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The NASA spacewalk, originally scheduled for earlier this year was derailed when a last minute size adjustment required a spacesuit change.

The spacesuits, known as Extravehicular Mobility Unit, are actually made of component parts: three hard upper torso sizes, four leg sizes, seven lower arm sizes, two waist sizes, and two boot sizes. With the variety of customizations, they can take up to 12 hours to assemble.

Spacewalking is one of the most dangerous tasks that an astronaut has to complete and having a suit that fits is critical. A spacesuit is like a mini spacecraft, it provide a life support system, battery power, communications systems, and radiation protection—so needless to say it is imperative that the spacesuit is a perfect fit for the astronaut.

With the spacesuits finally prepped and ready to go, Koch and Meir were able to make history.

This was Koch’s fourth walk and Meir’s first and in the 54 years since the first spacewalk took place, only 15 participants have been women. But those numbers might increase soon. Both Koch and Meir’s 2013 astronaut class was 50% women and 12 out of 38 of NASA’s active astronauts are women.

Not to mention, when Koch returns to Earth next February, she will have spent 328 days in space, breaking the record for longest spaceflight for a woman astronaut of any nationality.

Learn more about this historic spacewalk on this episode of Elements.

#NASA #Women #Space #Spacewalk

Friday's All-Woman Spacewalk: The Basics
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/fridays-all-woman-spacewalk-the-basics/
"Friday’s all-woman spacewalk is generating public interest we normally don’t get for a spacewalk."

First All-Female Spacewalk Is Back On, NASA Says
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/05/science/NASA-female-spacewalk.html
"The first spacewalk to be conducted entirely by women is scheduled for Oct. 21, NASA announced, nearly seven months after an all-female spacewalk was canceled because two properly fitted spacesuits were not readily available."

Dressing for the Job: Spacesuits Prepped for Upcoming Spacewalks
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/dressing-for-the-job-spacesuits-prepped-for-upcoming-spacewalks/
"NASA astronauts have been busy getting their spacesuits ready to go in preparation for a suite of 10 spacewalks outside the International Space Station."

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A new study reveals there are almost 200,000 distinct viral populations in the ocean.

That’s a lot more viruses than we previously thought.

A liter of sea water contains anywhere between 1-10 billion virus particles—most of which we don’t know anything about. Our understanding of these elusive microbial communities has just been coming into focus over the last few decades, and this new research is a huge step toward better understanding our oceans.

Previously, highest number we had for ocean viral populations was about 15,000, but this new study pretty much blows that already impressive number out of the water.

From 2009 to 2013, researchers analyzed samples from about 80 different sites all over the world, from sunny surfaces to thousands of meters down into the depths. They found more than 180,000 additional unique viral populations, bringing the total number of distinct viral populations to almost 200,000. And the diversity of these new populations is nothing short of impressive.

Understanding how viruses interact with bacteria is important to human health and viruses also play essential roles outside of our bodies.

Viruses kill so many marine microbes they actually release a really significant amount of carbon back into the environment, playing a critical role in the food chain, all the way down at the very bottom.

Viruses continue to be very mysterious and though this project uncovered a lot of new populations, there is still a lot we just don’t know.

Find out more about the newest viral populations, how they were discovered, and more on this episode of Elements.

#Viruses #Ocean #Discovery #Science #Seeker #Elements

Scientists Just Captured This Rare Giant Squid Footage, Here’s How
https://youtu.be/MZqHmXXuiEk

Read More:
Scientists just found 200,000 new marine viruses. Here’s why that matters
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/200000-marine-viruses/
"Lined up end to end, Earth’s marine viruses would stretch 10 million light-years beyond Earth, bypassing some 50 nearby galaxies and tumbling deep into interstellar space."

Ecogenomics and potential biogeochemical impacts of globally abundant ocean viruses
https://www.nature.com/articles/nature19366
"A total of 15,222 epipelagic and mesopelagic viral populations were identified, comprising 867 viral clusters (defined as approximately genus-level groups7,8). This roughly triples the number of known ocean viral populations."

Algae-killing viruses spur nutrient recycling in oceans
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190718112457.htm
"Scientists have confirmed that viruses can kill marine algae called diatoms and that diatom die-offs near the ocean surface may provide nutrients and organic matter for recycling by other algae, according to a new study."

