Showing posts with label science news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science news. Show all posts

India 1st country in the world to succeed in its maiden attempt to reach Mars

12:26 PM
India became the first country in the world to succeed in its maiden attempt to reach Mars with its low-cost space technology when it entered the Mars orbit around  12:30pm AEST today. India's low-cost mission to Mars has successfully entered the red planet's orbit in its first attempt.This is indeed a historic day for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and India as a nation.

1st country in the world to succeed in its maiden attempt to reach Mars
1st country in the world to succeed in its maiden attempt to reach Mars
India's mission to Mars, informally named Mangalayaan, just cost $US74 million, less than the estimated $US100 million budget of the sci-fi blockbuster Gravity. The mission cost just a fraction of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft which successfully began orbiting the fourth planet from the sun on Sunday.

With the mission's success  with , India now joins an elite club - the United States, Russia and Europe - that have successfully sent probes to orbit or land on Mars.The success of the mission showcase India’s low-budget space technology and hopefully snatch a bigger share of the $324 billion global space market.

India’s unnamed probe plans to study the planet’s surface and scan its atmosphere for methane, which could provide evidence of some sort of life form. The probe will circle Mars for six months, about 500 kilometres collect data and send it back to Earth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has joined the scientists at ISRO in Bangalore for the spacecraft’s orbit entry.

Critics of the program argue that a country where  21.9% (2013, the Indian government ) citizens liver under poverty line and where roughly half have no toilets should not be splurging on space travel.

Kalimpong Municipality to produce biogas from waste

9:10 AM
The Kalimpong Municipality has come up with a new strategy to manage waste, which has become nagging problem for the authority. KM vice chairman Jayan Lepcha and health official Dr. SD Zimba today informed the municipality will be developing a new biogas plant in Baluwakhop to address the waste management issue and will collaborate with a private firm, Prayas Group, to develop the plant. The plant will have a capacity of 3 lakh metric tons and the project is expected to start by next week, they informed.

KM vice chairman Jayan Lepcha and health official Dr. SD Zimba addressing the press in Kalimpong on Tuesday.
Kalimpong Municipality vice chairman Jayan Lepcha
and health official Dr. SD Zimba
Dr. Jimba said the project will be developed on a plot of land owned by the KM in Baluwakhop. The plant will be used to convert the waste generated by the town into biogas and fertilizer, he added. Meanwhile, Jayan Lepcha informed the project had been delayed due to the unavailability of funds and is finally set to start. The Municipality will now collect all the waste generated in Kalimpong on a daily basis and transfer it to the plant. “The initial cleaning work will be conducted in two phases. In the first phase, waste from ward number 1-12 will be collected, while in the second phase the remaining wards will be handled,” Lepcha informed. He also urged the people of Kalimpong to cooperate with the municipality for the initiative.


Kalimpong youths forms Scientific Research organisation

9:30 AM
A few local youth from Kalimpong, who are pursuing PhD, formed an organisation called Society of Scientific and Environmental Research today. The main aim of the organisation is to conduct experiments based on science and environment and use the study for the development of the region. 
Kalimpong youth formes Scientific Research organisation
Scientific Research 

The SSER was formed during a meeting today in the town, where Dipen Ghimiray has been assigned as the organisation’s chairman, Nishesh Jaisi as vice chairman, Sanjeev Dahal as secretary and Dr. BC Sharma as scientific advisor. The working committee of the organisation includes Abhijeet Chettri, Deepesh Ghimiray and R Sharma.

Source: EOI

Dinosaurs footprints found in Jaisalmer India

11:06 PM
Jaisalmer, Rajasthan:  A team of foreign and Indian scientists have spotted the footprints of dinosaurs at Thaiat village in Jaisalmer district, sources said today.

Dinosaurs footprints found in Jaisalmer India
A team of 34 foreign scientists from a number of countries including France and Germany are camping in Jaisalmer to study fossils of dinosaurs found in sandy desert areas near the city recently.

Dinosaurs' evolution, extinction, and paleo-bio-genography is the centre of their research related to fossils, they added.

Yesterday, the team led by Dr Jan Schlogl of Slovakia observed the footprints in one of the basal rocks of Thaiat scarp section and Professor Gregory Pienkowski of Poland identified the footprints as those of Pterosaurs or the flying dinosaur.

