вторник, 11 июня 2019 г.

Controlling Colonisation Every surface of your body, inside…

Controlling Colonisation

Every surface of your body, inside and out, is covered with bacteria. Most of the time they don’t do any harm, and so-called ‘good bacteria’ in places like the gut even help to keep us healthy. But excessive bacterial growth in the wrong place can lead to recurring infections and long-term health problems such as inflammation. One of the most serious conditions is stomach cancer, which can be caused by long-term infection with a type of bacteria called H. pylori. However, it’s a mystery how these bugs stay so long living in the acidic, slimy environment of the stomach, or how they cling on to the stomach lining as it is continually regenerated. By infecting mice with H. pylori labelled either red or green, scientists have discovered that the bacteria form close-knit colonies deep down in the glands within the stomach lining, undisturbed by outsiders and protected from harsh conditions.

Written by Kat Arney

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Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Taorirt…

Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Taorirt Mine, Meknès-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

Size: 3.7 × 2.6 × 2.1 cm

Photo Copyright © MONTAN PARK /e-rocks. com

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2019 June 11 The Cave Nebula in Infrared from Spitzer Image…

2019 June 11

The Cave Nebula in Infrared from Spitzer
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltach, Spitzer Space Telescope

Explanation: What’s happening in and around the Cave Nebula? To help find out, NASA’s orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope looked into this optically-dark star-forming region in four colors of infrared light. The Cave Nebula, cataloged as Sh2-155, is quite bright in infrared, revealing details not only of internal pillars of gas and dust, but of the illuminating star cluster too — all near the top of the image. The red glow around the Cave’s entrance is created by dust heated by bright young stars. To the right is Cepheus B, a star cluster that formed previously from the same cloud of gas and dust. Other interesting stars of Cepheus come to light in infrared as well, including those illuminating an even younger nebula toward the image bottom, and a runaway star pushing a bow shock, tinged in red near the image center. This region spans about 50 light years and lies about 2,500 light years toward the constellation of the King of Aethiopia (Cepheus).

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190611.html

NASA Tech Launching on the Falcon Heavy

Later this month, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will take to the skies for the third time to launch the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission. Several exciting, one-of-a-kind NASA technology and science payloads are among the two-dozen spacecraft aboard.


First, let’s talk about that Falcon Heavy rocket. Its 27 engines generate thrust at liftoff equal to that of approximately 18 airplanes, and it can lift over 140,000 pounds.


Managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, STP-2 is the first government-contracted Falcon Heavy launch. It will reuse the two side boosters recovered after the April flight. SpaceX describes it as one of the most challenging launches in the company’s history.

It’s a big deal to us at NASA because we’re launching some pretty cool technologies. The tech will support our future exploration plans by helping improve future spacecraft design and performance. Here’s a bit about each:

Deep Space Atomic Clock

Time is the heartbeat of space navigation. Today, we navigate in deep space by using giant antennas on Earth to send signals to spacecraft, which then send those signals back to Earth. Atomic clocks on Earth measure the time it takes a signal to make this two-way journey. Only then can human navigators on Earth use large antennas to tell the spacecraft where it is and where to go.

Our Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been perfecting an atomic clock fit for exploration missions. The Deep Space Atomic Clock is the first atomic clock designed to fly on a spacecraft destined for beyond Earth’s orbit. The timepiece is lighter and smaller—no larger than a toaster oven—than its refrigerator-sized, Earthly counterparts.


This miniaturized clock could enable one-way navigation: a spacecraft receives a signal from Earth and can determine its location immediately using its own, built-in navigation system. Even smaller versions of the clock are being investigated right now that could be used for the growing number of small to mid-size satellites. As we go forward to the Moon with the Artemis program, precise measurements of time are key to mission success.


The Deep Space Atomic Clock is the primary payload onboard the General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Orbital Test Bed satellite and will perform a year-long demonstration in space.

Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment (E-TBEx)

Two tiny satellites will study how signals can be muddled as they travel through hard-to-predict bubbles in the upper atmosphere. Signals sent from satellites down to Earth (and vice versa) can be disrupted by structured bubbles that sometimes form in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Because this region is affected both by weather on Earth and conditions in space, it’s hard to predict just when these bubbles will form or how they’ll mess with signals.


The E-TBEx CubeSats (short for Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment) will try to shed some light on that question. As these little satellites fly around Earth, they’ll send radio signals (like the ones used by GPS) to receiving stations on the ground. Scientists will be able to look at the signals received and see if they were jumbled as they traveled through the upper atmosphere down to Earth — which will help us track when these bubbles are forming and how much they’re interfering with our signals.

Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM)

For decades, we have relied on a highly toxic spacecraft fuel called hydrazine. The Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) will lay the foundation to replace conventional chemical propulsion systems with a safer and more efficient alternative for next-generation spacecraft.

