The Promiscuous Life of Stars

first_imgStars in globular clusters–the cosmic nurseries where all stars are born–have far more, and far more varied liaisons than astronomers thought. A new computer simulation of globular clusters finds that stars consort in a variety of short-term arrangements–from simple collisions between two stars to “ménage-a-trois” systems with three stars orbiting one another. The study sheds light on how exotic stars called blue stragglers form.Most stars lead a relatively predictable life: How they age and evolve is determined by their initial mass, and eventually they burn up all their hydrogen fuel and end up as feeble white dwarfs. But a few somehow get an extra lease on life. Blue stragglers, for example, are bright, blue and heavy stars that, given their mass, should have aged and become white dwarfs a long time ago. To get a better idea of how these unusual objects form, astronomers Jarrod Hurley and Michael Shara of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City simulated the entire life of 20,000 stars in a globular cluster. The simulation–one of the largest of its type to date–was made possible by new, purpose-built computer chips called GRAPE-6, each of which performs 30 billion arithmetic operations per second.The simulation produced 500 curious encounters, including a short-lived stellar three-way and more complex systems involving up to five stars. And the component stars of one particularly “flirtatious” double star repeatedly swapped partners, Hurley and Shara will report in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal. They found that blue stragglers were far more likely to be born from collisions or mergers resulting from these types of interactions than they were from random collisions.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Astronomer Christian Knigge from the University of Southampton says that the simulation provides the best understanding yet of the behavior of stars in clusters. The simulations could explain the frequency of particular types of blue straggler stars formed in different interactions, Knigge says, and should help observers hone their strategy for finding them.Related linksAstrophysics department at the American Museum of Natural HistoryHubble Space Telescope image of blue straggler stars at home in a globular clusterlast_img read more

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Science Pared in Latest Senate Stimulus Package

first_imgBiomedical research trumped other science as U.S. senators labored over the weekend on a $820 billion stimulus package awaiting a vote tomorrow. The bipartisan compromise, proposed by moderate Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME), chips away at funding levels for several research agencies that were contained in the original spending measure. In particular, it slices $200 million from the research account at the National Science Foundation; $200 million from science at NASA; $200 million from operations, research, and facilities at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; $100 million for supercomputers at Department of Energy national labs; and $100 million from the intramural research programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. However, it retains a $6.5 billion bump for research at the National Institutes of Health that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) offered as an amendment to the original package. After the Senate votes it will face a tough negotiation with the House of Representatives to work out a final bill, with President Barack Obama’s goal of finishing by 16 February looking tougher every day.last_img read more

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Obama Nominates Suresh to Lead NSF

first_imgIt’s official. As first reported in March by ScienceInsider, President Barack Obama has chosen Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineering (MIT) Dean Subra Suresh to be the next director of the National Science Foundation. Suresh, 53, would replace Arden Bement, who stepped down last week 6 months before the end of his 6-year term. A member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Suresh has made significant contributions to the emerging field of nanobiomechanics. Since becoming dean in July 2007 he’s been a vocal advocate for greater interdisciplinary collaboration across engineering and with MIT’s other schools and programs. A 1977 graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, he earned his doctoral degree from MIT in 1981 and taught at Brown University before joining the MIT faculty as professor of mechanical engineering in 1993. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) His nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate. Cora Marrett is currently acting NSF director. *This article has been corrected. Suresh joined MIT in 1993, not 1994 as originally reported.last_img read more

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Judge Throws Out Case Against California Animal-Rights Activists

first_imgA federal judge in San Jose has dismissed charges against four animal-rights activists accused of harassing researchers at the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Santa Cruz in 2007 and 2008. The four were the first to be charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), a 2006 law intended to help investigators and prosecutors crack down on animal-rights extremists. In a 14-page ruling, Judge Ronald Whyte criticized the indictment against the activists for failing to provide a sufficiently specific description of their alleged crimes. “The indictment largely parrots the language of the criminal statute,” Whyte wrote. However, in dismissing the case “without prejudice,” Whyte leaves the door open for prosecutors to try again. According to the Foundation for Biomedical Research, so far there has been only two AETA convictions: against Alex Jason Hall and William James Viehl, who were recently sentenced to 21 and 24 months in prison, respectively, for releasing 650 minks and vandalizing a fur ranch in Utah in 2008. A trial in another AETA case, involving Scott DeMuth, a University of Minnesota sociology graduate student accused of participating in a 2004 lab break-in at the University of Iowa, is currently scheduled for September. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Should the U.S. More Tightly Control Nuclear Fuel It Makes?

