четверг, 17 января 2019 г.

Mini Mom Over recent years there’s been an explosion of…

Mini Mom

Over recent years there’s been an explosion of organoids – three-dimensional miniature organs grown in the lab, which mimic many of the properties of the tissue they originally came from and are a better model for human biology than cells growing in a flat plastic dish. So far organoids have been grown from brain, stomach, kidney, gut and more, and now there’s a new kid on the organoid block. This cluster of brightly-coloured blobs is a ‘mini-placenta’, more formally known as a trophoblast organoid, grown from cells isolated from human placenta. It’s very difficult to study the earliest interactions between a human foetus and its placenta for obvious technical and ethical reasons, but animal placentas aren’t similar enough to our own species. These new organoids will provide vital insights into how the placenta grows and what happens when it fails, leading to miscarriage or other serious problems for mother and child.

Written by Kat Arney

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2019 January 17 Cabin under the Stars Image Credit &…

2019 January 17

Cabin under the Stars
Image Credit & Copyright: P-M Hedén (Clear Skies, TWAN)

Explanation: Gocka’s, a family nickname for the mountain cabin, and a wooden sled from a generation past stand quietly under the stars. The single exposure image was taken on January 6 from Tanndalen Sweden to evoke a simple visual experience of the dark mountain skies. A pale band of starlight along the Milky Way sweeps through the scene. At the foot of Orion the Hunter, bright star Rigel shines just above the old kicksled’s handrail. Capella, alpha star of Auriga the celestial charioteer, is the brightest star at the top of the frame. In fact, the familiar stars of the winter hexagon and the Pleiades star cluster can all be found in this beautiful skyscape from a northern winter night.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190117.html

Fossil deposit is much richer than expected…

Fossil deposit is much richer than expected http://www.geologypage.com/2019/01/fossil-deposit-is-much-richer-than-expected.html

Robot recreates the walk of a 290-million-year-old creature…

Robot recreates the walk of a 290-million-year-old creature http://www.geologypage.com/2019/01/robot-recreates-the-walk-of-a-290-million-year-old-creature.html

New computer modeling approach could improve understanding of…

New computer modeling approach could improve understanding of megathrust earthquakes http://www.geologypage.com/2019/01/new-computer-modeling-approach-could-improve-understanding-of-megathrust-earthquakes.html

Drilling deep for clues on earthquakes…

Drilling deep for clues on earthquakes http://www.geologypage.com/2019/01/drilling-deep-for-clues-on-earthquakes.html

Waiting for the complete rupture…

Waiting for the complete rupture http://www.geologypage.com/2019/01/waiting-for-the-complete-rupture.html

Astronauts Study Head and Eye Pressure, Wearable Body Monitor

ISS – Expedition 58 Mission patch.

January 16, 2019

Human research took precedence aboard the International Space Station today as the Expedition 58 crew explored how astronauts adapt to living in space. The orbital residents also performed more ordinary roles as computer technicians and plumbers.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is studying today the fluid shifts from an astronaut’s lower body to the upper body and how they pressure the head and eyes during a spaceflight. She collected her blood samples for the long-running experiment, spinning them in a centrifuge before stowing the samples in a science freezer.

Image above: The U.S. Cygnus space freighter and its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays are pictured as the International Space Station orbited 262 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina. Image Credit: NASA.

Flight Engineer David Saint-Jacques measured his blood pressure beginning operations with the new Bio-Monitor system from the Canadian Space Agency. The wearable device monitors an astronaut’s physiological data in real-time with minimum interference to crew activities.

McClain also had time to relocate and deploy a laptop computer from the Harmony module to the Columbus lab module. Saint-Jacques spent the rest of Wednesday afternoon replacing parts in the space station’s toilet located in the Tranquility module.

Image above: Sunset over North Atlantic Ocean, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27’612 Km/h, altitude: 405,39 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 January 16, 2019 at 21:50 UTC. Image Credits: Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Commander Oleg Kononenko worked on Russian maintenance in the orbital lab before inspecting and photographing windows in the Russian modules. He wrapped up the day on a pair of ongoing Earth observation studies photographing natural and man-made phenomena.

Related links:

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

Fluid shifts: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1126

Bio-Monitor: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7392

Harmony module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/harmony

Columbus lab module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/europe-columbus-laboratory

Tranquility module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/tranquility/

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/Mark Garcia/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

First moon plants Grown in China’s Chang’e 4 biosphere experiment

CLEP – China Lunar Exploration Program logo / Chongqing University logo.