GPIM will demonstrate a new propellant in space for the first time. Concocted by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, this innovative, “green” fuel—which actually has more of a peach hue—is expected to improve overall spacecraft performance due to its higher density, increased thrust and lower freezing point in comparison with hydrazine.


GPIM’s propulsion system, developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne, consists of new compatible tanks, valves and thrusters. During the two-month-long demonstration on a Ball Aerospace spacecraft, engineers will conduct orbital maneuvers to demonstrate the performance of the propellant and propulsion system.


Space Environment Testbeds (SET)

It’s not easy being a spacecraft; invisible, energetic particles zip throughout space — and while there are so few that space is considered a vacuum, what’s there still packs a punch. Tiny particles — like those seen here impacting a detector on a Sun-studying spacecraft — can wreak havoc with the electronics we send up into space.


Space Environment Testbeds — or SET, for short — is a mission to study space radiation and how it affects spacecraft and electronics in orbit. What looks like snow flurries in these animated images, for example, is actually a solar radiation storm of incredibly fast particles, unleashed by a solar eruption. Energetic particles from the Sun or deep space can spark memory damage or computer upsets on spacecraft, and over time, degrade hardware.

By studying radiation effects and different methods to protect satellites, SET will help future missions improve spacecraft design, engineering and operations.

Follow @NASA_Technology and @NASASun on Twitter for news about the STP-2 launch and our missions aboard.

Check out www.nasa.gov/spacex to stay up-to-date on the launch day and time. Don’t forget to tune into our launch coverage, scheduled to start about 30 minutes before liftoff!

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

Name an exoplanet

Within the framework of its 100th anniversary commemorations, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is organising the IAU100 NameExoWorlds global campaign that allows any country in the world to give a popular name to a selected exoplanet and its host star. Nearly 100 countries have already signed up to organise national campaigns that will provide the public with an opportunity to vote. The aim of this initiative is to create awareness of our place in the Universe and to reflect on how the Earth would potentially be perceived by a civilisation on another planet.

Name an exoplanet
Credit: IAU

In recent years, astronomers have discovered thousands of planets and planetary systems orbiting around nearby stars. Some are small and rocky like the Earth, whilst others are gas giants like Jupiter. It is now believed that most stars in the Universe could have planets orbiting them and that some of them may have physical characteristics that resemble those of the Earth. The sheer number of stars in the Universe, each potentially with orbiting planets, along with the ubiquity of pre-biotic compounds, suggests that extraterrestrial life may be likely.
The IAU is the authority responsible for assigning official designations and names to celestial bodies and now, while celebrating its first 100 years of fostering international collaboration (IAU100), it wishes to contribute to the fraternity of all people with a significant token of global identity. Following the first NameExoWorlds campaign, which named 31 exoplanets in 19 planetary systems in 2015, the IAU will now, within the framework of the IAU100 NameExoWorlds project, offer every country the chance to name one planetary system, comprising an exoplanet and its host star. Each nation’s designated star is visible from that country, and sufficiently bright to be observed through small telescopes. This is only the second time in history that a campaign will lead to the naming of stars and exoplanets.

“This exciting event invites everyone worldwide to think about their collective place in the Universe, while stimulating creativity and global citizenship,” shared Debra Elmegreen, IAU President Elect. “The NameExoworlds initiative reminds us that we are all together under one sky.”

After carefully selecting a large sample of well-studied, confirmed exoplanets and their host stars, the IAU100 NameExoWorlds Steering Committee assigned a star–planet system to each country, taking account of the association with the country and the visibility of the host star from most of the country.

In each participating country, a national committee has been specially created by the National Outreach Coordinators (IAU NOCs) to carry out the campaign at the national level. The national committee, following the methodology and guidelines set up by the IAU100 Name ExoWorlds Steering Committee, is the body responsible for providing the conditions for public participation, disseminating the project in the country and establishing a voting system.

The national campaigns will be carried out from June to November 2019 and, after final validation by the IAU100 NameExoWorlds Steering Committee, the global results will be announced in December 2019. The winning names will be used freely in parallel with the existing scientific nomenclature, with due credit to the persons that proposed them.

If your country is not yet organising a national campaign, and you are part of a science organisation or Non-Governmental Organisation interested in carrying out a nation-wide contest, there is still time until 30 July 2019 to express interest to organise a national campaign. Send us your brief proposal through this form and the NameExoWorlds Steering Committee will review your proposal and will get back to you with its decision. Questions about national campaigns should be specifically addressed to the National Committees.

Source: International Astronomical Union [June 06, 2019]



How old are your organs? To scientists’ surprise, organs are a mix of young and old...