____________________

Elements is more than just a science show. It’s your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested on all the compelling, innovative and groundbreaking science happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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HADES, or the High Acceptance DiElectron Spectrometer, is an internationally collaborative piece of equipment located in Germany. HADES is used by scientists all over the world to study matter as it might exist in some of the most intense events in the cosmos, like the merging of neutron stars.

And it’s getting hot enough in HADES to create and analyze a fireball of quantum matter

But...how?

So the HADES team decided to pursue some answers with a physical experiment. And by physical experiment we mean the team smashed gold atoms into a gold target at nearly the speed of light, creating a fireball of quark matter.

After its initial creation, the quantum fireball starts to shed particles called rho mesons, which are made of a quark and an antiquark. These rho mesons decay into ‘virtual’ photons, which then further decay into electron-positron pairs.

HADES measured the electron-positron pairs that were left at the end of the experiment and researchers gained a brand new understanding into the behavior of the quark matter fireball itself. The measurements indicated that the quark matter fireball could reach really, really hot temperatures, like 800 billion degrees celsius level hot.

And the density was no joke either.

Find out more about the first experiment to measure what the behavior and state of quark matter would be in an interaction like a neutron star collision on this episode of Elements.

#QuantumMatter #Fireballs #HADES #Physics #Science #Seeker #Elements

Read More:
Physicists Peer Inside a Fireball of Quantum Matter
https://www.quantamagazine.org/physicists-peer-inside-a-fireball-of-quantum-matter-20190730/
"For decades, experimentalists have used powerful colliders to crush gold and other atoms so tightly that the elementary particles inside their protons and neutrons, called quarks, start to tug on their new neighbors or (in other cases) fly free altogether. But because these phases of so-called “quark matter” are impenetrable to most particles, researchers have studied only their aftermath."

QCD Matter
https://www.bnl.gov/science/QCD-matter.php
"At that time, more than 13 billion years ago, there were no protons and neutrons—just a sea of “free” quarks and gluons, fundamental particles whose interactions are governed by nature’s strongest force and described by the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD)."

Measuring temperatures similar to those occurring in star collisions in the lab
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-temperatures-similar-star-collisions-lab.html
"Their study, outlined in a paper published in Nature Physics, has led to the observation of temperatures of approximately 800 billion degrees Celsius, which are comparable to those occurring during star collisions."

____________________

Elements is more than just a science show. It’s your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested on all the compelling, innovative and groundbreaking science happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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Sickle cell was the first molecular disease ever and the disease was identified in Chicago in 1910.

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited blood disorders. In fact, it's the most commonly inherited blood disorder in the world, affecting millions of people worldwide. Once upon a time sickle cell was almost impossible to live with but today, we know a lot more about it and it turns out, something as simple as H2O can help keep it in check.

Seeker sat down with Marsha Treadwell a clinical psychologist and scientists at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California. Treadwell has worked with the sickle cell community for nearly 20 years.

According to Treadwell, sickle cell disease, the disorder is related to the hemoglobin—the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. Atypical hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S distort red blood cells into that sickle or crescent shape.

When red blood cells—which are normally round, like balloons—take on the sickled or misshapen and rigid shape they also become sticky and cause damage throughout the body.

Sickle Cell is common all over the world, but there are populations that are more often affected, such as those originating from Africa, India, the Mediterranean, Middle East and South America.

Find out more about sickle cell, its 4 different forms, sickle cell symptoms, and a potential cure for the disease on this episode of SICK.

#SickleCell #Disease #Symptoms #Health #Seeker #Science #SICK
____________________
Read More
Patient Hopes Gene-Editing Can Help With Pain Of Sickle Cell:
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/10/10/766765780/after-a-life-of-painful-sickle-cell-disease-a-patient-hopes-gene-editing-can-hel

NIH researchers create new viral vector for improved gene therapy in sickle cell disease:
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-researchers-create-new-viral-vector-improved-gene-therapy-sickle-cell-disease

New treatment targets for pulmonary inflammation in sickle cell disease:
https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190930/Uncovering-new-treatment-targets-for-pulmonary-inflammation-in-sickle-cell-disease.aspx
____________________
SICK is a new series that looks at how diseases actually work inside our body. We'll be visiting medical centers and talking to top researchers and doctors to uncover the mysteries of viruses, bacteria, fungi and our own immune system. Come back every Tuesday for a new episode and let us know in the comments which diseases you think we should cover next.
____________________
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Last month, hundreds of researchers from all over the world started the largest-ever Arctic expedition aboard a ship just over 500 kilometers from the North Pole.

