четверг, 29 ноября 2018 г.

Bone Booster Cells within a person’s bones are in a balancing…

Bone Booster

Cells within a person’s bones are in a balancing act between those that produce new boney material (osteoblasts) and those that dismantle and reabsorb existing bone (osteoclasts). In older adults, however, this balance tends to favour reabsorption leading to progressive loss of bone mass and weakening of the structure (osteoporosis). It has been discovered that many people with early onset osteoporosis have mutations in a secreted signalling protein called WNT1. And, now researchers have found that mice with Wnt1 deficiency are also more prone to bone fractures. Conversely, mice engineered to produce excess Wnt1 in their osteoblasts have considerably denser bones (right) than control animals (left). Importantly, this bone-strengthening effect was seen when Wnt1 was increased in adult and elderly mice as well as young animals. The results indicate that boosting WNT1 may one day be a therapeutic strategy for treating osteoporosis in people.

Written by Ruth Williams

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HiPOD (29 November 2018): Ridges in Arcadia Planitia    – The…

HiPOD (29 November 2018): Ridges in Arcadia Planitia 

   – The rationale for this observation is to investigate the structure of these ridges. Are these fault-related? Unit contacts? Periglacial features? (Alt: 307 km, less than 5 km across.)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The Uralic cline in the Global25

The Uralic cline is a concept that was discussed in some detail in the recent Lamnidis et al. palaeogenomics paper on the origin and spread of Siberian ancestry in Europe (see here). It pertains to the most northerly genetic cline that links the populations of West and East Eurasia, and is largely made up of Uralic-speaking peoples rich in Y-haplogroup N1c.
This is what the Uralic cline looks like when inferred from my Global25 Principal Component Analysis (PCA) data. Note that the plot features most of the Lamnidis et al. ancient samples, and they’re all more or less sitting along my version of the said cline. The relevant datasheet is available here.

Admittedly though, as pointed out by Lamnidis et al., the Bolshoy samples probably aren’t those of Uralic speakers because they’re dated to 1523±87 calBCE, which predates most linguistic estimates of the spread of known Uralic languages into the Kola Peninsula. So the important question is why do they cluster along the Uralic cline and 2/2 of the male samples belong to N1c?
The most logical explanation, I’d say, is that the Uralic cline actually represents an older, pre-Uralic contact zone between the east and west. Nevertheless, I think it’s likely that the Proto-Uralic language formed somewhere in this ancient contact zone, and the early Uralic-speaking peoples used it to their advantage to spread rapidly both east and west, especially during the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age, when they, and their N1c, finally reached the East Baltic region (see here).
See also…
Corded Ware people =/= Proto-Uralics (Tambets et al. 2018)
The mystery of the Sintashta people
Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but…


PSLV-C43 successfully launches HysIS and 30 satellites

ISRO – Indian Space Research Organisation logo.

Nov 29, 2018

Launch of PSLV-C43/HysIS

PSLV-C43 lifted off at 09:57 hrs (IST) on November 29, 2018 from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota and successfully launched India’s Hyper spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) and 30 international co-passenger satellites (including two ESA’s nanosatellites).

Lift-off and Onboard Camera View of PSLV-C43/HysIS Launch

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is a four stage launch vehicle with alternating solid and liquid stages. PSLV-C43 is the Core Alone version of PSLV, without the six strap-ons.

HysIS satellite description

 HysIS satellite deployment

HysIS, the primary satellite of PSLV-C43 mission, weighing about 380 kg, is an earth observation satellite configured around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 (IMS-2) bus. The primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth’s surface in the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 (IMS-2)

The co-passengers of HysIS include 1 Micro and 29 Nano satellites from  8 different countries. These satellites have been commercially contracted for launch through Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of ISRO.

Related article:

Lift off for Pioneering nanosats

Related links:

HysIS: https://www.isro.gov.in/Spacecraft/hysis

ISRO: https://www.isro.gov.in/

Images, Video, Text, Credit: ISRO/SciNews.

