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Fusarium oxysporum strain fungi

Researchers discover interaction of fungi with gold deep inside Earth

The National Space Agency of Australia has found a gold digging fungus not from gold mines rather from deep inside the surface of the Earth. The fungus attaches gold to its strands undergoing an oxidation process which involves dissolving and precipitating gold particles which are so small that they are impossible to be seen by a naked eye.

Fungi oxidizes the tiny gold particles and precipitates them on its strands by a cycling process which contributes to how gold and other elements are dispensed off within and around the surface of the Earth. The fungi are quite famous for playing a crucial role in the degradation and recycling of organic material , which mainly includes leaves and bark and other metals such as aluminium , manganese and iron.

However, researchers are not yet sure whether the gold coated fungi is an indication of gold deposits under the surface of the Earth . Nonetheless, they believe that mineral does allow for some biological advantage. The fungi with their hankering for gold grow larger and spread faster that the normal ones which do not posses any affinity towards gold.

These fungi are hence, more diverse than others. This is henceforth, the first evidence that fungi play an important role in how gold is cycled around the surface of the Earth and can contribute to less invasive extraction of gold in the near future and can even be used as a bio-remediation tool to recover gold from waste.

There are many other plants and animals thriving on the surface of the Earth , hankering over gold. Eucalyptus trees are known to draw gold particles from as deep as ten metres under the Earth’s surface using their roots and branches. These are 60 million years old and use their leaves to deposit gold on them. There are many species of termites and ants which decorate the mounds with gold, that they carry from under the Earth’s surface. According to a report in Nature Communications , these mechanisms help to create a low impact in mining practices.

The fungi Fusarium oxysporum is harmless and can even form a symbiosis relationship with plants. Some strains of this fungi, however, contribute to the development of the most infectious plant disease worldwide, called Fusarium Wilt. The disease is so destructive that US government had proposed strains to serve as weapons to wipe out coca and other illegal plant growth under the ‘Agent Green” operation.

MIT Household

Pantry ingredients can help grow carbon nanotubes

Baking soda, table salt, and detergent are surprisingly effective ingredients for cooking up carbon nanotubes, researchers at MIT have found.

In a study published this week in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the team reports that sodium-containing compounds found in common household ingredients are able to catalyze the growth of carbon nanotubes, or CNTs, at much lower temperatures than traditional catalysts require.

The researchers say that sodium may make it possible for carbon nanotubes to be grown on a host of lower-temperature materials, such as polymers, which normally melt under the high temperatures needed for traditional CNT growth.

“In aerospace composites, there are a lot of polymers that hold carbon fibers together, and now we may be able to directly grow CNTs on polymer materials, to make stronger, tougher, stiffer composites,” says Richard Li, the study’s lead author and a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “Using sodium as a catalyst really unlocks the kinds of surfaces you can grow nanotubes on.”

Li’s MIT co-authors are postdocs Erica Antunes, Estelle Kalfon-Cohen, Luiz Acauan, and Kehang Cui; alumni Akira Kudo PhD ’16, Andrew Liotta ’16, and Ananth Govind Rajan SM ’16, PhD ’19; professor of chemical engineering Michael Strano, and professor of aeronautics and astronautics Brian Wardle, along with collaborators at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Harvard University.

Peeling onions

Under a microscope, carbon nanotubes resemble hollow cylinders of chicken wire. Each tube is made from a rolled up lattice of hexagonally arranged carbon atoms. The bond between carbon atoms is extraordinarily strong, and when patterned into a lattice, such as graphene, or as a tube, such as a CNT, such structures can have exceptional stiffness and strength, as well as unique electrical and chemical properties. As such, researchers have explored coating various surfaces with CNTs to produce stronger, stiffer, tougher materials.

Researchers typically grow CNTs on various materials through a process called chemical vapor deposition. A material of interest, such as carbon fibers, is coated in a catalyst — usually an iron-based compound — and placed in a furnace, through which carbon dioxide and other carbon-containing gases flow. At temperatures of up to 800 degrees Celsius, the iron starts to draw carbon atoms out of the gas, which glom onto the iron atoms and to each other, eventually forming vertical tubes of carbon atoms around individual carbon fibers. Researchers then use various techniques to dissolve the catalyst, leaving behind pure carbon nanotubes.

Li and his colleagues were experimenting with ways to grow CNTs on various surfaces by coating them with different solutions of iron-containing compounds, when the team noticed the resulting carbon nanotubes looked different from what they expected.

“The tubes looked a little funny, and Rich and the team carefully peeled the onion back, as it were, and it turns out a small quantity of sodium, which we suspected was inactive, was actually causing all the growth,” Wardle says.

Tuning sodium’s knobs

For the most part, iron has been the traditional catalyst for growing CNTs. Wardle says this is the first time that researchers have seen sodium have a similar effect.

“Sodium and other alkali metals have not been explored for CNT catalysis,” Wardle says. “This work has led us to a different part of the periodic table.”

To make sure their initial observation wasn’t just a fluke, the team tested a range of sodium-containing compounds. They initially experimented with commercial-grade sodium, in the form of baking soda, table salt, and detergent pellets, which they obtained from the campus convenience store. Eventually, however, they upgraded to purified versions of those compounds, which they dissolved in water. They then immersed a carbon fiber in each compound’s solution, coating the entire surface in sodium. Finally, they placed the material in a furnace and carried out the typical steps involved in the chemical vapor deposition process to grow CNTs.

In general, they found that, while iron catalysts form carbon nanotubes at around 800 degrees Celsius, the sodium catalysts were able to form short, dense forests of CNTs at much lower temperatures, of around 480 C. What’s more, after surfaces spent about 15 to 30 minutes in the furnace, the sodium simply vaporized away, leaving behind hollow carbon nanotubes.

“A large part of CNT research is not on growing them, but on cleaning them —getting the different metals used to grow them out of the product,” Wardle says. “The neat thing with sodium is, we can just heat it and get rid of it, and get pure CNT as product, which you can’t do with traditional catalysts.”

