Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Oct 8 2016, 3:28pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Top Science Stories This Week
Saturn's moon Dione Credit: NASA/JPL

Nobel Prize Winners in Different Scientific Disciplines Announced 

Pioneers from different disciplines have been awarded with the prestigious Nobel Prize for their inventions and achievements last week. Here’s a list of 2016 Nobel Prize winners in scientific fields.

Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology was awarded to Japanese scientist, Yoshinori Ohsumi for his pioneering work on autophagy - normal physiological process that deals with destruction of cells in the body -  and disruption in the process can lead to diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes.

In the discipline of Chemistry, a trio of scientists received the Nobel Prize for the year 2016 for their revolutionary design and synthesis of molecular machines, which are regarded as the smallest machines of the world. These machines are thousand times thinner than a strand of hair.

A British trio was awarded with the Nobel Prize in physics for their “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.”

Another Saturn Moon Likely Harbors Subsurface Ocean

Saturn’s moon Dione harbors a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust, latest observations from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests. That makes Dione the third Saturn moon after Titan and Enceladus likely having subsurface oceans.

Using gravity data from Cassini probe, researchers suggests that Dione’s ocean is likely 100 kilometers beneath the surface. It is several tens of kilometers deep and surrounds a rocky core.

If confirmed, Dione could be considered a potentially habitable place beyond Earth.

China Plans to Build Biggest Tourist Spaceplane

China is planning to build the world’s biggest spaceplane, which could carry up to 20 passengers to the edge of the space each day. The design of the plane has been revealed at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico last week and it will be a simple, one-piece vehicle with a significantly higher seating capacity than any other spaceflight company promises to offer to date.

Chinese company estimates that a ride to the space will cost between $200,000 and $250,000. Company further reveals that the ground tests have been almost completed while the test flights are expected to launch by 2020.

MIT’s Beaver-Inspired Wetsuits could keep Divers Warm Underwater

Inspired by beaver-like thick fur, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have fabricated a new wetsuit. The wetsuit will be used to keep divers warm and dry underwater and will help them withstand the harsher conditions of the ocean. The new wetsuit has fur-like hairy surfaces and series of tubes and it could replicate the processes as on beaver and other animals similar to it.

To make wetsuits actually work like beaver’s fur, researchers conducted experiments and found that the spacing of individual hair and the animal’s diving speed are the key factors for successfully mimicking the mechanism.

Proxima b, Nearest Earth-like Planet, may Harbor Water Ocean

The discovery of Earth-like planet Proxima Centuari b was announced August this year and ever since it is a topic of intense scientific research. 

Proxima Centauri b orbits around a red dwarf called Proxima Centuari just 4.2 light years away. Researchers believe that the planet's orbit is just right to allow liquid water on its surface, needed for life. Now, a latest research also suggests that this exoplanet may harbors water in its surface.

Researchers have developed simulations to estimate the planet's composition and radius and have estimated that the Proxima b's mass would be split 50-50 between a rocky centre and water around it.

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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