Scientists once thought that neurons, or possibly heart cells, were the oldest cells in the body. Now, Salk Institute researchers have discovered that the mouse brain, liver and pancreas contain populations of cells and proteins with extremely long lifespans — some as old as neurons. The findings, demonstrating «age mosaicism,» were published in Cell Metabolism. The team’s methods could be applied to nearly any tissue in the body to provide valuable information about lifelong function of non-dividing cells and how cells lose control over the quality and integrity of proteins and important cell structures during aging.

How old are your organs? To scientists' surprise, organs are a mix of young and old cells
Anatomy model with internal organs [Credit: turbosquid.com]

«We were quite surprised to find cellular structures that are essentially as old as the organism they reside in,» says Salk Vice President, Chief Science Officer Martin Hetzer, senior author and professor. «This suggests even greater cellular complexity than we previously imagined and has intriguing implications for how we think about the aging of organs, such as the brain, heart and pancreas.»

Most neurons in the brain do not divide during adulthood and thus experience a long lifespan and age-related decline. Yet, largely due to technical limitations, the lifespan of cells outside of the brain was difficult to determine.

«Biologists have asked — how old are cells in an organism? There is this general idea that neurons are old, while other cells in the body are relatively young and regenerate throughout the organism’s lifetime,» says Rafael Arrojo e Drigo, first author and Salk staff scientist. «We set out to see if it was possible that certain organs also have cells that were as long-lived as neurons in the brain.»

Since the researchers knew that most neurons are not replaced during the lifespan, they used them as an «age baseline» to compare other non-dividing cells. The team combined electron isotope labeling with a hybrid imaging method (MIMS-EM) to visualize and quantify cell and protein age and turnover in the brain, pancreas and liver in young and old rodent models.

How old are your organs? To scientists' surprise, organs are a mix of young and old cells
Isotope imaging of different cells inside an islet of Langerhans within the pancreas. Older cells have
a yellow-to-pink colour scheme, while younger cells exhibit a blue-to-green colour pattern
[Credit: Salk Institute]

To validate their method, the scientists first determined the age of the neurons, and found that — as suspected — they were as old as the organism. Yet, surprisingly, the cells that line blood vessels, called endothelial cells, were also as old as neurons. This means that some non-neuronal cells do not replicate or replace themselves throughout the lifespan.

The pancreas, an organ responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels and secreting digestive enzymes, also showed cells of varying ages. A small portion of the pancreas, known as the islets of Langerhans, appeared to the researchers as a puzzle of interconnected young and old cells. Some beta cells, which release insulin, replicated throughout the lifetime and were relatively young, while some did not divide and were long-lived, similar to neurons. Yet another type of cell, called delta cells, did not divide at all. The pancreas was a striking example of age mosaicism, i.e., a population of identical cells that are distinguished by their lifespans.

Prior studies have suggested that the liver has the capacity to regenerate during adulthood, so the researchers selected this organ expecting to observe relatively young liver cells. To their surprise, the vast majority of liver cells in healthy adult mice were found to be as old as the animal, while cells that line blood vessels, and stellate-like cells, another liver cell type, were much shorter lived. Thus, unexpectedly, the liver also demonstrated age mosaicism, which points to potential new paths of regenerative research for this organ.

On a molecular scale, a selection of the observed long-lived cells contained protein complexes displaying age mosaicism. For example, the primary cilia (hair-like appendages on the outside of cells) of beta cells in the pancreas and neurons contained protein regions of vastly different lifespans. In stark contrast, the cells in the liver contained no long-lived proteins at all.

«Thanks to new visualizing technologies we are able to pinpoint the age of cells and their supramolecular complexes more accurately than ever before. This opens new doors for studying all cells, tissues and organs in normal and in disease states,» says Mark Ellisman, Distinguished Professor of Neurosciences at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and co-leader of the study with Hetzer. His laboratory, the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, developed and provided the new tissue imaging methods for correlated multi-scale and multi-modal microscopy. These methods provided the key new and enabling technologies that allowed this study to be carried out.

«Determining the age of cells and subcellular structures in adult organisms will provide new insights into cell maintenance and repair mechanisms and the impact of cumulative changes during adulthood on health and development of disease,» adds Hetzer. «The ultimate goal is to utilize these mechanisms to prevent or delay age-related decline of organs with limited cell renewal.»

Next, the authors plan to decipher the difference in lifespans for nucleic acids and lipids. They also want to understand how age mosaicism relates to health and diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Source: Salk Institute [June 06, 2019]



Study confirms banded iron formations originated from oxidized iron

A new study by University of Alberta scientists shows that banded iron formations originated from oxidized iron, confirming the relevance and accuracy of existing models—a finding of great importance to the geological community.

