четверг, 23 мая 2019 г.

Making Connections Macrophages are cells of the immune system,…


Making Connections


Macrophages are cells of the immune system, well known for engulfing and destroying pathogens or damaged cells, in a process called phagocytosis. Yet they also play a more constructive role during development, helping to build sophisticated networks in the kidneys. These organs regulate blood composition and filter out waste from the bloodstream to excrete as urine, thanks to a complex arrangement of carefully-structured minute tubules known as nephrons, closely associating with blood vessels. Pictured in a mouse embryo’s kidney, macrophages (in red) interact with blood vessels (in green) early on in development, helping to refine the position of kidney structures and encouraging connections between blood vessels. When macrophages were experimentally removed from developing kidneys, fewer connections formed. Understanding the role of macrophages may help produce more realistic kidney-mimicking organoids in the laboratory, for study and drug testing, and may even suggest future therapies targeting macrophages to treat kidney disease.


Written by Emmanuelle Briolat



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Beryl | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Beaver County,…


Beryl | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Beaver County, Utah, United States of America


Size: 4 × 3.6 × 2.8 cm


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Fluorite With Chalcopyrite | #Geology #GeologyPage Locality:…


Fluorite With Chalcopyrite | #Geology #GeologyPage


Locality: Bäuerin Mine, Frohnau, Annaberg, Saxony, Germany


Size: 3.4 × 5.2 × 2.6 cm

Largest Crystal: 1.00cm


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Trapiche Emerald | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality:…


Trapiche Emerald | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Muzo Mine, Boyacá Department, Colombia


Size: 0.4 × 0.4 × 0.3 cm


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2019 May 23 Moons Near Jupiter Image Credit & Copyright: …


2019 May 23


Moons Near Jupiter
Image Credit & Copyright: Betul Turksoy


Explanation: On May 20, a nearly Full Moon and Jupiter shared this telephoto field of view. Captured when a passing cloud bank dimmed the moonlight, the single exposure reveals the familiar face of our fair planet’s own large natural satellite, along with bright Jupiter (lower right) and some of its Galilean moons. Lined up left to right the tiny pinpricks of light near Jupiter are Ganymede, Europa, [Jupiter] and Callisto. (That’s not just dust on your screen …) Closer and brighter, our own natural satellite appears to loom large. But Ganymede, and Callisto are physically larger than Earth’s Moon, while water world Europa is only slightly smaller. In fact, of the Solar System’s six largest planetary satellites, Saturn’s moon Titan is missing from the scene and a fourth Galilean moon, Io, is hidden by our ruling gas giant.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190523.html


A Tour of Storms Across the Solar System

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Earth is a dynamic and stormy planet with everything from brief, rumbling thunderstorms to enormous, raging hurricanes, which are some of the most powerful and destructive storms on our world. But other planets also have storm clouds, lightning — even rain, of sorts. Let’s take a tour of some of the unusual storms in our solar system and beyond.


Tune in May 22 at 3 p.m. for more solar system forecasting with NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green during the latest installment of NASA Science Live: https://www.nasa.gov/nasasciencelive.


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1. At Mercury: A Chance of Morning Micrometeoroid Showers and Magnetic ‘Tornadoes’


Mercury, the planet nearest the Sun, is scorching hot, with daytime temperatures of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit (about 450 degrees Celsius). It also has weak gravity — only about 38% of Earth’s — making it hard for Mercury to hold on to an atmosphere.


Its barely there atmosphere means Mercury doesn’t have dramatic storms, but it does have a strange “weather” pattern of sorts: it’s blasted with micrometeoroids, or tiny dust particles, usually in the morning. It also has magnetic “tornadoes” — twisted bundles of magnetic fields that connect the planet’s magnetic field to space.


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2. At Venus: Earth’s ‘Almost’ Twin is a Hot Mess


Venus is often called Earth’s twin because the two planets are similar in size and structure. But Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, roasting at more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius) under a suffocating blanket of sulfuric acid clouds and a crushing atmosphere. Add to that the fact that Venus has lightning, maybe even more than Earth. 


