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Apr 16, 2018

NASA’s TESS Satellite Will Supercharge Search for Nearby, Earth-Like Worlds

Posted by in categories: alien life, satellites

On Monday, April 16, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA’s new exoplanet hunter will train its sights on nearer, brighter stars than its predecessors did. If TESS lives up to scientists’ predictions, it could energize our search for life in the cosmos.

When the Kepler space telescope launched in 2009, scientists didn’t know what fraction of stars hosted planets. The Kepler mission was a statistical exploration looking to see how frequently planets occur around stars, Harvard astronomer David Latham told Space.com. “One of the big surprises from Kepler was to find this whole population of planets with sizes between that of Neptune and Earth — and there aren’t any in our solar system, zero — and they’re everywhere out there,” said Latham, who’s worked on the Kepler project for nearly 20 years.

“Kepler is what made us become aware that planets are as common as telephone poles,” SETI Institute astronomer Seth Shostak told Space.com.” But the stars that Kepler was staring at for four years … they were all somewhere between 500 and 1,500 light-years away.” TESS will survey the local neighborhood for planets like Earth. [NASA’s TESS Exoplanet-Hunter in Pictures].

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Apr 16, 2018

Evidence mounts for habitability of Venus-like worlds

Posted by in categories: climatology, space

Climate models show exoplanets like Venus could hold oceans under the right conditions. Richard A. Lovett reports.

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Apr 16, 2018

Cancer not only mutates but evolves other mechanisms to beat drugs

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Cancer can be triggered by different causes. Melanoma is usually induced by the sun, by dangerous ultraviolet light damage. In the majority of cases, UV damage leaves a unique mutational footprint behind and as a result unstoppable cell proliferation is induced.

UV damage gives rise to point mutations – changes in a single letter of the 3 billion letter human genome. These mutations can interfere with signals that tell cells when to grow and divide and when to stop. Mutations in a protein called BRAF, a major signaling regulator, cause growth signals to be stuck in the “on” position and drive cancer development.

Though scientists have managed to come up with drugs that target and turn off aberrant BRAF signaling, cancer cells are clever. They learn to adapt to these BRAF-inhibitors. Today, many patients respond to cancer treatment very positively at first. However, unfortunately many ultimately develop resistance and metastases.

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Apr 16, 2018

A City-Sized ‘Telescope’ Could Watch Space-Time Ripple 1 Million Times a Year

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A gravitational wave detector that’s 2.5 miles long isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A 25-mile-long gravitational wave detector.

That’s the upshot of a series of talks given here Saturday (April 14) at the April meeting of the American Physical Society. The next generation of gravitational wave detectors will peer right up to the outer edge of the observable universe, looking for ripples in the very fabric of space-time, which Einstein predicted would occur when massive objects like black holes collide. But there are still some significant challenges standing in the way of their construction, presenters told the audience.

“The current detectors you might think are very sensitive,” Matthew Evans, a physicist at MIT, told the audience. “And that’s true, but they’re also the least sensitive detectors with which you can [possibly] detect gravitational waves.” [8 Ways You Can See Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in Real Life].

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Apr 16, 2018

Why immuno-therapy is leaving markets abuzz across the world

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, innovation

The biotechnology sector’s fastest-growing segment, immuno-oncology, has become the hottest buzzword for investment in Asia.

The field, that uses the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer, has seen two mega acquisitions in the United States in recent months.

And Hong Kong stock exchange is now tuning into its strong future, with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) already agreeing to revamp listing rules that will fast track applications by firms linked with the sector to help more innovative drugs and medical devices developers go public as soon as early this summer, and raise much-needed development cash.

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Apr 15, 2018

Artificial Neurons Can Function Just like Human Brain Cells

Posted by in category: neuroscience

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Apr 15, 2018

50 Years of Earth in Photos from Space

Posted by in category: space

These photos are quite literally out of this world.

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Apr 15, 2018

Enhanced longevity and metabolism

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Disruption of the regulator for G protein signaling 14 (RGS14) knockout (KO) in mice extends their lifespan and has multiple beneficial effects related to healthful aging, that is, protection from obesity, as reflected by reduced white adipose tissue, protection against cold exposure, and improved metabolism. The observed beneficial effects were mediated by improved mitochondrial function. But most importantly, the main mechanism responsible for the salutary properties of the RGS14 KO involved an increase in brown adipose tissue (BAT), which was confirmed by surgical BAT removal and transplantation to wild‐type (WT) mice, a surgical simulation of a molecular knockout. This technique reversed the phenotype of the RGS14 KO and WT, resulting in loss of the improved metabolism and protection against cold exposure in RGS14 KO and conferring this protection to the WT BAT recipients. Another mechanism mediating the salutary features in the RGS14 KO was increased SIRT3. This mechanism was confirmed in the RGS14 X SIRT3 double KO, which no longer demonstrated improved metabolism and protection against cold exposure. Loss of function of the Caenorhabditis elegans RGS‐14 homolog confirmed the evolutionary conservation of this mechanism. Thus, disruption of RGS14 is a model of healthful aging, as it not only enhances lifespan, but also protects against obesity and cold exposure and improves metabolism with a key mechanism of increased BAT, which, when removed, eliminates the features of healthful aging.

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Apr 15, 2018

Binary Stars in ‘Lost In Space’ Ending Could Be a Real Place In Our Galaxy

Posted by in category: space

The ending of the new Netflix ‘Lost In Space’ reboot puts the Robinson family in far out space. But, the binary star system they see could be a real place in the Milky Way. It bears a strong resemblance to VFTS 352, an actual binary star in the Large Magellanic Cloud in our own milky way galaxy.

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Apr 15, 2018

AI chips are going to bring new brains to smart speakers, PCs, cars, and phones you can afford

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, robotics/AI, security, transportation

Processors with artificial intelligence will spread from today’s top-end phones to cars, PCs, security cameras, smart speakers and mainstream phones.

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