Study confirms banded iron formations originated from oxidized iron
Banded iron formations, such as this one pictured in Western Australia, precipitated out of the Earth’s
early oceans billions of years ago, and are providing new clues to the evolution
of ancient seawater and the microbes that inhabited it
[Credit: Tom Price]

Banded iron formations are a distinct type of sedimentary rock with layers of iron deposited as horizontal bands. The majority of these formations formed over the last 2.5 billion years and are a major source of iron today. «We’ve been using banded iron formations with great success to track the evolution of seawater chemistry and evolution of the biosphere,» explained Kurt Konhauser, professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and co-author on the paper. «But these experiments are based on the assumption that we understand the primary minerals that compose these rocks.»

In the last decade, a new model was proposed, suggesting that the formations began as ferrous iron that was later oxidized by oxygen in the environment—a model that, if correct, would require a major paradigm shift in this area of study.

To examine this possibility, a group of researchers led by Konhauser’s PhD student Leslie Robbins tested the theory using a hydrogeological model, designed to determine how long it would take oxygen to oxidize such a formation. The research team included Professor Ben Roston, Assistant Professor Daniel Alessi, and Professor Larry Heaman.

«Essentially, we found that this would be possible in only one per cent of cases in the suggested time frame of 250 million years,» said Konhauser. «Moreover, we had to create unrealistic conditions in order to make the new proposed model work—for instance, an extremely steep slope, or rock that was actually sand, or a great deal of oxygen.»

These results confirmed that the newly proposed model is inaccurate, indicating that existing models and our current understanding remains the most effective method of studying banded iron formations.

«This is a powerful result that stems from the simple question about whether recently proposed models for banded iron formations are plausible when extrapolated to the size of a depositional basin,» said Robbins, now a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University in New Haven, United States. «This result has fundamental implications for the formation of these deposits, and this work benefited greatly from strong collaborations both within Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and with our external collaborators.»

The paper was published in Nature Geoscience.

Author: Katie Willis | Source: University of Alberta [June 06, 2019]



Facing up to Switzerland’s Roman past

Meet Adelasius Ebalchus. He lived in what is now northern Switzerland some 1,300 years ago, centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Who was he and what can he tell us about life during the Early Middle Ages?

Facing up to Switzerland’s Roman past
Adelasius Ebalchus, as reconstructed by Oscar Nilsson
[Credit: Oscar Nilsson]

“Adelasius was a young man, about 20 years old, who lived around AD700,” explains Angela Kummer, director of Grenchen Cultural-Historical Museum, where his bones and a reconstruction of his face are on display until June 9.

“He was a descendant of the Gallo-Roman population who lived in the region when the Germanic tribes came into the central Swiss plateau in the 7th century. We know very little about this epoch. There are no written sources – people didn’t write anything down – so we have to read what we can from the cemeteries, the skeletons and the remains in the burial sites.”

His intact grave, lined and covered with stones, was in fact one of 47 that were excavated in 2014 in the town of Grenchen, canton Solothurn.

“Because he was buried in an expensive, walled grave, he probably belonged to the richer classes,” Kummer says. “He’s also got an excellent set of teeth! Back then people very often ate hard grains – gruel was a staple food – but their milling wasn’t that good, so it was quite gritty and ruined many people’s back teeth. Adelasius’s teeth are very healthy – no plaque or rotting or missing teeth – and they are nicely positioned, although they are also slightly worn down by the grains.”

Facing up to Switzerland’s Roman past
Adelasius’s skull. A 3D-printed version was sent to facial reconstructor Oscar Nilsson in Sweden
[Credit: Kantonsarchäologie Solothurn]

What’s more, he was 173cm (5’7”) – relatively tall for the time, Kummer says. “That’s another clue that he had a good childhood, with enough food for his development. It’s exciting what you can see just from the bones!”

That said, he still died aged around 20, at a time when life expectancy was 30-40. But he probably didn’t come to a violent end; rather a chronic infection, perhaps triggered by a lung inflammation, might have finished him off, Kummer says.

“Various traces of infection were found in his bones, the disease lasted for a long time and led to deficiency symptoms. But he probably died from [one of those explanations] and not in a battle or anything like that.”

Around 1,300 years later, Swedish archaeological facial reconstructor Oscar Nilsson was commissioned to rebuild Adelasius’s face.

Facing up to Switzerland’s Roman past
Oscar Nilsson reconstructing Adelasius’ face [Credit: Oscar Nilsson]

“Many people think he must almost be Neanderthal and they think of someone with a beard and long hair and who’s unkempt,” Kummer says. “Oscar Nilsson ‘shaved’ him, so you can see his cheekbones and the cleft in his chin – and you can see that when you look at his skull. He wouldn’t stand out walking down the street today! Although beards are now back in!”

