This week in Science Friday, meet the Queen of the dinosaur kingdom, get a close-up view of a very large asteroid with Rosetta, get your daily dose of magnetic fields, and use chemistry to make your brain cells grow. All this and more, plus our gadget of the week: the round-the-clock solar plane flight.
Mojoceratops: “Queen” of the Dinosaur Kingdom
If the T-Rex is the king of the dinosaurs, then Mojoceratops, a newly discovered species, is the queen. The dinosaur was named by Nicholas Longrich, its discoverer, for its flamboyant appearance. When Longrich noticed the dino’s large heart-shaped frill atop its head, he wanted to give it a name to reflect its true “fabulousness”. Over a few beers with some colleagues, Longrich blurted out the first thing that came to mind: Mojoceratops. “It was just a joke, but then everyone stopped and looked at each other and said, ‘Wait — that actually sounds cool,’ ” said Longrich. And the name stuck! Read all about the Mojoceratops at Science Daily.
Mojoceratops has the best fashion sense of all the dinos
ESA’s Rosetta Ready for Spectacular Asteroid Flyby
Tomorrow, July 10th, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft will fly past 21 Lutetia, the largest asteroid ever visited by a spacecraft. After weeks of maneuvers and a challenging optical navigation campaign, Rosetta is perfectly lined up to skim by at 3162 km at 18:10 CEST (12PM EDT). Rosetta is expected to pass Lutetia at a relative speed of 54 000 km/hr, when both are located some 454 million km from Earth. As Lutetia is a major scientific target of Rosetta’s mission, most of the orbiter and lander instruments will be on for flyby, studying the asteroid’s surface, dust environment, exosphere, magnetic field, mass and density. You can watch the whole thing go down from your computer at http://www.livestream.com/eurospaceagency. The live feed is also embedded below. (Via Science Daily)
New Tech Delivers Drugs Via Electromagnetic Field
New drug delivery techniques are popping up all the time, many of them resembling the classic TOS hypospray envisioned by Star Trek in the 1960’s. But this one even Star Trek didn’t think of. It’s a drug delivery system that uses nanoparticles injected into your body via an electromagnetic field. Liposomes, tiny spherical particles made of lipids, are used to trap drug molecules inside them. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are then embedded into the shell of the liposomes to make them interact with magnetic fields. The best part about this system, other than it’s super futuristic-ness, is that it can be used to target specific areas of the body that require medication. This makes drugs much more efficient than typical ones that spread themselves throughout the entire body. The new technology is still in early testing phases.
Bones approves of this new fangled medical technology
Chemical Makes Brain Cells Grow
Scientists have discovered a compound that restores the capacity to form new memories in aging rats. The research has turned up clues to a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. “This neuroprotective compound, called P7C3, holds special promise because of its medication-friendly properties,” explained Steven McKnight, Ph.D., who co-led the research. “It can be taken orally, crosses the blood-brain barrier with long-lasting effects, and is safely tolerated by mice during many stages of development.” If medicine can grow brain cells, does this mean I don’t have to study any more? Either that, or I’ll ask these super smart rats to do my homework for me.
Gadget of the Week: Solar Plane That Can Fly Round-the-Clock
A solar powered plane landed safely in Switzerland after flying round the clock (even at night). This is an important step in the development of vehicles that could fly round the world powered only by the sun. The 26-hour flight was made possible thanks to super efficient solar cells. This event is being hailed as a “milestone” by the scientists involved.
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a look.
- Saturn system moves oxygen from Enceladus to Titan
- Solar eclipse to be visible from remote Easter Island
- Saturn’s “propellers” tracked for years
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