first_imgOne unheralded aspect of the Fukushima crisis is the fact that some of the fuel burned at the Daiichi reactors is made by U.S. companies. In 2010, Japanese nuclear operators purchased $940 million worth of nuclear fuel from U.S. manufacturers, giving American exporters 73% of the Japanese nuclear fuel market, according to U.N. trade figures. (Fuel in reactor #5 at Fukushima Daiichi was made in the United States.) Under the 1978 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act (NNPA), the United States has some control over the disposition of U.S.-made fuel after it is burned in reactors in foreign countries. But some say the U.S. government should reexamine its legal obligations under the law and add safety rules to the agreements countries sign when they buy U.S. fuel or reactors. Alongside the existing clout that the United States has to ensure spent fuel isn’t reprocessed to make bombs, they suggest that the United States should push countries to improve safety. Under the NNPA, the degree of control available to the United States varies from country to country. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The extent of U.S. control depends on “consent rights” agreements which are included in bilateral agreements on nuclear trade between the United States and other nations. According to Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Arlington, Virginia, the law gives the United States limited “legal rights” to intervene in foreign nations’ management of spent nuclear fuel. Under the law, in fact, the United States can intervene in the management of any fuel burned in a U.S.-made reactor. With 23 such agreements in place, the United States can play an active role in compelling countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan to carefully manage spent U.S.-made fuel. The U.S. agreement with Korea that governs nuclear materials including spent fuel, for example, stipulates that the United States will “consult with the Government of the Republic of Korea in the matter of health and safety.” If the United States does not like the way U.S.-origin spent fuel is being recycled, it can veto that activity. But under the NNPA, U.S. action can be triggered only by concerns that U.S.-origin spent fuel may be used for nuclear weapons production, or may be vulnerable to theft or terrorism. The law does not give the United States power to actively intervene over safety or environmental concerns. Amending the law would require Congress to tackle the thorny question of whether the United States has any right to encroach on foreign nations’ sovereign control over spent nuclear fuel when issues unrelated to weapons proliferation arise. “It makes sense in the abstract,” says Christopher Paine of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C., about the idea of amending the law. In a recent paper, Paine promoted the idea that nations would surrender spent nuclear fuel and it would be safely stored under international control. This idea dates to 1946, when it was first proposed in a report written by a scientific panel headed by, among others, Robert Oppenheimer. The concept is actually elaborated as a possible U.S. policy goal within the NNPA, notes Leonard Weiss, the U.S. Senate staffer who is credited as the chief architect of the act. Sixty-five years later, says Weiss, “no system of inspection and material accountancy can substitute for international monopoly ownership” of spent nuclear fuel. Even without such sweeping reforms, Lawrence Scheinman at the Monterey Institute for International Studies in Washington, D.C., thinks the United States has a lot of latitude to use the existing NNPA to tighten up safe storage of U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel abroad. Scheinman notes that the United States will renegotiate its 30-year-old bilateral “consent rights” nuclear agreement with South Korea in 2014. Korea is anxious to find new ways to deal with its U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel, Scheinman says, because the Korean public is unwilling to accept long-term storage. He thinks the negotiations over a new nuclear cooperation agreement with South Korea offers the United States the opportunity to engage with the Koreans on environmental safety issues. And he thinks this can be done using the NNPA as it stands: “I’m absolutely certain environment concerns will be raised,” he says about the upcoming negotiations with South Korea. Scheinman says by engaging with the South Koreans on environmental safety, the United States would set a precedent for its approach to negotiating with other nations in the future, including Japan. Sharon Squassoni of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., agrees that an amended NNPA to address safety is needed. But rather than selling nuclear fuel abroad and then attempting to police how its new owners manage it, she thinks the United States should consider leasing nuclear fuel supplies, which is what the Russians do. This might give the United States greater safety leverage, she argues, because as the owner of the fuel it would be better able to insist on safe storage. But it would require the United States to finally decide on a long-term solution to spent nuclear fuel storage, which with the cancellation of the Yucca Mountain repository project remains a perennial political bugbear. Without a repository, she says, “it is very unlikely that the U.S. will ever take back U.S.-origin spent fuel.” This assessment draws an echo from Michele Boyd, nuclear safety campaigner with Physicians for Social Responsibility in Washington, D.C. Boyd agrees with Squassoni that the United States will be on thin ice advising its nuclear fuel customers on safety abroad until it cleans up its own backyard. At NRDC, Paine says that discussions he has initiated on broadening the NNPA and other international nuclear energy mechanisms to include safety and environmental concerns have met with fierce resistance from industry and foreign governments. “We found that when we tried to extend the discussion from nonproliferation concerns to environment and safety, everybody got their backs up,” he says. Ted Jones of the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group in Washington, D.C., says the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is already deeply engrossed in international nuclear safety efforts. But the best way for the United States to engage with foreign nations on bolstering safe spent fuel management is through multilateral organizations such as the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, he argues. In recent decades, the U.S. share of the growing fuel market has declined from 30% to just 10%, he notes, so the United States no longer wields the power within international nuclear safety that it did when the NNPA was written. “The idea that U.S. regulations that aren’t shared by other supplier countries could be an effective influence on fuel risk is probably not a very good idea,” says Smith. The disaster in Japan indicates that the time has come for bolstered action on both the domestic and the international front, Paine believes. “In the case of Japan, it seems there was a complete safety breakdown,” he says. “It raises questions about whether there should be enforceable international standards.” *This item has been corrected 30 March to reflect that comments attributed to Ted Smith of the Nuclear Energy Institute are in fact from Ted Jones. This item has been corrected 1 April: The original article stated that Henry Sokolski said that the law gave the U.S. “extensive” legal rights over spent fuel it sold to other countries and that it could ask for fuel back if it didn’t like how the fuel was being handled. The story has been updated to reflect that Sokolski said those rights were limited to the recycling of fuel. Also, while the United States can ask for fuel back, Mr. Sokolski did not say this was in reference to activity the U.S. didn’t like; rather, the NNPA nations must ask the United States before they recycle fuel.last_img read more