Jan. 16, 2019

A sprouting cotton seed on China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander is the first plant ever to germinate on another world, heralding a new era for life in space.

Image above: Sprouting cotton plants on the moon. Other more images seen elsewhere are from the control setup on earth. Image Credit: Chongqing University.

Seeds of cotton, oilseed rape, potato and arabidopsis were carried to the moon as part of a biosphere experiment, along with fruit fly eggs and some yeast.

Pictures sent back by the probe show cotton, rape and potato seeds sprouting and growing well, the scientist leading the experiment, Liu Hanlong, told South China Morning Post. Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon on 3 January and this image was dated 7 January.

Chang’e-4 biological experiment – The first cotton sprout on the far side of the Moon

The organisms are kept in a sealed chamber, protected from the extreme temperatures and intense radiation on the moon’s surface. Understanding how to grow plants in space will help lay the foundation for establishing a human settlement on the moon, Liu said.

The six organisms could make up a mini-ecosystem, with plants producing oxygen and food to sustain the fruit flies. Yeast could process the flies’ waste and dead plants to provide another food source.

In a future human settlement, potatoes could provide food, rapeseed could be a source of oil and cotton could be used for clothing.

Chang’e 4 lander-rover relayed back via satellite relay.Image Credits: CASC/CNSA

Plants have been grown before in orbit in the International Space Station, including cucumbers. Astronauts got their first bites of space-grown romaine lettuce in 2015. Algae have even managed to survive 530 days on a panel on the outside of the Space Station.

Related article & links:

Chang’e-4 Probe & Rover Takes Color Photos on Moon’s Far Side

Unpublished 360° picture of the hidden side of the Moon

China’s Yutu-2 rover Enters Standby Mode for ‘Noon Nap’ as Chang’e 4 Tests Continue

“Small step for the rover, big step for China”

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), visit: http://english.spacechina.com/n16421/index.html

For more information about China National Space Administration (CNSA), visit: http://www.cnsa.gov.cn/

Chongqing University: http://english.cqu.edu.cn/

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: CNSA/NewScientist.com/Sam Wong/China Central Television (CCTV)/Chongqing University/SciNews.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre, Caerleon, South Wales, 31.12.18.

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre, Caerleon, South Wales, 31.12.18.

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Caerleon Roman Barracks, Caerleon Roman Fort, Newport, South Wales, 31.12.18.Featured...

Caerleon Roman Barracks, Caerleon Roman Fort, Newport, South Wales, 31.12.18.

Featured here are barracks quarters, gatehouse and communal lavatory block.

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Single Grave > Bell Beakers

I’ve been studying in detail with formal statistics and Principal Component Analyses (PCA) the genetic substructures within the Bell Beaker population. As far as I can see, among the two most homogeneous, and thus least likely to be recently admixed, Beaker groups are the Dutch Beakers and also the Dutch and British Beaker males belonging to Y-haplogroup R1b-P312.
Interestingly, these results are in line with the observation that the Dutch Beakers are the quintessential Beakers in terms of physique, with three quarters or more sporting exceedingly brachycephalic, planoccipital skulls (like this).
Moreover, overall, these two Beaker groups are among the most Yamnaya-like Beakers, with almost as much Yamnaya-related ancestry as the Corded Ware culture samples from Germany (~60% vs ~70%). As a result, in my PCA of ancient West Eurasian variation the Dutch Beakers form a more or less continuous, west to east cline with these and other Corded Ware individuals that runs all the way to the Yamnaya cluster.

In the same PCA, the R1b-P312 Dutch and British Beaker males form a tight cluster at the apex of a Beaker cline that stretches to European Neolithic samples with no steppe ancestry. The only Beaker who is positioned clearly east of the Dutch/British R1b-P312 Beaker cluster is from Hungary, and in all likelihood he harbors recent Yamnaya ancestry because his Y-haplogroup is the Yamnaya-specific R1b-Z2103.

