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Two NASA Astronauts Aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour” Splashdown Safely
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Two NASA Astronauts Aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour” Splashdown Safely

A SpaceX fast boat races toward the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft moments before it splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard. Credit: NASA TV Two NASA astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, splashed down safely in the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour” in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, at 2:48 p.m. EDT. It is the first time a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft has returned from the International Space Station to complete a test flight, beginning a new era in human spaceflight. NASA is continuing live coverage of the recovery. Teams on the Go Navigator recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Crew Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safed for the recove...
New Class of Semiconducting Entropy-Stabilized Materials Discovered
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New Class of Semiconducting Entropy-Stabilized Materials Discovered

Crystal structure of GeSnPbSSeTe, a semiconducting entropy-stabilized chalcogenide alloy. The yellow atoms are cations (Ge, Sn, Pb) and the blue atoms are anions (S, Se, Te). The difference in lightness corresponds to different species of the anions and cations. The configurational entropy from the disorder of both the anion and the cation sublattices stabilizes the single-phase rocksalt solid solution, as demonstrated from first-principles calculations as well as experimental synthesis and characterization. Credit: Logan Williams, Emmanouil Kioupakis, and Zihao Deng, Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering, University of Michigan Semiconductors are important materials in numerous functional applications such as digital and analog electronics, solar cells, LEDs, and lasers. Semicondu...
Meandering Mississippi River: Photo Taken by Astronaut on Space Station Shows Divergence From State Boundaries
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Meandering Mississippi River: Photo Taken by Astronaut on Space Station Shows Divergence From State Boundaries

April 2, 2020. (Click image for detailed view.) The winding Mississippi River historically has been used to define many state lines in the United States. This photo, taken by an astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS), has been annotated to show the current state boundary (yellow line) between Arkansas and Mississippi. (Note that north is to the left in this image.) As the Mississippi River meanders over time, the channels migrate across the floodplain. Due to these changes in the position of the channel, some farms, towns, and rural lands occasionally switch to the opposite banks of the river. For instance, Archer and Bell islands are still official parts of Arkansas, but they are now located east of the Mississippi River. Sunglint reflects off of the water surfaces, outl...
Sexual Parasitism: Deep-Sea Anglerfish Evolved a New Type of Immune System to Physically Fuse With Their Mates
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Sexual Parasitism: Deep-Sea Anglerfish Evolved a New Type of Immune System to Physically Fuse With Their Mates

A female specimen of the deep-sea anglerfish species Melanocetus johnsonii of about 75 mm in size with a 23.5 mm large male fused on her belly. Credit: Edith A. Widder Deep-sea anglerfishes have evolved a curious reproductive strategy. Tiny males attach themselves to gigantic females so tightly that the tissues of the two animals eventually fuse. The male esssentially turns into a sperm-producing parasite. This phenomenon is known as sexual parasitism which avoids rejection reaction that usually happens after organ transplantation. Researchers at the MPI of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany and the University of Washington in Seattle, USA have now solved this enigma, and describe the mechanism by which the fusion of two individuals of the same species can so readily occur...
Abstract Mathematical Noodling Leads to New Insights Into an Old Fusion Problem
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Abstract Mathematical Noodling Leads to New Insights Into an Old Fusion Problem

PPPL physicist Christopher Smiet. Credit: Pamela Serai, PPPL A challenge to creating fusion energy on Earth is trapping the charged gas known as plasma that fuels fusion reactions within a strong magnetic field and keeping the plasma as hot and dense as possible for as long as possible. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have gained new insight into a common type of hiccup known as the sawtooth instability that cools the hot plasma in the center and interferes with the fusion reactions. These findings could help bring fusion energy closer to reality. “Conventional models explain most instances of the sawtooth crashes, but there is a tenacious subset of observations that we have never been able to explain,” said PPPL physicis...
Stunning Shimmering Space Butterfly Captured by Very Large Telescope
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Stunning Shimmering Space Butterfly Captured by Very Large Telescope

This highly detailed image of the fantastic NGC 2899 planetary nebula was captured using the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in northern Chile. This object has never before been imaged in such striking detail, with even the faint outer edges of the planetary nebula glowing over the background stars. Credit: ESO Resembling a butterfly with its symmetrical structure, beautiful colors, and intricate patterns, this striking bubble of gas — known as NGC 2899 — appears to float and flutter across the sky in this new picture from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). This object has never before been imaged in such striking detail, with even the faint outer edges of the planetary nebula glowing over the background stars. Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have imaged a ‘space...
Lung Ultrasound Reveals Duration and Severity of COVID-19
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Lung Ultrasound Reveals Duration and Severity of COVID-19

Lung ultrasound image of 82-year-old man who presented with cough, dyspnea, and fever for 10 days obtained with convex probe. Multiple confluent B-lines (arrows) and thickened pleural line (between arrowheads) are visualized. Credit: American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) Thickened pleural line more frequently observed in patients with longer time intervals after symptom onset; pulmonary consolidation more common in severe and critical cases. According to an open-access article published in ARRS’ American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), lung ultrasound (US) was highly sensitive for detecting abnormalities in patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with B-lines, a thickened pleural line, and pulmonary consolidation the most commonly observed features. “In addition,” concluded Yao Zh...
Quantum Physicists Crack Mystery of “Strange Metals” – A New State of Matter
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Quantum Physicists Crack Mystery of “Strange Metals” – A New State of Matter

Strange metals have surprising connections to high-temperature superconductors and black holes. Even by the standards of quantum physicists, strange metals are just plain odd. The materials are related to high-temperature superconductors and have surprising connections to the properties of black holes. Electrons in strange metals dissipate energy as fast as they’re allowed to under the laws of quantum mechanics, and the electrical resistivity of a strange metal, unlike that of ordinary metals, is proportional to the temperature. Generating a theoretical understanding of strange metals is one of the biggest challenges in condensed matter physics. Now, using cutting-edge computational techniques, researchers from the Flatiron Institute in New York City and Cornell University have solved the ...
Crew Dragon Astronauts Target Splashdown off Coast of Pensacola, Florida
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Crew Dragon Astronauts Target Splashdown off Coast of Pensacola, Florida

By NASA August 2, 2020 NASA’s first commercial crew astronauts (from left) Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are pictured at Kennedy Space Center for tests aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. Credit: SpaceX NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are just hours away from splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Splashdown remains scheduled for 2:48 p.m. EDT following a nearly two-month test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Pensacola, Florida remains the prime location with Go Navigator as the recovery vessel. The recovery boat departed its port at 9:20 a.m. to stage for recovery operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Go Navigator is operating with a fully functioning generator and is ready to support splashdown op...
COVID-19 Breakthrough: Scientists Identify Possible “Achilles’ Heel” of SARS-CoV-2 Virus
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COVID-19 Breakthrough: Scientists Identify Possible “Achilles’ Heel” of SARS-CoV-2 Virus

COVID-19 Research: Anti-viral Strategy With Double Effect In the case of an infection, the SARS-CoV-2 virus must overcome various defense mechanisms of the human body, including its non-specific or innate immune defense. During this process, infected body cells release messenger substances known as type 1 interferons. These attract natural killer cells, which kill the infected cells. One of the reasons the SARS-CoV-2 virus is so successful — and thus dangerous — is that it can suppress the non-specific immune response. In addition, it lets the human cell produce the viral protein PLpro (papain-like protease). PLpro has two functions: It plays a role in the maturation and release of new viral particles, and it suppresses the development of type 1 interferons. The German and Dutch research...