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Apr 8, 2024

Exclusive: Phase Four Secures a $14.9M DARPA Contract for an Air-Breathing VLEO System

Posted by in categories: military, space travel

Congestion in LEO is on its way up, and in response, the US military is looking to move down.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has tapped RF-powered in-space propulsion pioneer Phase Four to develop and build a thruster that utilizes the thin air in VLEO as propellant.

Apr 8, 2024

Look: New Images Unveil DARPA’s ‘Manta Ray’ Extra-Large Glider for Non-Crewed Undersea Missions

Posted by in categories: energy, transportation

The first full-size prototype of Manta Ray, an advanced uncrewed underwater vehicle (UUV) produced by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has been revealed in new photos.

The images were released on Monday by Northrup Grumman, one of two prime contractors DARPA selected in late 2021 to produce unique full-scale demonstration vehicles for the program.

Continue reading “Look: New Images Unveil DARPA’s ‘Manta Ray’ Extra-Large Glider for Non-Crewed Undersea Missions” »

Apr 8, 2024

Rogue immune cell that can cause poor antibody responses in chronic viral infections discovered

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Australian researchers have discovered a previously unknown rogue immune cell that can cause poor antibody responses in chronic viral infections. The finding, published in the journal, Immunity, may lead to earlier intervention and possibly prevention of some types of viral infections such as HIV or hepatitis.

Apr 8, 2024

How we know the Universe is 13.8 billion years old

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Whenever and wherever stars are born, which occurs whenever clouds of gas sufficiently collapse under their own gravity, they come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, temperatures, and masses. The largest, bluest, most massive stars contain the greatest amounts of nuclear fuel, but perhaps paradoxically, those stars are actually the shortest lived. The reason is straightforward: in any star’s core, where nuclear fusion occurs, it only occurs wherever temperatures exceed 4 million K, and the higher the temperature, the greater the rate of fusion.

So the most massive stars might have the most fuel available at the start, but that means they shine brightly as they burn through their fuel quickly. In particular, the hottest regions in the core will exhaust their fuel the fastest, leading the most massive stars to die the most quickly. The best method we have for measuring “How old is a collection of stars?” is to examine globular clusters, which form stars in isolation often all at once, and then never again. By looking at the cooler, fainter stars that remain (and the lack of hotter, bluer, brighter, more massive stars), we can state with confidence that the Universe must be at least ~12.5–13.0 billion years old.

Apr 8, 2024

Kids in the Hall: Head Crusher

Posted by in category: futurism

While watching this eclipse I feel an overwhelming urge to look at the eclipse from between my fingertips and say “I crush your head” (@kids in the hall) 😉🤏☀️🕳

Apr 8, 2024

A Molecule That Could Help Treat Traumatic Brain Injury is Identified

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military, neuroscience

While an estimated 5 million Americans live with a disability that is related to traumatic brain injury (TBI), there are few treatment options for TBIs, which can affect people in a number of occupations like professional sports or some military positions, as well as anyone who suffers head trauma. But scientists have now found that a protein called TDP-43 may promote nerve damage immediately following an injury. When another protein was blocked in a mouse model and in human cell lines, this TDP-43-mediated damaged was prevented and some cell death was halted. These findings, which were reported in Cell Stem Cell, could help scientists develop treatment options for TBIs.

“There’s really nothing out there that can prevent the injury or trauma to the brain that cause nerve cell damage,” said corresponding study author Justin Ichida of the University of Southern California. “In more acute stages, patients can have difficulty concentrating and have extreme sensitivity to light and noise. Long term, there is a strong correlation between traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases, which can ultimately be fatal.”

Apr 8, 2024

Optimized Vaccine Improves Survival for Men with Melanoma

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, remains in the top five cancers diagnosed in both men and women. Scientists understand that most melanoma cells express antigens, proteins that prompt the body to initiate an immune response. We consider these antigens “unique” because other non-melanoma cells do not usually express them. Thus, melanoma antigens present a viable target for cancer treatment.

However, melanoma vaccines made to target antigens remain limited in clinical efficacy. One potential opportunity for cancer vaccines involves the antigens targeted by a particular vaccine. While original vaccines targeted one or two antigens, studies have shown that vaccines that recognize up to 12 antigens elicit a more robust immune response.

Still, vaccine development has continued to evolve to improve clinical efficacy. One area of focus concerns the type of immune cells elicited by the vaccine. CD8+ T cells, the immune cells that kill cancer cells, represent the most critical type of immune cell needed for an effective anti-tumor immune response. However, during an immune response, CD4+ T cells, also known as “helper” T cells, stimulate CD8+ T cells. In other words, CD4+ T cells “help” CD8+ T cells become activated and eliminate cancer cells.

Apr 8, 2024

Secrets of the Van Allen Belt revealed in New Study

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

A challenge to space scientists to better understand our hazardous near-Earth space environment has been set in a new study led by the University of Birmingham.

The research represents the first step towards new theories and methods that will help scientists predict and analyse the behaviour of particles in space.

It has implications for theoretical research, as well as for practical applications such as space weather forecasting.

Apr 8, 2024

Cleaning up Environmental Contaminants with Quantum Dot Technology

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, quantum physics, solar power

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was focused on quantum dots – objects so tiny, they’re controlled by the strange and complex rules of quantum physics. Many quantum dots used in electronics are made from toxic substances, but their nontoxic counterparts are now being developed and explored for uses in medicine and in the environment. One team of researchers is focusing on carbon-and sulfur-based quantum dots, using them to create safer invisible inks and to help decontaminate water supplies.

The researchers will present their results today at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Quantum dots are synthetic nanometer-scale semiconductor crystals that emit light. They are used in applications such as electronics displays and solar cells. “Many conventional quantum dots are toxic, because they’re derived from heavy metals,” explains Md Palashuddin Sk, an assistant professor of chemistry at Aligarh Muslim University in India. “So, we’re working on nonmetallic quantum dots because they’re environmentally friendly and can be used in biological applications.”

Apr 8, 2024

New Brain Discovery could Help in the Fight Against Obesity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health, neuroscience

One of the largest threats to human health is obesity, but now researchers from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute have made an important discovery in how the brain controls food intake.

Obesity and being overweight have become the “new normal” in modern times and can lead to a multitude of health problems. We know that excess weight is primarily caused by eating more calories than the body needs; however, new research published in Current Biology has found a specific cluster of cells in the brain that control body weight.

How the brain controls hunger has not been fully defined. The researchers discovered a cluster of brain cells that can be harnessed to reduce food intake and body weight. One way they do this is by turning down cells that stimulate hunger.

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