суббота, 1 июня 2019 г.

They came, they saw, and they mixed

Y-chromosome haplogroup N is strongly associated with Uralic-speaking populations. That’s probably because it was a salient feature of the gene pool of the earliest Uralic speakers, and it went with them as they migrated across northern Eurasia. However, some of its younger subclades appear to have spread with the speakers of Indo-European and Turkic languages.
For instance, N-Y10931 seems to be a marker of the Rurikids, a Varangian dynasty that, according to most sources, ruled the Kievan Rus in what are now Russia and Ukraine. And the Kievan Rus was a lose medieval political federation in which Slavic, Finnic (west Uralic) and Germanic languages were probably spoken. The latest on the genetic genealogy of the Rurikids was presented a couple of days ago at the Centenary of Human Population Genetics conference in Moscow, and there’s an abstract of the talk available here (download the PDF and scroll down to page 84).
I’m not aware of any Rurikids among the thousands of ancients in my dataset, or even of any samples belonging to N-Y10931. However, I do have the genome of someone who belongs to N-Y4339, which, as per the abstract linked to above, is proximally ancestral to N-Y10931. Not only does this person come from Viking Age Scandinavia, but he was buried in a crouched position typical of Slavic funerary customs of the time.
The individual in question is vik_84001. His genome was published recently along with a paper on the population structure of the Swedish town of Sigtuna way back when it was a Viking stronghold (see here). This is where his Y-chromosome sequence, labeled ERS2540883, is positioned on the YFull Y-chromosome phylogenetic tree. Click on the image to go to YFull.

However, the result is likely to be compromised to some extent by missing data. If so, it’s possible that vik_84001 does indeed belong to N-Y10931 and ought to be sitting near or even among that cluster of Russian samples (Rurik descendants?) at the bottom of the page.
In any case, vik_84001 seems to be the closest individual in the ancient DNA record to a Rurikid. The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) below is based on my Global25 test. It features 13 other Viking Age individuals from Sigtuna alongside vik_84001 (look for the black dots). Interestingly, despite his eastern Y-haplogroup, vik_84001 is one of the few Sigtuna ancients who clusters strongly with present-day Swedes.

But here’s what happens when I model his ancestry proportions with the Global25/nMonte method using a wide range of reference populations from Northern and Eastern Europe. The Swedes in this model are the same as those in the PCA.


[1] «distance%=2.3778»

Yep, despite his position in the PCA, vik_84001 shows a strong signal of ancestry related to the present-day populations of northwestern Russia. I’m not sure what this means exactly, but it’s certainly fascinating stuff. And, by the way, I usually wouldn’t use so many similar reference populations in a single Global25/nMonte model because of the problem of «overfitting», but in some cases it’s OK to do so if the nMonte algorithm has enough recent genetic drift to latch onto.
See also…
More on the association between Uralic expansions and Y-haplogroup N
Fresh off the sledge
Uralic-specific genome-wide ancestry did make a signifcant impact in the East Baltic
It was always going to be this way
Conan the Barbarian probably belonged to Y-haplogroup R1a


Liver Updates When you’re just one small part of a vast team,…

Liver Updates

When you’re just one small part of a vast team, it can be hard to gauge overall progress. That’s true whether you’re building a website, a skyscraper, or even a liver. Our liver is the only organ that can regenerate after injury or surgical removal – a handy trick for an organ that handles harmful toxins, and important for liver disease patients who have part of it removed. Keen to understand how this impressive growth is regulated to prevent individual cells producing perpetual expansion, researchers examined regrowing mouse livers (pictured at various times after a partial liver removal, with the expanding network of bile-transporting structures stained white). They discovered that the process uses levels of bile (the fat-digesting liquid produced by the liver) as an indicator of organ status, informing and activating cells accordingly to determine organ size – a skill that any future attempts at regenerative medicine will need to master.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia | #Geology #GeologyPage…

The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia | #Geology #GeologyPage #Ethiopia

The Danakil Depression is the northern part of the Afar Triangle or Afar Depression, a geological depression that has resulted from the presence of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. The Danakil Depression is located in the Afar Region near the border with Eritrea and Ethiopia. This area is referred to as the cradle of hominids after Donald Johanson and his colleagues in 1974 found the famous Lucy Australopithecus fossil, which has been dated 3.2 million years old.

