SCIENCE
100,000 Stars
Category: SCIENCE
Tags: 1989 Hipparcos Mission artist's rendition Google Chrome web browser interactive NGC 1232 spiral galaxy

100,000 Stars

Interactive Visualization of Our
Stellar Neighborhood


100,000 Stars is an interactive visualization of the stellar neighborhood created for the Google Chrome web browser. It shows the location of 119,617 nearby stars derived from multiple sources, including the 1989 Hipparcos mission.

Zooming in reveals 87 individually identified stars and our solar system. The galaxy view is an artist's rendition based on NGC 1232, a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way.


Try that beautiful Visual
 
 
Russian Proton rocket carrying advanced satellite crashes
Category: SCIENCE
Tags: Marina Kosareva Russia Sean Thomas Space

Screenshot from Roscosmos live feed

RT May 15, 2014 ShortURL

A Russian Proton-M rocket with an advanced satellite on board crashed outside of Kazakhstan's territory on Friday, about nine minutes after lift-off. The Express-AM4R would have been Russia’s most advanced and powerful satellite.

There are so far no reports of damage or casualties resulting from the Proton-M's failure to deliver the satellite into orbit.

The rocket could have crashed over the Altai Mountains or the Pacific Ocean, a source told RIA Novosti.

All other launches of Proton-type rockets will be halted at Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan until the reason for the crash is determined, a source told RIA Novosti.

There was an emergency engines shutdown on the 540th second following the launch, the Russian Federal Space Agency said, as quoted by Itar-Tass.

The third stage had another 40 seconds to go before the planned separation from the satellite when the engines failed, RIA Novosti quoted a source as saying.

All of the fuel left over from the launch was likely burnt in the atmosphere, Interfax reported, citing a source.

A special commission from the Russian Federal Space Agency will be in charge of investigating the reasons behind the crash.

The Proton-M rocket, carrying an advanced Express-AM4R satellite, was launched on schedule from Baikonur on Friday. The Express-AM4R would have been Russia’s most advanced and powerful satellite.

The spacecraft weighed 5.8 metric tons and had 63 transponders providing X-band, C-band, S-band, L-band, Ku-band, and Ka-band capacity along with 10 antennas installed.

The satellite was to provide internet access in Russia’s remote regions at affordable prices. This was Russia's third launch of Express series satellites this year. In March, Express-AT1 and Express-AT satellites were put into orbit.

In 2013, Russia carried out 32 of the 82 space launches completed worldwide, only one of which failed, Interfax reported.

Screenshot from Roscosmos live feed

 

 

Scientists Create 1st Living Organism From Artificial DNA
Category: SCIENCE

HealthDay May 7, 2014

By Alan Mozes, HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Move over, Frankenstein! Your 21st-century counterpart has just been announced.

In true sci-fi fashion, a team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, Calif., has created a brand-new bacteria based on a genetic structure found nowhere on Earth.

According to lead researcher Floyd Romesberg, the feat involved artificially engineering a unique combination of DNA material -- a combination not found in any living creature -- and then successfully inserting it into a living cell that usually contains only natural combinations of DNA.

"Life on Earth in all its diversity is encoded by only two pairs of DNA bases, A-T and C-G," Romesberg explained in an institute news release. "And what we've made is an organism that stably contains those two plus a third, unnatural pair of bases."

"This shows that other solutions to storing [genetic] information are possible," he added, "and, of course, takes us closer to an expanded-DNA biology that will have many exciting applications -- from new medicines to new kinds of nanotechnology."

Romesberg and his colleagues discuss their handiwork -- funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health -- in the May 7 online edition of Nature.

The product of more than 15 years of work, the current effort builds on a proof-of-concept study conducted in 2008. At that time, investigators had shown that hooking up natural and unnatural pairings of DNA was possible in a test-tube setting.

The next challenge was to replicate the process inside a living cell. The cell chosen by the TSRI team was the common E. coli bacterium, and into it they inserted what they considered to be the best unnatural DNA pairing they could construct: a combination of two molecules called "d5SICS" and "dNaM".

After leaping through a series of highly complex technical problems, the study authors finally managed to pull off their goal: the fashioning on a half-synthetic organism that could actually replicate its unnatural self as long as scientists continuously supplied it with the necessary molecular material.

Romesberg said that, in principle, his team's high-concept work has a very practical purpose: to gain a "greater power than ever" to fashion new treatments by harnessing the power of genetics.

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