In visible light, Venus appears bright yellowish-white because of its clouds. Earlier this year, Japanese researchers found a giant streak-like structure in the clouds based on observations by the Akatsuki spacecraft orbiting Venus.


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3. At Earth: Multiple Storm Hazards Likely


Earth has lots of storms, including thunderstorms, blizzards and tornadoes. Tornadoes can pack winds over 300 miles per hour (480 kilometers per hour) and can cause intense localized damage.


But no storms match hurricanes in size and scale of devastation. Hurricanes, also called typhoons or cyclones, can last for days and have strong winds extending outward for 675 miles (1,100 kilometers). They can annihilate coastal areas and cause damage far inland.


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4. At Mars: Hazy with a Chance of Dust Storms


Mars is infamous for intense dust storms, including some that grow to encircle the planet. In 2018, a global dust storm blanketed NASA’s record-setting Opportunity rover, ending the mission after 15 years on the surface.


Mars has a thin atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide. To the human eye, the sky would appear hazy and reddish or butterscotch colored because of all the dust suspended in the air. 


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5. At Jupiter: A Shrinking Icon


It’s one of the best-known storms in the solar system: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. It’s raged for at least 300 years and was once big enough to swallow Earth with room to spare. But it’s been shrinking for a century and a half. Nobody knows for sure, but it’s possible the Great Red Spot could eventually disappear.


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6. At Saturn: A Storm Chasers Paradise


Saturn has one of the most extraordinary atmospheric features in the solar system: a hexagon-shaped cloud pattern at its north pole. The hexagon is a six-sided jet stream with 200-mile-per-hour winds (about 322 kilometers per hour). Each side is a bit wider than Earth and multiple Earths could fit inside. In the middle of the hexagon is what looks like a cosmic belly button, but it’s actually a huge vortex that looks like a hurricane.


Storm chasers would have a field day on Saturn. Part of the southern hemisphere was dubbed “Storm Alley” by scientists on NASA’s Cassini mission because of the frequent storm activity the spacecraft observed there. 


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7. At Titan: Methane Rain and Dust Storms


Earth isn’t the only world in our solar system with bodies of liquid on its surface. Saturn’s moon Titan has rivers, lakes and large seas. It’s the only other world with a cycle of liquids like Earth’s water cycle, with rain falling from clouds, flowing across the surface, filling lakes and seas and evaporating back into the sky. But on Titan, the rain, rivers and seas are made of methane instead of water.


Data from the Cassini spacecraft also revealed what appear to be giant dust storms in Titan’s equatorial regions, making Titan the third solar system body, in addition to Earth and Mars, where dust storms have been observed.


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8. At Uranus: A Polar Storm


Scientists were trying to solve a puzzle about clouds on the ice giant planet: What were they made of? When Voyager 2 flew by in 1986, it spotted few clouds. (This was due in part to the thick haze that envelops the planet, as well as Voyager’s cameras not being designed to peer through the haze in infrared light.) But in 2018, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped an image showing a vast, bright, stormy cloud cap across the north pole of Uranus.


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9. At Neptune: Methane Clouds


Neptune is our solar system’s windiest world. Winds whip clouds of frozen methane across the ice giant planet at speeds of more than 1,200 miles per hour (2,000 kilometers per hour) — about nine times faster than winds on Earth.


Neptune also has huge storm systems. In 1989, NASA’s Voyager 2 spotted two giant storms on Neptune as the spacecraft zipped by the planet. Scientists named the storms “The Great Dark Spot” and “Dark Spot 2.”


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10. It’s Not Just Us: Extreme Weather in Another Solar System


Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope made a global map of the glow from a turbulent planet outside our solar system. The observations show the exoplanet, called WASP-43b, is a world of extremes. It has winds that howl at the speed of sound, from a 3,000-degree-Fahrenheit (1,600-degree-Celsius) day side, to a pitch-black night side where temperatures plunge below 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius).