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2019 June 1 NICER at Night Image Credit: NASA,…

2019 June 1

NICER at Night
Image Credit: NASA, NICER

Explanation: A payload on board the International Space Station, the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) twists and turns to track cosmic sources of X-rays as the station orbits planet Earth every 93 minutes. During orbit nighttime, its X-ray detectors remain on. So as NICER slews from target to target bright arcs and loops are traced across this all-sky map made from 22 months of NICER data. The arcs tend to converge on prominent bright spots, pulsars in the X-ray sky that NICER regularly targets and monitors. The pulsars are spinning neutron stars that emit clock-like pulses of X-rays. Their timing is so precise it can be used for navigation, determining spacecraft speed and position. This NICER X-ray, all-sky, map is composed in coordinates with the celestial equator horizontally across the center.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190601.html

Vindolanda Roman Fort and Vicus, Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland, 31.5.19.

Vindolanda Roman Fort and Vicus, Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland, 31.5.19.

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Temple to Jupiter Dolichenus and replica altars returned to sites of excavation,...

Temple to Jupiter Dolichenus and replica altars returned to sites of excavation, Vindolanda Roman Fort and Vicus, Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland, 31.5.19.

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Din Lligwy Romano-Celtic Settlement, Anglesey, North Wales, 28.5.19.

Din Lligwy Romano-Celtic Settlement, Anglesey, North Wales, 28.5.19.

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Mars on Earth – what next?

ESA & ROSCOSMOS — ExoMars Mission patch.

31 May 2019

A Mars Sample Return campaign would bring samples of the Red Planet back to Earth for examination in the best terrestrial laboratories – but choosing the samples and storing them on Mars for later return is only one part of the extensive campaign being planned by the mission designers and scientists.

Mars Sample Return overview infographic

A series of missions currently being planned will set a new bar for humankind’s technological achievements as NASA and ESA aim to bring back samples from the Martian surface.

The campaign foresees three launches from Earth and one from Mars, two martian rovers and an autonomous rendezvous and docking in Mars orbit – over 50 million km away from ground control.

Jezero Crater neighbourhood – 3D

The Mars Sample Return campaign is aiming to bring martian material back from Jezero crater that once held a lake and contains an ancient preserved river delta. The rocks in the area will have preserved information about Mars’ long and diverse geologic history.

Sampling Mars will allow humankind to dramatically expand our knowledge of our neighbouring planet, its geology and climate history.

With engineers in Europe and the USA up for the challenge, scientists are eager to receive the first samples from another planet and have already started investigating and preparing how they will analyse the precious, rocks, dust and gas once the samples are returned to Earth.

Containment and contamination control

An important question is how to analyse the samples while both protecting them from contamination by Earth’s chemical signatures, and also keeping them inside a secure contained environment.

On arrival the samples will go into quarantine much like the lunar rocks that returned to Earth on the Apollo and Luna Moon missions. International planetary protection guidelines are being revised in preparation for martian samples, and getting an update to incorporate more modern technology.

Mars sample container

Quarantine will be inside a Sample Receiving Facility, where the samples will already offer a treasure trove of information for scientists even before they are opened. Any martian dust that might cover the outside of the sample tubes can be analysed and non-invasive techniques such as x-ray investigations can be run, even on unopened tubes.

After the samples tubes are opened, a pre-determined set of initial measurements will generate a detailed catalogue of information, which will allow specialised science investigations to target specific parts of the samples.

Messages in bottles

“The sample tubes will contain martian rocks, dust and atmosphere,” says Elliot Sefton-Nash, the MSR Study Scientist from ESA’s Science Support Office, “Even though the plan is to open the tubes in a contained and inert environment, for a few measurements the clock will be ticking: for example, trapped gases in the sample material might start to mix with their surroundings, which could modify the martian chemical signatures that we want to measure.”

Earth Return Orbiter over Mars

Choosing the order to process the multitude of measurements that scientists want to do is a headache of interplanetary proportions. The samples will need to be eventually sterilised according to the planetary protection protocol, which could require heat, radiation or chemical processes. But the sterilisation procedure itself could change some samples from their original state, meaning that some ‘sterilisation sensitive’ investigations need to be done inside containment, before sterilisation happens.

The good news is that a recent publication from the Mars Sample Return Science Planning Group reports that roughly three quarters of all the measurements can be achieved after sterilisation.

The ordering of subsequent investigations is important, as some measurements will influence others. Some must destroy sample material to get results, and not all measurements can be done on all samples. The laboratory itself can be a decisive factor – measuring carbon precisely will require strict controls on how much carbon can be used in the laboratory, so an all-metal laboratory might be needed to get valid results. On the other hand, a metal laboratory would contaminate samples for other measurements, so a careful balance is needed. How to ensure the best science gets done on the samples in the best laboratories in the world – and in what order – is another puzzle.