Li says future work may focus on improving the quality of CNTs that are grown using sodium catalysts. The researchers observed that while sodium was able to generate forests of carbon nanotubes, the walls of the tubes were not perfectly aligned in perfectly hexagonal patterns — crystal-like configurations that give CNTs their characteristic strength. Li plans to “tune various knobs” in the CVD process, changing the timing, temperature, and environmental conditions, to improve the quality of sodium-grown CNTs.

“There are so many variables you can still play with, and sodium can still compete pretty well with traditional catalysts,” Li says. “We anticipate with sodium, it is possible to get high quality tubes in the future. And we have pretty high confidence that, even if you were to use regular Arm and Hammer baking soda, it should work.”

For Shigeo Maruyama, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Tokyo, the ability to cook up CNTs from such a commonplace ingredient as sodium should reveal new insights into the way the exceptionally strong materials grow.

“It is a surprise that we can grow carbon nanotubes from table salt!” says Maruyama, who was not involved in the research. “Even though chemical vapor deposition (CVD) growth of carbon nanotubes has been studied for more than 20 years, nobody has tried to use alkali group metal as catalyst. This will be a great hint for the fully new understanding of growth mechanism of carbon nanotubes.”

This research was supported, in part, by Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, Lockheed Martin, Saab AB, ANSYS, Saertex, and TohoTenax through MIT’s Nano-Engineered Composite aerospace STructures (NECST) Consortium.

Materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology

supersolid representation artist

Scientists discover supersolidity in quantum gases for the first time

Francesca Ferlaino and other researchers from Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Innsbruck created a report on Physical Review X on what they observed of the behavior of a supersolid in dipolar quantum gases made of dysprosium and erbium. Atoms are arranged in a crystalline pattern as well as they behave like a superfluid in a supersolid where particles can move even when there is no friction.

Dr. Lauriane Chomaz from the Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck and colleagues said that their work was mainly focused on attaining the supersolidity in helium but now the researchers are emphasizing more on atomic gases with strong dipolar interactions. Many experiments have been conducted and it has been observed and disclosed in one of the recent experiments that atomic gases have some common properties of that of superfluid helium and these features are the basic features required for achieving a basic condition with both spontaneous density modulation and global phase coherence.

Density modulation and global phase coherence are the indicators of supersolidity. The team created the two supersolids with the help of erbium and dysprosium quantum gases. The scientists said that they created different states by performing different experiments which will show the features of supersolidity by adjusting the relational strength among the particles in erbium quantum gases as well as the erbium quantum gases.

Dr. Francesca Ferlaino who is the senior author from the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences said that the way the erbium works is only for the short period of time and he also adds that their dysprosium realization shows an unmatched balance.

In this experiment, the state of supersolidity can not only live longer but the state of supersolidity can be straightforwardly attained through the process of evaporative cooling which can be started from a thermal sample. The simple principle here is like getting energized over a cup of tea. The principle here is removing the particles which are carrying most of the energies so that the gas slowly cools down and down and slowly achieves the quantum-degenerate stationary state along with the help of the characteristics of the supersolid at the thermal equilibrium.

Thus we can conclude here that the experiment offers a very thrilling hope for more experiments in the future and the theories as well since the state of the supersolid is a bit affected by dissipative dynamics or excitations which leads to the pavement so that it can probe its excitation spectrum and its superfluid behavior.

DNA molecule depiction

Scientists create dynamic “living” object which has its own metabolism

Scientists at Cornell University have artificially synthesised a material which possesses three main traits of life namely metabolism, organisation and self-assembly. Such a task was possible as the researchers used the DNA so as to prepare machines which had the properties of living beings. The report has been published in the Science Robotics.

The technique which they used is named as DASH which stands for “DNA-based Assembly and Synthesis of Hierarchical” objects. The scientists prepared a DNA material which has the metabolism ability i.e the specific set of chemical processes which converts the food to the energy which is needed for sustaining life.

The three most important purposes of metabolism are generating energy from food for different cellular activities, converting food to the basic elements for proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and removing several wastes such as nitrogenous wastes. Metabolic reactions are classified to two types, catabolic and anabolic.

However, scientists did not intend to create a living entity. They wanted to build a machine which has the functions of living beings. Professor Dan Luo, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering mentioned that they are not preparing a different life but materials which are more lifelike than ever seen.

For any organism which is alive, there must be ways to coordinate the changes which take place continuously. Activities such as generation of new cells, removing the worn out ones, biodegradation are the key processes which are needed to maintain the form.

The most innovative aspect here is that the process of metabolism has been programmed and coded inside the DNA. It contains instructions for autonomous regeneration which then allows the object to grow on its own. Scientists have described metabolism in the paper as a method where the elements which make life are manufactured, synthesized, broken down and decomposed independently in a hierarchical way using biological processes.

With the help of the DASH method, the engineers manufactured a material which can independently emerge from its building blocks and arrange on its own. With the help of a 55 nucleotide base sequence, the molecules of DNA were multiplied several thousand times, and the DNA chains were created which were a few millimeters in size. After that, it was injected in a microfluidic device which provided energy in liquid flow and the building blocks for biosynthesis were made.

DNA prepared its new strands where the front end and the tail end were maintained in a suitable manner. Though the designs are primitive, this is a new possibility of making dynamic objects from biomolecules. Scientists are now working on ways so that the object can identify different stimuli and also seek for food when needed.

Cryptate of potassium cation

Researchers identify state of matter to possess both solid and liquid state

A team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland used latest models of artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate what could happen if the element potassium was subjected to very high amounts of pressure, ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 times of atmospheric pressure along with heat between 400 – 800 Kelvin.

The atoms of potassium like most of the other metals behave in an ordered manner under normal circumstances. But the team of physicists identified that in case of extreme conditions, they get arranged in complex orders, the atomic core lined up in a cylindrical way, arranged in a ‘X’ shape and four chains alongside it.

The two different arrangements are called as the “host-guest structures”, the co-author of the paper, Andreas Hermann told. The resultant substance is the formation of two intertwined and interlinked lattices which is very unusual.

