Science X Newsletter Week 47

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 47:

Astronomers discover new 'fossil galaxy' buried deep within the Milky Way

Scientists working with data from the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys' Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) have discovered a "fossil galaxy" hidden in the depths of our own Milky Way.

In December, Jupiter, Saturn will look like double planet for first time since the Middle Ages

Just after sunset on the evening of Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in Earth's night sky than they have been since the Middle Ages, offering people the world over a celestial treat to ring in the winter solstice.

New Chinese submersible reaches Earth's deepest ocean trench

China livestreamed footage of its new manned submersible parked at the bottom of the Mariana Trench on Friday, part of a historic mission into the deepest underwater valley on the planet.

Does the human brain resemble the Universe?

An astrophysicist at the University of Bologna and a neurosurgeon at the University of Verona compared the network of neuronal cells in the human brain with the cosmic network of galaxies... and surprising similarities emerged

Geoscientists discover Ancestral Puebloans survived from ice melt in New Mexico lava tubes

For more than 10,000 years, the people who lived on the arid landscape of modern-day western New Mexico were renowned for their complex societies, unique architecture and early economic and political systems. But surviving in what Spanish explorers would later name El Malpais, or the "bad lands," required ingenuity now being explained for the first time by an international geosciences team led by the University of South Florida.

Revolutionary CRISPR-based genome editing system treatment destroys cancer cells

Researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have demonstrated that the CRISPR/Cas9 system is very effective in treating metastatic cancers, a significant step on the way to finding a cure for cancer. The researchers developed a novel lipid nanoparticle-based delivery system that specifically targets cancer cells and destroys them by genetic manipulation. The system, called CRISPR-LNPs, carries a genetic messenger (messenger RNA), which encodes for the CRISPR enzyme Cas9 that acts as molecular scissors that cut the cells' DNA.

Astronaut: SpaceX Dragon beats shuttle, Soyuz for launching

The most experienced astronaut on SpaceX's newly launched crew said Thursday that riding a Dragon capsule to orbit is like being inside the actual mythical beast, and a lot more fun than NASA's shuttles or Russian flights.

Texas astronomers revive idea for 'Ultimately Large Telescope' on the moon

A group of astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin has found that a telescope idea shelved by NASA a decade ago can solve a problem that no other telescope can: It would be able to study the first stars in the universe. The team, led by NASA Hubble Fellow Anna Schauer, will publish their results in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Vitamin D supplements may reduce risk of developing advanced cancer

For many years, investigators have been trying to pin down the tantalizing connection between vitamin D and cancer. Epidemiological studies have found that people who live near the equator, where exposure to sunlight produces more vitamin D, have lower incidence and death rates from certain cancers. In cancer cells in the lab and in mouse models, vitamin D has also been found to slow cancer progression. But the results of randomized clinical trials in humans haven't yielded a clear answer. The Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL), which concluded in 2018, found that vitamin D did not reduce overall incidence of cancer, but hinted at a decreased risk of cancer deaths. Now, in a secondary analysis of VITAL, a team led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital has narrowed in on the connection between taking vitamin D supplements and risk of metastatic or fatal cancer.

Gravitational lenses measure universe expansion

It's one of the big cosmology debates: The universe is expanding, but how fast exactly? Two available measurements yield different results. Leiden physicist David Harvey adapted an independent third measurement method using the light warping properties of galaxies predicted by Einstein. He published his findings in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Researcher sets record for quantum chemistry calculation

A researcher from The Australian National University (ANU) has used one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world to predict the quantum mechanical properties of large molecular systems with an accuracy that surpasses all previous experiments.

Researchers have succeeded in directly observing the formation and interaction of highly ionized krypton plasma

The last decade has been marked by a series of remarkable discoveries identifying how the universe is composed. It is understood that the mysterious substance dark matter makes up 85 % of the matter in the universe. Observable matter in the universe consists of ionized particles. Thus, a profound understanding of ionized matter and its interaction with light, could lead to a deeper understanding of the relationships at play that formed the universe. While ionized matter, or plasma, is relatively easy to generate in the lab, studying it is extremely challenging as methods that can capture ionization states and density are virtually non-existant.

Chromosomes look different than you think

In high school textbooks, human chromosomes are pictured as wonky Xs like two hotdogs jammed together. But those images are far from accurate. "For 90 percent of the time," said Jun-Han Su, "chromosomes don't exist like that."

Orbits of ancient stars prompt rethink on Milky Way evolution

Theories on how the Milky Way formed are set to be rewritten following discoveries about the behavior of some of its oldest stars.

Researchers prove water has multiple liquid states

Water is a ubiquitous liquid with many highly unique properties. The way it responds to changes in pressure and temperature can be completely different from other liquids, and these properties are essential to many practical applications and particularly to life as we know it. What causes these anomalies has long been a source of scientific exploration, but now, an international team of researchers that includes Nicolas Giovambattista, a professor at CUNY, has proved that water can exist in two different liquid states—a finding that can explain many of water's anomalous properties. Their research appears in a paper published in the November 20 issue of the journal Science.

Scientists make insta-bling at room temperature

An international team of scientists has defied nature to make diamonds in minutes in a laboratory at room temperature—a process that normally requires billions of years, huge amounts of pressure and super-hot temperatures.

Former piece of Pacific Ocean floor imaged deep beneath China

In a study that gives new meaning to the term "rock bottom," seismic researchers have discovered the underside of a rocky slab of Earth's surface layer, or lithosphere, that has been pulled more than 400 miles beneath northeastern China by the process of tectonic subduction.

Researchers identify features that could make someone a virus super-spreader

New research from the University of Central Florida has identified physiological features that could make people super-spreaders of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.

Simulations suggest geoengineering would not stop global warming if greenhouse gasses continue to increase

A trio of researchers, two with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the other the California Institute of Technology, developed computer simulations suggesting that using geoengineering to cool the planet would not be enough to overcome greenhouse effects if emissions continue at the current rate. Tapio Schneider, Colleen Kaul and Kyle Pressel have published their results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Superspreader events key driver in COVID-19 pandemic

At churches, on cruise ships and even in the White House, superspreading events that can sicken dozens, even hundreds, of people have illustrated the potential for the coronavirus to infect in dramatic bursts.


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