Earth Return Orbiter and Mars sample container

After ESA’s Space19+ council, where the future and scope of ESA’s involvement in the Mars Sample Return Campaign will be decided, the participating agencies (currently NASA and ESA) in concert with the science and technology communities, will continue solving the challenge of how to best make discoveries with samples returned from Mars.

“Mars Sample Return would be a huge advancement for Mars science and the exploration of the Solar System”, concludes Sanjay Vijendran, ESA’s Mars Sample Return Campaign Coordinator. “The samples will fundamentally advance our understanding of Mars, the history of our Solar System, and will help us plan for future exploration missions.”

ESA has demonstrated expertise in studying Mars from orbit, now we are looking to secure a safe landing, to rove across the surface and to drill underground to search for evidence of life. Our orbiters are already in place to provide data relay services for surface missions. The next logical step is to bring samples back to Earth, to provide access to Mars for scientists globally, and to better prepare for future human exploration of the Red Planet. This week we’re highlighting ESA’s contribution to Mars exploration as we ramp up to the launch of our second ExoMars mission, and look beyond to completing a Mars Sample Return mission. Join the conversation online with the hashtag #ExploreFarther.

Related links:

Robotic exploration of Mars: http://exploration.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=118

Roscosmos: http://en.roscosmos.ru/

ExoMars at IKI: http://exomars.cosmos.ru/

ExoMars TGO at NASA: http://mars.nasa.gov/programmissions/missions/future/exomarsorbiter2016/

ExoMars: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Exploration/ExoMars

Images, Video, Text, Credits: ESA/Anneke Le Floc’h/Roscosmos/CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO/ATG Medialab.

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We Just Took a Major Step Forward in our Moon Landing Program

As part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, we’ve selected the first American companies that will deliver our science and technology payloads to the Moon.


Seen above from left to right are lander prototypes from:

  • Astrobotic of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Intuitive Machines of Houston, Texas

  • Orbit Beyond of Edison, New Jersey


Astrobotic of Pittsburgh has proposed to fly as many as 14 payloads to a large crater on the near side of the Moon.


Intuitive Machines of Houston has proposed to fly as many as five payloads to a scientifically intriguing dark spot on the Moon.


Orbit Beyond of Edison, New Jersey, has proposed to fly as many as four payloads to a lava plain in one of the Moon’s craters.

Each company is charged with demonstrating technology that will shape the development of future landers and other exploration systems needed for humans to return to the Moon’s surface under the new Artemis program. Artemis is the program that will send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024 and develop a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028. The program takes its name from the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.


Together we are going to the Moon—to stay.

Watch the CLPS announcement on our YouTube channel to learn about how each company will prepare us for human missions to the Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qODDdqK9rL4

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

‘Fettuccine’ may be most obvious sign of life on Mars,…

‘Fettuccine’ may be most obvious sign of life on Mars, researchers report http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/fettuccine-may-be-most-obvious-sign-of-life-on-mars-researchers-report.html

A family of comets reopens the debate about the origin of…

A family of comets reopens the debate about the origin of Earth’s water http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/a-family-of-comets-reopens-the-debate-about-the-origin-of-earths-water.html

Scientists find telling early moment that indicates a coming…

Scientists find telling early moment that indicates a coming megaquake http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/scientists-find-telling-early-moment-that-indicates-a-coming-megaquake.html

Earth recycles ocean floor into diamonds…

Earth recycles ocean floor into diamonds http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/earth-recycles-ocean-floor-into-diamonds.html

Hubble Sees a Galaxy Bucking the Trend

NASA — Hubble Space Telescope patch.

May 31, 2019

This luminous orb is the galaxy NGC 4621, better known as Messier 59. As this latter moniker indicates, the galaxy is listed in the famous catalog of deep-sky objects compiled by French comet-hunter Charles Messier in the 18th century. However, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Koehler is credited with discovering the galaxy just days before Messier added it to his collection in 1779.  

Modern observations show that Messier 59 is an elliptical galaxy, one of the three main kinds of galaxies along with spirals and irregulars. Ellipticals tend to be the most evolved of the trio, full of old, red stars and exhibiting little or no new star formation. Messier 59, however, bucks this trend somewhat; the galaxy does show signs of star formation, with some newborn stars residing within a disk near the core.

Located in the 2,000-strong Virgo cluster of galaxies within the constellation of Virgo (the Virgin), Messier 59 lies approximately 50 million light-years away from us. This image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

Messier 59 is featured in Hubble’s Messier catalog, which includes some of the most fascinating objects that can be observed from Earth’s Northern Hemisphere. See the NASA-processed image and other Messier objects at: https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/hubble-s-messier-catalog.

