Science X Newsletter Week 22

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 22:

ESPRESSO confirms the presence of an Earth-sized planet around the nearest star (Update)

The existence of a planet the size of Earth around the closest star to the Sun, Proxima Centauri, has been confirmed by an international team of scientists including researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE). The results, published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, reveal that the planet in question, Proxima b, has a mass of 1.17 Earth masses and is located in the habitable zone of its star, which it orbits in 11.2 days.

Scientists find genes to save ash trees from deadly beetle

An international team of scientists have identified candidate resistance genes that could protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a deadly pest that is expected to kill billions of trees worldwide.

Asteroid, climate change not responsible for mass extinction 215 million years ago

A team of University of Rhode Island scientists and statisticians conducted a sophisticated quantitative analysis of a mass extinction that occurred 215 million years ago and found that the cause of the extinction was not an asteroid or climate change, as had previously been believed. Instead, the scientists concluded that the extinction did not occur suddenly or simultaneously, suggesting that the disappearance of a wide variety of species was not linked to any single catastrophic event.

New iguana species found hiding in plain sight

This is the tale of two iguanas. Or five iguanas and counting, if you prefer. Bear with us, because this isn't straightforward.

Galactic crash may have triggered solar system formation

The formation of the Sun, the Solar System and the subsequent emergence of life on Earth may be a consequence of a collision between our galaxy, the Milky Way, and a smaller galaxy called Sagittarius, discovered in the 1990s to be orbiting our galactic home.

SpaceX's moment of triumph arrives as astronauts ready for US launch

A new era in space begins Wednesday with the launch by SpaceX of two NASA astronauts into space, a capability that for six decades symbolized the power of a handful of states, and which the United States itself had been deprived of for nine years.

Dinosaur-dooming asteroid struck earth at 'deadliest possible' angle

New simulations from Imperial College London have revealed the asteroid that doomed the dinosaurs struck Earth at the 'deadliest possible' angle.

German firm introducing game-changing solar-wind-wave energy platform

A German power firm will launch demonstrations of a one-of-a-kind, triple-threat power generating platform off Iraklio, Greece, later this year.

MAXI J1820+070: Black hole outburst caught on video

Astronomers have caught a black hole hurling hot material into space at close to the speed of light. This flare-up was captured in a new movie from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Mathematician helps resolve question first asked 60 years ago

An Irish mathematician, Dr. Martin Kerin, from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, has had a research article published in the Annals of Mathematics, widely regarded as the top journal for pure mathematics in the world. The article, written in collaboration with Professor Sebastian Goette of the University of Freiburg and Professor Krishnan Shankar of the University of Oklahoma, resolves a question first asked around 60 years ago on the geometrical properties of seven-dimensional objects which very closely resemble spheres.

Solution to century-old math problem could predict transmission of infectious diseases

A Bristol academic has achieved a milestone in statistical/mathematical physics by solving a 100-year-old physics problem—the discrete diffusion equation in finite space.

Solving the space junk problem

Space is getting crowded. Aging satellites and space debris crowd low-Earth orbit, and launching new satellites adds to the collision risk. The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, is not to capture debris or deorbit old satellites: it's an international agreement to charge operators "orbital-use fees" for every satellite put into orbit.

First results from human COVID-19 immunology study reveal universally effective antibodies

The first round of results from an immunological study of 149 people who have recovered from COVID-19 show that although the amount of antibodies they generated varies widely, most individuals had generated at least some that were intrinsically capable of neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Making matter out of light: high-power laser simulations point the way

A few minutes into the life of the universe, colliding emissions of light energy created the first particles of matter and antimatter. We are familiar with the reverse process—matter generating energy—in everything from a campfire to an atomic bomb, but it has been difficult to recreate that critical transformation of light into matter.

Study shows erosion of ozone layer responsible for mass extinction event

Researchers at the University of Southampton have shown that an extinction event 360 million years ago, that killed much of the Earth's plant and freshwater aquatic life, was caused by a brief breakdown of the ozone layer that shields the Earth from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This is a newly discovered extinction mechanism with profound implications for our warming world today.

Physicist creates fifth state of matter from the living room

A physicist has created the fifth state of matter working from home using quantum technology.

Novel insight reveals topological tangle in unexpected corner of the universe

Just as a literature buff might explore a novel for recurring themes, physicists and mathematicians search for repeating structures present throughout nature.

Microbiome rewilding: Biodiverse urban green spaces strengthen human immune systems

A research team led by the University of Adelaide has found that revegetation of green spaces within cities can improve soil microbiota diversity towards a more natural, biodiverse state, which has been linked to human health benefits.

Astronomers see 'cosmic ring of fire,' 11 billion years ago

Astronomers have captured an image of a super-rare type of galaxy—described as a "cosmic ring of fire"—as it existed 11 billion years ago.

Scientists develop the most heat-resistant material ever created

A group of scientists from NUST MISIS developed a ceramic material with the highest melting point among currently known compounds. Due to the unique combination of physical, mechanical and thermal properties, the material is promising for use in the most heat-loaded components of aircraft, such as nose fairings, jet engines and sharp front edges of wings operating at temperatures above 2000 degrees C. The results are published in Ceramics International.

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