Discovered in 2011, WASP-43b is located 260 light-years away. The planet is too distant to be photographed, but astronomers detected it by observing dips in the light of its parent star as the planet passes in front of it.


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


Of Strawberry Jelly and Earthquakes: Space Station Investigation Studies Colloids in...


ISS — International Space Station logo.


May 22, 2019


If you think your strawberry jelly is unrelated to earthquakes, think again.


A new International Space Station investigation, Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature-10 (ACE-T-10), is using temperature changes to better understand how colloids – or ‘disordered solids’ – age or fail. Understanding this stress relaxation in disordered solids may provide hints about seismic events on earth. This experiment could also benefit the future exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond by providing insight into material failure.


Colloids are materials where nanoparticles or small droplets of one material are dispersed in a fluid. These soft materials are common in daily life; examples are whipped cream, jelly, fabric softener, milk and muddy water.



Image above: NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold performs maintenance on the Advanced Colloids Experiment Module located inside the Light Microscopy Module. Image Credit: NASA.


ACE-T-10 studies colloids in which the attraction between nanoparticles gets stronger with increased temperature. While at room temperature, the colloid behaves as a liquid. When the suspension is heated to above approximately 40°C, the particles rapidly stick to each other, forming a rigid network that can sustain its own weight – a process called gelation.


This is similar to what happens in the tempering of glass. However, fast gelation produces stresses in the material that progressively relax through a cascade of restructuring events akin to ‘micro-quakes.’ The aftershocks eventually induce larger restructuring events involving the entire gel. These dramatic upheavals of the gel structure can be predicted, at least statistically, because they are heralded by an observable ‘jittery’ stage. ACE-T-10 confocal microscopy images enabled by the space station may allow scientists to highlight the rupture of these microscopic gel strands that is anticipated to lie beneath these curious tremors.



Image above: The Light Microscopy Module (LMM) enables novel research of microscopic phenomena in microgravity, with the capability of remotely acquiring and downloading digital images and videos across many levels of magnification in 3D using confocal microscopy. Image Credit: NASA.


“Temperature plays a dual role in this,” said Primary Investigator Roberto Piazza. “It is the factor that changes the interactions between the particles, making them stick together; at the same time, it is the driving force that promotes the gel’s spontaneous restructuring. On Earth, however, gravity acts as an additional stress on the material that can influence the way the gel restructures. Experiments in microgravity are mandatory to quantify whether gravity (gel weight) plays a relevant role or not.”


The space station’s laboratory provides other benefits as well. “The space station’s Light Microscopy Module (LMM) in the Fluids Integrated Rack allows scientists to control the temperature of the system and provides a 3D structure of the material,” said Stefano Buzzaccaro, co-investigator for ACE-T-10. “In collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), we are developing a light scattering setup that, in combination with the confocal LMM, gives us everything we need to try to understand the problem of gelation.”



Image above: A colloidal gel coarsens when its temperature is increased. Image Credits: Stefano Buzzaccaro, Soft Matter Lab at Politecnico di Milano.


Similar to colloids, the Earth’s crust also releases stress through earthquakes. ACE-T-10 could provide insight into the events that anticipate these quakes, allowing scientists to provide better forecasts of when they might happen.


It can also contribute to predictions related to product shelf life and the failure of structural materials in roads and bridges.


“This is especially important when you are on Mars and you have to construct materials using Martian crust,” said Buzzaccaro. “You can find a method to monitor the damage of the material you use and forecast its failure.”


Food for thought when you make your next colloid and peanut butter sandwich.


Related links:


Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature-10 (ACE-T-10): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7881


Light Microscopy Module (LMM): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=531


Fluids Integrated Rack: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=351


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


European Space Agency (ESA): http://www.esa.int/ESA


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/Michael Johnson/JSC/International Space Station Program Science Office/Andrea Dunn.


