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A new study has revealed asteroid impacts on ancient Mars could have produced ingredients for life if Mars’ atmosphere was rich in hydrogen. Researchers on Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument said a hydrogen-rich atmosphere would explain how the planet was habitable. The ingredients are nitrites (NO2) and nitrates (NO3).

 

Life on Mars is a definite possibility after the Mars Curiosity rover finds key ingredients to life (Image: GETTY)





Both nitrates are important to establish and sustain life.

The rover discovered both ingredients in soil and rock samples within the Gale Crater which is the site of ancient lakes on Mars.

Researchers recreated the early Martian atmosphere to understand how fixed nitrogen may have been deposited in the crater.

They found that the Red Planet may have been warmer in the past.

Dr. Rafael Navarro-González said: “The big surprise was that the yield of nitrate increased when hydrogen was included in the laser-shocked experiments that simulated asteroid impacts.

“This was counterintuitive as hydrogen leads to an oxygen-deficient environment while the formation of nitrate requires oxygen.

“However, the presence of hydrogen led to a faster cooling of the shock-heated gas, trapping nitric oxide, the precursor of nitrate, at elevated temperatures where its yield was higher."

Climate models show hydrogen in the atmosphere is necessary to raise temperatures to have liquid at the planet’s surface.

 

Researchers found that the Red Planet may have been warmer in the past (Image: GETTY)

Christopher McKay explained the presence of nitrate is of “major astrobiological significance.”

He said: "Because of the low levels of nitrogen gas in the atmosphere, nitrate is the only biologically useful form of nitrogen on Mars.

“Thus, its presence in the soil is of major astrobiological significance.

“This paper helps us understand the possible sources of that nitrate."


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A fragment of a planet that survived the death of its parent star was discovered by astronomers at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. The "planetary corpse" is located on a disc of debris formed by destroyed and consumed planets.

The planetesimal - a rocky body a few miles away - rich in iron and nickel survived a system-wide cataclysm that followed the death of its host star, called SDSS J122859.93 + 104032.9. It is believed to have once been part of a larger planet, and its survival is even more astonishing, as it orbits closer to its star than was thought possible, orbiting it once every two hours.

The discovery, published in the journal Science, is the first time scientists use spectroscopy to discover a solid body orbiting a white dwarf. Using the Gran Telescopio Canarias in La Palma, Spain, the scientists studied the disk of debris in the white dwarf 410 light-years away, formed by the rupture of rocky bodies composed of elements such as iron, magnesium, silicon and oxygen.

Inside that disk they discovered a ring of gas flowing from a solid body, like the tail of a comet. This gas can be generated by the body itself or by evaporation of dust as it collides with small debris. Astronomers estimate that this body should be at least one kilometer in size, but may be as large as a few hundred kilometers in diameter, comparable to the largest known asteroids in our solar system.

White dwarfs are the remains of stars like our Sun that have burned all their fuel and expelled their outer layers, leaving behind a dense core that slowly cools with time. This particular star has shrunk so much that the planetesimal orbits within its original ray. Evidence suggests that it was once part of a larger body, further from its star system, and is likely to have been a torn planet when the star began its death process.





"The star would originally have about two solar masses, but now the white dwarf is only 70% of the mass of our Sun. It is also very small - roughly the size of the Earth - and this makes the star and, in general, all dwarfs white, extremely dense," said Dr. Christopher Manser, a researcher at the Department of Physics. "The gravity of the white dwarf is so strong - about 100,000 times the Earth's gravity - that a typical asteroid would be torn apart by gravitational forces if it passed very close," he added.

The discovery offers a clue as to how planets can reside in other solar systems and a glimpse of our own future.

"As the stars age, they turn into red giants, which 'clean' much of the inside of their planetary system. In our Solar System, the Sun will expand to where Earth currently orbits and will eliminate nodes, Mercury and Venus, "concluded Manser. [ SpaceAnswers ]

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Israeli scientists are about to achieve a landmark first, as a privately-funded lunar lander prepares to end a six-week long journey to the Moon. The Beresheet spacecraft has quietly slipped into orbit around the Earth's natural satellite and is now preparing to land. Should it be successful, Israel will among a select group of world superpowers to make the achievement.