The study has been published in the journal PNAS in this week and it is reported that in these conditions, potassium atoms possessed an arrangement which is called as the chain-melted state where one lattice known as ‘guest’ lattice dissolved to form liquid while the ‘host’ lattice remained as a solid form. On heating this, the guest atoms melt while the atoms belonging to the host lattice remain crystalline.

The reason behind this is that the host lattice possesses a much stronger bond and thus it remains in the solid state. This is why, a larger amount of energy is needed to melt it. On the other hand the ‘guest’ lattice has a much weaker bond, so it dissolves to turn to a liquid. The two structures, ‘host’ and ‘guest’ lattice comprising of 80% and 20% composition are similar to each other on an atomic level. The only difference between them is on their arrangement in the lattice.

When this substance is observed by the human eyes, it would appear as solid block of potassium which is dissolving to liquid as well as forming a solid structure simultaneously. The team described it as a ‘sponge-like’ material which can soak up the liquid. It can be understood as the sponge which soaks itself up, when it is a liquid and then again reforms itself in the solid state. As the host is 80% and the guest is 20%, the material is always in this state.

This was made possible by AI models and then the findings were tested over a large number of theoretical samples. As a result, the machine learning model can also determine the behaviour of the other elements in similar extreme conditions.

electricity eating bacteria

Electricity-eating microbes use electrons and fix carbon dioxide to grow

We have often seen our metal products catching rust and we usually apply some grease over it in order to prevent the rust over it. According to the study carried out by the researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis, it explains that there are certain bacteria’s which eat the electricity and transfer electrons to fix carbon dioxide to fuel its growth.

The research was lead by Prof. Arpita Bose, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, and Michael Guzman, a PhD candidate in her laboratory. The team showed how a naturally occurring strain of Rhodopseudomonas palustris takes up electrons from conductive substances like metal oxides or rust.

This is a continuation of the previous research carried by Bose, which states that R. palustris TIE-1 can consume electrons from rust proxies like poised electrodes, a process called extracellular electron uptake. R. palustris being phototrophic, it uses energy from light to carry out certain metabolic processes.

The new research explains the cellular sinks where this microbe dumps the electrons it eats from electricity. “It clearly shows for the first time how this activity—the ability for the organism to eat electricity—is connected to carbon dioxide fixation,” said Bose.

physiology of R palustris bacteria

Overview of the physiology of R. palustris.( Credit: Nature journal)

This special ability clearly shows the microbe’s natural ability for sustainable energy storage or other bioenergy applications which have caught the attention of the Department of Energy and Department of Defense.

Explaining the origins of the bacteria Bose says “R. palustris strains can be found in wild and exotic places like a rusty bridge in Woods Hole, Massachusetts where TIE-1 was isolated from. You can find these organisms everywhere. This suggests that extracellular electron uptake might be very common.

Co-researcher Guzzam adds “The main challenge is that it’s an anaerobe, so you need to grow it in an environment that doesn’t have oxygen in order for it to harvest light energy. But the flip side to that is that those challenges are met with a lot of versatility in this organism that a lot of other organisms don’t have.”

The researchers in their newspaper showed that the electrons from electricity enter into proteins in the membrane that are important for photosynthesis. Surprisingly, when they deleted the microbe’s ability to fix carbon dioxide, they observed a 90 percent reduction in its ability to consume electricity which means that it really want to fix carbon. This process is similar to the recharging of the battery.

Bose adds “The microbe uses electricity to charge its redox pool, storing up the electrons and making it highly reduced. To discharge it, the cell reduces carbon dioxide. The energy for all this comes from sunlight. The whole process keeps repeating itself, allowing the cell to make biomolecules with nothing more than electricity, carbon dioxide and sunlight. We hope that this ability to combine electricity and light to reduce carbon dioxide might be used to help find sustainable solutions to the energy crisis.

The new research answers basic science questions and provides plenty of opportunity for future bioenergy applications.

Published Researchhttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09377-6

Mars Image

The secret story of Mars

Mars, the fourth planet in our solar system, has been a source of intrigue for quite a while now. There have been several theories on what its constituents are, and several more on how it could be potentially habitable. Can humans live on Mars? Can Mars support civilization? Is there life form already existing there? Contained within the mysteries of the red planet are the answers to these questions. However, a fair attempt at answering these questions can certainly be made. Read on if you wish to know more about the Red Planet and its mysteries.

Why is Mars being considered?

Mars is the next best candidate in our solar system for supporting life. It exists at a distance that is neither too far nor too near to the Sun which is technically called the Goldilocks zone. The surface properties, as examined by scientists, also seem to suggest a possibility for the existence of life on the planet. Mars is perhaps the only planet in the solar system that could provide crucial answers about life forms. Understanding the structure and physical properties of Mars is therefore essential. Mars could provide us with the answer to whether life is prevalent in the universe or is exclusive to the Earth.

The proximity and several similarities to Earth make Mars a prime candidate. Most investigations of Mars have been carried out through telescopic observations and probes. Scientists have recognized certain habitability factors whose values could provide us with valuable information to determine whether life can be supported on Mars or not. These habitability factors are water, chemical environment, energy for metabolism and conducive physical conditions. The right combinations of the values for these habitability factors would mean that life can exist on Mars.

If the evidence for the claim that Mars can support life is conclusive enough, it would be groundbreaking. It would allow humanity to expand beyond the constraints imposed by the properties and nature of the Earth.

Similarities to Earth

earth-and-mars

Earth and Mars. Image Source: NASA

The similarities that Mars shares with Earth have been a major reason for all the speculation around its potential to support life. Conditions such as sunlight and temperature are very similar to that of the Earth’s and no other planet or moon in the solar system has a similarity greater than that of Mars with the Earth.

The Martian day, referred to as a sol, is very similar in duration to that of the Earth’s. A Martian day, or, sol, is 24 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds long. The similar duration of the day would enable easier conformity to Mars’s days if humans were to colonize it.

The axial tilt of Mars is also extremely similar to that of the Earth’s. Mars has an axial tilt of 25.19° as opposed to Earth’s axial tilt of 23.44°. This means that seasons on Mars are quite similar to that of seasons on Earth.