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Magnetic fields found in a Jet from a Baby Star

Figure 1: ALMA detection of SiO line polarization in the HH 211 jet. (Top) A composite image showing the HH 211 jet and the outflow around it. The blue and red images show respectively the approaching (blueshifted) side and the receding (redshifted) side of the jet in SiO (adopted from Lee et al. 2009). Gray image shows the outflow in H2 (adopted from Hirano et al. 2006). (Bottom) A zoom-in to the innermost part of the jet within 700 au of the central protostar. Orange image shows the accretion disk recently detected with ALMA (Lee et al. 2018). Blue and red images show the blueshifted and redshifted sides of the innermost jet coming out from the disk, obtained in our observation. Yellow line segments show the orientations of the SiO line polarization in the jet. A size scale of our solar system is shown in the lower right corner for size comparison. In the two panels, asterisks mark the possible position of the central protostar. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Lee et al.

Figure 2: Possible helical magnetic fields in the HH 211 jet. Blue and red images show the blueshifted and redshifted sides of the jet coming out from the disk, as shown in the bottom panel of Figure 1. The greenish helical lines show the possible magnetic field morphology in the jet. The asterisk marks the possible position of the central protostar. A size scale of our solar system is shown in the lower right corner for size comparison. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Lee et al. 

Figure 3: Artist’s conception of the helical magnetic field in the jet coming from the accretion disk. Credit: Yin-Chih Tsai

An international research team led by Chin-Fei Lee in the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) has made a breakthrough observation with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), confirming the presence of magnetic fields in a jet from a protostar (baby star). The jet is believed to play an important role in star formation, enabling the protostar to accrete mass from an accretion disk by carrying away angular momentum from the disk. It is highly supersonic and collimated, and predicted, in theory, to be launched and collimated by magnetic fields. The finding supports the theoretical prediction and confirms the role of the jet in star formation.

“Although it has been long predicted that protostellar jet is threaded with magnetic fields, no one is really sure about it. Thanks to the high-sensitivity of ALMA, we have finally confirmed the presence of magnetic fields in a protostellar jet with molecular line polarization detection. More interestingly, the magnetic fields in the jet could be helical, as seen in the jet from an active galactic nucleus (AGN). Perhaps, the same mechanism is at work to launch and collimate the jets from both protostar and AGN,” says Chin-Fei Lee at ASIAA.

“The detected polarization comes from a silicon monoxide (SiO) molecular line in the presence of magnetic fields”, says Hsiang-Chih Hwang, who was a former National Taiwan University (NTU) undergraduate student of Chin-Fei Lee modeling the polarization. “The polarized emission in the jet is so faint that we failed to detect it with the Submillimeter Array (SMA, Mauna Kea, Hawai). We are so excited to have finally detected it with ALMA.”

HH 211 is a well-defined jet from one of the youngest protostellar systems in Perseus at a distance of about 1,000 light-years. The central powering protostar has an age of only about 10,000 years (which is about 2 millionths of the age of our Sun) and a mass of about 0.05 solar mass. The jet is rich in SiO molecular gas and drives a spectacular molecular outflow around it (see the top panel in Figure 1).

With ALMA, we zoomed in to the innermost part of the jet within 700 au of the central protostar, where the emission is the brightest in SiO. We detected SiO line polarization toward the approaching (blueshifted) side of the jet (see the bottom panel in Figure 1). The polarization has a fraction of about 1.5% and an orientation roughly aligned with the jet axis. This line polarization is due to the Goldreich-Kylafis effect, confirming the presence of magnetic fields in the jet. The orientation of the magnetic fields could be either toroidal or poloidal. According to the current jet launching models, the magnetic fields are expected to be helical and should be mainly toroidal there where the polarization is detected, in order to collimate the jet. Deeper observations will be proposed to detect the line polarization in the receding (redshifted) side of the jet and check for consistent morphology of the polarization. Furthermore, additional SiO lines will be observed in order to confirm the field morphology.

The observation opens up an exciting possibility of directly detecting and characterizing magnetic fields in protostellar jets through high-resolution and high-sensitivity imaging with ALMA, which can improve the theories of jet formation and thus our understanding for the feeding process in the innermost region of star formation.

Additional Information

This research was presented in a paper titled “Unveiling a Magnetized Jet from a Low-Mass Protostar” by Lee et al. published in the Nature Communications 2018 November issue.

