Jupiter Collision

Recently a huge item collided with the gas goliath, making a little “poof” in the planet’s environment.

However, the biggest planet in the Solar System frequently pulls in space debris because of its remarkable gravitational force, which helps to shield the Earth from similar collisions.

On Monday, Brazilian stargazer José Luis Pereira filmed an abrupt blaze on Jupiter. The concise film shows an item colliding straight with the planet.

Planetary researcher Paul Byrne isn’t exactly certain whether the article is a space rock or a comet.

“We do realize that it can’t have been too enormous — pictures of Jupiter since the effect don’t show an effect scar.”

The article suggest the item might have been twenty to thirty meters in size. So this little item most likely detonated in Jupiter’s upper climate since sufficient size and speed to truly penetrate through and leave behind a scar would be necessary.

Because of its humongous size, its orbit brings it near to the space rock belt, regularly bringing it into a collision course. The most renowned episode occurred in 1994 when pieces of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet slammed into Jupiter. The comet had been circling Jupiter for almost 10 years before Jupiter’s gravity destroyed it, splitting it up into pieces. The series of pieces had been trapped in a two-year circle around Jupiter prior to colliding with its cloud tops. The parts crashed into Jupiter with the power of 300 million nuclear bombs, as estimated by NASA.

“Without a doubt, we’ve seen a few such effects on Jupiter in the course of recent years, suggesting that they’re somewhat normal,” Byrne says. “A smaller collision on Earth would be obliterating, yet Jupiter is so large it is by all accounts ready to shake off these sorts of occasions with no issue.”

Researchers accept that Jupiter’s sheer size redirects a portion of these effects from the remainder of the Solar System’s planets by taking them on itself. Indeed, a few researchers feel that this is the reason life on Earth has had the option to flourish.

Glacier Blankets

For a decade, tourists have been traveling to the high Alps of southern Switzerland with a wish to walk inside a glacier. In 1870, a regional family got the idea of digging a 100-metered shallow tunnel inside the Rhone glacier. Paying visitors could walk through a frozen alcove straight out of a fairy tale. However, in recent times, global warming has posed a grave threat to the glacier. With the slightest glacier movement, ice melts, so at the beginning of every summer season, the tourist cave has to be carved anew.

According to the experts, the glacier has changed in the last few years and is expected to entirely disappear in the coming years. To slow down the ice melting, the cave carving family suggested a solution of covering a portion of the glacier with protective fleece blankets to reflect the sunlight.

As a preventive measure, huge blankets or a polyester fleece might appear like a quick-fix or gimmick, but they could diminish seasonal melting by up to 70% each year during the summer months. It radiates the sun’s energy back into the atmosphere, avoiding melt and also preserving the ice that fell on the glacier during the winter. A handful of workers would then be needed to remove the blankets and utilize the fresh covering of snow to fill in the cracks on the glacier’s surface.

The primary goal of the government is to insulate the exposed glacier’s ice by reflecting most of the sun’s energy by using white fleece protectors. According to the Swiss government, 90% of its glaciers will be eliminated by the end of the century if no solution is found to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the glacier experts, the size of the fleece blankets needs to be big enough to have any sort of effect. For this purpose, many workers are diligently sewing blankets together to cover the glaciers, whilst other countries, including Italy and Germany look set to be implementing this unique solution too.

Microwave-Powered Spacecraft

A group of researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Nagoya, Japan, is experimenting with ground-centered microwave pillars for controlling rockets with an aim to make the spacecraft lighter, as a significant portion of a rockets weight is taken by its fuel.

Technological advancements helped engineers.

A study published in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets says that during recent tests, the engineers managed to assign a tiny gliding four-rotor drone with a versatile microwave. This test was implemented for making sure that their idea was viable.

According to the engineers, they weren’t certain about the flexibility of their idea regarding the experiment, but these adjustments were made so that the microwave beams might not only enable the upgrading of an aircraft but also take a rocket into orbit someday.

Former experiments:

These researchers weren’t the first ones who implemented versatile spacecraft with a microwave beam. However, this latest attempt by researchers in Japan had stronger beams and advanced tracking systems, which made this experiment succeed where the former ones failed.

According to the head author and Tsukuba engineer Kohei Shimamura, the team of engineers used a futuristic beam tracking system for ensuring that the drone received maximum power. Furthermore, for improving the transmission efficiency, they carefully rearranged the microwave phase utilizing an analog phase sifter, which was integrated with a GPS. The propulsion technique might appear a bit unusual, but it was enough to maintain a four-engine drone upwards.