Mars also has a large enough surface area to support human colonies. The amount of dry land on Mars is only slightly lesser than the amount of dry land on Earth.

Perhaps, the most significant similarity is the presence of water. Water is where life forms originated from. Water is necessary to sustain life and life would cease to exist if water is absent.

Water on Mars

Perhaps, the most promising sign of the possibility of life on Mars is the existence of water on the planet. There has been conclusive evidence to suggest that water exists on Mars. Presence of water is necessary, but, not a sufficient condition to sustain life. The fact that water exists on Mars is extremely promising and exciting. Most of the water on Mars exists in the form of ice. Some water also exists in the form of vapor in the atmosphere and an even smaller amount exists in the form of liquid.

The polar ice caps on Mars contain the most amount of water. The northern ice cap of Mars is called PlanumBoreum while its southern counterpart is called PlanumAustrale. It is calculated that if all the ice on the southern polar cap melted, it would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface of Mars to a depth of 36ft.

The Phoenix lander launched by NASA confirmed the presence of water at the place where it landed in the northern polar ice cap. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took measurements of the ice present in the northern polar cap and estimated that the ice present in the northern ice cap is sufficient to cover the surface of Mars to a depth of 18ft. Several orbiters have also confirmed the presence of water in the form of ice in several craters on the surface of Mars.

Phoenix Lander small

Artist’s concept of the Phoenix Mars Lander. (Source: NASA/JPL/Corby Waste)

This shows that water is available in abundance on Mars and could help sustain life on the planet. These discoveries are nothing short of radical and could go a long way in helping humanity understand Mars, which, would enable easier colonization.

Problems that prevent colonization

Mars is several times colder than the Earth. Temperatures could reach drastically low values on Mars which could prove to be detrimental to human life.  The surface temperatures on Mars lies in the range -87°C to -5°C and this certainly would pose a problem to human habitation.

Despite findings of water on Mars, the quantity of water is a source of concern. In order to satiate the needs of the current population on Earth, Mars would need several times the amount of water that it is estimated to have.

Another cause for concern is the toxicity of the Martian atmosphere. Martian atmosphere contains 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen and 1.6% argon. The amount of oxygen in the atmosphere is a meager 0.4% according to estimations. This poses an extremely severe problem.

Mars also has a thin atmosphere that does not block out Ultraviolet radiation coming from the Sun. These radiations are extremely harmful and could cause several deformities in human beings.

The surface gravity of Mars is only 38% of that of the Earth. Lower surface gravity could cause a lot of harm. Problems such as space motion sickness, cardiovascular problems, muscle loss, and bone demineralization could occur in such conditions.

Global dust storms are common throughout the year, on Mars. Surviving these dust storms and their effects on the planet would be an exacting task. These storms could leave the planet covered with dust and prevent sunlight from reaching the surface.

Random Quiz

The following planet(s) has(have) ring around it(them):

Correct! Wrong!

All of the giant planets in our solar system have rings: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Jupiter's ring is thin and dark, and cannot be seen from Earth. Saturn's rings are the most magnificent; they are bright, wide, and colorful.


Seasons and days on Mars

A Martian year roughly equals 686.86 Earth days. The Darian calendar was proposed by Thomas Gangale to aid future human settlers on Mars. Each day is measured in sols. The sol is longer than a day on Earth by 39 minutes and 35 seconds. Each year is 668.59 sols (686.86 days on Earth).

The Darian calendar consists of 24 months. The last month in the calendar is 27 sols generally. If the year is a leap year, then, the last month would have an additional sol and consist of 28 sols. Only three other months have 27 sols, all other months have 28 sols. 

Why has there not been a mission to Mars?

There have been several impeding factors that have prevented missions that aim at the full exploration of Mars. These space programs intended on discovering truths about life and space require extremely large amounts of money.

The notion is that it is moronic to be spending such exorbitant amounts of money and resources on something that could prove to be futile. There is no guaranteeing that the results from these explorations will prove to be positive. Therefore, there is a considerable amount of risk involved with these programs. There are already enough problems on Earth that need addressing and need sorting out. The search for planets that would enable humans to be spacefaring species would prove to be a self-inflicted problem. A problem that is brought upon us during times when there exist other problems that need addressing.

There is no denying that the findings on Mars could be radical and change the course of human history entirely. But, the impeding factors would probably prove to be too powerful to allow for ventures of such proportion to take place.

Mark Zuckerberg, who is the founder of Facebook and the individual who is widely regarded to have revolutionized social media, once said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks”. He certainly makes a point and maybe, exploration of Mars is a risk that is worth taking. It is certainly a high risk-high reward scenario, but, when the reward is as lucrative as it is in the case of Mars exploration, then, it would almost seem too ridiculous to not take the risk.

Perhaps, it is not worth the effort or the expense to venture onto Mars. The prospect of understanding the universe, on the other hand, makes it worth the risk. The only question that lingers is: Is humanity willing to take a punt and explore Mars, or, is humanity going to be perpetually confined to the curtailments of the Earth?

Read More:

  1. The first evidence of planet-wide groundwater system on Mars
  2. SpaceX Has a Bold Timeline for Getting to Mars and Starting a Colony
Antarctica Glaciers

The science behind climate change

The earth’s climate has changed drastically over the decade. Geostationary satellites revolving around our planet help us see the big picture (quite literally), accumulating data constantly and updating us about the conditions of the Earth. Be it from the melting of polar ice caps to erratic monsoons and weather changes, and most definitely warming up of oceans to rise of sea levels. These events essentially indicate the dire condition of the climate all around the globe and its immediate need for attention.

The evidence behind climate change

  • Rising temperatures

Global warming is not a phenomenon we are unfamiliar with. It has had serious implications on our planet in various ways in the last decade and even before. Erratic rainfall, severe droughts, rising sea levels, etc. the main reason behind the rising of temperature was the increase in CO2 levels which was again caused due to pollution. In fact, the last decade 2000-2009 was the hottest on record.