The plan? To freeze the entire ship, embedding it in se ice for an entire year.

But why?

The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, or MOSAiC, will be studying the effects of a warming climate on the central Arctic’s atmosphere, ice, ocean, and ecosystems.

The project is the most ambitious climate crisis expedition ever attempted of the Arctic to date.

The ship will attach to a chosen ice floe and exist there for a whole year, building a base for research and experimentation to better understand Arctic climate change.

By drifting with the ice for a year, the team will be able to collect the necessary information to create better climate models to help inform what the Arctic will look like as it continues to warm.

Seeker sat down with co-coordinator of the MOSAiC expedition Matthew Shupe to learn more about the endeavor.

The researchers plan to collect data from the ship and upload their information to a database, making it accessible to their hundreds of MOSAiC colleagues worldwide. So we’ll just have to wait and see the anticipated results of this expedition that could help us better map the future of our planet.

Find out more about this icy adventure on this episode of Elements.

#Expedition #Arctic #Climate #MOSAiC #ClimateChange #Elements #Science #Weather #Seeker

Read More:
MOSAiC
https://www.mosaic-expedition.org/
"Embark on the largest polar expedition in history: in September 2019, the German research icebreaker Polarstern has set sail from Tromsø, Norway, to spend a year drifting through the Arctic Ocean - trapped in ice."

Scientists to Drift With Arctic Ice to Study Climate Change
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/climate/mosaic-expedition-arctic.html?module=inline
"Just days before the German icebreaker Polarstern sets sail on the largest and most ambitious climate-change research expedition the Arctic has ever seen, an air of quiet pandemonium prevails aboard ship."

Trapped: why 300 scientists are locking themselves in Arctic ice
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02823-x
"For one year, a research ship will drift while frozen in sea ice — and give scientists their closest look at the rapid changes gripping the polar north."

To stay up to date on MOSAiC's progress, check out:
https://www.youtube.com/user/AWIresearch/featured
https://www.youtube.com/ciresvideos
____________________

Elements is more than just a science show. It’s your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested on all the compelling, innovative and groundbreaking science happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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Solar geoengineering, an idea that picked up steam over a decade ago when a Nobel Prize winning scientist called for more research on this climate engineering intervention, is back in the news. The idea made it into the 2019 UN Environment Assembly agenda and was used to kickstart a global conversation surrounding the contentious response to the climate crisis.

With growing urgency and scientific interest, a team at Harvard University took up the charge to investigate solar geoengineering in a fully fledged research program.

Solar geoengineering involves a plan that would disperse particles into the stratosphere and could ultimately reduce global temperatures by bouncing the Sun's rays back into space.

However, this type of geoengineering intervention would not fix the root cause, which is the rising funnel of greenhouse gas emissions that are getting trapped in our atmosphere.

Learn more about solar geoengineering, its potential, and the controversy surrounding the conversation on this episode of Focal point.

#SolarGeoengineering #Harvard #Climate #Environment #ClimateChange #Science #Seeker #FocalPoint

Read More:
IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 °C
https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/
“An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.”

Geoengineer the Planet? More Scientists Now Say It Must Be an Option
https://e360.yale.edu/features/geoengineer-the-planet-more-scientists-now-say-it-must-be-an-option
“Once seen as spooky sci-fi, geoengineering to halt runaway climate change is now being looked at with growing urgency. A spate of dire scientific warnings that the world community can no longer delay major cuts in carbon emissions, coupled with a recent surge in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, has left a growing number of scientists saying that it’s time to give the controversial technologies a serious look.”

Is It O.K. to Tinker With the Environment to Fight Climate Change?
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/magazine/is-it-ok-to-engineer-the-environment-to-fight-climate-change.html
“Scientists are investigating whether releasing tons of particulates into the atmosphere might be good for the planet. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea.”

First sun-dimming experiment will test a way to cool Earth
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07533-4
“Researchers plan to spray sunlight-reflecting particles into the stratosphere, an approach that could ultimately be used to quickly lower the planet’s temperature.”
____________________

Our scientific understanding of the universe is advancing at an unprecedented rate. Join Focal Point as we meet the people building tomorrow’s world. Witness the astonishing discoveries that will propel humanity forward and zero-in on the places where science-fiction becomes science-reality.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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While breast cancer largely affects women, it can also occur in men. Fortunately, thanks to awareness, early detection, and research, survival rates have increased. But, there’s still a lot to learn, so Seeker sat down with Professor Donald McDonnell from the Duke School of Medicine to find out more.

