Our little planetary family keeps growing. Researchers from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array have discovered a new dwarf planet. Far beyond our beloved Pluto and less than a quarter of the size of the continental United States. It’s the smallest dwarf planet so far, known as DeeDee according its discoverers. More dwarf planets are estimated to be found beyond Pluto, I wonder what the next one will be called?
The list of things Star Trek predicted keeps growing. Frist tablets and now tricorders. In the show tricorders were medical devices to monitor the patient’s vitals in real time. A team lead by an ER doctor has essentially recreated the device. Designed as additional hardware for tablets, the device monitors heartbeats, blood pressure and can even detect medical conditions, like pneumonia and diabetes. A great creation that can help millions, now if we can get to work on teleporters.
When we look to the stars and search for alien life, we usually look past our own star system. But Nasa researchers have discovered that alien life may be in our backyard. One of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, is a prime candidate for life beyond earth. Using the soon to be retired Cassini satellite, they “tasted” the water from one of Enceladus’ geysers. Finding that the sampled water is rich in early primal life food, Hydrogen. Nasa already has plans on digging further to see if we’re not alone.
For this year’s Earth Day, Nasa has chosen to put Earth up for adoption. Once on their adoption site you can claim a piece of Earth as your own. With this claim you get several data points, they range from average temperature to Ozone levels with many more points of data of the location. We Wizards grabbed a few points, each being in the South Pacific. We’d like to see what points everyone gets for this Earth Day.
Graphene, the wonder material that scientists use to make advanced electronics and batteries, now has a potential lifesaving application. Researchers from the University of Manchester have created a proof of concept project that can filter salt water into clean drinking fresh water. They create microscopic holes through a layer of graphene, these holes strip out any salt and leave fresh water to flow through. Currently set for lab settings, we just need to super-size them to help those coastal cities in need of water.
Almost straight out of one of the Wizard’s favorite movies, scientists have found blood cells frozen in amber. This blood was found when Oregon State University scientists discovered an ancient tick fossilized in amber. Where they discovered the amber, they believe the blood the engorged tick to be of an ancient species of monkey. Although there are no plans on fully reenacting the movie, it’s an interesting find non-the less.
SpaceX is at it again. The intrepid private space flight company is attempting to make history once more. Their aim today is to reuse a rocket they used back in April 2016. Space flight in general is an expensive endeavor, usually what goes up, never comes down in a reusable form. Making every rocket an expansive one-way trip. The people at SpaceX aim to fix that problem, using the same rocket multiple times. Eventually the expensive part of the rocket would only be the fuel. Here’s hoping the tests today make history.
The old cartoon, Pop-Eye, may have had something when they said Spinach was good for you. Besides the nutritional value, researchers have been able to create heart cells from the plant. They “wash” a leaf of spinach and then pump in the building blocks for heart cells. Eventually heart cells grow, eventually to the point they could be transplanted into awaiting patient. Still in the very early stages of development it opens a light at the end of the tunnel for those waiting on the organ transplant list.
Good News on the medical research front. Researchers from the University of Montpellier of France, have found identity markers for HIV. HIV, the disease that compromises people’s immune systems, has no true cure at the moment. We do have a series of treatments, but the disease hides itself in the infected person’s cells, making it impossible to get rid of. These Researchers have found markers on infected cells, with these markers treatments and potential cures can be developed to strike down one of humanities greatest enemies.
The world of renewable energy just keeps expanding. NASA just recently reported success in creating a greener jet fuel. Their main goal was to reduce the amount of emissions the planes produce once up 40,000 feet in the air. These emissions help form contrails, those lines of clouds in the sky, which can form clouds that could retain Earth’s heat. Along with the usual greenhouse gas emissions, these clouds would keep the heat on Earth, doubling the greenhouse effect. Reducing these emissions will help in the fight against global warming.