Global Temperature

  • Ocean acidification

Since the industrial revolution swept through our planet bringing in new opportunities, adversely it has brought about some pretty serious implications on our large water bodies. The acidity in ocean waters has increased by 30%. This is due to the CO2 which is being expelled in greater quantities and in turn being absorbed into the oceans. The amount increasing per year is a whopping 2 billion tons per year. And that is just the upper layer of oceans.

  • Extreme events

Certain events occurring around the globe have captured the attention of various environmentalists and scientists, such as in the United States the number of recorded high-temperature weather phenomenon has been increasing. On the other hand, the number of low-temperature weather phenomenon has been decreasing since 1950. The number of intense rainfall conditions has also increased in this time period.

  • Shrinking glacial cover

From the snowy peaks of Himalayas to the Andes, the Rockies, Alps, etc. glaciers are decreasing everywhere around the world. This is a serious indication of climate change and poses serious threats to sea levels and mountain animals. Even islands remain in threat of disappearing completely under the rising sea levels. Satellite observations have revealed how much of this is true. In the past five decades, the snow cover has melted over the Northern Hemisphere.

  • NASA’s data

The ice sheets that form a huge landmass of Greenland and Antarctica have diminished in mass. According to NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment data, every year the loss of ice is 281 billion tons between 1993 and 2016. In Antarctica, the loss is 119 billion tons in that same time period. On top of that, the rate of ice mass loss in Antarctica has tripled in the last ten years.

 

Signs and Science behind climate change

The various compounds, whose abrupt increase in our environment which has caused changes in our climate are CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, etc. Their formations have been explained below:-

6 O2 + C6H12O6 --------> 6 H2O + 6 CO2 + energy

This is the process of combustion during which O2 reacts with glucose (C6H12O6) to produce water (H2O) and CO2. These chemical reactions occur when organic matter burns in our environment releasing chemical energy in the form of heat and light.

CH3COOH --------> CO2 + CH4

This is the microbial process of methanogenesis during which acetate (CH3COOH) is split into CO2 and Methane (CH4). Methane has the greatest impact on freshwater wetlands and rice paddies. The amount of methane produced in these fields increases with the area of land required for these rice paddies. This is the direct impact of the human population on climate change.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is another contributing factor which is formed as a by-product of nitrification and denitrification.

CH4 + 4O2 --------> HCHO + H2O + 2O3

Smog is another pollutant that causes irritation of eyes and lungs, especially in city inhabitants. Tropospheric ozone (O3) is a constituent of smog that causes the mentioned problems.

NO2 + sunlight --------> NO + O

O + O2 --------> O3

NO2 + O2 --------> NO + O3

This is another process by which tropospheric ozone is emitted from atmospheric nitrate (NO2). First, the breakdown of nitrate occurs from which nitric oxide (NO) and an atom of oxygen (O) is obtained. After that, it combines with O2 and produces O3. Depicted above is the basic science behind climate change.

Random Quiz

Which of the following is not a greenhouse gas?

Correct! Wrong!

In order, the most abundant greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are Water vapor, Carbon dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide, Ozone, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrofluorocarbons (incl. HCFCs and HFCs). Carbon Monoxide does not cause climate change directly.


Main reasons behind climate change

We might not be able to notice changes in our Earth’s climate and enjoy it as normal. However, the Earth’s climate is ever-changing, more rapidly in these times than ever so before as seen in the geological record. There are a lot of reasons behind climate change and a lot of factors, natural and anthropogenic (human-induced) which has contributed to this. The rapid rate of climate change is now a great concern worldwide.

Here are some of the main reasons behind climate change:

  1. Human activity
    • We, humans, are the ones who emitted greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. This led to more heat retention and absorption which in turn, increased surface temperatures.
    • We have emitted aerosols and these, after scattering in the atmosphere have absorbed solar and infrared radiation, which has had an adverse effect on the microphysical and chemical properties of clouds.
    • We have also changed the usage of lands, deforested them, which in turn led to a greater amount of sunlight being reflected from the surface of the earth back into space also known as the surface albedo.
Haiti Deforestation

Satellite image showing deforestation in Haiti, Haiti-Centre. This image depicts the border between Haiti (left) and the Dominican Republic (right). (Source: NASA)

  1. Solar Irradiance

Since the Sun is our nearest star and our most fundamental source of energy, it does have the effect that is instrumental to our climate changes. The Ice Age between 1650- 1850 in Greenland was due to the littlest decrease in solar activity. From 1410-1720 it was cut-off by ice and all the Glaciers shifted in and moved towards the Alps.

  1. Tectonic movements of plates and volcanic activity

Tectonic plates form the very basis of our continents and even the slightest movement can cause them to move to very different positions from their initial location. These plate movements can cause eruptions in volcanoes which in turn contribute to climate change.

The eruptions from volcanoes which consist of gases and dust particles may warm or cool the Earth’s surface altering it’s temperature significantly.

  1. Changes in ocean currents

Ocean currents carry heat to all the other water bodies of the Earth. Hence, the change in direction of these currents can change affecting the warmth or coolness of various continents. These can have a relatively large effect on our overall climate (including coastal climate and global too) because oceans harbor a large amount of heat.

These are some of the main reasons behind climate change.

Remedies for climate change

We, as humans should individually take measures to save our planet Earth and so that our climate is not affected as much.

  • Instead of depleting our reserved fossil fuels, we need to use more renewable resources such as wind, wave, tidal and solar energy.
  • We need to make use of more public transport instead of our private vehicles. We need to gradually replace our petrol driven vehicles with electric ones in the future to reduce the emission of toxic gases in the atmosphere.
  • One of the easiest steps our government can take is cutting methane emissions. Methane is 84 times harmful than carbon dioxide emissions and is a much greater reported problem.
  • We should wisely use our available energies. We can do this by using energy-efficient light bulbs, unplugging computers and other electronic devices when not in use, washing clothes in cold water instead of warm, using natural sunlight to dry our clothes instead of dryers, etc.
  • Focusing our lives in nature rather than consuming and purchasing. If we start practicing composting, recycling, sharing, fixing and making our lives would be greener and cleaner and would significantly enrich nature and our lives in the process.
  • Carbon pricing so that polluting nature has a heavy price. It might sound not as much of an important step but it paves the way for greener solutions. As agreed by market economists, carbon pricing is also a business-friendly way to decrease pollution in nature. The federal needs our individual support to help make this possible.
  • We should consume more organic meals and less meat. By doing so, we will help ourselves to a better diet and also our planet to make it more climate-stable. We should also try growing our own food and never waste it as much as possible.

