Science X Newsletter Week 16

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 16:

Black hole is closest to Earth, among the smallest ever discovered

Scientists have discovered one of the smallest black holes on record—and the closest one to Earth found to date.

NASA's New Horizons reaches a rare space milestone

In the weeks following its launch in early 2006, when NASA's New Horizons was still close to home, it took just minutes to transmit a command to the spacecraft, and hear back that the onboard computer received and was ready to carry out the instructions.

Humongous flare from sun's nearest neighbor breaks records

Scientists have spotted the largest flare ever recorded from the sun's nearest neighbor, the star Proxima Centauri.

Ingenuity helicopter successfully flew on Mars (Update)

NASA's experimental helicopter Ingenuity rose into the thin air above the dusty red surface of Mars on Monday, achieving the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet.

DNA robots designed in minutes instead of days

Someday, scientists believe, tiny DNA-based robots and other nanodevices will deliver medicine inside our bodies, detect the presence of deadly pathogens, and help manufacture increasingly smaller electronics.

'Undruggable' cancer protein becomes druggable, thanks to shrub

A chemist from Purdue University has found a way to synthesize a compound to fight a previously "undruggable" cancer protein with benefits across a myriad of cancer types.

Astronauts flying reused SpaceX rocket, capsule for 1st time

For the first time, NASA is putting its trust in a recycled SpaceX rocket and capsule for a crew.

Wild horses flourish in Chernobyl 35 years after explosion

Down an overgrown country road, three startled wild horses with rugged coats and rigid manes dart into the flourishing overgrowth of their unlikely nature reserve: the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Astronomers release new all-sky map of the Milky Way's outer reaches

Astronomers using data from NASA and the ESA (European Space Agency) telescopes have released a new all-sky map of the outermost region of our galaxy. Known as the galactic halo, this area lies outside the swirling spiral arms that form the Milky Way's recognizable central disk and is sparsely populated with stars. Though the halo may appear mostly empty, it is also predicted to contain a massive reservoir of dark matter, a mysterious and invisible substance thought to make up the bulk of all the mass in the universe.

The effects of solar flares on Earth's magnetosphere

Planet Earth is surrounded by a system of magnetic fields known as the magnetosphere. This vast, comet-shaped system deflects charged particles coming from the sun, shielding our planet from harmful particle radiation and preventing solar wind (i.e., a stream of charged particles released from the sun's upper atmosphere) from eroding the atmosphere.

Study reveals the workings of nature's own earthquake blocker

A new study finds a naturally occurring "earthquake gate" that decides which earthquakes are allowed to grow into magnitude 8 or greater.

Teaching children to play chess found to decrease risk aversion

A trio of researchers from Monash University and Deakin University has found that teaching children to play chess can reduce their aversion to risk. In their paper published in Journal of Development Economics, Asad Islam, Wang-Sheng Lee and Aaron Nicholas describe studying the impact of learning chess on 400 children in the U.K.

Walk the dinosaur: New biomechanical model shows Tyrannosaurus rex in a swinging gait

Researchers from the Netherlands have created a new approach to envision how dinosaurs walked. By modeling a T. rex tail as a suspension bridge, the scientists formed a new idea of the animal's walking speed. Trix, the tyrannosaur from Naturalis museum in the Netherlands, probably strolled slower—but with more spring in its step—than assumed. This is a first step towards more realistic dinosaur motion.

New process makes 'biodegradable' plastics truly compostable

Biodegradable plastics have been advertised as one solution to the plastic pollution problem bedeviling the world, but today's "compostable" plastic bags, utensils and cup lids don't break down during typical composting and contaminate other recyclable plastics, creating headaches for recyclers. Most compostable plastics, made primarily of the polyester known as polylactic acid, or PLA, end up in landfills and last as long as forever plastics.

In Texas, a rancher swaps his oil pumps for wind turbines

Cattle rancher Bobby Helmers cranes to listen as the blades of his six giant wind turbines slice through the air in the same Texas fields that once echoed with the sounds of oil pumps.

Scientists probe mysterious melting of Earth's crust in western North America

A group of University of Wyoming professors and students has identified an unusual belt of igneous rocks that stretches for over 2,000 miles from British Columbia, Canada, to Sonora, Mexico.

Essential oils restore insecticide effectiveness against bed bugs

Bed bugs tuck themselves away into dark, unseen spaces and multiply rapidly, making them difficult to control. That job has gotten even harder in recent years as the pests have developed resistance to the insecticides long used to eradicate them from homes, hotel rooms and other spaces.

Flushing a public toilet? Don't linger, because aerosolized droplets do

Flushing a toilet can generate large quantities of microbe-containing aerosols depending on the design, water pressure or flushing power of the toilet. A variety of pathogens are usually found in stagnant water as well as in urine, feces and vomit. When dispersed widely through aerosolization, these pathogens can cause Ebola, norovirus that results in violent food poisoning, as well as COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2.

A more efficient, safer alternative to sourcing copper via bacteria

Copper remains one of the single most ubiquitous metals in everyday life. As a conductor of heat and electricity, it is utilized in wires, roofing and plumbing, as well as a catalyst for petrochemical plants, solar and electrical conductors and for a wide range of energy related applications. Subsequently, any method to harvest more of the valuable commodity proves a useful endeavor.

Hubble captures giant star on the edge of destruction

The expanding shell of gas and dust that surrounds the star is about five light-years wide, which equals the distance from here to the nearest star beyond the Sun, Proxima Centauri.


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