So what exactly is breast cancer?

Breast cancer affects the cells in the tissue of the breast. It starts when these cells develop abnormally and begin to divide and accumulate rapidly, eventually forming a lump or mass. 

Under the breast cancer umbrella, there are three major types: estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, HER2-positive breast cancer, and triple-negative breast cancers. They’re all different, they progress differently, and the treatments for them vary.

While knowing the breakdown of the most common types of breast cancer is a start, there are also factors that can put someone at a greater risk of contracting this disease.

Some risk factors include things such as obesity, estrogen exposure and genetics. In fact, one area that has seen substantial progress, is the understanding of something called familial breast cancer. That is breast cancer passed down from generation to generation. 

Understanding the three main types of breast cancer, their risk factors, and current treatment options are just the first step. Learn more about the daily discoveries and innovations that are helping write a new chapter for breast cancer on this episode of SICK.

#BreastCancer #Health #Medicine #Seeker #Science #SICK
____________________
Soy might reduce risk of Breast Cancer:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561417314267

Inhibition of ERRα Prevents Mitochondrial Pyruvate Uptake Exposing NADPH-Generating Pathways as Targetable Vulnerabilities in Breast Cancer:
https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247 (19)30695-3?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2211124719306953%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

ESR1 mutations lead to constitutive activation of ERα and resistance to aromatase inhibitors:
https://www.gynecologiconcology-online.net/article/S0090-8258 (19)30505-0/fulltext

Susan G. Komen Foundation:
https://ww5.komen.org/
____________________
SICK is a new series that looks at how diseases actually work inside our body. We'll be visiting medical centers and talking to top researchers and doctors to uncover the mysteries of viruses, bacteria, fungi and our own immune system. Come back every Tuesday for a new episode and let us know in the comments which diseases you think we should cover next.
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Quantum computers’ potential and the advantages they promise over classical computers all remain largely theoretical, and hypothetically speaking, it is predicted that quantum computers will be able to solve problems that are beyond the reach of the classical computers we use today. Passing such a threshold will be considered proof of what we call “quantum supremacy.”

A leaked research paper revealed that Google has reached this level of quantum supremacy but the leak was quickly taken down leaving more questions than answers.

So where do we go from here? What does a world with quantum supremacy look like?

In the leaked paper posted in September 2019 on the NASA website, Google claims that for the first time ever a quantum computer used its unique quantum properties to absolutely dominate a classical computer in a specific task, demonstrating the aforementioned “quantum supremacy.”

The paper was copied and made widely available and along with many others, actual experts in quantum computing read it and weighed in on what the research and reveal means.

It is important to keep in mind that the research is not yet published in a scientific journal so it might not be the final version or even peer reviewed.

Learn more about the leaked research, Google’s demonstrated quantum supremacy, and what this means for the future of encrypted data and quantum computing on this episode of Elements.

#Google #Research #QuantumSupremacy #NASA #Elements #Seeker #Science

Read More:

Google’s ‘Quantum Supremacy’ Isn’t the End of Encryption
https://www.wired.com/story/googles-quantum-supremacy-isnt-end-encryption/
" The search company has attempted to stand out by claiming its prototype quantum processors were close to demonstrating 'quantum supremacy,' an evocative phrase referring to an experiment in which a quantum computer outperforms a classical one."

Here's Google "Quantum Supremacy" paper it pulled from NASA's website
https://www.inverse.com/article/59507-full-quantum-supremacy-paper
"Google’s ‘Sycamore’ quantum computer was able to achieve “quantum supremacy” — solving a complex problem that would otherwise be impossible for a classical computer to solve in its lifetime — in just three minutes and 20 seconds, compared to the estimated 10,000 years it would take the world’s most advanced classical computer, Summit."

Quantum Computing: What It Is, Why We Want It, and How We're Trying to Get It
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538701/
" The idea to merge quantum mechanics and information theory arose in the 1970s but garnered little attention until 1982, when physicist Richard Feynman gave a talk in which he reasoned that computing based on classical logic could not tractably process calculations describing quantum phenomena."

____________________

Elements is more than just a science show. It’s your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested on all the compelling, innovative and groundbreaking science happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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Scientists have made major strides when it comes to understanding the base code that underlies all living things—but what if we could program living cells like software?

The principle behind synthetic biology, the emerging study of building living systems, lies in this ability to synthesize life. An ability to create animal products, individualized medical therapies, and even transplantable organs, all starting with synthetic DNA and cells in a lab.

