Science Friday: Dinosaur Queen + Asteroid Close-up + Real Hypospray + Glowing Brain + Solar Car

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 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.

Super rats!

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.

Science Quickies
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a look.


TrekMovie’s Science Friday is an homage the the great NPR radio show Science Friday. Science Friday® is a registered service mark of ScienceFriday Inc.

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The targeted nature of the nanoparticle treatment seems cool, but I’m guessing that it’s going to be a looong time before such a treatment will be cost-effective enough to justify the expense. In the mean time, give me hyposprays!

Egads! That thar’ mojoceratops reminds me o’ me ex-lassfriend Lonnie. But Lonnie had a brain (that’s why she dumped me) and I dunna’ see mojoceratops could have one thar’ in her flat and holey head… though tha’ skull would make a grand hood ornament fur’ me Buick…

Crom, hurry up on that brain cell rejuv’enator! Me gin is wipin’ more o’ mine oot’ each day that I haves forgotten what tha’ color red is. That’s why I be scared ta’ go ta’ Starry Trek conny-ventions… if I mistake a red shirt fur’ a blue one then some salt vampire or killer flatulence vampire will surely suckle me corpuscles!

I put a magnet on me skin ointments so I be ahead o’ tha’ curve in drug delivery systems. While it likely doesn’t help tha’ rash lotion ta’ sink in, I can place me ale tin on me belly wit’oot it spillin’… Oh, wait, aluminum ain’t magnetic! I just sloshed me grog!

I know you all sayin’, especially mojoceratops- “Oh, behaves!”


Should I be shopping for some flowers for Algernon?

The French fly their bathtubs? Probably the only use they have for ’em. (Oooh-la-la, that was a low blow to our Picard-spawning friends.)

If you think mojoceratops’s skull is scary, wait til you see her with in the flesh:

Thanks Kayla!

do you mean solar plane?

I think that electromagnetic drug delivery system is being developed by a fellow by the name of Eric Lensherr.

BTW, I’m slightly confused on one thing.

Does the memory drug being tested on the rats make the brain GROW or GLOW? The article body and the post header appear to disagree on this point.

Possibly both?

A lot of duality in this article. Brain glow/grow, Solar plane/car.


That Mojosaurus thing looks more like a Decepticon, or an a_lien head of some sort.


New treatments for Alzheimer’s makes me happy. My grandfather died of Alzheimer’s and it was sad to see what it did to him. The sooner we cure this disease, the sooner we stop losing loved family members!

P7C3 reduced apoptosis of newborn cells. It kept them alive, which is a big difference to actual growth. No new cells were generated and they don’t increase in size or complexity. It is merely about neuronal _protection_ ;)

9 — So, now we can live forever as heads in a jar? Yippee!!

Seriously, it’s both amazing and greatly welcome. I’m sure it takes a real expert to know how this will be applied, but it obviously holds great potential.

Am I the only one who noticed the solar plane’s co-founder’s name … or is it just too obvious to mention here?

In any case, that’s impressive. I could see solar powered plane platforms having many scientific, military and commercial uses.

Scott B. out.