The team is composed of Chin-Fei Lee (ASIAA, Taiwan; National Taiwan University, Taiwan), Hsiang-Chih Hwang (National Taiwan University, Taiwan; Johns Hopkins University, USA), Tao-Chung Ching (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan), Naomi Hirano (ASIAA, Taiwan), Shih-Ping Lai (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan), Ramprasad Rao (ASIAA, Taiwan), and Paul T.P. Ho (ASIAA, Taiwan; East Asia Observatory)

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA


Nicolás Lira
Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

Masaaki Hiramatsu
Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
Phone: +81 422 34 3630
Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

Calum Turner
ESO Assistant Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
Email: calum.turner@eso.org

Charles E. Blue
Public Information Officer
National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
Phone: +1 434 296 0314
Cell phone: +1 202 236 6324
Email: cblue@nrao.edu

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2018 November 29 Across Corona Australis Image Credit &…

2018 November 29

Across Corona Australis
Image Credit & Copyright: Fabian Neyer

Explanation: Cosmic dust clouds are draped across a rich field of stars in this broad telescopic panorama near the northern boundary of Corona Australis, the Southern Crown. Less than 500 light-years away the denser clouds effectively block light from more distant background stars in the Milky Way. The entire vista spans about 5 degrees or nearly 45 light-years at the clouds’ estimated distance. Toward the right lies a group of bluish reflection nebulae cataloged as NGC 6726, 6727, 6729 and IC 4812. The characteristic blue color is produced as light from hot stars is reflected by the cosmic dust. The dust also obscures from view stars in the region still in the process of formation. Smaller yellowish nebula NGC 6729 surrounds young variable star R Coronae Australis. Below it are arcs and loops identified as Herbig Haro (HH) objects associated with energetic newborn stars. Magnificent globular star cluster NGC 6723 is above and right of the nebulae. Though NGC 6723 appears to be part of the group, its ancient stars actually lie nearly 30,000 light-years away, far beyond the young stars of the Corona Australis dust clouds.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181129.html

Uncovering a Massive Meteor Crater Found Lurking Under the Ice


For the first time ever, we’ve found a massive crater hiding under one of Earth’s ice sheets. Likely caused by a meteor, it was uncovered in Greenland by a team of international scientists using radar data.


The data was collected by missions like our Operation IceBridge, which flies planes over Greenland and Antarctica to study the ice and snow at our planet’s poles.


In this case, the crater is near Hiawatha Glacier, covered by a sheet of ice more than half a mile thick. We’re pretty sure that the crater was caused by a meteor because it has characteristics traditionally associated with those kinds of impacts, like a bowl shape and central peaks.


It’s also one of the 25 largest impact craters in the world, large enough to hold the cities of Paris or Washington, D.C. The meteor that created it was likely half a mile wide.


Currently, there’s still lots to learn about the crater – and the meteor that created it – but it’s likely relatively young in geologic timescales. The meteor hit Earth within the last 3 million years, but the impact could have been as recent as 13,000 years ago.


While it was likely smaller than the meteor credited with knocking out the dinosaurs, this impact could have potentially caused a large influx of fresh water into the northern Atlantic Ocean, which would have had profound impacts for life in the region at the time.


Go here to learn more about this discovery: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/international-team-nasa-make-unexpected-discovery-under-greenland-ice


Operation IceBridge continues to uncover the hidden secrets under Earth’s ice. IceBridge has been flying for 10 years, providing a data bridge between ICESat, which flew from 2003 to 2009, and ICESat-2, which launched in September. IceBridge uses a suite of instruments to help track the changing height and thickness of the ice and the snow cover above it. IceBridge also measures the bedrock below the ice, which allows for discoveries like this crater.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

First full satellite tested in CERN’s CHARM facility

CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

28 November, 2018

Image above: The CELESTA micro satellite, carrying a space version of the radiation-monitoring system RadMon, has been tested at CERN’s CHARM (CERN High-Energy AcceleRator Mixed field) facility. (Image: CERN).

CHARM, a unique facility at CERN to test electronics in complex radiation environments, has now tested its first full space system: CELESTA (CERN Latchup and radmon Experiment STudent sAtellite). The micro-satellite was successfully tested and qualified in July under a range of radiation conditions that it can expect to encounter in space.