There are two main schools of thought when it comes to synthesizing life: building artificial cells from the bottom-up or engineering microorganisms so significantly that it resynthesizes and redesigns the genome.

With genetic engineering tools becoming more and more accessible, researchers want to use these synthesized genomes to enhance human health with regards to things like detecting infections or environmental pollutants. Bacterial cells can be engineered that will detect toxic chemicals.

And these synthesized bacteria could potentially protect us from, for example, consuming toxins in contaminated water.

The world of synthetic biology goes beyond human health though, it can be used in a variety of industries, including fashion. Researchers hope to come up with lab-made versions of materials like leather or silk.

Learn more about synthetic biology and how close we are to harnessing synthetic life on this episode of How Close Are We?

#SyntheticDNA #Biology #Bioengineering #HowCloseAreWe #Science #Seeker
____________________
Read More:
Watch me unveil "synthetic life" - TED
https://www.ted.com/talks/craig_venter_unveils_synthetic_life?language=en
"Craig Venter and team make a historic announcement: they've created the first fully functioning, reproducing cell controlled by synthetic DNA. He explains how they did it and why the achievement marks the beginning of a new era for science."

Artificial life form given 'synthetic DNA'
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48297647
"At this point, the genome engineers' job became a bit like a railway engineer's maintenance programme - replacing the E. coli genome piecewise - section by section - rather than all at once.
'The bacterial chromosome is so big," team leader Jason Chin told the BBC, "we needed an approach that would let us see what had gone wrong if there had been any mistakes along the way.'"

The Next Best Version of Me: How to Live Forever
https://www.wired.com/story/live-forever-synthetic-human-genome/
"Researchers want to synthesize an optimized human genome that can be stored indefinitely and grown decades from now. So I volunteered mine.”
____________________
How close are we to solving some of humanity's biggest challenges? We go in search of experts, dive into the facts and comb through the research to find out just how close we are to changing the world.

Seeker explains every aspect of our world through a lens of science, inspiring a new generation of curious minds who want to know how today’s discoveries in science, math, engineering and technology are impacting our lives, and shaping our future. Our stories parse meaning from the noise in a world of rapidly changing information.
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Supercapacitors, or ultracapacitors, present an amazing opportunity to move away from batteries and into a world where almost instant charging is the norm, but the drawbacks of supercapacitors mean we can’t use them widely.

At least not yet.

Experiments with a new class of materials that are related to soap and laxatives could bring us one step closer to a world with no more pesky chemical batteries.

So many of the batteries we’re familiar with are chemical, which means the batteries use some kind of charged chemical, like lithium, to store energy. Lithium ion batteries are in everything—your phone, your laptop, even electric cars, but they’ve got some downsides.

Like the fact that you have to wait a very long time for them to charge. And lithium ion batteries start degrading basically as soon as they leave the factory, and they’re very expensive to replace because they’re super resource intensive—which also means they’re really not great for the environment.

Lithium ion batteries are also pretty flammable, making them a safety risk, one that can be seen in action with the exploding hoverboards.

So because of all these negatives, when we use these kind of batteries for our energy grid, we run into some serious restrictions.

Enter: supercapacitors.

Supercapacitors consist of two electrode plates soaked in a liquid electrolyte, separated by an insulator. Apply a voltage, and voilá, opposite electric charges build up on the plates, creating an electric double-layer, allowing them to store more energy than regular capacitors.

So a supercapacitor’s energy is stored in its electric field, whereas a battery is stored in its chemical makeup.

Find out more about the potential of supercapacitors, how they work, and what a supercapacitor could mean for the future of energy storage on this episode of Elements.

#Supercapacitor #Energy #Batteries #Tech #Seeker #Science #Elements

Read More:
Supercapacitors turbocharged by laxatives
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190812130818.htm
"An international team of scientists, including a professor of chemistry from the University of Bristol, has worked out a way to improve energy storage devices called supercapacitors, by designing a new class of detergents chemically related to laxatives."

Here’s How to Get The Most Life Out of Your Battery
https://www.sciencealert.com/how-to-make-your-batteries-last-longer
"A lithium-ion battery starts degrading as soon as it's been produced, because it slightly self-discharges even in storage. That's why you want to buy a device that's left the factory as recently as possible; older batteries inevitably die sooner."

Supercapacitors
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/supercapacitors
"Supercapacitors (SCs) are electrochemical energy storage devices that store and release energy by reversible adsorption and desorption of ions at the interfaces between electrode materials and electrolytes.”