 

SpaceIL's Beresheet timeline (Image: SPACEIL)





Israel’s first lunar lander the Beresheet entered the Moon’s orbit on April 4, the culmination of six weeks of extensive maneuvers.

The lander set off from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on February 21.

After launch, it took a number of expanding loops around the Earth’s orbit before it was captured by the Moon’s gravitational pull on April 4.

The robot will now remain in orbit until April 11, when space station crews will attempt to land on the dark side of the Moon.

Should they find success, Israel will be launched into prominence as the seventh nation to make such a landing.

The lander will also be the first privately funded vehicle to make it onto the Moon’s surface, as the product of a joint venture between nonprofit group SpaceIL and defense contractors Israel Aerospace Industries.

While there, the goals of the lander will be to deposit a NASA retro-reflector array on the Moon’s surface and fire laser pulses at it.

Project members said this will allow them to pinpoint the location of the craft within 10 centimeters and will pave the way for the installation of future reflectors.

These would ultimately allow NASA to make much more precision Moon landings in the future.

Beresheet’s limited goals mean it is not built to last and will deteriorate within two Earth days.

Business leaders at the helm of the SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries alliance have hailed the potential landing a major milestone for Israel.

Morris Kahn, chair of SpaceIL, said: “The lunar capture is a historic event in and of itself — but it also joins Israel in a seven-nation club that has entered the moon’s orbit.”

 

Beresheet will land on the dark side of the Moon (Image: GETTY)

"A week from today, we'll make more history by landing on the moon, joining three superpowers who have done so.

“Today I am proud to be an Israeli."

Through the excitement, SpaceIL still acknowledges there is a way to go before the country can celebrate.

SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby said: “We still have a long way until the lunar landing, but I‘m convinced our team will complete the mission to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, making us all proud."

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The Juno mission cost $ 1 billion to be realized, and, as expected, such an impressive project records the most varied data of the largest planet in the solar system: Jupiter. Among these data are sensational images of its clouds, storms and angles never before seen by mankind! Now, putting together several real images into a single GIF, NASA has released an animation of the gigantic and scary spiral storm in Jupiter's southern hemisphere.

 




The storm is about 8,000 kilometers in diameter. The anti-clockwise movement of the storm is clearly visible, where a similar rotation can be seen in the famous Great Red Spot at the top of the animation.

Juno took nine photos used to produce this GIF on December 21, 2018. At the time the images were taken, the spacecraft lay between approximately 24,800 kilometers to 97,700 kilometers from the top of the planet's clouds above the latitudes of southern Jovian. The animation was created by volunteer scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran.

In addition to providing us with this unprecedented view of the gaseous giant, the Juno spacecraft was designed to collect scientific data about the interior of Jupiter - one of the greatest mysteries of astronomy - and of course also cover our knowledge of its atmospheric composition. The probe has also recorded other impressive images. [ NASA ]

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The famous actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, became the vocal environmental advocate in the last several years. Besides that he has hosted “Before the Flood,” which is National Geographic documentary about climate change, as well as interviews President Obama about environmental issues, he is now creating a new model for hospitality.

DiCaprio is transforming his private island off the coast of Belize into a luxurious eco-resort, and here is the first look of it. The hotel, which is named Blacnadore Caye Resort, is not due to open until late 2018, but the potential travelers can already take a peek inside of it.

DiCaprio bought this island about ten years ago for some $1.75 million. He said that this new venture is going to be “groundbreaking in the environmental movement.” With the making of such plans, he has shown himself to be an important environmental altruist.

According to some new rendering, the resort is going to beautifully integrate the outdoors and indoors with some open-air building surrounded with palm trees, lush landscaping, and contemporary infinity pools and finished with natural some elements like wood and marble.

The island is also going to feature 36 bungalows and 36 homes which are going to be powered by 100% renewable energy.

The needs of the resort will also be met by solar panels and rain that is filtered on-site.

Additionally to the thatched roofs, the 36 bungalows and the 36 estate homes that are on-site, are going to offer features such as circadian lighting and solar panels.

Given the history of DiCaprio as an environmental activist, who has just released a documentary on climate change called ‘Before the Flood,’ Gathy and his team are taking extra precautions in order to ensure that the hotel is going to be environmentally sound. That includes reshaping the flora to remove invasive species, as well as to replace them with native ones, bringing in more mangroves, and maintaining the reef surrounding the island.