"The first footprint was small, only 5 cm long, but perfectly imprinted on the upper surface of a sandstone bed. Its shape and name is clear - it is called Grallator, a specific name given to the footprint, left by a small predatory dinosaur. The footprint maker was not bigger than an hen", according to the sources.

However, the second foot print was much bigger - about 30 cms long. Such tridactyl footprint (three toes) is named Eurontes giganteus and it must have been left by a much bigger creature, the sources added.

Dr P K Pandey of the Geology Department at University of Rajasthan had already recorded petrosaur bore fragments during the previous years.

Near the Thaiat village on the Jaisalmer-Jodhpur highway there is an outcrop of Jurassic rocks.

Careful geological observation by the team allowed them to interpret ancient environments in which these rocks (once soft sediments) were deposited, according to Dr Pandey.

It could be imagined that a vast coastal zone of which the Jurassic sea would be encroached some 180 million years ago, he added.

These scientists have come to Rajasthan on the sidelines of the 9th International Congress on The Jurassic System, held between January 6-9th, organised by Department of Geology, University of Rajasthan in Jaipur.


India successfully tested Prithvi-II missile in Odisha

6:31 PM
India successfully tested Prithvi-II missile in Odisha, which is Indias indigenously developed nuclear missile, which has a strike range of 350 kms and is capable of carrying warheads of upto 1000 kgs, from a test range. 

India successfully tested Prithvi-II missile in Odisha
India successfully tested Prithvi-II
 missile in Odisha
‘The launch was conducted as a culmination to a strategic training exercise. The aim of this exercise was to validate our readiness by undertaking launches in various contingencies’, said an SFC spokesperson.

Describing the trial of the sophisticated missile as a "complete success", Integrated Test Range Director M V K V Prasad said the launch conducted by the specially formed Strategic Forces Command (SFC) met all the parameters. 

The surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of the ITR at Chandipur near here at about 0948 hrs. 

"The missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the entire launch activities were carried out by SFC and monitored by the scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of training exercise," sources said. 

"The missile trajectory was tracked by DRDO radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations located along the coast of Odisha," they said. 

"The downrange teams onboard the ship deployed near the designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal monitored the terminal events and splashdown," they said. 

Inducted into India's SFC in 2003, Prithvi II, the first missile to be developed by DRDO under India's prestigious IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program) is now a proven technology, a defence source said. 

"The launch was part of a regular training exercise of SFC and monitored by DRDO scientists," the source said. 

Such training launches clearly indicate India's operational readiness to meet any eventuality and also establishes the reliability of this deterrent component of India's Strategic arsenal, the source said. 

Prithvi is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twine engines. 

The last user trial of Prithvi-II missile was successfully carried out from the same base on December 3, 2013.

Yeti, actually existed - Himalayas mystery solved

9:15 AM
One of the greatest mysteries of the Himalayas may have finally been solved.

Genetic testing has led scientists to believe that the abominable snowman - the Yeti, actually existed but it was actually a cross between an ancient polar bear and brown bear.

Hair samples from what is believed to be that of the Yeti have been found to genetically match that of an ancient polar bear dating back 120,000 years.

Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, conducted the research.

Dr Sykes has over many years assembled substantial physical evidence, which he has subjected to the most sophisticated DNA tests available, to answer scientifically the mystery of Bigfoot.

The professor said "This is an exciting and completely unexpected result".

Dr Sykes however said the finding does not mean ancient polar bears are still wandering around the Himalayas.

"But it could mean there is a sub species of brown bear in the high Himalayas which descended from the bear that was the ancestor of the polar bear. Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendent of the ancient polar bear," Dr Sykes said.

Bone chilling stories of the horrifying Yeti have been synonymous to the Himalayas for centuries with local people and some of the world's greatest mountaineers including legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who became the first man to climb Everest without oxygen, claiming to have had a terrifying encounter with a large hairy, ape-like creature.

Himalayan folk lore is rife with tales of an elusive beast that have hardly been photographed.

Professor Sykes has collected and tested hair samples of several animals found in the Himalayas.

He tested two ancient hair samples which locals of high Himalayan villages claimed were that of the Yeti. One of the samples was that of an animal found in Ladakh (India) and the other from Bhutan, 800 miles away.

The DNA tests then compared the results to other animals' genomes stored on the GenBank database. Professor Sykes to his amazement found a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back at least 40,000 years - and probably around 120,000 years.