However, the technology is still quite premature, and it’s unlikely that we’ll get to witness microwave-powered NASA rockets going to space anytime soon. Presently, a huge obstacle is the energy that’s lost during the procedure. According to the examiners, the comprehensive energy efficiency obtained in the experiments was relatively low, reaching just a rate of 0.43%.

Currently, it’s still low, but more feasible than the 0.1% achieved in former experiments. Further work to tackle the problem of energy efficiency continues.

Shimamura evaluated that this outcome shows that more improvement is expected to further develop the transmission effectiveness and success for aircraft, space apparatus, and rockets of the future.

Even though microwave-controlled rocket propulsion is still in the initial phases, one day it could potentially be a better way of dispatching rockets into space without the massive fuel demands currently being used by conventional spacecraft.

Reengineering the Wooly Mammoth

Ever thought the giant sized tusked wooly elephants who went extinct some 10,000 years ago and only recently seen in animated movies & ancient history programs will come to life on this earth again? That’s exactly what US based startup Colossal Biosciences has announced and already secured funding of $15 million.

The project spearheaded by Harvard geneticist George Church aims to use CRISPR gene editing technology to engineer Asian elephant embryos with characteristics closest to the now extinct Wooly Mammoths. The idea is to create and then release these giants in the Arctic Tundra region in a bid to positively impact the ecosystem and play their role in environmental conservation. The scientists at Colossal Biosciences also believe that if they are successful in recreating the Wooly Mammoths, they might even be able to prevent the extinction of other endangered species.

Possible Hurdles that Scientists Face in Reengineering Mammoths

While it all sounds pretty fascinating, the whole idea or reintroducing the Wooly Mammoths into the wild will need a lot of thinking. There’s a lot that needs to be addressed before the scientists in George Church’s team attempt to recreate the giants. For instance, scientists are already questioning how will these giant Mammoths be gestated? While there is no mature technology for artificial wombs which could be used to gestate the Mammoth embryos, scientists around the world are quite skeptical about using an Asian elephant as the mother, which are listed as endangered species themselves.

Also, it must be considered that the present day human race knows very little about the Wooly Mammoths. With such little knowledge, releasing these giants into the Arctic Tundra is another point of concern.

Real Mammoths or Hybrids

Another big question being raised by scientists is that whether or not these Wooly Mammoths will be what Colossal Biosciences claims them to be. Asian elephants generally share 99% of their DNA with this particular mammoth species but with smaller ears and a stark shaggy coat, this animal will most likely be an elephant-mammoth hybrid and not the real ancient mammoths.

While researchers have previously discovered calves of wooly mammoths in the permafrost, scientists at Colossal Biosciences agree that it might be really hard to study the properties of the mammoth and that it is highly likely this project might very well be impossible to successfully complete.

What Does this Mean for Biosciences?

Church’s cofounder at Colossal, software entrepreneur Ben Lamm, said “I hope the tech could prevent the extinction of endangered mammals like elephants and rhinoceroses, or even let conservationists tinker with the genetic code of existing creatures to help them survive a changing climate.”

“We can leverage these genetic tools,” he further said, to “allow for species to not be isolated to one geographic location, but be adaptable to others.”

Nipah virus outbreak in India

The deadliest situation has arrived in Kerela, India after the outbreak of the extremely severe Nipah virus took the life of a twelve-year-old boy. After the diagnosis of brain swelling, the boy had been admitted to a private hospital. While figuring out how to treat this infectious Nipah virus is pretty much a work in progress, there have been significant advances.

Nonetheless, the Nipah virus remains a matter of concern not only in India but for the rest of the world as well. WHO classifies it as a “virus of concern” for future pandemics because it can be easily transmitted to a healthy person from the infected one, especially through the contaminated food.

Nipah Virus Vs Corona Virus:

According to a CBS news reports, Nipah is considered to be one of the most poisonous viruses to ever infect humans. Previously, the virus has killed more than 18 individuals who were infected. The disease is far less contagious than the Covid-19 pandemic which is still infecting thousands of people daily, although the availability of vaccines has reduced the impact of this virus. However, there’s still a possibility of neurological symptoms among the survivors.

However, the Nipah infection does not spread as quickly as Coronavirus does, mainly because of the short amount of time from infection to death.