Half of the island is also going to be set aside for wildlife preserve, and a research area is also going to be created for scientists, in order to conduct ecological studies.





You can watch the exclusive drone footage of the island in the video given below:

Exclusive Drone Footage of Leonardo DiCaprio's Private island, Blackadore Caye - YouTube
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A team of leading scientists were sent from Moscow to examine the mysterious Siberian phenomenon. The meteorite split in two shortly before hitting a frozen river last month. Experts say that one part of the cosmic rock smashed through more than 4 ft of snow and 3ft of solid ice into the Podkamennaya Tunguska River.

 

Mystery glowing ball in sky close to site of ‘world’s largest explosion’ (Image: YOUTUBE/NGS.ru)





Scientists from Moscow’s Vernadsky Institute say they have located the ice hole where the space object fell and an attempt will be made soon to retrieve the rock from the river bed.

They are working with the Finnish Meteorological Institute on the project.

Spectacular new footage from NGS.ru shows the ‘small meteorite’ flashing across there sky in Evenkia district of Krasnoyarsk region moments before it crashed.

It was described as a “glowing ball” that turned the evening ‘bright and warm’ close to the site of the world’s largest ‘meteor explosion’ which had the force of 185 Hiroshima bombs.

Footage showed the dazzling flash changing color from green to yellow to orange.

The head of administration in the village of Uchami, with a population of 96 and close to the site, felt the ground move, reported The Siberian Times.

“I was home when I heard loud thunder which sounded like an explosion. There was a huge glow, the floor trembled and dry branches fell of a birch tree in the yard,” said Natalia Moskvitina.

“I panicked and called my brother who lives some 300 metres away.

“He said he wondered if this was a plane crash.”

One witness claimed the edge was taken off the minus 20C cold by the eerie phenomenon.

“The night got bright and warm, as if a giant light bulb was switched on in the sky’, said witness Pyotr Bondarev from Tura village.

Bondarev said: “It was about 7.30 pm, it was dark.

“I was outside having a walk with my wife and children, when the sky flashed green and yellow.

‘Many people saw it and got very excited.”

Locals claimed it was a “second Tunguska”.

The crash site is several hundred miles from the monumental Tunguska Event 111 years ago.

More than 770 square miles of forest was wiped out after a fireball - believed to be some 330 ft wide - tore through the atmosphere and exploded, according to scientists.

An estimated 80 million trees were destroyed, and there were thousands of charred reindeer carcasses.

It is believed to have exploded three to seven miles above the earth’s surface yet despite the carnage there was no impact crater.

There were no reports of casualties in the sparsely populated area despite an explosion with the force of 185 Hiroshima bombs.

However, some experts have disputed the cause of 1908 Tunguska explosion.

Watch video here.

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The Japanese space agency just blasted an asteroid with an explosive copper bomb in hopes of learning more about the solar system.

The country’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft created a crater in the asteroid by shooting the “small carry-on impactor” — essentially a metal cannonball the size of a baseball — on Friday.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, confirmed the impact with images transmitted from a camera left behind by the spacecraft.

The photos showed a spray of fine particles from dozens of meters from a spot on the asteroid, named Ryugu.

“The mission was a success,” JAXA project manager Yuichi Tsuda said. “It is highly likely to have made a crater.”

But it was a risky one for Hayabusa2 — which had to quickly move away so it wouldn’t get hit by flying debris after deploying the explosive.

Once the dust has settled, JAXA plans to send the spacecraft back to the crater to collect samples of material that have been unexposed to the sun or space rays.





Scientists hope the samples will help them glean information about the solar system, since asteroids are material left over from its formation.

No such samples have ever been collected. In a similar mission in 2005, NASA blasted the surface of a comet but never recovered the fragments.

Last month, scientists detected hydroxyl-bearing minerals on Ryugu after examining near-infrared spectrometer readings by Hayabusa2.

In announcing the findings, JAXA said they could help explain the origin of Earth’s water.

Hayabusa2 is set to leave the asteroid at the end of 2019 and bring surface fragments and underground samples back to Earth in late 2020.