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U.S. Congress Moves Closer to Lifting Ban on Transplanting Organs From HIV-Positive Donors

first_imgToday, there are more than 118,000 people in the United States on the waiting list of the Organ Transplant and Procurement Network, a nonprofit established to coordinate the transplant system. Perhaps 1000 people on the list are HIV-positive, researchers estimate. Antiretroviral drugs can extend the lives of these patients, physicians say, but many are vulnerable to kidney failure, and adding more HIV-positive organ donors to the pool would give them a better chance of survival.”We should really offer them transplants as a cure for kidney failure,” says Mohamed Atta, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. In the past, he says such “positive-to-positive” transplants were “not even an option for those patients and that was discrimination.”The pool of potential HIV-positive organ donors is about 500 per year, according to the 2011 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins that was published in AJT. These donors could provide an additional 1000 organs, says transplant surgeon Dorry Segev of Johns Hopkins, who worked on the study. “If we were able to successfully use all those organs, we would at least be able to transplant everybody with HIV that is currently on the waiting list,” says Segev, who has urged Congress to fix what he calls “a mistake in the law.”Segev and his allies have found supporters in Congress. A Senate bill lifting the transplant ban (S.330), sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), won unanimous approval in June. Now, the House bill (H.R. 698) has passed its first major hurdle, winning unanimous approval from the Energy and Commerce Committee on 17 July. “Our current organ transplant polices are outdated and do not reflect the most current research and clinical outcomes,” said Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX), a co-sponsor, in a statement. Initially, Burgess said that he was “concerned” about the idea of lifting the ban, “but it does seem to be sound, science-based policy.” He noted that surgeons are already able to do positive-to-positive transplants with donors and recipients infected with the hepatitis C virus, which is spread by means similar to those of HIV.Lifting the HIV transplant ban would also be “good fiscal policy” because it could reduce treatment costs, Burgess said. For patients with HIV and kidney failure who get government-subsidized dialysis, for instance, a successful kidney transplant could save the government $500,000 per patient, says Kim Miller, policy officer for the HIV Medicine Association in Arlington, Virginia, one group backing the bill.Several studies have suggested that positive-to-positive transplants work. A team of doctors in South Africa transplanted HIV-positive kidneys into four HIV-positive recipients in 2010; a year later the patients were still doing well. Another 2010 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine followed 150 HIV-positive kidney transplant recipients for 3 years, finding that most were successful. One big challenge, the study found, was determining how to balance antiretroviral drugs that the patients took to combat HIV with the immunosuppressive drugs meant to thwart organ rejection.To address such problems, both the House and Senate bills would task the organ network with monitoring research on positive-to-positive transplants. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the network, would use the findings to develop new healthcare standards for the transplants 2 years after the bill became law. Researchers say that lifting the ban could also ease studies that could help improve pre- and post-transplant treatments, donor selection criteria, and preventing HIV-infected organs from being transplanted into patients without the disease.One difference between the House and Senate bills is that the Senate version makes it clear that surgeons who transplant HIV-infected organs would not be subject to criminal charges, as they are under the current law, if research shows that the transplants pose no health risks. That and other differences between the bills could be cleared up if the full House passes its version, allowing the two bodies to negotiate a final bill. The legislation’s backers are optimistic that it will win final approval in the House later this year. The Obama administration has yet to take a formal position on the proposal. A U.S. House of Representatives committee this week unanimously approved a bill approving transplants using organs taken from people infected with HIV. The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act would lift a nearly 3-decade-old federal ban on such transplants and allow expanded research into the outcomes of transplant patients. Similar legislation has already passed the Senate, and the bill’s advocates say that the policy shift could save hundreds of lives each year if it ultimately makes it into law.”The shortage of organ donations in our country is a critical matter,” said Representative Lois Capps (D-CA), who introduced the bill, in a statement. “We need to begin to research the feasibility and safety of these transplants in hopes that more people can receive transplants, and more lives can be saved.”Congress banned transplant of HIV-infected organs in 1988, when AIDS was rapidly spreading and little was known about how to prevent and treat it. A concerted effort to lift the ban began about 2 years ago, after a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Transplantation (AJT) concluded that the ban was outdated and that these organs could help fill a gap between supply and demand.last_img read more

