Tuesday, July 23, 2024

BIG Wrap

NASA’s crewed lunar landing pushed to 2025 or beyond

The United States will send a crewed mission to the Moon "no earlier than 2025," NASA chief Bill Nelson told reporters today, officially pushing back the launch by at least a year. A target of 2024 was set by the administration of former president Donald Trump when it launched the Artemis program. But the program has faced numerous development delays ranging from its vehicles to the space suits required, reports Phys.org. Last week, NASA...

Common gene mutation increases cancer risk, research indicates

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered how a common gene mutation robs people of natural cancer protection. Hao Jiang of the UVA Cancer Center and his collaborators have revealed why a mutation in the UTX gene disrupts cells' ability to suppress tumors. The gene product, they found, forms tiny droplets in cells that help prevent tumour formation. But the mutation throws a wrench in that important process, leaving affected people vulnerable. The new...

New type of COVID vaccine easier to produce and does not need cold storage

Currently available COVID vaccines require cold storage and sophisticated manufacturing capacity, which makes it difficult to produce and distribute them widely, especially in less developed countries. A new type of vaccine would potentially be much easier to produce and would not need refrigeration, report researchers at Boston Children's Hospital.The researchers, led by Hidde Ploegh and first authors Novalia Pishesha and Thibault Harmand, say their technology could help fill global vaccination gaps and that the...

New method using nanowires could make solar panels more efficient and less expensive

A research group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has developed a method for making an ultra-high material efficient solar cell using semiconductor nanowires. If this is placed on top of a traditional silicon-based solar cell, it could potentially double the efficiency of today's Si solar cells at low cost. "We have a new method of using gallium arsenide (GaAs) material in a very effective way through nanostructuring, so we can...

Inexpensive drug arginine could enhance effectiveness of radiation therapy, study indicates

Treatment with arginine, one of the amino-acid building blocks of proteins, enhanced the effectiveness of radiation therapy in cancer patients with brain metastases, in a proof-of-concept, randomized clinical trial from investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine and Angel H. Roffo Cancer Institute. The study, published Nov. 5 in Science Advances, reported the results of administering arginine, which can be delivered in oral form, prior to standard radiation therapy in 31 patients who had brain metastases....

Planting forests with functional diversity improves productivity

As forests age, differences in functional traits of species become more important and reliable in predicting forest productivity, according to an international study led by professor Ma Keping at the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IBCAS). As part of the study, Ma and his team evaluated data from a 10-year-old planted mixed forest to determine how functional traits of species influence productivity. Planting productive mixed forests helps researchers learn what...

Merry Chip-miss – holiday season shoppers face disappointment due to chip crisis

Christmas shoppers who have not already bought their devices may not receive them in time, the boss of one of the world's top semiconductor chip designers has warned. Simon Segars, chief executive of chip firm Arm, said the mismatch between supply and demand is "the most extreme" he has ever seen. The "unprecedented" crisis won't be completely fixed by Christmas 2022, he said. In some cases, the wait for chips was taking 60 weeks, he said. With just...

Machine learning helps researchers gain important insights on wildfire probabilities

Recent wildfires in California and nearby states have demonstrated the need to better understand the dynamics that determine where and when wildfires occur. However, the factors and conditions that interact to contribute to the probability of wildfire – such as the interplay between local vegetation, precipitation, human land use, and more – are diverse, complex, and vary between locations and over time. To improve understanding of those relationships, Isaac Park of the University of California,...

Study confirms what is robbing galaxies of star-forming gas

Astronomers examining the nearby universe with the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have just completed the largest high-resolution survey of star-forming fuel ever conducted in galaxy clusters, writes Amy Oliver of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. More important, they are tackling a long-standing mystery in astrophysics: What is killing galaxies? The research, which provides the clearest evidence to date that extreme environments in space have severe impacts on the galaxies within them, will...

Samoan tree leaves as effective as ibuprofen in reducing inflammation, research indicates

A team of researchers from Samoa, New Zealand, and the U.S. has found that the leaves of Samoan tree matalafi are as good at relieving inflammation as ibuprofen, reports Medical Xpress. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes how they first studied the plant leaves and then tested them with mammalian immune cells. For hundreds of years, natives of Samoa have been using the leaves of the matalafi tree to...