February 20, 2016 at 12:45 am #46080
the, perhaps controversial, response of the electric universe group to the recent announcement. Just in.February 27, 2016 at 5:03 am #46081
February 26, 2016
The discovery was made by scientists including Lancaster’s Professor Iain Bertram – involved in the DZero international collaboration at Fermilab, the US Government’s laboratory specialising in high-energy particle physics.
Professor Bertram said: “It is exciting to discover a new and unusual particle that will help us understand the strong interaction- one of the four known fundamental interactions in physics.”
DZero is one of two experiments at Fermilab’s Tevatron collider. Although the Tevatron was retired in 2011, the experiments continue to analyse billions of previously recorded events from its collisions.
The tetraquark observation came as a surprise when DZero scientists first saw hints in July 2015 of the new particle, called X(5568), named for its mass5568 megaelectronvolts.
Professor Bertram worked on the analysis, developing the model used to simulate the X(5568).
Quarks are point-like elementary particles that typically come in packages of two or three, the most familiar of which are the proton and neutron (each is made of three quarks).
There are six types, or “flavours,” of quark to choose from: up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top. Each of these also has an antimatter counterpart.
While all other observed tetraquarks contain at least two of the same flavor, X(5568) has four different flavors – up, down, strange and bottom.March 3, 2016 at 8:01 am #46083
March 1, 2016
When astronaut Scott Kelly returns to Earth on March 1, half of NASA’s first-of-its-kind study of twin astronauts and long duration space flight, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and elsewhere will launch the mission’s next phase.
UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers are part of a national collaboration between NASA’s Human Research Program, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and 10 investigative teams around the country, all seeking to better understand the effects of extended space travel by analyzing blood, urine and other samples from identical twin astronauts, Scott and Mark Kelly.
Scott has spent the last year on the International Space Station the longest period an American has lived in space, while his twin remained on Earth. A variety of tests, measuring visual acuity, cardiovascular function and other factors, were periodically administered to both brothers throughout the year, providing researchers with the unprecedented opportunity to compare data from two genetically identical people who have spent a year in vastly different environments.
“NASA’s priority is to maintain crew member health throughout long duration missions,” said Brinda Rana, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and principal investigator on the UC San Diego School of Medicine study. Researchers in the twin study, who hail from multiple research centers nationwide, are working together to understand how extended space flight affects cognition (e.g. high level executive functions), physiology (e.g. heart, eye and immune function), the microbiome (bacteria that live in the gut) and the astronaut’s “omics” (genomics, proteomics and metabolomics) profiles.
“Our studies will provide important data on how the space environment impacts the human body at the molecular level so that NASA can identify risk factors and countermeasures for possible health issues induced by prolonged space travel, such as a mission to Mars,” said Rana.
NASA and astronauts have long known that traveling through space, with its microgravity, radiation exposure, isolation, confinement and elevated carbon dioxidewhich can happen on space vehiclescan produce potentially adverse side effects.
“Our bodies are adapted to a 1g environment in which gravity pulls the blood toward the feet,” Rana said. “In space, with nearly zero gravity, the blood and other fluids in the body shift upwards toward the upper body around the heart, the neck and the head. This fluid shift may cause changes in brain pressure and vision, which have been observed in some astronauts.”
Thus far, space missions have flown for relatively short periods, most lasting less than six months. Future NASA destinations under consideration, such as Mars or asteroids, will require much longer periods in space. A trip to Mars could last 30 months, perhaps longer.
In her project, Rana will focus on identifying metabolites and proteins in the twins’ blood and urine that can serve as biomarkers biological indicators indicating early signs of cardiovascular, vision and other possible physiological problems. Metabolites are small molecules that are naturally produced byproducts of the body’s processes and include sugars, vitamins, amino acids and other substances. A balance of metabolites in blood and elimination in urine is important for maintaining health.
“Metabolite levels in the human body are influenced by everyday factors such as nutrition, smoking and physical activity and can be dramatically modified in disease states,” said study collaborator Kumar Sharma, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Institute of Metabolomic Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “They can also be affected by stress and environmental factors, including those unique elements such as microgravity, radiation and circadian disruption that are experienced by astronauts.”
