Science

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Science • Physics & Engineering
Middle school student achieved nuclear fusion in his family playroom
Middle school student achieved nuclear fusion in his family playroom
Credit: Courtesy of Guiness World Records

Hours before his 13th birthday, Jackson Oswalt (USA) fused together two deuterium atoms using a reactor he had built in the playroom of his family home in Memphis, Tennessee. This incredible feat has led him to be one of the stars of this year’s Guinness World Records 2021 edition, alongside other record holders. Now, at 15 years old, Jackson no longer conducts experiments that often, as he’s decided to look for his "next best thing".

Science • Animals
Scientists use false turtle eggs to track illegal egg trade
Scientists use false turtle eggs to track illegal egg trade
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Scientists have successfully used 3D-printed turtle eggs to track down the journey of robbed turtle eggs. Each of the artificial eggs had a transmitter in them to track the position, and the eggs were placed among 101 turtle nests on four beaches in Costa Rica.

Around a quarter of the fake eggs were stolen, giving the researchers insights into the trade behind the stolen eggs. Most of them remained in the region, giving them the researchers now the opportunity to do more to raise awareness among the population about the damages to the turtle species that are done by consuming the eggs.

According to the study published on the Current Biology journal, "Illegally collected clutches of turtle eggs containing a decoy transmitter enabled us to track the movements of traffickers, and thus gain a better understanding of illegal trade routes."

Science • Space
24 super-earths discovered by scientists
24 super-earths discovered by scientists
Credit: unsplash.com / The New York Public Library

What is better than earth? 24 super habitable plants that scientists at the Washington State University have discovered now.

They specifically defined "superhabitability criteria" and checked 4,500 exoplanets against these to find the ones that could, in theory, be more habitable than our earth. While none of the 24 planets meets all of the defined criteria, one meets four of them which possibly makes it a better earth than our Earth.

Science • Space
Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 goes to three black hole researchers
Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 goes to three black hole researchers
Credit: Event Horizon Telescope / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Half of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Roger Penrose (UK) and the other half to Reinhard Genzel (Germany)and Andrea Ghez (USA) for their "discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy". This was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday. Reinhard Genzel is director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching near Munich.

Science • Medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to three virologists
Michael Houghton, one of the three winners
Michael Houghton, one of the three winners Credit: Julio.frasneli.silva / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The virologists Harvey J. Alter (USA), Michael Houghton (Großbritannien) and Charles M. Rice (USA) have received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work discovering the hepatitis C virus.

The Nobel Committee stated that "prior to their work, the discovery of the Hepatitis A and B viruses had been critical steps forward, but the majority of blood-borne hepatitis cases remained unexplained. The discovery of Hepatitis C virus revealed the cause of the remaining cases of chronic hepatitis and made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives".

Science • Nature
Brazilian Pantanal reports 8,106 fires in September; 2020 already has the largest number of fire outbreaks in history
Brazilian Pantanal reports 8,106 fires in September; 2020 already has the largest number of fire outbreaks in history
Credit: Christiano Antonucci – Secom – MT

Three months before the end, 2020 is also the year with the largest number of fire outbreaks in the Pantanal: from January 1 to September 30, there were 18,259 outbreaks.

Science • Animals
France plans to ban the use of wild animals in marine parks and circuses
France plans to ban the use of wild animals in marine parks and circuses
Credit: unsplash.com / Becky Phan

France's minister of ecological transition, Barbara Pompili, has announced that "in the coming years" bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals will not be banned from being held in traveling circuses.

With immediate effect, the three marine parks located in France won't be allowed to bring in and breed dolphins and killer whales.

Science • Space
NASA and SpaceX schedule the first Crew Dragon operational flight for October 31
NASA and SpaceX schedule the first Crew Dragon operational flight for October 31
Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 6:40(UTC), October 31, for the launch of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station.

Astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be carried to the station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Science • Medicine
Germany: More than 1,000 police officers fell ill due to Corona
Germany: More than 1,000 police officers fell ill due to Corona
Credit: Leon Seibert

Police units are apparently exposed to a higher corona risk than other professional groups. According to a query by the "Rheinische Post" at the state interior ministries and the federal police, more than 1,000 officials have probably contracted Corona since March. The state of Bavaria leads the list with 274 registered cases.

The police union suspects the reasons is the lack of precautions.

Science • Medicine
Berlin: 470 fines against mask grouches
Berlin: 470 fines against mask grouches
Credit: BVG

Between the beginning of July and the beginning of September, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) imposed only 470 contractual penalties for violating the mouth and nose covering. This emerges from a request to the Berlin Senate from an AfD MP. If the acceptance was 70% at peak times, according to the BVG, around 95% of passengers would now adhere to the Corona regulations.

Science • Animals
Botswana: Mystery death of elephants solved
Botswana: Mystery death of elephants solved
Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Earlier this year, hundreds of elephants in northwestern Botswana inexplicably died. The government now states that their death was due to a neurological disorder caused by water contaminated by toxic blue-green algae.

