For the 30th anniversary of one of the most iconic images taken by NASA’s Voyager mission, a new version of the image known as "the Pale Blue Dot."


Planet Earth is visible as a bright speck within the sunbeam just right of center and appears softly blue, as in the original version published in 1990 (see PIA00452). This updated version uses modern image-processing software and techniques to revisit the well-known Voyager view while attempting to respect the original data and intent of those who planned the images.


In 1990, the Voyager project planned to shut off the Voyager 1 spacecraft’s imaging cameras to conserve power and because the probe, along with its sibling Voyager 2, would not fly close enough to any other objects to take pictures. Before the shutdown, the mission commanded the probe to take a series of 60 images designed to produce what they termed the "Family Portrait of the Solar System." Executed on Valentine’s Day 1990, this sequence returned images for making color views of six of the solar system’s planets and also imaged the Sun in monochrome.



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In this video, Tesla engineers break down how they’re repurposing Tesla parts to build ventilators for COVID-19 (coronavirus) patients.

Two weeks after an Elon Musk ventilator snafu that saw Tesla ship out about 1,000 B-PAP machines—which do not include the necessary ventilation tubes that the life-saving breathing machines require—the luxury car manufacturer has gone back to the drawing board.

Now, Tesla is giving us a glimpse into its process. In a new video (seen above), company engineers break down how they’re repurposing Tesla parts to build ventilators for COVID-19 (coronavirus) patients—something that Ford and General Motors have also been doing, thanks to the stockpiles of parts that auto manufacturers keep on hand to maintain a buzzing assembly line.

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Despite being the closest planet to the Sun, Mercury is home to a surprising amount of ice. Now, researchers at Georgia Tech have put forward an explanation for how at least some of it got there – and it turns out, the heat plays an important role.


Most of Mercury is a broiling hot hell, where daytime temperatures peak at a toasty 427 °C (800 °F). But with no atmosphere to spread the heat around, the poles remain chilly, and the floors of some deep craters never see sunlight. There, temperatures can be as low as -170 °C (-274 °F) – the perfect conditions for ice to form.

And form it does, with spacecraft observations and other calculations showing large deposits at both poles of the planet. How it actually got there in the first place has remained a mystery, but now the Georgia Tech team has proposed at least a partial explanation.



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Old human cells return to a more youthful and vigorous state after being induced to briefly express a panel of proteins involved in embryonic development, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The researchers also found that elderly mice regained youthful strength after their existing muscle stem cells were subjected to the rejuvenating protein treatment and transplanted back into their bodies.


The proteins, known as Yamanaka factors, are commonly used to transform an adult cell into what are known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells can become nearly any type of cell in the body, regardless of the cell from which they originated. They’ve become important in regenerative medicine and drug discovery.





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Hayley Clissold from the Sanger Institute’s policy team team explores the issues surrounding gene editing and human embryos.


Genome editing is a technique used to modify a specific section of DNA. As all living things contain DNA, genome editing has an almost unlimited range of applications in organisms including bacteria, plants, animals and humans.


Genome editing is not a new technology. In fact, it has been around for decades. Genome editing has only recently taken the scientific world by storm because of the discovery of a new tool called CRISPR. CRISPR is simpler, faster, cheaper and much more efficient than any of its predecessor genome editing tools and because of its accessibility, CRISPR is now used in a vast spectrum of applications in labs all around the world.


CRISPR was originally discovered as a bacterial immune system. Some bacteria deploy CRISPR as a defense mechanism to chop up the DNA of an invading virus. Because of its ability to target and cut specific stretches of DNA, CRISPR is capable of removing any particular sequence – for example, disease-causing gene variants can be taken out of a genome. The technology also allows DNA sequences to be added or changed – so a disease-causing variant can be replaced with a ‘healthy’ one. Clearly, this technology offers almost limitless possibilities for science and in particular for healthcare.


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The surge in New York City’s coronavirus infections is already so critical that the chief medical officer at a major hospital system warned staff of the grim reality: "…there will be loss, and suffering, and at times perhaps each of us will question our will to fight."


The coronavirus — which is hospitalizing severely sick young and old people alike — has already had a punishing, paramount influence on human civilization, and it will get much worse. But today’s wide-scale shutdown of cities, extreme social distancing measures, and plummeting transportation usage will have no immediate, meaningful impact on Earth’s colossal carbon dioxide woes or the planet’s relentless warming trend.



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