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South Africa’s Gupta Family Quits firm Amid Furore Over Zuma ties

first_imgouth Africa’s beleaguered Gupta family has decided to quit their company amid increasing calls for a probe into the Indian-origin business barons’ alleged influence in the government through links with President Jacob Zuma, whose son also resigned from the firm after the furore. Related Itemslast_img

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Japanese, Chinese Realtors Bullish on Indian Real Estate

first_imgWith the allowing of 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) into the real estate industry and India’s rising stature amongst the global investment community, the country has become a hot favourite for developers from Japan and China. Related Itemslast_img

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Giving buildings a cosmic CT scan

first_imgSubatomic particles that naturally bombard Earth could be used to make 3D images of industrial equipment akin to medical CT scans made with x-rays, a new study suggests. The technique could reveal the corrosion of pipes or the degradation within thick layers of concrete. It could also enable routine inspections of pipes and valves that are buried, wrapped in insulation, or otherwise inaccessible, even while the equipment is in use—and even if it lies deep within a heavily shielded nuclear reactor, scientists say.The particles that make such probes possible are muons, heavier short-lived cousins of electrons. On Earth, most muons are formed when cosmic rays—high-energy subatomic particles that typically originate outside our solar system—crash into the atmosphere, triggering a cascade of lower energy particles. A muon carries the same negative charge as an electron but is 207 times as massive and lasts only a few microseconds before decaying into an electron and particles called neutrinos. On average, about one muon passes through each square centimeter of Earth’s surface each minute.Because muons are massive but don’t interact too strongly with other materials, they can penetrate hundreds of meters of rock and soil, says Matt Durham, a nuclear physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and lead author of the study. In comparison, lighter electrons stop in material almost immediately, where heavier protons and atomic nuclei interact with them so strongly that they disintegrate into showers of particles. Muons’ ability to penetrate makes them ideal for peering into objects. The denser the material the muons pass through, the more they are scattered and deflected from their original path.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In the study, researchers placed muon detectors on each side of the object they wished to image. Then they tracked the paths of muons as they passed through one set of detectors, then the object, and finally the second set of detectors. By mapping the “before” and “after” trajectories of a muon, researchers can determine how much its path was deflected. And by analyzing the deflections of many muons passing through different parts of the object, researchers can mathematically deduce the 3D distribution of mass in the space between the detector arrays, Durham says. The technique is something of a hybrid between traditional medical x-ray, which uses a material’s ability to block x-rays to directly make a 2D image of the mass distribution, and x-ray diffraction, which uses angles alone to probe the 3D structures of crystals. Durham and his colleagues describe their imaging technique, called muon tomography, online today in AIP Advances.“This is a slick technique,” says Cas Milner, a physicist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, who was not involved in the research. Besides using background radiation, which doesn’t expose workers to additional sources of radiation, the technique is noninvasive: Researchers don’t even have to shut down equipment, strip insulation off of a pipe, or enter a possibly hazardous environment, he notes.One possible downside to the technique, however, is that it takes a long time to create an image. The team’s tests show that ghostly, low-resolution images of a stainless steel pipe can be built in just 15 minutes, but to create a high-quality model of the object in question can take hours, if not days, Durham says. Thus, muon tomography is probably best suited for routine inspections or monitoring equipment on an ongoing basis rather than conducting quick assessments of a catastrophic failure, he notes.The technique is a smaller-scale version of technology previously developed at Los Alamos in the wake of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 to search for nuclear materials or other contraband in shipping containers or vehicles. That technology has been commercialized and is now in use at some ports, says Konstantin Borozdin, a physicist at Decision Sciences International Corporation in Poway, California.Borozdin’s company is now working to scale up the muon tomography technology to look for nuclear material in a much larger arena—the nuclear reactors destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami one-two punch that slammed Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011. For that effort, each array of muon detectors will measure 7 meters by 7 meters, and they’ll be placed about 50 meters apart on opposite sides of the devastated reactor building, Borozdin says. Milner says “the technology definitely has promise, when you look at the problem of trying to determine the internal configuration of a well-shielded object like a nuclear reactor.”last_img read more

