Curiosity locates mineral veins in Mars rocks | Exoplanet's winds 20 times faster than highest speeds on Earth | Big fish gave way to tiny ones following Hangenberg mass extinction
November 16, 2015
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Curiosity locates mineral veins in Mars rocks
Rich veins of minerals have been found in fractured rocks on Mars by the rover Curiosity, according to findings presented at the planetary science meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The rover wasn't able to drill in the area of Mount Sharp known as Garden City, but it found the minerals using its ChemCam laser. "These veins are not able to be drilled by the rover, but there are more veins at an even larger scale that are ahead of us. I know people are looking to see if there might be places where we can sample them," said Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Diana Blaney, a Curiosity scientist. Discovery (11/15)
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Science in the News
Exoplanet's winds 20 times faster than highest speeds on Earth
Violent winds 20 times faster than any seen on Earth have been recorded on exoplanet HD 189733b, reaching speeds of more than 5,400 miles per hour, or 8,690 kilometers per hour. Researchers studied wavelengths in search of atmospheric sodium in order to measure the wind speed as they watched the exoplanet using Chile's High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher. "As parts of HD 189733b's atmosphere move towards or away from the Earth, the Doppler effect changes the wavelength of this feature, which allows the velocity to be measured," said astrophysicist Tom Louden, the lead researcher. The Christian Science Monitor (11/14)
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Big fish gave way to tiny ones following Hangenberg mass extinction
Most large fish died out, but tiny fish thrived following a mass extinction about 359 million years ago, according to a study published in Science. Researchers looked at more than 1,000 fish fossils and found that body size dropped sharply following the Hangenberg mass extinction. "[T]he end result is an ocean in which most sharks are less than a meter and most fishes and tetrapods are less than 10 centimeters, which is extremely tiny. Yet these are the ancestors of everything that dominates from then on, including humans," said researcher Lauren Sallen. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (11/13)
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Model of salt crystal in Vienna goes for size record
A model of a crystal of salt has been built in Vienna, coming in at more than 3 meters, or 9.8 feet, tall. The model, which will be considered for the Guinness Book of Records on Nov. 23, is made from almost 40,000 balls attached to sticks. "I want to show -- to visualize -- how our world looks when it's magnified about a billion times," said Robert Krickl, who constructed the model. BBC (11/14)
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Study: Antibiotics in farm animals could pose problems for children's health
Excessive use of antibiotics in farm animals is affecting children's health, a new report suggests. Researchers say the practice of adding antibiotics to farm animals' food can cause bacteria within the animals to become resistant, and if that bacteria is passed on to children, their illness could be difficult to treat. "The vast majority of children or adults who come into contact with these organisms will not become ill, but for those who do become ill, it is almost always a very serious problem because of the difficulty in treating the infections that occur," said Jerome Paulson, lead author of the report published in Pediatrics. (11/16)
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Study: Copper fixtures show lower microbial burdens in pediatric rooms
A study of fixtures in pediatric intensive care and intermediate care hospital rooms showed those with antimicrobial copper surfaces had 88% lower microbial burdens than those with regular surfaces, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control. Researchers noted they observed fewer infections among PICU patients with the use of copper surfaces. Healio (free registration)/Infectious Diseases in Children (11/12)
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Funding Watch
Gates Foundation grants $2M for malaria vaccine development
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded researchers with the James Cook University's Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine a grant worth $2 million to aid the development of malaria vaccine. The team will work with other scientists in the US and in Melbourne for the creation of the vaccine. Vaccine News Daily (11/13), NineMSN (Australia)/Australian Associated Press (11/10)
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Plastic surgeon wins $100K award to develop wound-sealing gel
Plastic surgeon E.J. Caterson won the latest $100,000 Stepping Strong Innovator Award to study a thermoplastic wound-sealing gel that floods a wound with antibiotics and cures into a clear seal when it reaches body temperature. The award was given by the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund, founded by the family of a bystander at the Boston Marathon bombing whose leg was saved by doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Other contenders for the award included transplant nephrologist Reza Abdi, who presented a way to use cadaver skin on severe burn victims, and bioengineers Ali Khademhosseini and Nasim Annabi, who proposed creating a sprayable skin to make an elastic seal. STAT (11/11)
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