The CELESTA cubesat, measuring just 10 cm3, is a technological demonstrator and educational project. It will play a key role in validating potential space applications of an existing CERN technology called RadMon, which was developed to monitor radiation levels in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). By using RadMon sensors to measure radiation levels in low-Earth orbit, CELESTA will test if RadMon could be used in space missions that are sensitive to radiation, ranging from telecom satellites to navigation and Earth-observation systems.

CELESTA microsatellite

Video above: CELESTA (CERN Latchup and radmon Experiment STudent sAtellite) is an educational microsatellite project facilitated by CERN Knowledge Transfer in collaboration with the University of Montpellier and the European Space Agency. (Video: CERN).

An additional goal of CELESTA is to demonstrate that the CHARM facility is capable of reproducing the low-Earth orbit radiation environment. This would provide a confirmation that CHARM can be used beyond its original use for high-energy physics, in this case for space applications. “CHARM benefits from CERN’s unique accelerator facilities and was originally created to answer a specific need for radiation testing of CERN’s electronic equipment,” explains Markus Brugger, deputy head of the engineering department and initiator of both the CHARM and CELESTA projects in the frame of the R2E (Radiation to Electronics) initiative.

The radiation field at CHARM is generated through the interaction of a 24 GeV/c proton beam extracted from the Proton Synchrotron with a cylindrical copper or aluminium target. Different shielding configurations and testing positions allow for controlled tests to account for desired particle types, energies and fluences. It is the use of mixed fields that makes CHARM unique compared to other test facilities, which typically use mono-energetic particle beams or sources. For the latter, only one or a few discrete energies can be tested, which is usually not representative of the authentic and complex radiation environments encountered in aerospace missions. Most testing facilities also use focused beams, limiting tests to individual components, whereas CHARM has a homogenous field extending over an area of least one square metre, which allows complete and complex satellites and other systems to be tested.

CELESTA has been developed by CERN in collaboration with the University of Montpellier and the European Space Agency (ESA). It was made possible with funding from the CERN Knowledge Transfer fund. “This is a very important milestone for the CELESTA project, as well as an historical validation of the CHARM test facility for satellites,” says Enrico Chesta, CERN’s aerospace application coordinator.

Now fully calibrated, CELESTA will be launched as soon as a launch window is provided. When in orbit, its in-flight data will be used to validate the CHARM test results for authentic space conditions.

Editor note:

This article is based on a CERN Courier article. Read more about how CERN bridges the gap between science and industry via the CERN Knowledge Transfer website.

CERN Courier article: https://cerncourier.com/satellite-premieres-in-cern-irradiation-facility/

CERN Knowledge Transfer website: http://kt.cern/


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC): https://home.cern/science/accelerators/large-hadron-collider

Proton Synchrotron: https://home.cern/science/accelerators/proton-synchrotron

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Image (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Simon Olofsson.

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Station Crews Ramping Up for Busy December

ISS – Expedition 57 Mission patch.

November 28, 2018

International Space Station (ISS). Image Credits: NASA/STS-130

December is shaping up to be a heavy traffic period at the International Space Station. Two crews will swap places before Christmas and a U.S. spaceship will deliver new supplies and science. A Russian spacewalk is also planned for a crew vehicle inspection.

The Expedition 57 crew onboard the station today continued preparing for the upcoming missions while researching space science. Commander Alexander Gerst cleaned cooling loops in U.S. spacesuits as Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev prepared the Soyuz MS-09 crew vessel for next month’s undocking. Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor worked on commercial science gear, semiconductor crystal observations and space gardening.

Image above: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor is pictured in the Japanese Kibo lab module mixing protein crystal samples to help scientists understand how they work. Image Credit: NASA.

Monday and Tuesday are launch days for a new crew and a cargo delivery. Two new astronauts and a veteran cosmonaut are set to blast off first on Monday at 6:31 a.m. EST aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft. Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko flanked by new Expedition 58 Flight Engineers Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques will dock to the station’s Poisk module just six hours and five minutes later.

