module was carried up to space on the back of China's Long March-5B rocket, and while the launch was deemed a success, the rocket is now in out-of-control orbit. The rocket weighs in at 21-tonnes, and according to SpaceNews, the rocket is expected to crash back down to Earth in the next coming days/weeks. At the moment, the rocket is traveling at 16,000 mph and is making one full rotation of Earth in just 90 minutes.
SpaceNews said, "It will be one of the largest instances of uncontrolled reentry of a spacecraft and could potentially land on an inhabited area". So, where will it land? Unfortunately, due to the multitude of possibilities, such as atmospheric drag, and solar activity influence, researchers are struggling to pinpoint the exact location of where it will crash land. SpaceNews said, "The high speed of the rocket body means it orbits the Earth roughly every 90 minutes and so a change of just a few minutes in reentry time results in reentry point thousands of kilometers away".
A week-long exercise led by NASA has shown that space agencies wouldn't be able to stop an asteroid from hitting Earth even if they had 6 months to prepare.
The simulation, or hypothetical scenario, posed an asteroid located 35 million miles away that was anywhere between 114 feet to half a mile in size was going to hit Earth in 6 months. Experts were tasked with developing ways to save Earth, and participating experts found that with the given timeframe, it wasn't possible to launch any type of spacecraft out to it in time to change its trajectory.
The participants said, "If confronted with the 2021PDC hypothetical scenario in real life, we would not be able us to launch any spacecraft on such short notice with current capabilities." Experts also considered launching nuclear weapons at the asteroid to knock it off its hypothetical course with Europe. "Deploying a nuclear disruption mission could significantly reduce the risk of impact damage", said the participants. However, due to the size of the asteroid fictitiously named 2021PDC, the chance of a nuke being effective was unclear.
Venus is a neighboring planet of ours, and despite its close position to Earth, there is still quite a lot of things we don't know about it.
One of those mysteries was 'how long is a day on Venus?'. Now, researchers from the University of California have managed to figure it out after 15 years of observations. The researchers used a radar to bounce radio signals off of the surface of the planet. From doing this, the researchers learned not only how long a day is on the sister planet but also the actual size of the planet's core, as well as how much it's tilted.
The researchers found that one day on Venus is 243.0226 Earth days or two-thirds of an Earth year. The reason for a day on Venus being 243 Earth days is because Venus rotates extremely slowly. Researchers suspect that Venus' thick layer of sulfuric acid clouds may be impacting the speed at which the planet is rotating. As for the core, researchers found that the planet's core is 2,200 miles across, which is similar to the size of Earth's core. For more information on this story, check out this link here.
Last week, China launched its first piece of its own space station that is expected to be completed by 2022.
Unfortunately, the launch wasn't all sunshine and rainbows as a 21-tonne rocket that carried the space station module to space is now going to crash back down to Earth. SpaceNews has reported that the Long March 5B rocket is out of control, and is likely to crash back down to Earth in the coming days. The rocket is currently travelling at 16,000 mph, and is circulating the Earth every 90 minutes.
Another unfortunate factoid is that due to the ever-changing variables of the rocket it's almost impossible to predict where it's going to land. At the moment projections estimate that the rocket could land anywhere between New York in the northern hemisphere and Wellington, New Zealand, in the southern hemisphere. Luckily, majority of the planet is covered in water, so the chances are it will land somewhere in the ocean, and not in someones backyard. For more information on this story, check out this link here.