Mirjam Wullschleger is leader of the project and a member of the cantonal archaeology team that gave Adelasius his distinctly Latin name.

She says that at a time when Germanic tribes, the Alemanni, were slowly entering the central Swiss plateau, Adelasius was “a local, a Roman”.

“The graves here in Grenchen are typical for the area of the Romans, the old, settled population that lived here,” she says, explaining that during the time of the Romans no Romans actually came to the region around Grenchen – the inhabitants were in fact an indigenous Celtic people who had taken on the Roman way of life.

“Adelasius most probably spoke a development of the Latin dialect that was spoken here at the time of the Romans.”

Facing up to Switzerland’s Roman past
Adelasius in his final resting place [Credit: Kantonsarchäologie Solothurn]

Wullschleger admits she was surprised by the quantity and quality of the graves found in the former medieval cemetery that has since been covered by a block of flats.

“We knew graves were buried there because in the 19th century local historians went there looking for these graves – and they found at least 90 – but in 2014 we didn’t know how many were in this field. I thought almost all the graves had already been excavated, but we were positively surprised when we found many well-preserved, intact graves.”

So why is Grenchen such a hot spot for early medieval skeletons? “I think above all it’s due to the location – the southern foot of the Jura mountains lies on an important traffic axis. Also the soil here is very fertile. These south-facing raised terraces have always been of interest to people. So we simply find these remains where people lived.”

Adelasius’s remains and the reconstruction of his face will go on permanent display in the autumn in the new House of Museums in nearby Olten.

“It’s very important that what we find during the excavations doesn’t disappear into our cellars or archives but is displayed to the public,” Wullschleger says.

Author: Thomas Stephens | Source: SwissInfo [June 06, 2019]



NASA Prepares to Launch Twin Satellites to Study Signal Disruption From Space

NASA — TBEx Mission patch.

June 10, 2019

NASA’s twin E-TBEx CubeSats — short for Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment — are scheduled to launch in June 2019 aboard the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 launch. The launch includes a total of 24 satellites from government and research institutions. They will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The E-TBEx CubeSats focus on how radio signals that pass through Earth’s upper atmosphere can be distorted by structured bubbles in this region, called the ionosphere. Especially problematic over the equator, these distortions can interfere with military and airline communications as well as GPS signals. The more we can learn about how these bubbles evolve, the more we can mitigate those problems — but right now, scientists can’t predict when these bubbles will form or how they’ll change over time.

«These bubbles are difficult to study from the ground,» said Rick Doe, payload program manager for the E-TBEx mission at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. «If you see the bubbles start to form, they then move. We’re studying the evolution of these features before they begin to distort the radio waves going through the ionosphere to better understand the underlying physics.»

The ionosphere is the part of Earth’s upper atmosphere where particles are ionized — meaning they’re separated out into a sea of positive and negative particles, called plasma. The plasma of the ionosphere is mixed in with neutral gases, like the air we breathe, so Earth’s upper atmosphere — and the bubbles that form there — respond to a complicated mix of factors.

Image above: This visualization shows the relative density of certain particles in Earth’s ionosphere. The E-TBEx CubeSats will explore how signals from satellites to Earth can be disrupted as they pass through this region. Image Credit: NASA.

Because its particles have electric charge, the plasma in this region responds to electric and magnetic fields. This makes the ionosphere responsive to space weather: conditions in space, including changing electric and magnetic fields, often influenced by the Sun’s activity. Scientists also think that pressure waves launched by large storm systems can propagate up into the upper atmosphere, creating winds that shape how the bubbles move and change. This means the ionosphere — and the bubbles — are shaped by terrestrial weather and space weather alike.

The E-TBEx CubeSats send radio beacon signals at three frequencies — close to those used by communications and GPS satellites — to receiving stations on the ground, at which point scientists can detect minute changes in the signals’ phase or amplitude. Those disruptions can then be mapped back to the region of the ionosphere through which they passed, giving scientists information about just how these bubbles form and evolve.

«All signals are created at the same time — with the same phase — so you can tell how they get distorted in passing through the bubbles,» said Doe. «Then, by looking at the distortions, you can back out information about the amount of roughness and the density in the bubbles.»

The data produced by the twin CubeSats is complemented by similar beacons onboard NOAA’s six COSMIC-2 satellites. Like the E-TBEx CubeSats, the COSMIC-2 beacons send signals at three frequencies — slightly different than those used by E-TBEx — to receiving stations on the ground. The combination of measurements from all eight satellites will give scientists chances to study some of these bubbles from multiple angles at the same time.