For more information about Hubble, visit:




Text Credits: ESA (European Space Agency)/NASA/Rob Garner/Image, Animation, Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, P. Cote.

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NASA Selects First Commercial Moon Landing Services for Artemis Program

NASA logo.

May 31, 2019

Image above: Commercial landers will carry NASA-provided science and technology payloads to the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the Moon by 2024. Image Credit: NASA.

NASA has selected three commercial Moon landing service providers that will deliver science and technology payloads under Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) as part of the Artemis program. Each commercial lander will carry NASA-provided payloads that will conduct science investigations and demonstrate advanced technologies on the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the lunar surface by 2024.

“Our selection of these U.S. commercial landing service providers represents America’s return to the Moon’s surface for the first time in decades, and it’s a huge step forward for our Artemis lunar exploration plans,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. ”Next year, our initial science and technology research will be on the lunar surface, which will help support sending the first woman and the next man to the Moon in five years. Investing in these commercial landing services also is another strong step to build a commercial space economy beyond low-Earth orbit.”

Image above: Astrobotic of Pittsburgh has proposed to fly as many as 14 payloads to a large crater on the near side of the Moon. Image Credit: Astrobotic.

As part of their submissions, each partner proposed flying specific NASA instruments to the lunar surface. By the end of the summer, NASA will determine which payloads will fly on each flight. The potential payloads include instruments that will conduct new lunar science, pinpoint lander position, measure the lunar radiation environment, assess how lander and astronaut activity affects the Moon, and assist with navigation precision, among other capabilities.

The selections are:

— Astrobotic of Pittsburgh has been awarded $79.5 million and has proposed to fly as many as 14 payloads to Lacus Mortis, a large crater on the near side of the Moon, by July 2021.

— Intuitive Machines of Houston has been awarded $77 million. The company has proposed to fly as many as five payloads to Oceanus Procellarum, a scientifically intriguing dark spot on the Moon, by July 2021.

— Orbit Beyond of Edison, New Jersey, has been awarded $97 million and has proposed to fly as many as four payloads to Mare Imbrium, a lava plain in one of the Moon’s craters, by September 2020.

“These landers are just the beginning of exciting commercial partnerships that will bring us closer to solving the many scientific mysteries of our Moon, our solar system, and beyond,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “What we learn will not only change our view of the universe, but also prepare our human missions to the Moon and eventually Mars.”

Image above: Intuitive Machines of Houston has proposed to fly as many as five payloads to a scientifically intriguing dark spot on the Moon. Image Credit: Intuitive Machines.

Each partner is providing end-to-end commercial payload delivery services to NASA, including payload integration and operations, launch from Earth and landing on the surface of the Moon. These early missions will enable important technology demonstrations that will inform the development of future landers and other exploration systems needed for humans to return to the lunar surface. They also will help prepare the agency to send astronauts to explore Mars.

Image above: Orbit Beyond of Edison, New Jersey, has proposed to fly as many as four payloads to a lava plain in one of the Moon’s craters. Image Credit: Orbit Beyond.

“This announcement starts a significant step in NASA’s collaboration with our commercial partners,” said Chris Culbert, CLPS program manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “NASA is committed to working with industry to enable the next round of lunar exploration. The companies we have selected represent a diverse community of exciting small American companies, each with their own unique, innovative approach to getting to the Moon. We look forward to working with them to have our payloads delivered and opening the door for returning humans to the Moon.”

As additional science, technology demonstration, and human exploration requirements for payloads develop, a request for task order bids will go to all current CLPS contractors. All nine companies initially selected in November 2018 for CLPS will be eligible to bid on subsequent task orders.

Our Next Lunar Landings

Video above: Introducing the first American companies who will deliver the science, technology and research that will set the stage for humanity’s return to the Moon by 2024. Video Credit: NASA.

Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon within five years, NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration plans are based on a two-phase approach: the first is focused on speed – landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024 – while the second will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. We will use what we learn on the Moon to prepare to send astronauts to Mars.

Related article:

Sending American Astronauts to Moon in 2024: NASA Accepts Challenge

Related link:

Commercial Space: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/index.html

For more information about NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration plans, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/moontomars

Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Sean Potter/Felicia Chou/JSC/Rachel Kraft.

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https://t.co/hvL60wwELQ — XissUFOtoday Space (@xufospace) August 3, 2021 Жаждущий ежик наслаждается пресной водой после нескольких дней в о...