The very next day, the SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply ship will launch on its 16th mission to the orbital laboratory with a variety of new science experiments at 1:38 p.m. Dragon will orbit Earth for two days before reaching a point about 10 meters from the station where it will be captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Image above: Flying over South Austral Ocean, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27’553 Km/h, altitude: 426,21 Km, image captured by Roland Berga (on Earth in Switzerland) from International Space Station (ISS) using ISS-HD Live application with EarthCam’s from ISS on November 29, 2018 at 01:56 UTC. Image Credits: Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Following those two critical arrivals at the orbital laboratory, cosmonauts Prokopyev and Oleg Kononenko will exit the station for the third Russian spacewalk of the year on Dec. 11. The duo will wear their Orlan spacesuits for about six hours of inspection work on the Soyuz MS-09 crew craft docked to the Rassvet module.

After the vehicle inspection, the Soyuz MS-09 will return to Earth Dec. 20 bringing home the Expedition 57 crew after six and a half months in space. Auñón-Chancellor and Gerst will sit on either side of Soyuz Commander Prokopyev as he leads the trio to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan at 12:03 a.m.

Related links:

Expedition 57: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition57/index.html

Expedition 58: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition58/index.html

Commercial science gear: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=1085

Semiconductor crystal: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=308

Space gardening: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1159

New science experiments: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-highlights-science-on-next-resupply-mission-to-international-space-station-0

Canadarm2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/remote-manipulator-system-canadarm2

Spacewalk: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/spacewalks

SpaceX Dragon: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/spacex.html

NASA TV: https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Marck Garcia/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of November 19, 2018

ISS – Expedition 57 Mission patch.

Nov. 28, 2018

Crew members aboard the International Space Station had a lot to celebrate as they observed the station’s 20th anniversary and enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal together before returning to scientific operations.

The launch of the station’s first element, the Zarya module, occurred on Nov. 20, 1998. The three-person Expedition 57 crew commemorated the beginning of the orbital lab’s construction during a Facebook Live event and answered questions submitted via social media.

Image above: NASA astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor performed the pressurization of the Japanese Experiment Module – Exposed Facility (JEM-EF), a constantly exposed platform located outside of the Japanese Experiment Module. Image Credit: NASA.

Here’s a look at some of the science conducted last week aboard the orbiting lab:

Crew members record cultural experiences in space

The station serves as home, office and recreation room for astronauts. They share this confined space far above the Earth with crew members from different countries and cultures for as long as six months or more. Maintaining individual well-being and crew harmony is important for the crew and mission success.

The Culture, Values, and Environmental Adaptation in Space (At Home In Space) investigation, sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency, looks at changes in perceptions about home in space and the ways a unique culture may develop aboard the station during a mission.

The crew completed an At Home in Space questionnaire, noting things like individual and culturally-related differences, family functioning, values and coping skills.

New drive activated on Earth-observation platform

Orbiting approximately 250 miles above the Earth, the Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Facility (MUSES) offers researchers a unique vantage point from the outside of the station for tasks like Earth observation, disaster response, maritime domain awareness, agricultural/land use applications, food security, air quality, oil and gas exploration, mining, atmospheric investigations and fire detection.

Image above: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Alexander Gerst captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter this week. Image Credit: NASA.

MUSES provides low-cost access to space for instrument developers. MUSES and the ability to return payloads from the space station to Earth provides an excellent platform for technology demonstration and the space qualification of hardware.

Due to degradation observed in one of the facility’s boot drives, the crew switched the MUSES server to use one of the platform’s other drives.  

Investigation stowed for return

Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – Cohesive Sediment (BCAT-CS) studies dynamic forces between sediment particles that cluster together. For the study, scientists sent mixtures of quartz and clay particles to the space station and subjected them to various levels of simulated gravity. Conducting the experiment in microgravity makes it possible to separate out different forces that act on sediments and look at the function of each.

Image above: Crew members continued to maintain the plants growing as a part of the VEG-03G investigation. Image Credit: NASA.

Understanding how sediments behave has a range of applications on Earth, including predicting and mitigating erosion, improving water treatment, modeling the carbon cycle,  sequestering contaminants and more accurately finding deep sea oil reservoirs.

The crew performed the final set of sample photos and stowed hardware for return. Due to the data produced from the investigation, the experiment was extended substantially past the original two to four-week run to around 90 days in order to observe the continued evolution of the aggregates.