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Sea otters falling prey to great white sharks

first_imgThe death rate of California sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) from great white shark attacks has risen dramatically in the last decade, researchers report  online today in Marine Mammal Science. By analyzing annual records from the U.S. Geological Survey going back to 1985, they found the percentage of dead otters with evidence of shark bites tripled from 19% in 1990 to 61% in 2013. The death rates started rapidly accelerating in 2003, and the pace is still on the rise today. Researchers say the trend is a bit mysterious, as great whites aren’t thought to hunt otters, preferring fatty seals and sea lions. It could be that the sharks are simply sampling the otters. But even though the great whites don’t swallow, the “investigatory bites” are still fatal, often by causing infections. Why are these shark-related deaths on the rise? One theory is that legal protections have boosted shark populations around the places where otters live. Whatever the reason, the death rate is high enough that it may be hampering recovery of the sea otter population in California, which remains a fraction of its historic size.last_img read more

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Big testicles mean a softer voice, at least in howler monkeys

first_imgDo males with bigger testicles have deeper voices? The jury is still out on humans, but if you’re a howler monkey, forget about it. A new study finds that the animals can make a lot of noise or a lot of sperm—but trying to do both just takes too much energy. The findings shed important new light on the kind of evolutionary tradeoffs animals must engage in to ensure the survival of their species.The study is “long overdue,” says Dawn Kitchen, a physical anthropologist at Ohio State University, Columbus, who was not involved with the work. The results, she says, are “robust and clearly point to a trade-off.”It’s a man’s world in many ways, but among primates, being a male still has its challenges. You’ve got to attract mates, fend off competing males, and keep your sperm count high enough to finish the reproductive job. Howler monkeys, members of the genus Alouatta and native to Central and South America, are famous for their powerful roars. Their vocalizations, among the loudest produced by any animal, resonate across the jungle, and can be heard from up to 5 kilometers away. Primatologists have observed that the roars can go on for more than 40 minutes, a considerable investment in energy. Most researchers think that the racket helps fend off competition from other males.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The sizes of howler monkeys’ larynxes—the noise-producing voice box common to most mammals—vary widely among the 10 universally recognized species. The best measure of larynx size is the hyoid, a U-shaped bone that supports the tongue and larynx; its size varies from only 8 cubic centimeters in some species to 110 cubic centimeters—14 times larger—in others. Likewise, the size of a howler monkey’s testes varies about seven times between the species with the smallest pair, about 3.5 cubic centimeters, and the one with the largest, about 23 cubic centimeters. This wide size range holds up even when corrected for differences in body size.A team led by Jacob Dunn, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, decided to investigate the exact relationship between these two indicators of male virility. The researchers used both new and published data on hyoid and testes size of 144 male howler monkeys from specimens of nine of the 10 species, collected in nine museums in the United States, Brazil, and Europe. For the new data, the group used laser surface scanning to produce 3D models of the hyoids. And to verify previous assumptions that hyoid size determined how deep and resonant the howls were, the team analyzed the frequencies of previously recorded howler monkey calls.The researchers found that, as expected, there was a linear correlation between the size of a species’s hyoid and the so-called “formant spacing” of its calls, a measure of the deepness and resonance of the vocalizations; so having a big hyoid generally means producing louder roars. But as they report online today in Current Biology, there is a clear inverse linear relationship between the size of a monkey’s hyoid and the size of his testes. In other words, species with deeper calls had smaller balls.Another important finding, Dunn and his colleagues report, was how these two body measures are related to the number of males in a howler monkey’s immediate social group, which ranges from one to three animals depending on the species. Thus, species in which the males congregate into larger groups had smaller hyoids and larger testes, whereas species living in groups with just a single male had larger hyoids and smaller testes.Putting all of these results together, the team comes up with the following evolutionary scenario: Species that live in smaller groups invest more energy in fending off males from other groups, simply by howling louder; if they are successful, then they can get away with smaller testicles because they have more exclusive access to the females around them. But males in larger groups, who are not alone in trying to mate with local females, invest more energy in competing with each other: They produce as much sperm as possible to increase their chances of being the lucky guy to impregnate the gal, a phenomenon known as sperm competition.“You can’t invest in everything at once,” Dunn says, because both howling and sperm production have high energetic costs. “Perhaps surprisingly, given sperm’s reputation as an abundant resource, there is strong evidence that sperm production is actually quite costly.” Similarly, Dunn adds, howling for 40 minutes at a time is “a very strenuous activity.”Kitchen says that the findings are particularly important for the insights they provide into the monkeys’ social organization. Instead of using their loud roars to compete within their social group, she says, they direct all that noise to males from outside the group who might be wanting to get at the local females. And in larger groups where up to three males are trying to impregnate the females—as opposed to “haremlike” groups where one male has all the gals to himself—“investing in sperm competition would be more cost-effective than investing in energetic vocal displays.”last_img read more

