Water found in tiny beads from the moon

CLEVELAND (UPI) — U.S. researchers said they’ve discovered water in tiny beads of volcanic glass collected from two Apollo missions to the moon.

Jim Van Orman, a professor in the geological sciences department at Case Western Reserve University, said the findings suggest the water came from the moon’s interior and was delivered to the surface through volcanic eruptions.

The research team, which included scientists from Brown University, Carnegie Institution for Science and Case Western Reserve, said finding water on the moon’s surface could have a big effect on any future plans for long-term manned lunar presence or using the moon as a launching point for explorations further into space.

“Water contains the essential ingredients used for rocket fuel,” Van Orman said in a statement. “Certainly, if there is ice on the moon’s polar caps, that could be used. But if there is water in the rocks –and as much as our studies infer– that is another resource that could be tapped.”

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

from Arcamax Science and Technology E-zine, July 15, 2008

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Biodiversity on Earth is declining

GLAND, Switzerland (UPI) — The WWF, also known as the World Wildlife Fund, says more than a quarter of the Earth’s wildlife has been lost during the last 35 years.

The organization’s Living Planet Index — produced for the WWF by the Zoological Society of London — shows populations of marine species, such as swordfish and scalloped hammerhead, were particularly hard hit, falling by 28 percent between 1995 and 2005. Seabird populations have suffered a 30 percent decline since the mid-1990s.

The index said land-based species’ populations fell by 25 percent between 1970 and 2005, and populations of freshwater species by 29 percent between 1970 and 2003.

Scientists said habitat destruction and wildlife trade were among the major causes of population declines but climate change is expected to become an increasingly important factor.

“No one can escape the impact of biodiversity loss,” said James Leape, WWF’s director general, “because reduced global diversity translates quite clearly into fewer new medicines, greater vulnerability to natural disasters and greater effects from global warming.”

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

from Arcamax Science and Technology e-zine, 05-19-2008

Part of cosmos’ missing matter is found

PARIS (UPI) — The European Space Agency says its orbiting X-ray observatory XMM-Newton has uncovered part of the missing matter in the universe.

Scientists say all matter in the universe is distributed in a cosmic web-like structure. At dense nodes of the cosmic web are clusters of galaxies. Astronomers suspected the low-density gas permeates the filaments of that cosmic web.

An international team of astronomers, using XMM-Newton were observing a pair of galaxy clusters about 2.3 billion light-years from Earth when they saw a bridge of hot gas connecting the clusters.

“The hot gas that we see in this bridge or filament is probably the hottest and densest part of the diffuse gas in the cosmic web, believed to constitute about half the baryonic matter in the universe,” said Norbert Werner of the Netherlands Institute for Space Research and leader of the research team.

“This is only the beginning,” added Werner. “To understand the distribution of the matter within the cosmic web, we have to … ultimately launch a dedicated space observatory to observe the cosmic web with a much higher sensitivity than possible with current missions.”

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

from Arcamax Science and Technology e-zine, 05-08-2008

On human-whatever-species-else hybrids

I’m kinda curious about this concept and got more into it after reading James Patterson’s Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment.

People, uhm, scientists from Britain managed to prove that hybrid species is a possibility. They were able to create a 32-celled human-bovine embryo and are working to improve it. To the scientists, would-be scientists, wannabe scientists, this:

“Can the evince of both species features be manipulated?”

I mean, like in Maximum Ride, the human-avian hybrids were perfect in a sense that only the “wanted” features manifested. They didn’t look like ugly mistakes of genetic engineering. I mean, can genetic engineering really reach that? Some recombinant life forms mentioned in Maximum Ride didn’t look so ugly – as defined. The director of ITEX, a human-galapagos tortoise hybrid, was perfect in a sense that it didn’t have tortoise-like body or something.

I guess, without much manipulation of the embryo, those recombinant life-forms would have looked hideous. They could have had bird feet, feathers all over their bodies, beaks, shells and whatever else unsightly. They would have looked like… mistakes; like some other recombinants mentioned.

Now that’s what makes me wonder. And I want answers, explanations, or something.

Can genetic engineering really do that?

Space Tourism

Space tourism: the next frontier?

NEWARK, Del. (UPI) — U.S. and Italian researchers predict outer space will become a frequent tourist destination during this century.

“In the 21st century, space tourism could represent the most significant development experienced by the tourism industry,” said University of Delaware Professor Fred DeMicco.

DeMicco, along with Professor Silvia Ciccarelli of the University of Rome — a consultant to the Italian Association of Aerospace Industries — said while there are global policies to be determined relating to private ventures in space, the technology to make space travel safer and cheaper is moving forward.

Ciccarelli said suborbital trips will likely be available to tourists by 2015, while tourism in space hotels is predicted to become a reality by 2025. She also noted the low-gravity of space will make possible novel recreational and sports activities that are impossible on Earth.

The study is to appear in the journal Hospitality Educator.

from: Arcamax Science & Technology e-zine 03-12-2008