Other work was done on these investigations:

– Team Task Switching studies whether or not crew members have difficulty in switching tasks and determines the impacts of these switches in order to both reduce any negative consequences and improve individual and team motivation and effectiveness: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7538

– The Probiotics investigation studies the impact of continuous consumption of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) on immune function and intestinal microbiota in astronauts in a closed microgravity environment: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2047

– The MVP facility is used to conduct research with a wide variety of sample types, such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals and many others. It includes internal carousels that simultaneously can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity. MVP Cell-05 investigates the complex process of cement solidification at gravity levels of interest: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=1777

– Food Acceptability examines changes in how food appeals to crew members during their time aboard the station. Acceptability of food – whether crew members like and actually eat something – may directly affect crew caloric intake and associated nutritional benefits: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7562

– The Veg-03 investigation expands on previous validation tests of the new Veggie hardware, which crew members used to grow cabbage, lettuce and other fresh vegetables in space: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1159

Space to Ground: The Beginning of Tomorrow: 11/23/2018

Related links:

Expedition 57: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition57/index.html

At Home In Space: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1727

Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Facility (MUSES): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1147

Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – Cohesive Sediment (BCAT-CS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7668

MVP Cell-05: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7874

Veggie: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=374

Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/ISS/videos/305402173409008/

Canadian Space Agency (ASC-CSA): http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/sciences/at-home-in-space.asp

Spot the Station: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 57/58.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

Return of African artefacts sets a tricky precedent for Europe’s museums

When President Emmanuel Macron of France received a report he had commissioned on the restitution of African treasures, he wasted no time in announcing that the Quai Branly Museum in Paris would return 26 objects, looted by French colonial forces in 1892, to Benin.

Return of African artefacts sets a tricky precedent for Europe’s museums
Three large royal statues of the Kingdom of Dahomey on display at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.
President Emmanuel Macron of France announced on Friday that 26 items taken
by force from the kingdom would be returned to Benin
[Credit: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]

But that was as far as the president went in publicly endorsing the report on Friday. Its authors, Bénédicte Savoy of France and Felwine Sarr of Senegal, recommend that all objects removed without consent from Africa and sent to France be permanently returned if the countries of origin ask for them.

Mr. Macron instead assigned his culture and foreign ministers to help fulfill an objective he set a year ago: to ensure that the cultural treasures of sub-Saharan Africa be accessible in Africa through restitutions, but also exhibitions, exchanges and loans. He also called for an international conference in early 2019 on the return of African artifacts.

In Europe, the restitution announcement drew tepid reactions from museum directors, as it sets a tricky precedent. Leaders of cultural institutions were quick to emphasize that Mr. Macron was speaking for France and France alone, but acknowledged that his actions and pronouncements on African heritage had energized and accelerated discussions on the subject elsewhere.

In Africa, the announcement was met with a mix of enthusiasm and caution.

The restitution of 26 objects to Benin “does not change the policy of the British Museum, nor legislation in Great Britain,” said Hartwig Fischer, the director of the London institution, which has 73,000 objects from sub-Saharan Africa in its collections, many obtained in colonial times. The museum has been in a decades-long dispute with Greece over the so-called Elgin marbles, which came from the Parthenon, and the governor of Easter Island requested last week the return of Hoa Hakananai’a, a statue that is among the British Museum’s most popular items.

Mr. Fischer said that while the British Museum’s trustees were open to all forms of cooperation, “the collections have to be preserved as whole.”

He recognized that Mr. Macron’s announcement would “intensify the debate” about access, and would contribute to “the next dimension of cooperation” as African countries develop their cultural and museum infrastructure.

Return of African artefacts sets a tricky precedent for Europe’s museums
King Ghezo’s throne from Abomey, which dates from the early 19th century,
is among the items France will return, Mr. Macron said
[Credit: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images]

Hartmut Dorgerloh, the director of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, a giant museum of non-Western art set to open next year, said in an interview that Mr. Macron’s pledge to return the 26 objects had made issues of Africa’s heritage “more obvious, more visible and also more urgent.” In the future, he said, European museums would “have to return” objects in some cases, while in others, the inclusion of artifacts in collections would have to be viewed as “the result of European or global history.”

“How far back will you go? Until Roman times?” he said. “Because many items in Rome were robbed somewhere in Greece or in ancient Egypt.”