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Researchers take small step toward silicon-based life

first_imgFor life on Earth, carbon is king. All organisms build their cells from carbon-based molecules. Scientists and science fiction authors have long speculated that because silicon atoms bond to other atoms in a manner similar to carbon, silicon could form the basis of an alternative biochemistry of life. Yet even though silicon is widely available on Earth and makes up 28% of the planet’s crust (versus 0.03% for carbon), the element is almost entirely absent from life’s chemistry.That may soon change. Researchers reported in San Diego, California, this week at the semiannual meeting of the American Chemical Society that they have evolved a bacterial enzyme that efficiently incorporates silicon into simple hydrocarbons—a first for life. Down the road, organisms able to incorporate silicon into their cells could lead to a novel biochemistry for life, although for now creating actual silicon-based creatures (like the Horta from Star Trek, pictured) remains a long way off.To get biology to adopt silicon, Frances Arnold, a chemist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, along with postdoctoral assistant Jennifer Kan and graduate student Rusty Lewis, started by isolating a so-called thermophilic bacterium, which grows in hot springs. Like many organisms, the bacterium contains an enzyme called cytochrome c, which shuttles electrons to other proteins, making it widely useful in biochemistry. In some cases, however, enzymes in thermophilic bacteria expand their roles to carry out other reactions on the side. So the Caltech researchers tested their microbe and found that in rare cases its cytochrome c also added silicon to hydrocarbons.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In nature, Arnold notes, cytochrome c’s silicon-adding ability is so feeble that it’s probably just a byproduct of the enzyme’s function—not even close to its primary role. To try to beef it up, the team incubated the bacteria with silicon and carbon compounds and selected the organisms that produced the most hydrocarbons that incorporated silicon. After only three rounds of this artificial selection, the enzymes had evolved to churn out silicon-containing hydrocarbons 2000 times as readily as natural cytochrome c. “The power of evolution really shows up when a new function appears and then is forced to adapt via directed evolution,” Arnold says.For now, the silicon-spiked hydrocarbon compounds, called organosilanes, probably aren’t useful either to the bacteria or to industry. They’re short and stubby, unlike the long chainlike versions that chemical companies make for uses such as adhesives, caulks, and sealants.Nevertheless, Joseph DeSimone, a chemist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who saw Arnold present her results at the meeting, called the results “amazing” and said they open new vistas for chemistry. Arnold notes that living organisms specialize in carrying out complex chemistry at moderate temperatures and pressures, making them ideal for use as green chemical factories. So someday, evolved microbes may be able to produce complex silicon-based materials, such as those used in adhesives, using only a fraction of the energy chemical companies require today.Taking the bigger leap to produce silicon-based life like Star Trek’s Horta remains a far more distant prospect. But now that scientists have a toehold, Arnold says, it will be fun to see what they can do with it. “Now, we have the opportunity to bring silicon into life.”last_img read more