Aftermath precautions:

Following the boy’s death, public health authorities swung into action by connecting with the boy’s family, friends, and doctors. They identified and isolated at least 188 people who interacted with the boy physically. Additionally, they sealed off the entire area within about three miles from the boy’s residence in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

As a consequence of this inspection, the healthcare assistants who treated the boy have shown the symptoms of the Nipah virus, and both of them have been hospitalized.

Besides Coronavirus, Nipah infection has been listed as a priority because of its great spreading potential. After the USA, India has the second-highest progressive covid-19 case count in the world.

Predictions about the virus:

In September 2020, the Chief Medical Advisor of the White House warned the public about the impending doom of the outbreaks of viruses, including Nipah and Corona. He evaluates that these viruses will enter the world of humanity and will only grow increasingly common.

Sociologically, the Nipah virus constantly appears in Southeast Asia. It is because the continuing environmental destruction has destroyed the wildlife and made the animals, including all the bat species to remain in closer proximity to human societies than ever before. To avoid this reunion, the Kerala officials are warning all the citizens to eschew bats and to trash any food that shows signs of insects taking a nibble.

In the long run, additional research will be completed on the Nipah virus and the development of effective treatments.

Life on Saturn’s Moon

For decades scientists around the world have been fascinated by the idea of finding life somewhere else in the universe, and now they might have found a place which they believe could harbor life.

Earlier in July, NASA announced that it had found the best clue yet about life elsewhere in the universe. NASA and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Cassini-Huygens spacecraft collected evidence for a potential home for life on a moon of Saturn called Enceladus.

Commonly known as the ice moon, Enceladus is totally covered in ice and snow and for long has fascinated space scientists. Underneath the icy shell, and above the rocky core, Enceladus has an ocean of liquid water. The ice on the surface of the moon has large cracks through which the ocean is leaking and spewing water vapor geysers into space, all of which has been a source of great fascination for scientists and people alike.

The spacecraft Cassini-Huygens flew through those geysers and sampled their chemical makeup, which indicates that there could be some form of a microbial activity going on at the bottom of the Enceladus Ocean. A study of the chemical makeup revealed that these plumes not only contained hydrogen but also a high concentration of methane, which is considered a very strong by-product of life and quite frequently associated with the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Earth’s oceans.

What Are Hydrothermal Vents?

When the cold water at the bottom of the ocean seeps through the rocks into the ocean floor passing around heat sources such as magma/lava, it leads to the formation of minerals & gases that are then spewed out in the water through hydrothermal vents. Microorganisms such as bacteria at the bottom of the ocean consume the dihydrogen produced in these gases as their source of energy, a process known as chemosynthesis, creating methane & carbon dioxide as a by-product. These bacteria are then consumed by clams, shrimps & crabs, thus creating an entire ecosystem in the darkness. Scientists have a strong reason to believe that if it is happening on the earth, it could be happening on the Saturn moon too.

Scientists Suggest Gases Come From Hydrothermal Activity by Extra Terrestrial Microbes

Researchers from the University of Arizona and Paris Sciences et Lettres University published a research paper in Nature Astronomy suggesting that the high concentration of methane in the plumes could literally mean microbial activity. 

“We wanted to know: Could Earth-like microbes that ‘eat’ the dihydrogen and produce methane explain the surprisingly large amount of methane detected by Cassini?” said Regis Ferriere, an associate professor at the University of Arizona and the co-author of the study.

He further added that searching for such microbes, known as methanogens, at Enceladus’ seafloor would require extremely challenging deep-dive missions that are not in sight for several decades.

In their research, the scientists also constructed mathematical models & carried out computer simulations to study if the amount of methane found in the geysers actually suggested there was indeed some sort of microbial activity going on in the ocean of Enceladus.

“Obviously, we are not concluding that life exists in Enceladus’ ocean. Rather, we wanted to understand how likely it would be that Enceladus’ hydrothermal vents could be habitable to Earth-like microorganisms,” Ferriere concluded.

9 Other Places That May Support Life:

For decades, NASA has been launching space missions to find life elsewhere in the universe and has in fact concluded that in addition to Enceladus, the moon of Saturn, there are 9 other icy worlds that may support life. Scientists have been particularly excited about Europa, the moon of Jupiter, which is also covered in ice and has cracks on the surface spewing plumes out into the space, all of which appears to be exactly the same phenomenon that is happening at Enceladus.

If these ice worlds literally have these hydrothermal vents then it is likely that there could be marine communities where life could exist within this solar system and in order to confirm it scientists need to go back there and hunt in depth.