Ryugu the asteroid, named after an undersea palace in a Japanese folk tale, is located some 180 million miles from Earth.

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If you have been following some genetic, as well as epigenetic studies that were conducted within the structures of modern science over the past couple of decades, you likely have suspected what we are about to tell you: Mr. Darwin has already left the building, his disheveled ‘Theory of Evolution’ in now.

There is a massive genetic study by Mark Stoeckle from The Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler, at the University of Basel, Switzerland, puts a few more nails into an already-rotting coffin, opening the door for some new theories about our origin and the mechanisms behind the evolution of species on our planet.

Challenges to the convention.

In the traditional narrative about how evolution proceeds through survival-of-the-fittest, as well as adaption to new environments, which is based on random genetic mutations, it is reasonable to expect that species with some large and far-flung populations like ants and humans are going to become more genetically diverse over time than species that remain in one milieu. But, is this true?

Stoeckle, the lead author of the study, published in the journal Human Evolution, said that the answer is no. In fact, the genetic diversity of most of the species on the planet is about the same, regardless of their history of migration, as well as relocation and proliferation.

Maybe the most startling result of the study is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, which include humans, came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

David Thaler said that this conclusion is very surprising, and he fought against it as hard as he could.

Indeed it is surprising, as it presents a stunning invalidation of the commonplace notion that evolution on the planet has been slow, as well as linear, progressive, and unbroken. Some challenges from previously to this notion which are in the form of ‘missing links’ could actually be perceived as grounded in a lack of physical evidence, which one day could be resolved. Currently, we will be really forced to start looking at things in a completely new, as well as different way.





The study methods.

The study actually relies not on the examination of regular ‘nuclear’ DNA, but rather on mitochondrial DNA. As it was explained in one article:

All animals on this planet also have DNA in their mitochondria, which are actually tiny structures inside each cell which convert energy from food into a form which cells can use. Mitochondria consist of 37 genes, and one of them which is known as COI is used to do DNA barcoding.

Unlike the genes in nuclear DNA, which can differ greatly from species to species, all the animals have the identical set of mitochondrial DNA, which provide a common basis for comparison. At the year 2002, Canadian molecular biologist Paul Hebert, who coined the term “DNA barcode,” figured out a way of identifying species by analyzing the COI gene.

Thaler said:

The mitochondrial sequence has proved to be perfect for this all-animal approach as it has just the right balance of two conflicting properties.

Then again, the COI gene sequence is actually similar across all animals, making it easy to pick out and compare. On the other hand, such mitochondrial snippets are different enough to have the ability to distinguish between each species.

In the process of analyzing the barcodes across 100,000 species, the researchers have found a telltale sign showing that almost all of the animals emerged about the same time as humans. They saw a lack of variation in the so-called “neutral” mutations, which are the slight changes in DNA across generations which neither help nor hurt the chances of survival of an individual. In other words, they were irrelevant regarding the natural, as well as sexual drivers of evolution. How similar or not these “neutral” mutations are to each other is like tree rings – they actually reveal the approximate age of a species.

An alternative theory of how people evolve.

The same explanation also goes for the sequence variation which is found among modern humans, and it also applies equally to the modern populations of essentially all other animal species. Namely that the extant population, no matter what its current size or similarity to fossils of any age, has expanded from mitochondrial uniformity within the past 200,000 years period.

Nonhuman animals, bacteria, as well as yeast, are usually considered “model systems” whose results can be extrapolated to humans. The direction of inference is reversible. Fossil evidence for mammalian evolution in Africa implies that most of the species started with some small founding populations and later expanded and sequence analysis was interpreted to suggest that the last ice age has created some widespread conditions for subsequent expansion.

The picture which we get here is that somewhere in the past, no more than 200,000 years ago, a lot of or all animal species got started with a mitochondrial clock set to 0. There is also evidence that these species started with some small founding populations and later expanded, and such extreme conditions, such as the last ice age, can give rise to a subsequent expansion.

It almost resembled the scenario of Noah Ark, doesn’t it? A cataclysmic flood wipes out all of the humans and animals on our planet, except the small few of each species, who started again to proliferate anew once when the flood ends, and the Earth becomes habitable.

Extraterrestrial intervention.