E-TBEx’s beacon was built by a team at SRI International, which also designed and fabricated the beacons on COMSIC-2. The E-TBEx CubeSats were developed with Michigan Exploration Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The design, fabrication, integration and testing was carried out mostly by teams of undergraduate and graduate students.

Animation above: E-TBEx’s deployment is tested at the Michigan Exploration Lab. Constructing and testing the E-TBEx CubeSats was particularly complex because of the multiple antennas and solar panels that deploy after launch. Image Credits: University of Michigan/Michigan Exploration Lab.

«Building and testing E-TBEx was pretty complex because of the number of deployable parts,» said James Cutler, an aerospace engineering professor at University of Michigan who led the student teams that worked on E-TBEx. «The payload is essentially a flying radio station, so we have five antennas to deploy — four with two segments each — and, also, four solar panels.»

What scientists learn from E-TBEx could help develop strategies to avoid signal distortion — for instance, allowing airlines to choose a frequency less susceptible to disruption, or letting the military delay a key operation until a potentially disruptive ionospheric bubble has passed.

STP-2 is managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The Department of Defense mission will demonstrate the capabilities of the Falcon Heavy rocket while delivering satellites to multiple orbits around Earth over the course of about six hours. These satellites include three additional NASA projects to improve future spacecraft design and performance.

Related links:

NOAA’s six COSMIC-2 satellites: https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/COSMIC-2

CubeSats: http://www.nasa.gov/cubesats/

Goddard Space Flight Center: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/home/index.html

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Rob Garner/Goddard Space Flight Center, by Sarah Frazier.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Station Trio Prepping for June 24 Homecoming

ISS — Expedition 59 Mission patch.

June 10, 2019

Three Expedition 59 crewmembers are getting ready to end their stay at the International Space Station after six and a half months in space. Meanwhile, mission scientists continue exploring how microgravity impacts the human body.

Flight Engineers Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques will flank Commander Oleg Kononenko inside the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft when they return to Earth on June 24. McClain videotaped herself in virtual reality talking about her first space mission today using a 360-degree camera in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. The trio have been in space since Dec. 3.

Image above: The six-member Expedition 59 crew poses for a portrait inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus commercial space freighter dubbed the S.S. Roger B. Chaffee. Clockwise from bottom are cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Kononenko; NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague; Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain. Image Credit: NASA.

Saint-Jacques and Kononenko began gathering items to take back home inside their Soyuz crew ship. The duo collected personal items such as shoes and clothes as well as tools and trash that will be soon be stowed aboard the Soyuz for the ride to Earth.

Saint-Jacques also researched ways to supplement crew nutrition during future long-term space missions, such as missions to the Moon and Mars. Food stowed for long periods can lose nutritional value. The BioNutrients-1 study is exploring manufacturing nutritional compounds in space to maintain healthy crews for successful missions.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague started Monday morning by drawing blood samples and spinning them in a centrifuge before stowing them in science freezer. Doctors on the ground will analyze the samples to detect critical changes to a crewmember’s physiology while living in space. The pair also participated in visual acuity tests using an eye chart in the afternoon.

Related links:

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

360-degree camera: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7877

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

BioNutrients-1: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7400

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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Caption Spotlight (10 June 2019): Tooting Crater EjectaIn this…

Caption Spotlight (10 June 2019): Tooting Crater Ejecta

In this picture we can see a huge tongue-like form, which looks a like a mudflow with boulders on its surface. This “tongue” is only a small part of a larger deposit that completely surrounds Tooting Crater (not visible in this image). This is part of what is called an “ejecta blanket.”

The shape and form of the deposits in the ejecta blanket can tell us about the condition of the ground when the impact crater was formed. The presence of this tongue of ejecta is interpreted as a sign that the ground was frozen before impact. The force of the impact melted ice and mixed it with rock and dust as it was thrown away from the crater. It then settled to form these tongue-like lobes all around the crater.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum will mark its 10th anniversary on June 21 with the official opening to visitors of an ancient Athenian neighbourhood that was excavated beneath the building and which is currently visible through the glass floor at its entrance.

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum
Credit: Alexandros Vlahos/ANA-MPA

The 4,000-square metre site contains the ruins of an ancient neighbourhood dating from the Classical period and includes houses, workshops, bathhouses and streets.

It will also display items used in the daily lives of ancient Athenians in the 5th century that were unearthed during the excavations.

“Essentially, we will open a new floor of the museum, which will provide information about the daily lives of Athenians,” museum President Dimitris Pandermalis said.

“Light plays throughout the excavation,” explains Pandermalis. “We wanted to avoid the feeling of a basement and not to restrict the finds in a dark space that deprives them of their vitality. The innovation of the work being carried out here rests in our perception of the excavation: The entire thing is the exhibit, which the visitor is invited to explore.”