Final Words

Scientists all around the globe belonging to various scientific societies have published numerous statements, coming to the unanimous conclusion that global warming is the primary factor of climate change and that we, humans are the primary cause. We should definitely stop overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide (CO2), which we do when we burn fossil fuels like oil and coal to provide ourselves electricity to power our transports and keep our homes warm. The Earth is steadily warming up in response and this is a dire situation whose consequences will affect us in the very near future in drastic ways.

Read More:

  1. Climate change: How do we know?
  2. Climate change, global warming and greenhouse gases
How Did Life Start on Earth

How Did Life Start on Earth?

The secret of how life on Earth began

How did life begin? There will hardly be a much bigger question. For the abundance of human history, nearly everybody believed some version of “the gods did it”. The other rationalization was out of the question.

Is the existence of life on Earth a lucky fluke or associate inevitable consequence of the laws of nature? Is it easy forever to emerge on a fresh fashioned planet, or is it the nearly not possible product of an extended series of unlikely events? Advances in fields as disparate as uranology, planetary science and chemistry currently hold promise that answers to such profound queries could also be around the corner. If life seems to possess emerged multiple times in our galaxy, as scientists hope to find, the trail thereto can’t be thus exhausting. Moreover, if the route from chemistry to biology proves easy to traverse, the universe might be abundant with life.

During a beautiful surprise, most the fresh discovered star systems look terribly totally different from our own. Will that mean one thing regarding our own, very odd, system favors the emergence of life? sleuthing signs of life on a planet orbiting a foreign star isn’t getting to be simple, however, the technology for teasing out delicate “biosignatures” is developing thus chop-chop that with luck we tend to may even see distant life at intervals one or 20 years.

Experiments to figure out origins

  1. Miller-Urey experiment

In 1952, Stanley Miller was operating with Harold C. Harold Urey designed associate experiment to visualize however advanced organic molecules might need to be fashioned underneath the conditions of early Earth. They believed the first Earth atmosphere would are composed of an alkane series, ammonia, chemical element, and vapor. They sealed these gases in associate airtight instrumentality, and then exposed the gases to sparks of electricity to simulate lightning. They continued the lightning for per week, and by the top, an achromatic substance had coated the walls of the instrumentality. This substance contained eleven of the twenty amino acids employed by life on earth. Since Miller and Harold Urey performed this experiment, its results are confirmed over and over by different scientists. Several scientists currently believe that the first Earth’s atmosphere was composed of carbonic acid gas, nitrogen, and vapor.

miller urey experiment

Image Source: Wikipedia

Modern experiments with this mixture of gases manufacture similar results suggesting that early conditions on Earth made advanced organic molecules that in all probability became the premise for the event of additionally advanced organisms. However, scientists haven’t been able to replicate the formation of even easy organisms or something which will very replicate itself. There square measure many theories on however the amino acids might need to be created the leap into the advanced, self-replicating life we tend to see nowadays.

  1. Vitalism

Before the 1800s, the general public believed in “vitalism”. This is often the intuitive concept that living things were blessed with a special, charming property that created them totally different from inanimate objects.

The chemicals of life will all be made up of easier chemicals that don’t have anything to try and do with life

Vitalism was typically certain up with cherished spiritual beliefs. The Bible says that God used “the breath of life” to animate the primary humans, associated an immortal soul may be a type of philosophical theory.

There is only 1 drawback. A philosophical theory is obviously wrong.

By the first 1800s, scientists had discovered many substances that appeared to be distinctive to life. One such chemical was an organic compound that is found in excretion and was isolated in 1799.

This was still, just, compatible with philosophical theory. Solely living things appeared to be ready to create these chemicals; therefore maybe they were infused with life energy which was what created them special.

But in 1828, the German chemist Friedrich Wöhler found some way to form organic compound from a typical chemical known as ammonia cyanate that had no obvious reference to living things. Others followed in his footsteps, and it had been presently clear that the chemicals of life will all be made up of easier chemicals that don’t have anything to try and do with life.

This was the top of philosophical theory as a scientific construct. However, individuals found it deeply arduous to giving up of the thought. For many, the expression that there’s nothing “special” regarding the chemicals of life appeared to rob a lifetime of its magic, to cut back the United States to mere machines. It also, of course, contradicted the Bible.

The mystery of life’s origin was unheeded for many years

Even scientists have struggled to shed philosophical theory. As late as 1913, English chemist Benjamin Moore was fervidly pushing a theory of “biotic energy”, that was basically philosophical theory below a special name. The thought had a robust emotional hold.

Today the thought clings on in sudden places. As an example, there are lots of science-fiction stories during which an individual’s “life energy” is boosted or drained away. Consider the “regeneration energy” employed by the Time Lords in Doctor United Nations agency, which might even be lidded up if it runs low. This feels futurist, however, it’s a deeply old school plan.

Still, when 1828 scientists had legitimate reasons to seem for a deity-free rationalization for the way the primary life shaped. However, they didn’t. It feels like a plain subject to explore, however in reality, the mystery of life’s origin was unheeded for many years. Maybe everybody was still too showing emotion connected to philosophical theory to require consecutive step.

  1. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

Darwin’s theory, come into being in On the Origin of Species in 1859, explained however the immense diversity of life may all have arisen from one common relative. Rather than every one of the various species being created separately by God, they were all descended from a primeval organism that lived uncountable years past the last universal common relative.

This idea established vastly controversial, once more as a result of it contradicted the Bible. Darwin and his ideas came underneath furious attacks, significantly from angry Christians.

darwin evolution theory

Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Illustration. Image Source: ConexaoCabeca (Pixabay)

Darwin knew that it absolutely was a profound question, however – maybe cautious of beginning one more fight with the Church – he solely appears to possess mentioned the difficulty in an exceeding letter written in 1871.

