In 2010, scientists discovered that simple peptides can organize into bi-layer membranes. The finding suggests a “missing link” between the pre-biotic Earth’s chemical inventory and the organizational scaffolding essential to life. Many groups studying the origins of life have focused on RNA, which is believed to have pre-dated living cells. But RNA is a much more complicated molecule than a peptide. The 2010 studies showed that, if you just add water, simple peptides access both the physical properties and the long-range molecular order that is critical to the origins of chemical evolution.
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NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this dramatic image of Saturn's geometric jet stream in July 2013 from about 605,000 miles (973,000 kilometers) away from the planet. The image — which NASA released this week provides a close up look at a vast storm system within the hexagonal weather pattern at the north pole of Saturn.
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NASA hosted a briefing yesterday, Oct. 9, to outline the space and Earth-based assets that will have extraordinary opportunities to image and study Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring will miss Mars by only about 88,000 miles (139,500 kilometers). That is less than half the distance between Earth and its moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth. The comet's nucleus will come closest to Mars at about 11:27 a.m. PDT (2:27 p.m. EDT) on Sunday, Oct. 19, hurtling at about 126,000 mph (56 kilometers per second), relative to Mars.
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Consisting of thick, dense cold gas, a cover stretches across a galaxy like a blanket. While an effective tool for helping make stars, this cover presents a challenge for astrophysicists hoping to learn how the radiation that stars produce could be used in the ionization process. Scientists have been on a quest for decades to find just the right galaxy with this character trait.
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A team of scientists using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made the most detailed map ever of the temperature of an exoplanet’s atmosphere, and traced the amount of water it contains. The planet targeted for both of the investigations was the hot-Jupiter exoplanet WASP-43b, a planet the size of Jupiter but with double the mass and an orbit much closer to its parent star than any planet in the Solar System. It has one of the shortest years ever measured for an exoplanet of its size — lasting just 19 hours.
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A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought. Australian astronomers probed the edge of the Milky Way, looking closely, for the first time, at the fringes of the galaxy about 5 million billion kilometres from Earth using a method developed almost 100 years ago. They discovered that the weight of dark matter in our own galaxy is 800 000 000 000 (or 8 x 1011) times the mass of the Sun.
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"We've never seen a pulsar even close to being this bright," says Dom Walton, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech. "Honestly, we don't know how this happens, and theorists will be chewing on it for a long time." Besides being weird, the finding will help scientists better understand a class of very bright X-ray sources, called ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs).
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Led by scientists from the University of Warwick, the discovery of the new particle will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom's nucleus. Poetically named Ds3*(2860)ˉ, the particle, a new type of meson, was discovered by analysing data collected with the LHCb detector at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
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August 15, 1977: the night before Elvis Presley died, at 11:16 p.m. an Ohio radio telescope -a rectangular structure, larger than three football feilds- called the Big Ear recorded a single pulse of radiation that seemed to come from somewhere in the constellation of Sagittarius at the 1420 MHz hydrogen line, the vibration frequency of hydrogen, the most common molecule in the universe -exactly the signal ET-hunters had been instructed to look out for. The signal was so strong that it pushed the Big Ear's recording device off the chart.
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In a discovery decades in the making, scientists have detected the first of a “theoretical” class of stars first proposed in 1975 by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Żytkow. Thorne-Żytkow objects (TŻOs) are hybrids of red supergiant and neutron stars that superficially resemble normal red supergiants, such as Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion. They differ, however, in their distinct chemical signatures that result from unique activity in their stellar interiors.
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