It's unclear why the contaminated water only affected elephants and not other animals.

Science • Space
Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos, states Venus is a Russian planet
Dmitry Rogozin
Dmitry Rogozin Credit: Government.ru (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Following the announcement that phosphine had been detected in the atmosphere of Venus, Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin stated Tuesday that "Venus is a Russian planet." Russia plans to send its own mission to Venus in addition to "Venera-D," the planned joint mission with the US.

During an interview, Rogozin said: "We think that Venus is a Russian planet, so we shouldn't lag behind," and "Projects of Venus missions are included in the united government program of Russia's space exploration for 2021-2030."

Studies carried out in Russia between 1967-1984 were at the forefront of international research into Venus.

Science • Animals
T-Rex skeleton for sale
Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to be auctioned
Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to be auctioned Credit: CHRISTIE’S

You could soon own a T-Rex skeleton. One of the world's biggest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons, nicknamed Stan, will be auctioned off on October 6. The skeleton could fetch a record price, with estimates as high as $8 million.

Until its auction, the approximately 67-million-year-old Stan can be viewed at Christie's in New York.

Science • Space
Solar Cycle 25 has begun
This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019).
This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019). Credit: NASA/SDO

The sun is starting over. NASA reports that Solar Cycle 25 has begun in December 2019, signaling an increase in space weather that could impact the Earth's power grid, airlines and astronauts in space. Roughly every 11 years, the sun completes a solar cycle of various activity measures in the number of sunspots on the solar surface.

"As we emerge from solar minimum and approach Cycle 25’s maximum, it is important to remember solar activity never stops; it changes form as the pendulum swings," said Lika Guhathakurta, solar scientist at the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Science • Space
Scientists detect phosphine in Venus' atmosphere - a possible sign for life
Scientists detect phosphine in Venus' atmosphere - a possible sign for life
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech (Public Domain)

In a new paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy researchers from Cardiff University, the UK around Prof Jane Greaves presents their finding of phosphine 50km up in the clouds of Venus.

Dr William Bains from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has stated that "in principle, a more water-loving life could hide itself away inside a protective shell of some sorts inside the sulphuric acid droplets" adding that "we're talking bacteria surrounding themselves by something tougher than Teflon and completely sealing themselves in. But then how do they eat? How do they exchange gases? It's a real paradox".

Further investigation into the matter needs a probe to be send to Venus.

Science • Animals
Healthy new baby born to Orca that carried dead calf for 17 days
New calf, J57, with mom, J35
New calf, J57, with mom, J35 Credit: Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research

In the United States waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a new calf was spotted swimming next to J35. The Center for Whale Research had spotted J57 and stated that they "know that it was not born today because its dorsal fin was upright, and we know that it takes a day or two to straighten after being bent over in the womb". They assigned "its birthday as September 4, 2020".

According to them, the Southern Resident Killer Whales population is now at 73.

The orca whale J35 who is also known as Tahlequah, had carried her dead calf for 17 days and over 1,000 miles two years ago.

Science • Space
Rocket Lab launches Earth-observing satellite for Capella Space
"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" launch
"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" launch Credit: RocketLab (Twitter Reproduction)

Rocket Lab successfully launched Monday, from their New Zealand launch facility, a satellite on behalf of client Capella Space. In just over a month, Rocket Lab was able to identify what went wrong with the previous Electron launch, that caused the loss of seven satellites.

"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" was the 14th orbital launch for the Electron booster, which debuted in May 2017. The rocket had strung together 11 consecutive successful missions until the July 4 failure.

Science • Space
SpaceX successfully launches Earth-observation satellite for Argentina
SpaceX successfully launches Earth-observation satellite for Argentina
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

SpaceX launched three satellites Sunday, including the SAOCOM-1B for the Argentine Space Agency. The mission was the first polar launch from Cape Canaveral since 1969.

The company reused a Falcon 9 booster that previously flew on two separate commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station, and one mission to deploy Starlink's internet satellites.

SpaceX originally planned two launches to be performed on Sunday, but the weather earlier in the day forced the first launch to be rescheduled.

Science • Space
NASA Astronaut Jeanette Epps to join ISS as first black woman
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

Jeanette Epps is going to make history as the first black woman on the ISS.

Epps is set to join NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada on NASA's Boeing Starliner-1 mission, a six-month expedition aboard the orbiting space laboratory set to launch in 2021.

Science • Nature
Jacques Cousteau’s Grandson Wants to Build the International Space Station of the Sea
Fabien Cousteau
Fabien Cousteau Credit: World Travel & Tourism Council (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Off the coast of Curaçao, at a depth of 60 feet, aquanaut Fabien Cousteau is looking to create the world’s largest underwater research habitat.