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These shallow-water fish can use their eyes like flashlights

first_img By Elizabeth PennisiFeb. 20, 2018 , 7:01 PM These shallow-water fish can use their eyes like flashlights If you’ve ever visited an aquarium, you might have noticed tiny “sparks” of light dancing around the eyes of some fishes. Now, scientists have shown that certain species of fish can use that illumination—a reflection of the light streaming down from above—just like a flashlight, and redirect it at prey. Seven years ago, a German zoologist realized that the sparks, produced when fish rotated their eyes, came in two colors: blue and red. Blue was the “regular” color, and red appeared when fish with special fluorescing cells in their irises turned them on. To find out whether the fish were indeed controlling the flashes, the zoologist and his colleagues experimented with triplefins, finger-size fish that live in the shallow coastal waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. In one experiment, they showed the fish either prey or another object. The sparks appeared only in the presence of prey. In another experiment, the fish changed the color of the redirected light to blue or red, based on the background. On blue-hued backgrounds, they used a red light, and on red-tinged backgrounds, they used a blue light, to better illuminate prey, the scientists say. That suggests that the fish have complete control over when and how they spark, and may even be using their flashlight eyes to detect prey, the researchers report today in Royal Society Open Science. Still to be seen: whether other fish do it, too.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Thirteen million degrees of Kevin Bacon: World’s largest family tree shines light on life span, who marries whom

first_img Thirteen million degrees of Kevin Bacon: World’s largest family tree shines light on life span, who marries whom Columbia University Researchers have published what may be the validated largest family tree ever: a genealogy database stretching back 5 centuries that links 13 million people related by blood or marriage. The tree has already led to such insights as the link between genes and longevity and why our ancestors married whom they did. And researchers say that’s just a start.“This study is an impressive and clever use of crowdsourcing data to address a number of interesting scientific questions,” says geneticist Peter Visscher of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, who was not involved with the work. The tree’s bigger promise, he and others say, could come if it were linked to health information to explore the role of genetics in diseases.Computational geneticist Yaniv Erlich of Columbia University says he thought up the project 7 years ago, after he got an email from a distant cousin through a website called Geni.com, where people share their family trees. He emailed the company’s chief technology officer, who gave him his blessing to download the site’s tens of millions of public profiles listing a person’s name, sex, date and place of birth, date of death, and immediate relatives (but no DNA information). Figuring out how to make sense of the data, verify relationships, and fix errors took time—his team presented an early version of the tree at a meeting more than 4 years ago—and they later added more data, giving them a starting point of 86 million profiles.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Since posting a preprint online a year ago, the Columbia researchers and collaborators have compared their data to 80,000 Vermont death records with education information—including 1000 people in the Geni.com data—in case people interested in genealogy are wealthier and more educated. They found little evidence of such bias, however. The final result is a single pedigree connecting 13 million relatives mostly of European descent, dating back 11 generations. It includes, among others, famed population geneticist Sewall Wright and actor Kevin Bacon, Erlich says. (Geni now has 120 million connected profiles and other ancestry sites have large numbers, but the family trees within them have not been validated in the same way.)Looking across the tree’s death data, the team found expected fluctuations in life span—a drop for young men during the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and a rise in childhood survival in the 1900s. By plotting births on a global map over time, they charted major migration events, such as the Mayflower landing in 1620 in present-day Massachusetts—soon followed by a burst of births in the region—and the 1788 founding of the British penal colony that began Australia’s colonization (see movie).The tree also yielded a new estimate for how much of our life span is determined by genes: just 16%, compared with an estimate of about 25% from studies of twins in Scandinavia. (Like the tree, the twin studies don’t directly analyze DNA, only life spans and relationships.) The lower heritability figure suggests that longevity has even more to do with environment and behavior than had been thought, the team reports today in Science.Scandinavia’s peaceful history may give genetics a larger role there, says Kaare Christensen, who heads the Danish Twin Registry in Odense, Denmark. But, he notes that twin studies also lack the power of the new study. The new study’s lower figure of 16% suggests that for researchers hunting for longevity genes, “It might be slightly more difficult than we thought,” he says.Erlich’s team also explored what he calls “who and where is the love of your life.” In 1700, people typically married a fourth cousin born 10 kilometers away; starting around 1850 they married less genetically related partners. But although experts had thought this shift reflected a growing distance between where partners were born, Erlich’s study found that didn’t explain it. Instead, a cultural factor such as a taboo on marrying a cousin may have arisen around this time and led to less marriage to relatives. “All of this helps us to understand how genes spread in a geographical area,” Erlich says.These findings only scratch the surface of the family tree’s potential uses, says Erlich, who last year became chief science officer at MyHeritage.com, which owns Geni.com. The Columbia team has begun to mesh the tree with a site called DNA.Land where volunteers share their DNA genotyping data from consumer DNA test services such as 23andMe and MyHeritage.com and fill out health surveys. Erlich’s team is also making the data set (stripped of names) available to other researchers.Overlaying health data for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of living and dead family tree members could allow researchers to firm up the role of genetics in diseases and traits such as height, as the Icelandic company deCODE Genetics has done by combining DNA and health data with the country’s extensive genealogy, Erlich says. In this way, Visscher agrees, the 13-million-person family tree could be a “formidable data resource to tackle nature-nurture questions.”*Correction, 14 March, 10:12 a.m.: The article has been clarified to indicate that although there are ancestry sites with larger numbers of connected profiles, the 13 million family tree is the largest validated pedigree published.center_img By Jocelyn KaiserMar. 1, 2018 , 2:00 PM A branch from a massive new family tree shows 6000 relatives spanning seven generations, with marriages in red.last_img read more