The first hypothesis for the origin of life was unreal in an exceedingly brutally totalitarian country

“But if (what a giant if) we tend to may conceive in some heat very little pool with all kinds of ammonia salts,—light, heat, electricity &c gift, that a macromolecule compound was with chemicals fashioned, able to endure still additional complicated changes…”

In alternative words, what if there was once a tiny low body of water crammed with easy organic compounds and bathed in daylight. a number of those compounds would possibly mix to create a life-like substance like a macromolecule, that may then begin evolving and changing into additional complicated.

What came first?

  1. Metabolism

Some scientists believe that metabolism, in different words – the power to interrupt down greenhouse gas within the presence of a catalyst into tiny organic molecules – was, however, the primary life developed. These reactions may need to be evolved to become additionally complicated, and then genetic molecules somehow shaped and joined in later. There are many alternative theories on specifically what sorts of molecules and catalysts would are concerned.

  1. Genes

Other scientists believe that the primary living organisms were genes. These genes were single molecules that had developed in such some way on be ready to catalyze their own replication. This theory looks additional possible since even easy systems like crystals are incontestible to evolve with modifications that breed true. Some scientists have urged that bound compositions of clay produce the correct surroundings for these reactions to propagate.

  1. RNA

RNA could be a complicated molecule found altogether living things that appear to be ready to catalyze its own copy. Several scientists believe that straightforward ribonucleic acid molecules developed and eventually became a lot of complicated and developed into the organisms we have a tendency to see these days.

  1. LUCA

Astrobiologists and biochemists wish to grasp one thing they decision LUCA (the Last Universal Common Ancestor). The thought is that every one life on Earth encompasses a common ascendant, reasonably sort of a great-great-great-….-great grandparent. They rummage around for traits that are common across all life forms and assume that any traits that are common to any or all life forms nowadays should are familial from LUCA, WHO had all furthermore.

Last Universal Common Ancestor by Wikipedia

Last Universal Common Ancestor. Image Source: Wikipedia

Biochemists recognize quite a bit concerning LUCA and her organic chemistry. She keeps her genetic info in DNA, she had many hundred proteins performing arts a range of functions, and she or he used a similar twenty amino acids we tend to use in our proteins. She used polymer and had some reasonably double-layer macromolecule membrane. She was in all probability the ascendant of the 3 kingdoms of life: Archaea, Eukaryotes, and bacterium.

LUCA lived a minimum of a pair of billion years past before there was a lot of atomic number 8 within the atmosphere. She used enzymes containing iron in her metabolic pathways the approach a lot of life on early Earth did. Learning however life arose on Earth is helpful to astrobiologists, however, they confine mind that the approaching life shaped on Earth isn’t the sole approach life may have shaped. It’s merely a method that it did.

Modern Researches

What next? Chemists are already asking whether or not our quiet life are often generated solely through one plausible pathway or whether or not multiple routes would possibly lead from easy chemistry to RNA-based life and on to trendy biology. Others are exploring variations on the chemistry of life, seeking clues on the attainable diversity of life “out there” within the universe. If all goes well, we are going to eventually learn the way strong the transition from chemistry to biology is and so whether or not the universe is packed with life-forms or—but for us—sterile.

Every single one that died before Darwin revealed the Origin of Species in 1859 was blind to humanity’s origins, as a result of they knew nothing of evolution. However everybody alive currently, riddance isolated teams, will recognize the reality regarding our kinship with alternative animals.

Similarly, everybody born when spaceman orbited the world in 1961 has lived in a very society that may jaunt alternative worlds. Notwithstanding we tend to ne’er go ourselves, voyage may be a reality.

Our world views these modifications in delicate ways. Arguably, they create the North American nation wiser. Evolution teaches the North American nation to treasure each alternative animate thing, for they’re our cousins. The voyage permits the North American nation to visualize our world from a distance, revealing however distinctive and fragile it’s.l honestly say they recognize wherever they came from. They’ll recognize what their final antecedent was like and wherever it lived.

This knowledge cans modification of the North American nation. On a strictly scientific level, it’ll tell the North American nation regarding however probably life is to create within the Universe, and wherever to seem for it. And it’ll tell the North American nation one thing regarding life’s essential nature. However on the far side that, we tend to cannot nevertheless recognize the knowledge the origin of life can reveal.

10 Science Experiments that went Horribly Wrong

10 Science Experiments that went Horribly Wrong

Top 10 Science Experiments That Went Horribly Wrong and produce

While science has the ability to enhance our lives and cure illness, it also can be accustomed to torture, murder, and brainwashing. Science may be a force permanently in our world, risking lives of individuals all across Earth in immeasurable ways in which. However, it’s conjointly an awfully powerful tool which will become dangerous in some things. Particularly once it gets entangled in politics. At alternative times, science’s inherent ambition to push boundaries of what notable can even cause some heart-stopping moments.
The following list is in no method thoroughgoing however provides the North American nation with an area to begin once pondering the intense responsibility that comes with the march of science. Here are ten shivery experiments that destroyed lives, or have the potential to unleash doomsday:-

  1. Elephant on meth

45 years before now, scientists conducted a cruel experiment to look at. However, the elephant would react to being given massive doses of a hallucinogenic drug. The elephant weighed 3 and a 0.5 tons and was administered enough hallucinogenic drug to create 3,000 humans perceive. The elephant was referred to as Trusko. Researchers from the University of Oklahoma injected him with the drug and he instantly began to panic and stampeded around his pen for many minutes, then folded. It’s probably the medication killed, however, some theorize the medication the scientists accustomed tries to revive might have contributed to his death. The researchers were making an attempt to force the elephant to travel into phase.