This has made professor Sykes believe that the most likely explanation is that the Yeti is actually a hybrid between polar bears and brown bears.

A Yeti footprint on the base of Mount Everest taken by British climber Eric Shipton sparked a global interest in the abominable snowman post 1951.

Sorce : timesofindia

BBC News - Miniature 'human brain' grown in lab

11:14 AM
The "mini brain" is roughly the size and developmental level of a nine-week foetus
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The "mini brain" is roughly the size and developmental level of a nine-week foetus
The "mini brain" is roughly the size and developmental level of a nine-week foetus

Miniature "human brains" have been grown in a lab in a feat scientists hope will transform the understanding of neurological disorders.

The pea-sized structures reached the same level of development as in a nine-week-old foetus, but are incapable of thought.

The study, published in the journal Nature, has already been used to gain insight into rare diseases.

Neuroscientists have described the findings as astounding and fascinating.

The human brain is one of the most complicated structures in the universe.

Scientists at Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now reproduced some of the earliest stages of the organ's development in the laboratory.

Brain bath

They used either embryonic stem cells or adult skin cells to produce the part of an embryo that develops into the brain and spinal cord - the neuroectoderm.

This was placed in tiny droplets of gel to give a scaffold for the tissue to grow and was placed into a spinning bioreactor, a nutrient bath that supplies nutrients and oxygen.

A cerebral organoid - the brown pigments are a developing retina
A cerebral organoid - the brown pigments are a developing retina
he cells were able to grow and organise themselves into separate regions of the brain, such as the cerebral cortex, the retina, and, rarely, an early hippocampus, which would be heavily involved in memory in a fully developed adult brain.

The researchers are confident that this closely, but far from perfectly, matches brain development in a foetus until the nine week stage.

The tissues reached their maximum size, about 4mm (0.1in), after two months.

The "mini-brains" have survived for nearly a year, but did not grow any larger. There is no blood supply, just brain tissue, so nutrients and oxygen cannot penetrate into the middle of the brain-like structure.

One of the researchers, Dr Juergen Knoblich, said: "What our organoids are good for is to model development of the brain and to study anything that causes a defect in development.

"Ultimately we would like to move towards more common disorders like schizophrenia or autism. They typically manifest themselves only in adults, but it has been shown that the underlying defects occur during the development of the brain."

The technique could also be used to replace mice and rats in drug research as new treatments could be tested on actual brain tissue.


Researchers have been able to produce brain cells in the laboratory before, but this is the closest any group has come to building a human brain.

The breakthrough has excited the field.

Prof Paul Matthews, from Imperial College London, told the BBC: "I think it's just mindboggling. The idea that we can take a cell from a skin and turn it into, even though it's only the size of a pea, is starting to look like a brain and starting to show some of the behaviours of a tiny brain, I think is just extraordinary.

"Now it's not thinking, it's not communicating between the areas in the way our brains do, but it gives us a real start and this is going to be the kind of tool that helps us understand many of the major developmental brain disorders."

The team has already used the breakthrough to investigate a disease called microcephaly. People with the disease develop much smaller brains.

A much smaller brain develops with microcephaly
A much smaller brain develops with microcephaly

By creating a "mini-brain" from skin cells of a patient with this condition, the team were able to study how development changed.

They showed that the cells were too keen to become neurons by specialising too early. It meant the cells in the early brain did not bulk up to a high enough number before specialising, which affected the final size of even the pea-sized "mini-brains".

The team in Vienna do not believe there are any ethical issues at this stage, but Dr Knoblich said he did not want to see much larger brains being developed as that would be "undesirable".

Dr Zameel Cader, a consultant neurologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, said he did not see ethical issues arising from the research so far.

He told the BBC: "It's a long way from conscience or awareness or responding to the outside world. There's always the spectre of what the future might hold, but this is primitive territory."

Dr Martin Coath, from the cognition institute at Plymouth University, said: "Any technique that gives us 'something like a brain' that we can modify, work on, and watch as it develops, just has to be exciting.

"If the authors are right - that their 'brain in a bottle' develops in ways that mimic human brain development - then the potential for studying developmental diseases is clear. But the applicability to other types of disease is not so clear - but it has potential.

"Testing drugs is, also, much more problematic. Most drugs that affect the brain act on things like mood, perception, control of your body, pain, and a whole bunch of other things. This brain-like-tissue has no trouble with any of these things yet."
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