____________________

Elements is more than just a science show. It’s your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested on all the compelling, innovative and groundbreaking science happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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At least one hundred million people live in desert regions around the world according to the UN, and they survive off of less than 25 cm of rainfall each year, and for many, even that minuscule water supply is under threat as the climate crisis is making dry areas even drier.

So scientists at UC Berkeley have been experimenting with materials that can pull drinking water out of thin air.

That’s right, right out of thin air.

A chemist at the University of California, Berkeley reported that he and his colleagues have created a solar-powered device that could provide water to millions living in water-stressed regions.

At the device’s heart is a porous crystalline material, known as a metal-organic framework (MOF), that acts like a sponge: It sucks water vapor out of air, even in the desert, and then releases it as liquid water.

A single gram of an MOF can have the surface area of a football field, and depending on the metal and organic molecules they’re made of, MOFs can be tailored to capture various different things in their pores. For example, an MOF could have the ability to capture CO2 and turn it into the fuel methanol, or neutralizing nerve agents like sarin gas. The function the Berkeley scientists used their MOF for was extracting water vapor that’s present in the air.

The lead researcher behind the device started a private company called Water Harvesting.

The company’s plan is to launch a microwave-sized device that can supply 2 adults with enough water for their daily hydration and cooking needs. Eventually the research team envisions a harvester device big enough to supply a small village. If the devices end up being affordable, safe, and reliable enough, these metal-organic frameworks have the potential to turn even the driest desert into an oasis.

Learn more about this technology and what it could do for even the driest regions of the world on this episode of Elements.

#Water #Desert #Technology #Seeker #Science #Elements

Lead Poisoning Is Still a Huge Problem, But There Could Be a Quick Fix
https://youtu.be/QHC4fAAwT4I

Read More:
Water harvester makes it easy to drink water from thin air
https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/water-harvester-makes-it-easy-drink-water-thin-air
"During field tests over three days in California’s arid Mojave Desert, the harvester reliably produced 0.7 liters per kilogram of absorber per day — nearly three cups of clean, pure H2O. That’s 10 times better than the previous version of the harvester. The harvester cycles 24/7, powered by solar panels and a battery."

Crystalline nets harvest water from desert air, turn carbon dioxide into liquid fuel
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/09/crystalline-nets-harvest-water-desert-air-turn-carbon-dioxide-liquid-fuel
"At its heart is a porous crystalline material, known as a metal-organic framework (MOF), that acts like a sponge: It sucks water vapor out of air, even in the desert, and then releases it as liquid water."

How does climate change affect precipitation?
https://pmm.nasa.gov/resources/faq/how-does-climate-change-affect-precipitation
"Rising temperatures will intensify the Earth’s water cycle, increasing evaporation. Increased evaporation will result in more storms, but also contribute to drying over some land areas. As a result, storm-affected areas are likely to experience increases in precipitation and increased risk of flooding, while areas located far away from storm tracks are likely to experience less precipitation and increased risk of drought."

____________________

Elements is more than just a science show. It’s your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested on all the compelling, innovative and groundbreaking science happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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New research has revealed that fungi barter and trade with other organisms, meaning there’s basically an entire economy of nutrients right beneath our feet that we are only just uncovering.

Possibly the most widely distributed organisms on Earth, fungi exist everywhere on Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Fungi take elements like carbon that are trapped in organic matter, and through decomposition, process and release them back into the ecosystem for other organisms to use. Fungi do this by releasing a cocktail of enzymes and other helpful chemicals that allow them to break down organic material outside of their bodies so they can more easily digest the nutrients...this is how fungi cause decay.

But the thing is, fungi are more than just their essential role as nutrient cyclers—fungi that work with plants in this way can grow into structures called hyphae, or delicate thread-like tendrils that push into a plants’ roots forming mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae are symbiotic relationships that exist between fungi and the plants they glom on to.

In exchange for the essential nutrients that fungi provide for the plants, plants in return, form carbohydrates through photosynthesis and provide fungi with sugars creating a worldwide network of nutrient exchanges that occur between all kinds of microbes. The whole system is known as the Wood Wide Web.

And a research team in Amsterdam recently found that these nutrient exchanges might operate almost like an economy.

Learn more about this underground economy in the secret fungi kingdom on this episode of Elements.