These findings potentially have important implications for the origins of the Dutch Beakers and the Beakers who dominated much of Central and Western Europe during the Bronze Age, and these are:

– the Dutch Beakers are unlikely to be the result of a recent migration from afar into what is now The Netherlands and surrounds, but rather the descendants, by and large, of the earlier local Single Grave (and thus Corded Ware) populations
– the R1b-P312 lineages in the Dutch and British Beakers probably derive from Single Grave R1b-P312, which suggests that R1b-P312 was common among some clans within the Corded Ware culture
– the spread of most of the Yamnaya-related or steppe ancestry and quintessential Beaker physique across the Beaker world and into Western Europe can probably be blamed on the massive expansions of Beakers from what is now The Netherlands and surrounds (ie. Rhine region)
– late Yamnaya groups contributed some ancestry to eastern Beaker groups, such as those in the Carpathian Basin, but the Dutch Beakers acquired their high level of Yamnaya-related ancestry from their Single Grave predecessors, who, in turn, acquired it from their proto-Corded Ware ancestors from the steppe.

Admittedly, I find the discussion about the origin of the Bell Beaker cultural package somewhat confusing. For all I know, it might have come from Iberia, the Carpathian Basin, or even North Africa. But this post isn’t about that, it’s about the homeland of the classic Beaker warrior male, with his R1b-P312, Corded Ware-like genome-wide genetic structure and planoccipital skull. I’m almost certain now that this was the Rhine region.
See also…
Hungarian Yamnaya > Bell Beakers?
Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but…
Corded Ware people =/= Proto-Uralics (Tambets et al. 2018)


Budding Development Responsible for producing both pancreatic…

Budding Development

Responsible for producing both pancreatic juices for digestion and hormones regulating blood glucose levels, the pancreas develops from buds of the foregut into a complex multifunctional structure. Pancreatic progenitor cells become either the pancreatic ducts, transporting the pancreatic juices, or the hormone-producing endocrine system, including beta cells synthesising insulin. Guiding cells to either of these fates requires molecules from the Notch signalling pathway, along with a protein called YAP1. In this pancreatic bud, blocking YAP1 leads to more endocrine cells developing, so producing more hormones (in red). Yet pancreatic development is still more complicated, as YAP1 and Notch activity depends on contacts between the pancreatic cells and different proteins in the surrounding extracellular matrix. For researchers working on type I diabetes, an auto-immune disease targeting beta cells, understanding pancreatic development is especially relevant, ultimately helping to better generate endocrine cells in the laboratory, for future replacement therapies.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

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New Movie Shows Ultima Thule from an Approaching New Horizons

NASA – New Horizons Mission patch.

January 16, 2019

NASA Spacecraft Begins Returning New Images, Other Data from Historic New Year’s Flyby

Rotation Sequence of Ultima Thule

This movie shows the propeller-like rotation of Ultima Thule in the seven hours between 20:00 UT (3 p.m. ET) on Dec. 31, 2018, and 05:01 UT (12:01 a.m.) on Jan. 1, 2019, as seen by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA’s New Horizons as the spacecraft sped toward its close encounter with the Kuiper Belt object at 05:33 UT (12:33 a.m. ET) on Jan. 1.

View annotated animation

During this deep-space photo shoot – part of the farthest planetary flyby in history – New Horizons’ range to Ultima Thule decreased from 310,000 miles (500,000 kilometers, farther than the distance from the Earth to the Moon) to just 17,100 miles (28,000 kilometers), during which the images became steadily larger and more detailed. The team processed two different image sequences; the bottom sequence shows the images at their original relative sizes, while the top corrects for the changing distance, so that Ultima Thule (officially named 2014 MU69) appears at constant size but becomes more detailed as the approach progresses.

Rotation Sequence of Ultima Thule

All the images have been sharpened using scientific techniques that enhance detail. The original image scale is 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) per pixel in the first frame, and 0.08 miles (0.14 kilometers) per pixel in the last frame. The rotation period of Ultima Thule is about 16 hours, so the movie covers a little under half a rotation. Among other things, the New Horizons science team will use these images to help determine the three-dimensional shape of Ultima Thule, in order to better understand its nature and origin.

Image above: Image above: Illustration of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft encountering 2014 MU69 – nicknamed “Ultima Thule” – a Kuiper Belt object that orbits one billion miles beyond Pluto. New Horizons’ exploration of Ultima is the farthest space probe flyby in history. Image Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI.

The raw images included in the movie are available on the New Horizons LORRI website. New Horizons downlinked the two highest-resolution images in this movie immediately after the Jan. 1 flyby, but the more distant images were sent home on Jan. 12-14, after a week when New Horizons was too close to the Sun (from Earth’s point of view) for reliable communications. New Horizons will continue to transmit images – including its closest views of Ultima Thule – and data for the next many months.

New Horizons LORRI website: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/soc/UltimaThule-Encounter/

For more information on the New Horizons mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons

Images, Animations, Text, Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link


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