Science X Newsletter Week 46

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 46:

Solar system formed in less than 200,000 years

A long time ago—roughly 4.5 billion years—our sun and solar system formed over the short time span of 200,000 years. That is the conclusion of a group of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists after looking at isotopes of the element molybdenum found on meteorites.

Apophis asteroid might be more likely to strike Earth in 2068 than thought

David Tholen, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii, recently reported on the status of asteroid Apophis during a virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences. During his presentation, he outlined research he and his team conducted regarding the path of the asteroid and the likelihood that it will strike Earth.

Researchers identify melatonin as possible COVID-19 treatment

Results from a new Cleveland Clinic-led study suggest that melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is commonly used as an over-the-counter sleep aid, may be a viable treatment option for COVID-19.

Large volcanic eruption caused the largest mass extinction

Researchers in Japan, the US and China say they have found more concrete evidence of the volcanic cause of the largest mass extinction of life. Their research looked at two discrete eruption events: one that was previously unknown to researchers, and the other that resulted in large swaths of terrestrial and marine life going extinct.

Neutron star merger results in magnetar with brightest kilonova ever observed

Long ago and far across the universe, an enormous burst of gamma rays unleashed more energy in a half-second than the sun will produce over its entire 10-billion-year lifetime.

The universe is getting hot, hot, hot, a new study suggests

The universe is getting hotter, a new study has found.

Europa glows: Radiation does a bright number on Jupiter's moon

As the icy, ocean-filled moon Europa orbits Jupiter, it withstands a relentless pummeling of radiation. Jupiter zaps Europa's surface night and day with electrons and other particles, bathing it in high-energy radiation. But as these particles pound the moon's surface, they may also be doing something otherworldly: making Europa glow in the dark.

Ending greenhouse gas emissions may not stop global warming: study

Even if humanity stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, Earth will warm for centuries to come and oceans will rise by metres, according to a controversial modelling study published Thursday.

Link between Alzheimer's disease and gut microbiota is confirmed

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Still incurable, it directly affects nearly one million people in Europe, and indirectly millions of family members as well as society as a whole. In recent years, the scientific community has suspected that the gut microbiota plays a role in the development of the disease.

Escape from Mars: How water fled the red planet

Mars once had oceans but is now bone-dry, leaving many to wonder how the water was lost. University of Arizona researchers have discovered a surprisingly large amount of water in the upper atmosphere of Mars, where it is rapidly destroyed, explaining part of this Martian mystery.

Researchers model source of eruption on Jupiter's moon Europa

On Jupiter's icy moon Europa, powerful eruptions may spew into space, raising questions among hopeful astrobiologists on Earth: What would blast out from miles-high plumes? Could they contain signs of extraterrestrial life? And where in Europa would they originate? A new explanation now points to a source closer to the frozen surface than might be expected.

Newly discovered fossil shows small-scale evolutionary changes in an extinct human species

Males of the extinct human species Paranthropus robustus were thought to be substantially larger than females—much like the size differences seen in modern-day primates such as gorillas, orangutans and baboons. But a new fossil discovery in South Africa instead suggests that P. robustus evolved rapidly during a turbulent period of local climate change about 2 million years ago, resulting in anatomical changes that previously were attributed to sex.

Scientists discover new family of quasiparticles in graphene-based materials

A group of researchers led by Sir Andre Geim and Dr. Alexey Berdyugin at The University of Manchester have discovered and characterized a new family of quasiparticles named 'Brown-Zak fermions' in graphene-based superlattices.

Research project reveals the original pigments of 2,000-year-old inscriptions at the temple of Esna

More than 200 years after the rediscovery of an Egyptian temple, a German-Egyptian research team has uncovered the original colors of inscriptions that are around 2,000 years old. Freed from thick layers of soot and dirt, the reliefs and inscriptions can now be admired again in bright colors. The project, led by Egyptologist Professor Christian Leitz, also discovered new inscriptions that reveal the ancient Egyptian names of constellations for the first time. The restoration work is a cooperation between the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES) at the University of Tübingen and the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Curiosity takes selfie with 'Mary Anning' on the red planet

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has a new selfie. This latest is from a location named "Mary Anning," after a 19th-century English paleontologist whose discovery of marine-reptile fossils were ignored for generations because of her gender and class. The rover has been at the site since this past July, taking and analyzing drill samples.

New fossil seal species rewrites history

The discovery, published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, radically changes scientists' understanding of how seal species evolved around the world.

New tractor beam has potential to tame lightning

Lightning never strikes twice, so the saying goes, but new technology may allow us to control where it hits the ground, reducing the risk of catastrophic bushfires.

Painstaking race against time to uncover Viking ship's secrets

Inch by inch, they gently pick through the soil in search of thousand-year-old relics. Racing against onsetting mould yet painstakingly meticulous, archaeologists in Norway are exhuming a rare Viking ship grave in hopes of uncovering the secrets within.

CCNY team in quantum algorithm breakthrough

Researchers led by City College of New York physicist Pouyan Ghaemi report the development of a quantum algorithm with the potential to study a class of many-electron quantums system using quantum computers. Their paper, entitled "Creating and Manipulating a Laughlin-Type ν=1/3 Fractional Quantum Hall State on a Quantum Computer with Linear Depth Circuits," appears in the December issue of PRX Quantum, a journal of the American Physical Society.

New approach to circuit compression could deliver real-world quantum computers years ahead of schedule

A major technical challenge for any practical, real-world quantum computer comes from the need for a large number of physical qubits to deal with errors that accumulate during computation. Such quantum error correction is resource-intensive and computationally time-consuming. But researchers have found an effective software method that enables significant compression of quantum circuits, relaxing the demands placed on hardware development.


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