Beresheet’s moon crash was the first in nearly half a century. But back in the day, moon crashes happened all the time.


Crash debris from the uncrewed Israeli lander Beresheet will remain permanently on the lunar surface after SpaceIL’s effort to land on the moon failed Thursday (April 11). It was a disappointment for the program and a setback for the private Israeli company’s efforts to join the small community of organizations that have successfully landed on Earth’s nearest neighbour. But it wasn’t the first time that a robotic moon landing failed in this way.

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New simulations reveal a new state of matter that displays characteristics of both liquid and solid states.


A new kind of matter can be both solid and liquid at once.

In this chain-melted state, molten and solid layers intertwine at the atomic level. Recently, using computer simulations, researchers coaxed virtual potassium into a chain-melted state by exposing the metal to conditions of extreme temperature and pressure, the scientists reported in a new study.

What’s more, this dual state persisted even through dramatic changes in the experiments’ conditions within the simulation. This evidence also showed that the chain-melted state is a stable type of matter and not merely a transition between solid and liquid. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]

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Researchers are developing a probiotic to make disease-causing bacteria self-destruct.


As resistance to antibiotics grows in the U.S., researchers are looking for new ways to fight germs like Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that can cause fatal infections in hospitals and nursing homes.

One way to do that: a “CRISPR pill” that instructs harmful bacteria to self-destruct.

CRISPR is the powerful gene-editing technology already being explored as a way to precisely edit human genes to cure diseases (see "Can CRISPR Save Ben Dupree?"). But the technology’s versatility is such that it’s being studied for a huge range of other uses. Just last week scientists in Boston showed they could craft CRISPR into cheap, simple diagnostic tests.

Now scientists want to turn it into ultra-precise antimicrobial treatments to “specifically kill your bacteria of choice,” says food scientist Jan-Peter Van Pijkeren of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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The device could be used to rapidly diagnose genetic diseases or to evaluate the accuracy of gene-editing techniques


Most methods for the detection of nucleic acids require many reagents and expensive and bulky instrumentation. Here, scientists now report the development and testing of a graphene-based field-effect transistor that uses clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) technology to enable the digital detection of a target sequence within intact genomic material. Termed CRISPR–Chip, the biosensor uses the gene-targeting capacity of catalytically deactivated CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) complexed with a specific single-guide RNA and immobilized on the transistor to yield a label-free nucleic-acid-testing device whose output signal can be measured with a simple handheld reader.


The team used the CRISPR–Chip to analyze DNA samples collected from HEK293T cell lines expressing blue fluorescent protein, and clinical samples of DNA with two distinct mutations at exons commonly deleted in individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In the presence of genomic DNA containing the target gene, CRISPR–Chip generates, within 15 min, with a sensitivity of 1.7 fM and without the need for amplification, a significant enhancement in output signal relative to samples lacking the target sequence. The CRISPR–Chip expands the applications of CRISPR–Cas9 technology to the on-chip electrical detection of nucleic acids.

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