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NASA Invites Public to Help Asteroid Mission Choose Sample Site


NASA — OSIRIS-REx Mission patch.


May 22, 2019


Citizen scientists assemble! NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to the asteroid Bennu needs extra pairs of eyes to help choose its sample collection site on the asteroid – and to look for anything else that might be scientifically interesting.



Image above: This image shows a view of asteroid Bennu’s surface in a region near the equator. It was taken by the PolyCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on March 21 from a distance of 2.2 miles (3.5 km). The field of view is 158.5 ft (48.3 m). For scale, the light-colored rock in the upper left corner of the image is 24 ft (7.4 m) wide. Image Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.


The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been at Bennu since Dec. 3, 2018, mapping the asteroid in detail, while the mission team searches for a sample collection site that is safe, conducive to sample collection and worthy of closer study. One of the biggest challenges of this effort, which the team discovered after arriving at the asteroid five months ago, is that Bennu has an extremely rocky surface and each boulder presents a danger to the spacecraft’s safety. To expedite the sample selection process, the team is asking citizen scientist volunteers to develop a hazard map by counting boulders.


“For the safety of the spacecraft, the mission team needs a comprehensive catalog of all the boulders near the potential sample collection sites, and I invite members of the public to assist the OSIRIS-REx mission team in accomplishing this essential task,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson.


For this effort, NASA is partnering with CosmoQuest, a project run out of the Planetary Science Institute that supports citizen science initiatives. Volunteers will perform the same tasks that planetary scientists do – measuring Bennu’s boulders and mapping its rocks and craters – through the use of a simple web interface. They will also mark other scientifically interesting features on the asteroid for further investigation.


The boulder mapping work involves a high degree of precision, but it is not difficult. The CosmoQuest mapping app requires a computer with a larger screen and a mouse or trackpad capable of making precise marks. To help volunteers get started, the CosmoQuest team provides an interactive tutorial, as well as additional user assistance through a Discord community and livestreaming sessions on Twitch.


“We are very pleased and excited to make OSIRIS-REx images available for this important citizen science endeavor,” said Rich Burns, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “Bennu has surprised us with an abundance of boulders. We ask for citizen scientists’ help to evaluate this rugged terrain so that we can keep our spacecraft safe during sample collection operations.”



Image above: This image shows the wide variety of boulder shapes, sizes and compositions found on asteroid Bennu. It was taken by the PolyCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on March 28 from a distance of 2.1 miles (3.4 km). The field of view is 162.7 ft (49.6 m). For scale, the large, light-colored boulder at the top of the image is 15.7 ft (4.8 m) tall. Image Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.


Sample return isn’t new for NASA – this year, the agency is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions to the Moon, which allowed astronauts to bring back 842 pounds (382 kilograms) of rocks and lunar soil. Those samples helped scientists discover that the Moon has water locked in its rocks and even permanently frozen in craters. These findings and others inspired the agency to create the Artemis program to return humans to the Moon by 2024 and start preparing for human exploration on Mars.


“The OSIRIS-REx mission will continue the Apollo legacy by giving scientists precious samples of an asteroid,” said Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These samples will help scientists discover the secrets of planetary formation and the origins of our planet Earth.”


The Bennu mapping campaign continues through July 10, when the mission begins the sample site selection process. Once primary and secondary sites are selected, the spacecraft will begin closer reconnaissance to map the two sites to sub-centimeter resolution. The mission’s Touch-and-Go (TAG) sampling maneuver is scheduled for July 2020, and the spacecraft will return to Earth with its cargo in September 2023.



OSIRIS-REx sample operation. Image Credit: NASA

Goddard provides overall mission management, systems engineering, and the safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, Tucson, is the principal investigator, and the University of Arizona also leads the science team and the mission’s science observation planning and data processing. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the spacecraft and is providing flight operations. Goddard and KinetX Aerospace are responsible for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.


To volunteer as a Bennu mapper, visit: http://bennu.cosmoquest.org/


OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/osiris-rex/index.html


Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Tricia Talbert.