The objects that Mr. Macron is giving back to Benin are a star attraction of the Quai Branly Museum. Seized when French colonial forces ransacked the capital of the 300-year-old Kingdom of Dahomey, they were royal treasures that the fleeing king left behind: statues, thrones, and even the carved polychrome doors of his palace.

Although the report by Ms. Savoy and Mr. Sarr advises against measures such as long-term loans, Mr. Macron has spoken favorably in the past of “temporary restitution.” One example of the kind of cooperation that Mr. Macron could be looking for is the Benin Dialogue Group, which includes representatives from Nigeria and from major European museums that own treasures of the Kingdom of Benin, in what is now southern Nigeria.

Those artifacts — mostly sculptures and relief plaques — were looted from royal palaces during a British expedition in 1897. They were taken to Britain or sold on the open market, and eventually ended up in museums in Europe and the United States. Some are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Edo State in Nigeria hopes to open a museum by 2021 to house several hundred of the artifacts, lent short-term by the British Museum, among others.

Return of African artefacts sets a tricky precedent for Europe’s museums
Doors from a Kingdom of Dahomey palace, on display at the Quai Branly Museum. The items had been
buried underground when the kingdom was ransacked by French colonial forces in the 19th century
[Credit: Michel Euler/Associated Press]

Prince Kum’a Ndumbe III of the Duala people in Cameroon, who runs AfricAvenir International, a nonprofit that calls for the restitution of artifacts taken without consent, said that the French report was “the first step in the right direction.” He added that such a political commitment had been awaited since Cameroon and much of the rest of Francophone Africa gained independence from France in 1960.

“This is not just about the return of African art,” he said. “When someone’s stolen your soul, it’s very difficult to survive as a people.”

He invited Britain and Germany to follow the French example and commission their own restitution reports.

Stéphane Martin, president of the Quai Branly Museum, which has 70,000 objects from sub-Saharan Africa in its collections, said in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro that last week’s report was “a bad answer to the courageous question posed by the president.” While restitution was “not a word that I’m scandalized by,” he added, there are “other ways to engage in cultural cooperation with Africa.”

In a separate interview with Europe 1 radio on Sunday, Mr. Martin said it was he who had suggested that the 26 objects from his museum be returned to Benin. “Museums must not be hostages to the painful history of colonization,” he said.

Mr. Martin did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this article.

Return of African artefacts sets a tricky precedent for Europe’s museums
Plaques that form part of the Benin Bronzes on show at the British Museum in London.
The plaques were taken by British troops in 1897
[Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

Mr. Fischer of the British Museum described the French report as “a radical proposal” that made a “moral argument” against colonialism, whereby “everything that took place under the conditions of colonialism is eligible for restitution.” He also noted that Mr. Macron’s statement on Friday was “much more nuanced” than the report, and left open the door for options other than returning objects.

The ball is now in the court of France’s culture minister and foreign minister, who have been asked to bring together African and European museum managers and cultural professionals to ensure that works of art circulate not only among the major museums of the world — which hold 90 percent to 95 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s cultural heritage, according to the report — but also on the African continent.

The Paris conference next year will be a test of that process.

Sindika Dokolo, a businessman from the Democratic Republic of Congo who runs an art foundation in Angola and who has bought back looted African art, said the French president’s restitution offer had “no precedent.”

“Macron has opened a Pandora’s box,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Dokolo urged African leaders to respond quickly, before a change of government or mood in France — to “put their foot in the door before it closes.”

Author: Farah Nayeri | Source: The New York Times [November 27, 2018]



Sunday Times: “The Acropolis Museum is perfectly capable of housing the original...

The Acropolis Museum in Athens is perfectly capable of hosting its original sculptures of the Parthenon instead of the well-crafted copies it exhibits, said Deputy Editor of the Sunday Times, Sarah Baxter.

Sunday Times : “The Acropolis Museum is perfectly capable of housing the original Parthenon Sculptures”

Plaster casts from the east pediment sculptures of the Parthenon at the Acropolis Museum against 

the backdrop of the Athenian Acropolis [Credit: The Acropolis Museum]

Sunday Times : “The Acropolis Museum is perfectly capable of housing the original Parthenon Sculptures”
The original sculptures of the east pediment in the British Museum
[Credit: Kevin Gessner/Flickr]

“I simply can’t think of a sound reason for refusing Greece’s claim for their return,” said Ms Baxter in a column she wrote for the British publication.