#Fungi #Economy #Ecosystem #Plants #Seeker #Science #Elements

How These Bacteria Become Electrical Cables That Could Power Our World
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPZTsGTL2nE

Read More:
Behind the Scenes: How Fungi Make Nutrients Available to the World
https://www.energy.gov/science/articles/behind-scenes-how-fungi-make-nutrients-available-world
"To break down lignin, white rot fungi use strong enzymes, proteins that speed up chemical reactions. These enzymes split many of lignin's chemical bonds, turning it into simple sugars and releasing carbon dioxide into the air. White rot is still better at rending lignin than any other type of fungus"

Hidden Partners: Mycorrhizal Fungi and Plants
https://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/hcol/mycorrhizae.asp.html
"Fungi are microscopic cells that usually grow as long threads or strands called hyphae, which push their way between soil particles, roots, and rocks. "

Mycorrhizal networks in ecosystem structure and functioning
http://www.functionalecology.org/view/0/virtualIssues/VI_MycorrhizalNetworks.html
"As mycorrhizal fungi tend to be non-specific in their choice of hosts, many plants can be linked through fungal hyphae in a common mycelial network (CMN). These networks can be enormous, with around 200m of mycorrhizal fungal hyphae present in a single gram of typical forest soil."


____________________

Elements is more than just a science show. It’s your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested on all the compelling, innovative and groundbreaking science happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease specific to the eye and it often has few symptoms. On top of that, the symptoms glaucoma does have can appear after it’s already too late.

So why is this such a stealth disease?

The two main types of glaucoma are open angle and closed angle. Open angle glaucoma is the most common and tends to be less severe, it can develop slowly over time and go undetected unless it is routinely screened for.

Meanwhile, closed angle glaucoma is less common but can appear suddenly and come with a lot of pain. Both closed angle and open angle glaucomas can result in vision loss.

Most the time with a disease like glaucoma, it will slowly affect small areas of vision and often unequally in the two eyes, so our brains get really good and overcompensating and sort of filling the blanks—adding to the illusion that nothing is wrong. Making glaucoma that much more difficult to recognize in oneself.

Your brain working its magic paired with the fact that there are so few symptoms when it comes to glaucoma, you need to have routine screenings that check for the disease—and knowing your family history doesn’t hurt.

If caught early on, there are various glaucoma treatments available including drops, medication, laser surgery, and various other surgeries.

Seeker sits down with Professor John Flanagan, from the School of Optometry at the University of California, Berkeley, to talk all there is to know about glaucoma, on this episode of SICK.

#Glaucoma #Vision #Health #Disease #SICK #Seeker #Science
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Read More
AI could help detect Glaucoma earlier:
https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/artificial-intelligence-applied-to-make-complex-eye-scans-easier-study/article29508813.ece

The birth of vision, from the retina to the brain:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190909095011.htm

New Study Finds Marijuana Component CBD Makes Glaucoma Worse:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeadams/2018/12/18/new-study-finds-marijuana-component-cbd-makes-glaucoma-worse/ #6b1c10c8368f

Glaucoma Research Foundation:
https://www.glaucoma.org/
____________________
SICK is a new series that looks at how diseases actually work inside our body. We'll be visiting medical centers and talking to top researchers and doctors to uncover the mysteries of viruses, bacteria, fungi and our own immune system. Come back every Tuesday for a new episode and let us know in the comments which diseases you think we should cover next.
____________________
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» Watch more Countdown to Launch: http://bit.ly/CTLplaylist
Between Mars and Jupiter, you can find Psyche, one of the only asteroids that scientists believe might be made mostly of metal and researchers from NASA and and Arizona State University will be sending an orbiter to the asteroid for the very first time.

Exploring Psyche’s terrain could be our only key to understanding what the inside of Earth’s core could be like.

Visiting asteroids isn’t new to space exploration with Vesta, Ceres, Ryugu, and Bennu being some of the most recent mission destinations.

And asteroids, for the most part, have been all the same; usually rocky, airless drifting through the cosmos as leftover debris from a chaotic beginning.

But Psyche is different.

“We’re pretty sure that it’s largely made of iron-nickel metal. And there are very, very few asteroids out in the asteroid belt that we think are made of metal or largely of metal,” Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Principal Investigator of the NASA Psyche mission, told Seeker

Researchers suspect Psyche is an exposed core of a protoplanet, which is a planet in its early formation stages and it’s most likely that the asteroid lost its rocky exterior during violent collisions in the beginning of our solar system’s evolution...at least, that’s what scientists’ best assumptions are.