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Midweek Immunology Research and Spacewalk Preps for Lab Residents


ISS — Expedition 59 Mission patch.


May 22, 2019


Immunology research has been keeping the Expedition 59 astronauts busy since the SpaceX Dragon space freighter delivered new science gear in early May. Two cosmonauts are also one week away from starting the fourth spacewalk this year at the International Space Station.


NASA astronaut Anne McClain was back inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module today observing how the immune systems of mice, which are similar to humans, respond to the lack of gravity. She teamed up with Flight Engineers Christina Koch and David Saint-Jacques for the on-orbit research to help doctors improve astronauts’ immunity in space. The potential for advanced vaccines and therapies may also benefit Earthlings as well as future astronauts exploring the Moon and beyond.



Image above: This oblique nighttime view of Western Europe and the well-lit coasts (from left) of Spain, France and Italy was taken from the International Space Station as it orbited 256 miles above the Mediterranean Sea. Image Credit: NASA.


A variety of other space biology and human research took place today as Flight Engineer Nick Hague collected and stowed his blood and urine samples for later scientific analysis. He also worked on the Biolab hardware before stowing the Biomolecule Sequencer that sequences DNA aboard the space station. The advanced science gear is part of the Genes In Space-6 experiment researching how space radiation impacts DNA and the cell repair mechanism.


Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin were back on spacesuit duty today. The Roscosmos cosmonauts transferred their Orlan spacesuits to the Pirs airlock and installed portable repressurization tanks in the Russian lab module. Next week they will review procedures and timelines for their approximately six-hour spacewalk for external maintenance scheduled for Wednesday, May 29.



International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

A docked Russian Progress cargo craft will fire its engines for 20 minutes raising the station’s orbit on Thursday. The reboost will place the orbiting complex in the correct trajectory for the undocking and landing of three Expedition 59 crewmembers June 24.


Related links:


Expedition 59: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition59/index.html


SpaceX Dragon: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex


Kibo laboratory module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/japan-kibo-laboratory


Biomolecule Sequencer: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1917


Biolab hardware: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=66


Genes In Space-6: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7893


Pirs airlock: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/pirs-docking-compartment


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


Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.


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Plankton as a climate driver instead of the sun?…


Plankton as a climate driver instead of the sun? http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/plankton-as-a-climate-driver-instead-of-the-sun.html


Researchers identify reddish coloring in an ancient fossil…


Researchers identify reddish coloring in an ancient fossil http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/researchers-identify-reddish-coloring-in-an-ancient-fossil.html


Ammonium fertilized early life on Earth…


Ammonium fertilized early life on Earth http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/ammonium-fertilized-early-life-on-earth.html


Formation of the moon brought water to Earth…


Formation of the moon brought water to Earth http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/formation-of-the-moon-brought-water-to-earth.html


Regional Metamorphism…


Regional Metamorphism http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/regional-metamorphism.html


Contact Metamorphism : What is Contact Metamorphism? How it…


Contact Metamorphism : What is Contact Metamorphism? How it formed? http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/contact-metamorphism.html


Robot Cleaners You might have seen the small, circular robotic…


Robot Cleaners


You might have seen the small, circular robotic vacuum cleaners that can autonomously clean your house. While you’re out, they methodically whiz around your living room, sucking up unwanted dirt and debris. What if the same could be done for hard-to-reach parts of your body, or essential medical equipment? Researchers have developed micro-robots that can swarm together to remove biofilms – stubborn mats of bacteria stuck onto surfaces – from equipment like catheters and even human teeth. The nanobots, pictured cleaning a circle from a biofilm-covered surface, could potentially be steered by magnetic fields to remove tricky growths on teeth, saving patients from the unpleasant experience of having a dentist fishing around their mouth, or sterilise contaminated equipment – a particularly promising idea as staving off antibiotic-resistant bacteria in medical settings becomes ever-more important.


Written by Anthony Lewis



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