Sunday Times : “The Acropolis Museum is perfectly capable of housing the original Parthenon Sculptures”

Plaster casts from the east pediment of the Parthenon at the Acropolis Museum, as well as original metopes 

and both orginal and casts of the Ionic frieze [Credit: The Acropolis Museum]

Sunday Times : “The Acropolis Museum is perfectly capable of housing the original Parthenon Sculptures”
The original sculptures of the east pediment in the British Museum
[Credit: ANA-MPA]

“It is hard to deny that they belong to their original place, why not exchange them? We are fighting a losing battle to maintain our looting when there are innovative ways to share our knowledge,” added the Deputy Editor, who defends the return of the Parthenon Marbles and agrees with the opinion of which Labor leader Jeremy Corbin has also made publicly known.

Sunday Times : “The Acropolis Museum is perfectly capable of housing the original Parthenon Sculptures”

Original segments of the Ionic frieze from the Parthenon bordered by paster casts 

of those found in the British Museum [Credit: The Acropolis Museum]

Sunday Times : “The Acropolis Museum is perfectly capable of housing the original Parthenon Sculptures”
Section from the original Ionic frieze of the Parthenon displayed
in the British Museum [Credit: ToVima]

The Sunday Times also observes that modern technology can provide perfect replicas and representations of ancient cities such as ancient Rome and the Arc of Triumph of Palmyra and raises the question if Britain could return the Parthenon Marbles and reproduce with technology the grandeur of the Parthenon for the new generations of visitors to the British Museum, why not do it?

Finally, she notes that a similar replica policy is followed by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Source: Greek City Times [November 26, 2018]



Tombstone of 12-year-old Roman girl found by fisherman in Slovenia

A man fishing in the Sava river in Kranj, northern Slovenia, noticed a rectangular block of stone with what appeared to be an inscription sitting in the river bed.

Tombstone of 12-year-old Roman girl found by fisherman in Slovenia
Credit: Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia

He notified the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, which sent archaeologists to take a look at the stone.
The inscription, in Latin, revealed that block was in fact a Roman tombstone dedicated to a young girl named Aurelia who died when she was 12 years old in the 1st or 2nd century AD.

Tombstone of 12-year-old Roman girl found by fisherman in Slovenia
Credit: Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia

According to the inscription her bereaved father had commissioned the tombstone.
It’s not clear where the tombstone came from or whether there’s a cemetery nearby. Wear on the stone indicates it has been in the water for a considerable time.

Tombstone of 12-year-old Roman girl found by fisherman in Slovenia
Credit: Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia

A recess at the top of the tombstone suggests that a small statue may have stood above the inscription.
Two days after it was found, firefighters were called in to rais the stone from the river and transport it to the Restoration Centre of the Institute of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts in Ljubljana for conservation and further study.

Source: 24ur [November 27, 2018]



Eight limestone sarcophagi with mummies found near Giza’s Great Pyramids

During excavation work in the area to the northeastern side of Amenemhat II’s tomb in the Dahshour necropolis in Giza, an Egyptian archaeological mission has stumbled upon eight graves from the Late Period.

Eight limestone sarcophagi with mummies found near Giza's Great Pyramids
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explains that the graves contain limestone sarcophagi with mummies inside, three of which are in very good conservation condition.

Eight limestone sarcophagi with mummies found near Giza's Great Pyramids
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

The mummies are covered in cartonnage adorned with paintings of the faces of the deceased. The cartonnage is painted in blue, brown and green.

Eight limestone sarcophagi with mummies found near Giza's Great Pyramids
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Waziri said that the mummies have been taken to store galleries for restoration and suggested that they could be put on display at the newly established museum in Sharm El-Sheikh or Hurgada.

Eight limestone sarcophagi with mummies found near Giza's Great Pyramids
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Dahshur is a royal ancient Egyptian necropolis that houses the Bent and Red pyramids of the fourth dynasty pharaoh Sneferu, as well as the black pyramid of pharaoh Amenemhat III, among other royal pyramids.

Author: Nevine El-Aref | Source: Ahram Online [November 28, 2018]




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