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum
Credit: Alexandros Vlahos/ANA-MPA

Architect Eleni Spartsi, whose firm conducted the study for the exhibition space, told Kathimerini that the aim of the design was to maintain the feeling of a dig, without making the public feel as though they’re inside a museum.

“With respect to the architecture of the Acropolis Museum and using this architecture, we wanted to guide the public to the discovery of an ancient city beneath the modern one. This is achieved on the one hand by showcasing finds that describe all the aspects of day-to-day life – symposia, commerce, family relations. On the other hand, the artifacts appear to be in their natural place in the excavation, so that a tour of the site leads to the ‘discovery’ of the exhibits.”

The Acropolis Museum team has been working on this project for eight years and are justifiably proud of their accomplishment as they show us around. Even though the artifacts – numbering around 1,300 – will not be put on display for some time yet, the tour is no less fascinating.

The Acropolis Museum’s 10th anniversary is not just a celebration of its success, but also an opportunity to look back and to explore new beginnings.

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum
Credit: Alexandros Vlahos/ANA-MPA

The museum was granted its own body of staff in March and an organizational chart, and is now ready “to get a director, just like any other museum,” says its president, Dimitrios Pandermalis.

“We have achieved our goals in these 10 years. We elevated the exhibits and highlighted their significance, while succeeding in turning a visit into an experience. Digital technology allows visitors to see their true form and to get an understanding of the sheer grandeur,” he says.

“All of us working at this museum gave a part of our soul to it from the very first minute so that it could get off the ground and win over the general public. The success of the endeavor was an enormous responsibility for me personally, because the Acropolis Museum is something that is of vital importance to the country. And today, it enjoys global appeal,” adds the respected archaeologist.

Referring to the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures at the British Museum, Pandermalis argues that the Acropolis Museum’s success has not been hampered by their absence.

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum

Ancient Athenian neighbourhood opens to public at Acropolis Museum
Credit: Alexandros Vlahos/ANA-MPA

“We have a policy of not focusing on their absence, but on moving ahead and proudly showcasing all the wonderful things we have. And the fact is that we have an acropolis from Archaic times that is intact. At the same time, and thanks to the constant pressure being exercised by an international audience, we are making it clear that reuniting the marbles would not satisfy an entire nation, but would fulfill a legitimate demand,” says Pandermalis.

“If we keep trying, at some point, all of sudden – as is usually the case – they will come back to Greece. After all, museums all over the world are becoming more democratic and returning cultural treasures to the countries they were taken from,” he adds.

Source: Kathimerini [June 07, 2019]



Moorish artefacts point to medieval settlement in Gibraltar’s Europa Point

Construction work on new sporting facilities in Europa Point have unearthed evidence suggesting the area was home to a settlement during Gibraltar’s medieval Moorish period between 711-1462.

Moorish artefacts point to medieval settlement in Gibraltar’s Europa Point
Credit: Gibraltar Chronicle

A 14th Century Moorish Guardhouse was discovered in excavations close to the present Shrine of Our Lady of Europe and various Moorish artefacts have been found.
It is believed the settlement, known as Corral de Fez, was established during the time of the Marinid Dynasty after the recapture of Gibraltar in 1333.

Moorish artefacts point to medieval settlement in Gibraltar’s Europa Point
Credit: Gibraltar Chronicle

It was at this point that the Emir Abu’l Hassan constructed defensive walls all the way to Europa Point, making previously unsecure areas open for settlement.
A Marinid wall, which would have overlooked the Strait of Gibraltar, was found in the area of the Shrine as well, and it is likely that it was erected between 1333 and 1374.

Moorish artefacts point to medieval settlement in Gibraltar’s Europa Point
Credit: Gibraltar Chronicle

It was previously suggested that the Nuns’ Well, which is located on Europa Flats, also dates back to this period but the archaeological evidence was inconclusive.
Announcing the findings, the Gibraltar Government said: “With the ongoing works for the Europa Point Stadium and associated accommodation, archaeological watching briefs are being carried out on all ground works.”

Moorish artefacts point to medieval settlement in Gibraltar’s Europa Point
Credit: Gibraltar Chronicle

“These are being conducted by the Government archaeologist and a team of archaeologists from the Gibraltar National Museum working for the Ministry for Heritage.”
Smaller artefacts such as Moorish ceramics were found in the area of Europa Flats as well, which suggests that this area was occupied by a settlement.

The Government spokesman said the Moorish wall has been protected by a geotextile and covered and all necessary information has been recorded. The other artefacts are currently at the Gibraltar National Museum for further study.

“These unique finds highlight the importance of archaeological watching briefs and this kind of work is an example of different departments working in partnership,” the Government statement read, adding that the Heritage Minister, Dr John Cortes, is pleased that “the picture of Gibraltar’s past is being recreated with every new discovery”.