Scott Kelly’s samples have been stored on the International Space Station and will arrive on a returning SpaceX capsule about a month after his return. Researchers from UC San Diego School of Medicine and the other twin investigators will coordinate sample and data sharing as one large, integrated research team. The team hopes to complete its analyses by December.
Rana added that the knowledge gained from the twin studies will also have medical applications on Earth. “In addition to aiding our space program, our collective projects will also have impacts on clinical areas such as traumatic brain injury induced elevations of intracranial pressure as well as glaucoma, bone loss and atherosclerosis,” she said.March 5, 2016 at 7:25 am #46085
Hadal research is made even more difficult by the fact that most of the world’s deepest oceans are located hundreds of miles from land, often off the the coast of distant countries.
-JAMES NESTOR, Deep – Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves
It is believed that most life at this depth is sustained by marine snow or the chemical reactions around thermal vents. The low nutrient level, extreme pressure and lack of sunlight create hostile living conditions in which few species are able to exist. As no sunlight reaches this layer of the ocean, deep sea creatures have reduced eyesight, with very large eyes for receiving only bioluminescent flashes.
March 4, 2016
Kelly’s 340-day journey in space, undertaken along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, wrapped up early Wednesday when they landed in frigid Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.
One of the effects of spending such a long time in the absence of gravity was that Kelly’s spine expanded temporarily, making him grow 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters), only to shrink as he returned to Earth.
His twin brother, Mark Kelly, said they were the same height again by the time they hugged in Houston early Thursday.
According to John Charles, human research program associate manager for international science at NASA, any height gain “probably went away very quickly, because it is a function of fluid accumulation in the discs between the bones in the spinal column.”
Kelly also said reports he had grown a full two inches (5.1 centimeters) were exaggerated.
“I don’t know where that came from. I did measure myself and it was an inch and a half, so maybe somebody just decided to just round up and write it as a fact,” he told reporters.
The specifics are important because a team of doctors is carefully researching the genetic, physical and psychological differences between Kelly and his twin, who is also an astronaut but who stayed on Earth to take part in the study.
The details of those ongoing studies are secret for now, as scientists will do further analysis and submit their findings for peer-review before publication.
The idea is to learn more about the harmful effects of spaceflight before NASA greenlights any deep space mission to an asteroid or Mars, journeys that would last a year or more.
The study includes frequent MRIs of the twins’ organs and major vessels, genetic analysis and a close examination of the effects of radiation, which in high enough doses can lead to cancer.
Asked if the brothers noticed anything else different about each other upon being reunited, Scott answered: “He’s got a better tan.”
The veteran of four space missions, 52-year-old Kelly returned to Earth with the record for the longest amount of time spent in space by an American. A Russian cosmonaut holds the all-time record.
“It seemed like I’d lived there forever. It was longer than I thought it would be. But having flown before, I did pace myself appropriately,” he told reporters in his first extended media appearance since his return.
Kelly had previously spent six months at the orbiting research lab, and was somewhat prepared for the effects of returning from microgravity.
“Initially this time, coming out of the capsule, I felt better than I did last time,” when his mission lasted 159 days, he said.
But that soon changed.
“My level of muscle soreness and fatigue is a lot higher than it was last time. Maybe there is a linear function to it,” he said.
“I also have an issue with my skin, that because it hadn’t touched anything for so longlike any significant contactit is very, very sensitive. It is almost like a burning feeling wherever I sit or lie or walk.”
Kelly added that he was only wearing dress shoes because of his televised appearance, and that a more comfortable pair was waiting nearby.
Other changes he noticed were in his fine motor skills. He said he tried to shoot some hoops but missed the basket each time.
Kelly, who recently wore a gorilla suit in space to chase a fellow astronaut as a joke, also poked fun at himself for his first choice of food upon returning to Eartha banana.
“It looked so good,” he said.
“As soon as I ate half of it, I recognized the irony.”
© 2016 AFP
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