And no one really knows what Psyche looks like beyond a speck of light, and so the 2022 Psyche mission will include sending back camera images of the asteroid so we can take a look at what a metallic body like this looks like.

Find out more about this metallic asteroid and how the team of researchers plans to explore its terrain on this episode of Countdown to Launch.

#Asteroid #Earth #Space #Science #Seeker #CountdownToLaunch

Read More:
MISSION TO A METAL WORLD: Psyche
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/psyche/
"Because we cannot see or measure Earth's core directly, Psyche offers a unique window into the violent history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets. The mission is led by Arizona State University. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for mission management, operations and navigation."

16 Psyche
https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/asteroids-comets-and-meteors/asteroids/16-psyche/in-depth/
"Unlike most other asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies, scientists think the M-type (metallic) asteroid 16 Psyche is comprised mostly of metallic iron and nickel similar to Earth’s core. Scientists wonder whether Psyche could be an exposed core of an early planet, maybe as large as Mars, that lost its rocky outer layers due to a number of violent collisions billions of years ago."

Instruments & Science Investigations
https://psyche.asu.edu/mission/instruments-science-investigations/
"The Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer will detect, measure, and map Psyche’s elemental composition. The instrument is mounted on a 6-foot (2-meter) boom to distance the sensors from background radiation created by energetic particles interacting with the spacecraft and to provide an unobstructed field of view."

____________________

Countdown to Launch takes a deep dive into upcoming space missions from around the world. We interview the people involved and explore the science, innovation and technology that makes them possible.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

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When it comes to what we know about the universe, our knowledge covers approximately 5% of the entire universe, and the other 95%…well, we just don’t know. The majority of that mysterious 95% is made up of dark energy, something scientists can detect through certain measurements but have not been able to observe directly.

Dark energy is a mysterious force that scientists first became aware of in the late 1990s after two independent teams of astrophysicists were racing to determine the rate at which the universe was expanding.

And currently, dark energy is expanding the universe at a rapid pace and cosmologists from across the globe are unsure as to why.

And so what’s next when it comes to the exploration of dark energy?

An international team of scientists and engineers are banding together on the DESI experiment to build a machine that hunts dark energy and could finally shed some light on this mysterious force.

DESI is a fiber optic spectrograph that will construct a 3D map of the universe tracing nearly 12 billion years of cosmic history. It will measure the spectra of more than 35 million galaxies to observe the effect dark energy has on the expansion of the cosmos.

DESI is being mounted on a telescope in Arizona and could start surveying the sky as early as 2020. The machine uses new classes of optical designs that allow the engineering marvel to see more of the sky than before.

Learn more about the complexities of this massive robotic detector that will chart the edge of the universe on this episode of Focal Point.

#DarkEnergy #Astrophysics #Universe #Space #Science #Seeker #FocalPoint

Read More:
Blinded by the Dark (Energy)
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/blinded-by-the-dark-energy/
“Dark energy is the name physicists use for whatever substance, force or property of space is messing with the Universe, making its expansion accelerate. As yet, we know almost nothing about it, which has allowed theories about it to multiply uncontrolled. But astronomers are training an impressive array of instruments on the problem.”

Robot detector to map cosmos for clues to dark energy
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/09/robot-detector-map-cosmos-clues-dark-energy
“In 1998, astronomers discovered an astonishing fact: Some antigravitational force was speeding up the expansion of the universe. Two decades later, this "dark energy" is still a mystery. But next month, a veteran telescope in Arizona will begin to hunt for clues, after being retrofitted with a robotic system to map an unprecedented 35 million galaxies and how they clump across space and time.”

A new pair of lenses for the Mayall
https://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/a-new-pair-of-lenses-for-the-mayall
“The delicate process of lens crafting takes time and care. For your typical prescription eyeglasses, expect two weeks for proper sizing and glare-resistant coating. For a four-meter telescope with meter-wide lenses, a similar procedure takes well over a year.”

Additional Credits:
- 2010 The Regents of the University of California, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- NASA/NCSA University of Illinois, Frank Summers, STScI, Martin White, Lars Hernquist, Harvard University
- NASA GSFC, NASA/ESA/Viz 3D Team/STScI/F. Summers, G. Bacon, Z. Levay, L. Frattare and University of Alaska Anchorage/T. Rector, WIYN/H. Schweiker, NOAO/AURA/NSF, STScI/AURA/The Hubble Heritage Team, T. Rector
____________________

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