Source: Gibraltar Chronicle [June 08, 2019]



Phase 5 of Keezhadi excavations to look for sub-surface structures

The fifth phase of excavations at Keezhadi is set to begin on June 12. The excavation team will be looking for structures beneath the surface, aided by information provided by the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) and Bharathidasan University.

Phase 5 of Keezhadi excavations to look for sub-surface structures
The government has sanctioned funds for the fifth phase of excavations
[Credit: The Hindu]

The State Archaeological Department, which took over the excavations from the Archaeological Survey of India, has tied up with IIG, a technical agency. “IIG is based in Mumbai and they came all the way to Keezhadi. They did a survey for 10 days and have given us a preliminary report [detailing] where exactly structures would be available underneath the surface,” an official in the department told The Hindu.

“The government has sanctioned ₹55 lakh for this phase of excavations. This phase will be undertaken for a period of one year. A team of 10 archaeologists will undertake the excavations; it will be led by Dr. Sivanandam,” Minister for Tamil Culture K. Pandiarajan said.

According to the official, the survey would look for structures underneath the surface, which would be indicated as anomalies in the report. “They have zeroed-in on a few places, based on which we are locating the places to dig. This time, we expect some major structures to be revealed (during the excavations),” the official said.

“What lies beneath, we will get in a 3D view. These will not be exact pictures, but we will get a graphical representation of anomalies. We are also tying up with Bharathidasan University to undertake a ground-penetrating radar survey,” the official said. According to the official, the ASI had selectively used magnetometers during excavations earlier. “These magnetometers have also been used in Angkor Wat and other places. These two organisations came in handy for us this time to identify the locations,” the official said.

Meanwhile, archaeologists have also found evidence of Keezhadi being part of a possible cluster of places. A burial site very near to Keezhadi, at a place called Konthagai, seems to be part of the cluster. “Manalur and Agaram could be part of the Keezhadi cluster as well,” the official said, adding that the next phase of excavations could be in these areas.

In the previous phase of excavations in 2017-18, the team found various antiquities, including terracotta artefacts and copper, gold, iron and ivory objects, including an ivory dice. A total of 5,820 antiquities were found. The team also found an animal bone, which will be sent to the Centre for Microbiology in Hyderabad for testing. A detailed report on it is expected soon.

Author: T.K. Rohit | Source: The Hindu [June 10, 2019]



The Neolithic precedents of gender inequality

Researchers from the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of Seville have studied the archaeological evidence of prehistoric societies in the Neolithic Period in the Iberian Peninsula from the perspective of gender. According to the results of their work, which address the analysis from the point of view of bioarchaeology and funerary archaeology, it was in the Neolithic that gender differences first appeared which meant male domination in later periods of history.

The Neolithic precedents of gender inequality
Dance scene at the Caves of El Cogul shows eleven women in skirts circling a naked man
[Credit: Enric/WikiCommons]

To arrive at these conclusions, the researchers have analysed two groups of indicators. On the one hand, life conditions and demographic aspects; and, on the other, funerary practices. In the first group, they studied factors like the sexual ratio (the demographic proportion of men to women), diet, genetic data, movement, the most common diseases and the detected stress markers.

In the second, they considered data like the type of burial, the primary or secondary character of the deposit, if it was individual or collective burial, the spatial organisation of the site, the position and orientation of the bodies, the funerary goods that were placed in the tomb or the «funerary movements» (signs of manipulation of the bodies, pigmentation or alteration caused by the heat).

The study concluded that inequality between men and women was not generally consolidated or widely spread in Iberia during the Neolithic. However, situations progressively appeared that indicate dominance of men over women.

The authors point to four important lines in which inequality between men and women can be investigated through successive historical periods: their access to funeral rites, the material conditions of their existence, the appearance of specific social roles for each of the genders and the growing association of men with violence.

It is precisely this last aspect that is most evident in this study. The arrow wounds on male bodies, the depositing of projectiles in their tombs or the pictorial representations (cave paintings) of men hunting and fighting have no equivalent parallel in women. Therefore, the authors point to the birth of an ideology that connected men with the exercise of force.

In this sense, they highlight that the creation of different roles according to gender and other forms of gender inequality played a fundamental role in the growth of social complexity, a factor that has not always been well understood in previous research projects.

The study, published in the European Journal of Archaeology, is the first time that this period has been dealt with from the perspective of gender and considering multiple variables. The study’s conclusions mean the archaeological confirmation of the proposal of anthropologist Gerda Lerner, who in the book The Creation of Patriarchy proposed the hypothesis that it was the Neolithic societies that saw the beginning of inequality between men and women.

Source: University of Seville [June 10, 2019]




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