  1. Edison’s lethal mistake

Edison worked on several experiments throughout his life; however, this is often one he’ll always remember. Carriage Dally associate degree Yankee glass-blower and inventor assistant whereas he was researching and experimenting with X-rays. The inventor was unaware of the risks and innocently experimented on the carriage. In 1895 carriage was poisoned by the consequences of the X-ray. In 1900 carriage was suffering radiation harm to his hands and face, and had to go away work. All of Clarence’s multiple treatments were unsuccessful; carriage lost his menus and eventually died of healthful Cancer. The inventor then abandoned his work on X-ray, and refused to speak concerning it voice communication, “Don’t sit down with American state concerning X-rays, I’m frightened of them.”

  1. Doctor’s insane studies

Ffirth was a novice doctor known for his insane method of finding out yellow fever. Whereas treating patients throughout a plague of yellow fever he detected there have been abundant fewer infections throughout the winter. In reality, this is often a result of the illness is unfold by mosquitoes that hibernate throughout weather. Firth didn’t understand this and set it absolutely was as a result of the illness wasn’t contagious.

To prove this he visited nice lengths, he tried to require infecting himself with yellow jack in any method attainable. He drank the vomit of the victims, injected it into his body, poured it into his eyes, and breathed within the fumes. This gave the impression toprove the illness isn’t contagious however sadly; he solely dodged infection as a result of vomit he used was from patients within the late stage of the illness that isn’t contagious.

  1. Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford jail experiment employed twenty-two male school students for per week and got them to require half during a psychological experiment. [*fr1] the scholars were arbitrarily allotted as prisoners and therefore the spouse as guards. The guards were taken to the jail daily before the experiment began to spot their uniforms, and set the place up. This created the guards feel as if they closely-held the jail. The prisoners were told to remain reception until somebody came to choose them up. They were then picked up and in remission by the police in a variety of all their neighbours and transported to the jail. The guards might run the jail anyway they needed and there weren’t any rules the least bit relating to the treatment of the prisoners.

On a primary day, nothing very happened and therefore the experiment was nearly known as off. Following morning the prisons started acting up and making an attempt to revolt. The guards set to do and keep them in line, they force prisoners out of their cells, stripped them naked, and so tied their feet up. The guards perceived to become utterly completely different folks when solely daily of power. They treated the prisoners cruelly and told them that food, and water was privileging whereas thinking of the many artistic ways that to psychologically torture them. Several of the prisoners had complete mental breakdowns, those that didn’t become zombies, senselessly obeying and repetition what the guards told them. The experiment had to be reduced for the prisoners’ safety.

  1. Sketchy Biosphere

In 1991 five scientists lived in isolation in an exceedingly independent region referred to as region two. They created an enormous facility, over three acres, and also thescientists would grow their own crops and plants. The ability was fully airtight, and most of the O came from flora. The experiment was extremely promulgated and also the participants became celebrities for a short while before they entered the ability.

Barely any footage was shown of the experiment however part way through one person had to go away as a result of that they had accidentally cut themselves, and so came carrying a duffle of what individuals speculated were provides. This ruined the validity of the take a look at for plenty of individuals. Individuals additionallydetected that they deceitfully used a greenhouse emission scrubber. Most of the participants it clad had very little tutorial coaching. Eventually, it lost all quality and even was placed on a listing of the one hundred worst experiments of the century.

  1. Pit of Doom

Psychologist Harry Harlean Carpenter evoked emotional disorder in monkeys by taking young macaques that had secure with their mother and inserting them in complete isolation, in an exceedingly darkened cage, for up to 10 weeks. At intervals some days, they became psychotic, and most couldn’t be treated.

  1. Deadly Drug trials

In 2007, drug trials started for THN1412, a cancer of the blood treatment. It had been tested antecedently in animals and was found fully safe. Generally, a drug is deemed safe to check on humans once it’s found to be nonlethal to animals. Once testing began in human subjects, the humans got doses five hundred times under found safe for animals. Even so, this drug, safe for animals, caused harmful organ failure to take a look at subjects. Here the distinction between animals and humans was deadly.

  1. Shock experiments

The disreputable “shock” experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram within theSixties showed simply, however, way folks would go once ordered to harm someone else by Associate in nursing authority. The well-known psychological study brought in volunteers World Health Organization thought they were collaborating in Associate in nursing experiment wherever they’d deliver shocks to a different take a look at the subject. A doctor requested that they deliver larger and larger shocks; even once the “test subject” began to scream in pain and (in some cases) die.

In reality, the experiment was to examine however tractable folks would be once a doctor told them to try to one thing that was clearly horrific and probably fatal. Severalparticipants within the experiments were willing to shock the “test subjects” (actors employed by Milgram) until they believed those subjects were injured or dead. Later, several participants claimed they were traumatized always when discovering that they were capable of such insensate behaviour.

  1. Freud’s diagnosis

In the late nineteenth century, Eckstein came to Freud to be treated for a nervous unhealthiness. He diagnosed her with hysteria and excessive masturbation. His friend WillhelmFleis believed that hysteria and excessive masturbation may be treated by cauterizing the nose, thus he performed associate degree operation on Eckstein wherever he primarily burned her nasal passages. She suffered horrific infections and was left for good ugly as Fleiss had left surgical gauze in her nasal passage. Alternativeladies suffered through similar experiments.

  1. Operation Cirrus

In the late Forties, the U.S. tried to divert the trail of hurricanes by seeding the storms with solid. When scientists poured one hundred eighty pounds of solid into a cyclonemoving east into the Atlantic Ocean, the cyclone created an especially unpredictable move — and adjusted directions. The cyclone collided with the city of Savannah, Georgia — no trespasser to uncommon government intrusions, killing a minimum of one person and inflicting over $200 million in injury.

Conclusion

Disturbing human experiments aren’t one thing the common person thinks an excessive amount of concern. Rather, the progress achieved within the last Associate in Nursing fifty years of human history is an accomplishment we’re reminded of virtually daily. Achievements created in fields like biomedicine and psychological science mean that we tend to not got to worry concerning things like deadly diseases or autoerotism a style of mental illness. For higher or worse, we’ve got developed simpler ways that to assemble info, treat skin abnormalities, and even kill one another. However what we tend to don’t seem to be perpetually reminded of area unit the human lives that are broken or lost within the name of this progress.