August 20, 2012

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Hubble Views Dwarf Irregular Galaxy DDO 190

DDO 190

Located about nine million light-years away from our solar system and classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy, DDO 190 with its reddish outskirt stars and bluish interior stars is viewable in this new image from Hubble. In terms of intergalactic real estate, our solar system has a plum location as part of a big, spiral […]

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August 20, 2012

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Electrically Conductive and Crack-Free Semiconductor Nanocrystal Films

nanopatterned films of nano crystalline material

Using a technique based on electron-beam lithography and a lift-off process, MIT scientists demonstrated the first semiconductor nanocrystal films of nanoscale dimensions that are electrically conductive and crack-free. Films made of semiconductor nanocrystals — tiny crystals measuring just a few billionths of a meter across — are seen as a promising new material for a […]

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August 20, 2012

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Curiosity’s ChemCam Laser Analyzes its First Martian Rock

laser test by the ChemCam instrument on Curiosity

NASA’s Curiosity rover fired its Chemistry and Camera instrument laser for the first time, hitting a fist-sized rock with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period and recording spectra from the laser-induced spark at each of the 30 pulses. Pasadena, California – Today, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity fired its laser for the first […]

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August 17, 2012

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Molecular Code for How PPR Proteins Recognize their RNA Targets Discovered

scientists have cracked a code underlying recognition of RNA molecules

A team of scientists have cracked a code underlying recognition of RNA molecules by a superfamily of RNA-binding proteins called pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins, providing a significant step toward the prediction of native binding sites of the enormous number of PPR proteins found in nature. Scientists have cracked a molecular code that may open the […]

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August 17, 2012

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Ocean Health Index, A Comprehensive Assessment of the Ocean and its Ecosystems

A new Ocean Health Index

Scientists have completed the first comprehensive assessment of the ocean and its ecosystems, called the Ocean Health Index. The overall index score was 60 out of 100 (range 36–86), with developed countries generally performing better than developing countries, but with notable exceptions. An international team of scientists has conducted the first comprehensive assessment of the […]

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August 17, 2012

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Scientists Examine Platinum-Based Catalyst Design

a platinum island of optimized thickness and shape

Working as a team, scientists from SIMES and the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis studied two platinum-rhodium nanostructures, identifying the most active sites on the platinum islands and predicting that an optimized platinum-rhodium nanostructure could be up to five times more active than pure platinum. Researchers from two SLAC-Stanford joint institutes, the Stanford […]

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August 17, 2012

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Mini Ion Thrusters Could Propel Small Satellites in Space

Mini ion thrusters

A team of MIT engineers have developed a new propulsion system that uses microscopic tips that, when stimulated with voltage, emit tiny beams of ions, which could be used to propel small satellites. A penny-sized rocket thruster may soon power the smallest satellites in space. The device, designed by Paulo Lozano, an associate professor of […]

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August 17, 2012

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New Measurements Show Sun’s Shape Unaffected by Solar Cycle Variability

Sun's Round Shape Baffles Scientists

Using the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite, a team of scientists measured the shape of the Sun with unprecedented accuracy, finding that Sun’s oblate shape is remarkably constant and almost completely unaffected by the solar cycle variability seen on its surface. The sun is nearly the roundest object ever measured. […]

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August 17, 2012

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Hybrid Crystalline/Amorphous Material Capable of Indenting Diamonds

carbon-60 buckyballs

An international team of scientists created the world’s first hybrid crystalline/amorphous material that is hard enough to indent diamonds. Using a diamond anvil cell, the scientists squeezed a mixture of soccer-ball-shaped carbon-60 molecules (“buckyballs”) and a xylene solvent to pressures up to 600,000 times atmospheric pressure. Washington, D.C. — A team of scientists led by […]

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August 17, 2012

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Hubble Views Star Clusters in the Early Stages of Merging

Hubble image of a pair of star clusters in the early stages of merging

Located 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a pair of star clusters in the gigantic 30 Doradus nebula are believed to be in the early stages of merging. Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have caught two clusters full of massive stars that may be in the early stages of merging. […]

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August 16, 2012

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UCLA Cardiologists Complete Their First Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

first-transcatheter-aortic-valve-replacement-TAVR

Cardiologists at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have completed their first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a new minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t require incisions in the chest wall and cardiopulmonary bypass. UCLA has performed its first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), using a new device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to […]

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August 16, 2012

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DARPA Grants Phase 2-4 Contract for Unmanned Sub-Hunting Vessel

Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program

DARPA granted a contract for Phases 2-4 of its Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel program and expects operational prototype at-sea testing to begin in mid-2015. The growing number of adversaries able to build and operate quiet diesel electric submarines is a national security threat that affects U.S. and friendly naval operations around the world. […]

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August 16, 2012

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Shape Determines Therapeutic Properties of Engineered Cells

engineered tissue

In a recently published study, MIT scientists show that implanted cells’ therapeutic properties depend on their shape, which is determined by the type of scaffold on which they are grown, and have identified biomarkers that correlate the cells’ shape, chemokine secretion and behavior. Tissue implants made of cells grown on a sponge-like scaffold have been […]

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August 16, 2012

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Electronic Read-out of the Quantum State of an Atom

Electronic Read-out of Quantum Bits

In a newly published study, researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and their colleagues have shown the first direct real-space images of spin-split molecular orbitals of a single-molecule magnet adsorbed on a ferromagnetic nanostructure. Quantum computers promise to reach computation speeds far beyond that of today’s computers. As they would use quantum effects, however, […]

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August 16, 2012

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Amino Acid Organocatalyst Halves Synthesis of Prostaglandin-Class Drugs

Prostaglandin-shortcut-drug

Prostaglandin class drugs are a class of hormone-like chemicals that influence processes including blood circulation and inflammation. Their use offers a way to churn out different versions of the molecules thanks to organocatalysis, an organic chemistry discipline that speeds up chemical reactions with the help of carbon-based molecules to avoid the drawbacks of metal catalysts. […]

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August 16, 2012

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Ebola Outbreak in Uganda Tests Readiness

ebola-uganda-cdc-lab

Since July 16th, 16 people have died in Uganda of an Ebola outbreak. Contrary to previous outbreaks, a laboratory in Entebbe, near Uganda’s capital Kampala helped deal with the situation and passed its first major test by taking a leading role in confirming and tracking the infection. The lab is run by the US CDC […]

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August 16, 2012

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RNA Delivering Nanoparticles Shrink Tumors in Mice

Short strands of RNA can selectively turn off cancer genes

Using RNA-delivering nanoparticles that allow for rapid screening of new drug targets in mice, MIT researchers in collaboration with researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute showed that nanoparticles that target a protein known as ID4 can shrink ovarian tumors. By sequencing cancer-cell genomes, scientists have discovered vast numbers of genes that are […]

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