Fabien Cousteau's Proteus will be the first underwater research habitat built in decades. (Concept designs by Yves Béhar and fuseproject)

Science • Space
Rocket Lab sets next Electron launch to August 27
Rocket Lab sets next Electron launch to August 27
Credit: Rocket Lab

After losing a payload during a mission failure on July 4, Rocket Lab has set a launch window for its next commercial mission starting on August 27 at 3:05 PM local New Zealand time.

The new Electron mission is billed as a relatively commonplace small satellite delivery mission and will launch from Launch Complex 1 Pad A on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.

Science • Nature
Fallen Boulder Reveals 313 Million-Year-Old Fossil Footprints At Grand Canyon
Fallen Boulder Reveals 313 Million-Year-Old Fossil Footprints At Grand Canyon
Credit: U.S. National Park Service / U.S. National Park Service

A geologist has discovered a pair of fossil footprints that researchers say are the oldest of their kind in the Grand Canyon, dating back 313 million years.

Researchers said the fossils show two animals passing at different times along the slope of a sand dune.

The findings were published on Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.

Science • Space
An asteroid is headed towards Earth with an 0.41% chance of impact, NASA says
An asteroid is headed towards Earth with an 0.41% chance of impact, NASA says
Credit: unsplash.com/Chris Henry

A Near Earth Asteroid (NEA), also known as 2018VP1, is heading towards Earth and is predicted to pass near Earth on November 2, one day before the US election day. The asteroid, first detected in November 2018, has roughly 2 metres in diameter and has a 0,41% chance of impacting Earth. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has predicted three potential impacts "based on 21 observations spanning 12.968 days," but a direct impact is most unlikely.

Science • Space
SpaceX raises $1.9 billion in new funding
SpaceX raises $1.9 billion in new funding
Credit: Official SpaceX Photos (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

SpaceX has raised $1.9 billion in new funding, bringing the post-money valuation of the company to $46 billion after the transaction.

According to data from Crunchbase, this would be the most significant single fundraising round to date by SpaceX.

Science • Space
SpaceX launched on Tuesday 58 Starlink satellites and 3 SkySats
SpaceX launched on Tuesday 58 Starlink satellites and 3 SkySats
Credit: SpaceX (Reproduction)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on Tuesday delivered 61 satellites: 3 SkySats and 58 for the Starlink constellation. The first stage booster successfully landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship.

Today's mission was the sixth time SpaceX used this particular Falcon 9 rocket, a new record for the company. SpaceX also reported they caught one half of the nosecone fairing.

Science • Space
NASA and SpaceX targeting late October for next astronaut launch
Crew-1 Astronauts
Crew-1 Astronauts Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

NASA and SpaceX have set October 23 as a tentative launch for Crew-1, the first operational crewed mission for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. Crew-1 will carry astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Soichi Noguchi and Shannon Walker to the ISS.

Crew-1 launch in late October to accommodate spacecraft traffic for the upcoming Soyuz crew rotation and best meet the needs of the International Space Station. The launch will follow the arrival of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos aboard their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft and the departure of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner from the space station. The launch timeframe also allows for a crew handover with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission next spring.

Science • Nature
Survey: Women in large German cities face threats and harassment
Survey: Women in large German cities face threats and harassment
Credit: unsplash.com / Markus Spiske

According to a survey by the children's aid organization "Plan" among 1,000 respondents between 16 and 71 years of age, the fear of harassment, threats, and insults is great. Big cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne or Munich stand out here. One in five respondents stated in the survey that they had been the victim of a crime such as insults, threats or harassment. Girls and women feel most unsafe on the open street, followed directly by public transport and parks.

Science • Medicine
Munich public transport company states 90% of passengers wear mask
Munich public transport company states 90% of passengers wear mask
Credit: unsplash.com / Dominik Martin

The head of corporate security at the Munich Transport Company (MVG) commented in an interview with "Die Zeit" about mouth and nose covering and passenger acceptance. Around 90% of these would adhere to the regulations and the MVG would have achieved the desired effect. The effort to achieve 100% acceptance would be too high, especially with possible limited success.

He sees the imposition of fines and fines critically and as a state task.

Science • Animals
Numbers of elephants in Kenya have doubled over the last three decades
Numbers of elephants in Kenya have doubled over the last three decades
Credit: Kenya Wildlife Service via Facebook

Kenya's Tourism Minister Najib Balala has announced that the authorities of the country have "managed to tame poaching" over the past decades which lead to the doubling of the elephant population in the country.

While in 1989 only 16,000 lived in the country the number has grown to over 34,000 in 2018 according to the Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) John Waweru.

Science • Space
Dwarf Planet Ceres has a Salty Ocean Beneath it's Surface
Dwarf Planet Ceres has a Salty Ocean Beneath it's Surface
Credit: Justin Cowart (Public Domain)

Using infrared imaging from the Dawn orbiter scientist discovered the presence of hydrohalite, common in sea ice but never seen outside earth until now. Deposits built up as recently as 2 million years ago.