In order to really make this idea fit we would not be taking species from the previous world before the catastrophe, as their mitochondrial clocks are not going to be set to 0. Rather than that, we must see it as a new ‘seeding’ of species on the planet Earth after some catastrophe wipes out most or all of the species which were there before.

Nowadays, the idea that extraterrestrial civilization is, and have always been involved in our physical, as well as mental/emotional and spiritual evolution is pretty common within the awakening community. More highly evolved beings have been seen to have the ability to work directly in the genetic manipulation of species. For instance, the idea that we are part of a ‘Grand Experiment’ has been proposed by the whistleblower/speaker Corey Goode, who says that a ‘Super Federation’ of extraterrestrial beings are conducting 22 genetic experiments on the Earth which are purportedly designed to enhance the evolution of humanity.

It is also possible that the evolution of the human race was fostered in part by the genetic seeding of the human and animal kingdom of today with the advanced extraterrestrial civilizations almost 200,000 years ago? Well, at least there exists some new scientific evidence which leads us to ponder this possibility.

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Following the Apollo missions, astronauts left their waste on the moon, to help lighten the load on the way back to Earth. During the six Apollo missions, 96 bags of human waste were left on the moon. Now some space enthusiasts are calling on those bags to be collected in order to see how the microbes and germs inside have survived or adapted.

Science website Vox argued faeces is full of life, and bacteria makes up some 50 percent of its mass.

Vox states: “With the Apollo 11 moon landing, we took microbial life on Earth to the most extreme environment it has ever been in. Which means the human faeces — along with bags of urine, food waste, vomit, and other waste in the bags, which also might contain microbial life — on the moon represents a natural, though unintended, experiment.

“The question the experiment will answer: How resilient is life in the face of the brutal environment of the moon?

“And for that matter, if microbes can survive on the moon, can they survive interstellar travel, making them capable of seeding life across the universe, including on places like Mars?”

The magazine Buzz Aldrin initially refused to comment for the piece, but he has since opened up on Twitter.





Replying to a post of the story, Dr. Aldrin said: "Well, I sure feel bad for whoever finds my bag.”

Buzz Aldrin became the second man to step foot on the moon in 1969 when he followed in the footsteps of mission commander Neil Armstrong.

Another ten people would follow suit as part of the Apollo missions, which lasted until 1972, yet no human has returned since, meaning the waste samples are complete untouched.

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An international team of researchers attempted to breathe life into the ancient cells in a similar fashion to what film fans have seen in the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park. The research, carried out at Japan’s Kindai University, saw the five cells sparking a biological reaction after being transplanted into the mouse’s embryo. However, despite the hopes and dreams of those wishing science will eventually be able to bring back to life extinct animals, the process necessary to clone a living being, the cell division, didn’t occur.

 





The cell division necessary to clone a living being didn't occur (Image: GETTY)

The researchers involved in the study are positive further progress in the field can be made.

Kei Miyamoto of Kindai University told AFP: “This suggests that, despite the years that have passed, cell activity can still happen and parts of it can be recreated.

“Until now, many studies have focused on analyzing DNA and not whether they still function.”

But other experts in the field are quashing hopes a mammoth as we know it will ever be cloned.

Evolutionary molecular biologist Dr. Beth Shapiro told Daily Star Online: “It depends on what you are willing to accept as a mammoth.

“If you want something that is 100 percent identical behavioral and genetically and physiologically to an organism that used to be alive, and the answer is never. This will never happen.

“The environments have changed in which the animal would grow up. The animal would gestate in the egg or the womb of a different species.

“They would be raised by a different species.

“Even if we manage to make something that is 100 percent genetically identical to an extinct species, which we can’t do, everything is more than the sequence of DNA.

 

Experts in the field are quashing hopes a mammoth as we know it will ever be cloned (Image: GETTY)

“We are all a product of both the environment in which we live and the DNA that we inherit from our parents.”

However, Dr. Shapiro conceded it may be possible in the future to have a different and more modern version of a mammoth recreated with the help of science.

She said: “If you are willing to accept a slightly hairy elephant as a resurrected mammoth, then this might happen someday.

“However, the technology is still a very far way off – we need to transform an edited elephant cell into an actual living breathing elephant that is part mammoth.

“And elephant gestation is two years. And then it has to grow up. So you can create your own timeline based on that.”

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