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India seeks collaborators for a mission to Venus, the neglected planet

first_img By Pallava BaglaNov. 21, 2018 , 3:30 PM NEW DELHI—The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bengaluru will send an orbiter to Venus in 2023 and has invited scientists from around the world to submit proposals for instruments to carry along. The plan, which will include a balloon dropped into the planet’s atmosphere, has received a warm welcome from Venus scientists, many of whom feel that, compared with the moon and Mars, their planet has received short shrift in the past 2 decades.The as-yet-unnamed spacecraft is likely to weigh 2500 kilograms and may have a 100-kilogram payload; it will be launched on India’s heaviest rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. The orbiter will initially be placed in a large elliptical orbit around Venus that is gradually shrunk.Like Earth, Venus is some 4.5 billion years old; the planets are of similar size and mass. But Venus has witnessed a runaway greenhouse phenomenon, leading to a dense, carbon dioxide–rich atmosphere that may offer scientists clues about the development of Earth’s atmosphere. “Planetary comparative climatology is an area of continued interest and research. The opportunity to explore Venus together is welcome,” says Lori Glaze, acting head of NASA’s planetary science division in Washington, D.C.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) “Planetary exploration should be all about global partnerships,” says Indian Space Research Organisation chair Kailasavadivoo Sivan. India seeks collaborators for a mission to Venus, the neglected planet JPL/NASA Pallava Bagla Venus is a hostile planet to study: Its thick clouds make research from an orbiter difficult, while heat, high pressure, and sulfuric acid droplets make descending to the surface a technological nightmare. Of the more than 40 Venus missions so far, roughly half have failed, and only a handful spacecraft have touched down on the planet’s surface.That’s why the crowd gathered at a meeting of NASA’s Venus Exploration Analysis Group in Laurel, Maryland, was “very excited” to hear India’s call for collaboration on 6 November, says Patrick McGovern of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. “In the absence of new Venus missions and data, it is increasingly difficult to generate support for students and early-career researchers interested in Venus,” he says. That keeps the Venus community small, which “in turn affects the ability to rally support for new missions,” McGovern says. “In my view we are presently at the reconnaissance stage of [Venus] exploration, equivalent to that of pre-1997 Mars.” Venus is a hostile planet to study. Roughly half of the missions so far have failed. ISRO has already selected 12 instruments, proposed by Indian scientists, including cameras and chemical analyzers to study the atmosphere. Now, it’s hoping other scientists will join. “Planetary exploration should be all about global partnerships,” says Kailasavadivoo Sivan, a rocket scientist and ISRO’s chair. (The deadline for submitting proposals is 20 December.)McGovern hopes to send a radar instrument that could penetrate the thick clouds and make sharper maps of the surface, which could help address questions remaining after NASA’s 1989 Magellan mission to Venus. Planetary scientist Larry Esposito of the University of Colorado in Boulder says he’d like to contribute instruments that would study the planet’s atmosphere. He’s particularly interested in Venus’s clouds and how they could be responding to possible ongoing volcanic eruptions. “The past ISRO missions provide confidence,” Esposito says. (India visited the moon in 2008 and Mars in 2014; it has another moon mission scheduled next year and a new visit to Mars in 2022.)Astrophysicist Jacques Blamont, a former head of France’s National Center for Space Studies in Paris, several years ago proposed producing metallic balloons that could dip in and out of Venus’s hot atmosphere to study its chemistry. ISRO has adopted that idea, says Sivan, but will develop the balloon in-house. It will carry 10 kilograms of instruments and float down to 55 kilometers above the surface.last_img read more

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