Satellite Sky Muster launched by Australia  

Australian communities have taken a step closer to high speed internet following launch of a 0.5 billion dollar satellite named Sky Muster launched from the French Guiana. This is one of the largest communication satellites in the world for delivering broadband to Australia. NBN satellite service will provide speed and new growth in education, social connectivity, health and business.
China launches 20th generation satellite BDS
China launched a 20th new generation satellite to support its global navigation and positioning network launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the south-western province of Sichuan. A Long March-3B carrier rocket carried the satellite. This satellite brings China closer to developing a GPS like the US and it also featured a hydrogen atomic clock, which is another first for China. Some other global navigation satellite systems include IRNSS (India), GPS (United States), GLONASS (Russia), DORIS (France) and QZXX (Japan).

Water reserves found on moon the result of asteroids    
Researchers from Russia have discovered that water reserves on moon are the result of asteroids functioning as delivery vehicles and not falling ice comets as study using computer simulation has found. Scientists have made the discovery that a massive asteroid can deliver greater amounts of water to the lunar surface than cumulative fall of comets over a billion year period. The simulation has also shown that when short period comets fall, most of the water evaporates and less than 1 per cent of it remains in impact point. Fall of asteroids containing water can generate deposits of chemically bounded water located within lunar craters.

Ancient Britons may have mummified

their dead during Bronze Age based on a microscope analysis conducted at University of Sheffield to compare the bacterial bio-erosion of skeletons from various sites across the UK with the bones of the mummified bodies from Yemen and Ireland. The mummified bones demonstrate superior levels of historical preservation. This indicates funeral rituals and beliefs during this period were very different than earlier thought.

Comet 67P formed through merger of two separate pieces: Rosetta   
Rubber duck shaped comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P) is composed of a larger and smaller lobe separated by thin, neck region resulting from the merger of distinct objects. Till this time, it was unclear whether comet 67P was formed by the fusion of 2 objects or a concentrated localised erosion of a single object. Scientists have demonstrated that its peculiar shape is the result of low speed collision between completely developed comets, as per high resolution images taken from OSIRIS/Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared

Remote Imaging System

System between August 6, 2014 and March 17, 2015 to find out more of the layers of material seen all over the nucleus.
Immune system gene associated with higher plaque buildup discovered
Scientists have discovered an immune system gene associated with higher rates of amyloid plaque buildup in brains of patients with Alzheimer’s and those at risk for developing the disease. IL1RAP has been associated with greater amyloid plaque accumulation over the past two years and has greater impact than APOE- e4 allele associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

New technology for monitoring CO2 and storing it discovered
A fresh technology for monitoring carbon dioxide and storing it to prevent the gas from reaching the atmosphere has been discovered by scientists. This could reduce GHG emissions and lower global warming. The unique traces from signature of noble gases has been used to monitor CO2 stored underground.CO2 emissions from energy generation such as coal burning cause increasing global climate change. CCS or carbon capture and storage techniques are associated with storing the gas in deep aquifers to prevent it from reaching the atmosphere. The new technique discovered can provide a cheap way to fingerprint injected phases in large scale carbon storage projects.

Scientists create new Habitability Index for detecting alien life
Scientists have created a Habitability index for transiting planets which can arrive at a single number habitability index showing the probability of liquid water on the surface of the planet. Earlier, astronomers focused on looking for planets in the star’s habitable zone called “Goldilocks zone”, a swath of space just enough to give orbiting earth like planets chance to have liquid water and life on the surface. This has been a binary designation and the habitability index is more precise. The index has been created by University of Washington professors

R. Barnes and V. Meadows along with research assistant Nicole Evans.

A phenomenon called “eccentricity—albedo degeneracy,” which comments on a sort of balancing act between a planet’s albedo — the energy reflected back to space from its surface — and the circularity of its orbit, which affects how much energy it receives from its host star such that they counteract each other was also proposed by the scientists. Higher a planet’s albedo, the more light and energy are reflected off to space, leaving less at the surface to warm the world and aid possible life and if planet’s orbit is irregular, then more intense is the energy it gets when passing close to its star in its elliptic journey. A planet in the inner edge of the habitable zone should be in higher albedo to cool the world while planets on outer edge of habitable zone will need higher level of orbital eccentricity to generate energy needed for life.

NASA reveals interesting facts about water ice on Pluto   
NASA has released first colour pictures of haze surrounding Pluto alone with water ice patches on the dwarf planet collected by the New Horizons probe. The picture shows the haze to be bright blue. The water ice was found in a composite image from New Horizons’ Ralph instrument, combining visible imagery from the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) with infrared spectroscopy from the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array.

The tint reveals the size and composition of the haze particles apart from scattering of sunlight by small particles. Scattering of light in the red planet is through soot particles scientists refer to as tholins. Bits of ice correlate with red patches on the surface of the planet. Water appears in patches and scientists are now preparing to find out more about their formation and appearance.
NASA: Pluto is geologically active after more than 4 billion years   
NASA’s Pluto Exploration Programme has found the dwarf planet is geologically active even after 4 billion years indicating this planet could be alive. The first colour images of Pluto have revealed a blue haze and small exposed regions of water ice on Pluto. Patterns of water ice have uneven distribution and the blue sky on Pluto results from scattering of sunlight by soot like particles referred to as tholins. However, scientists have said it is not possible for Pluto to have life once because it is -400 degree F and too cold for life. Pluto is currently the only object in the Kuiper Belt with multiple moons.

Researchers find new immune regulating gene tied to Parkinson’s disease   
Researchers have found that non-inherited Parkinson’s Disease may be the result of functional changes in immune regulating gene Interferon Beta or IFN Beta. Treating the same with IFN Beta Gene therapy could be beneficial in preventing neuronal death and disease impact in experimental model of PD. Scientists are aiming to develop more effective treatment of Parkinson’s Disease using this knowledge. Close to 7 to 10 million people throughout the world suffer from this disease which is incurable and a progressive neurodegenerative disease. The human brain comprises of around 100 billion neurons coordinating activities in different body parts and the immune gene IFN Beta plays an important role in keeping the neurons healthy. IFN beta is critical for neutrons to have ability to recycle waste proteins without which they accumulate in disease associated structures known as Lewy bodies and neutrons die within time.

Scientists find Mars had water 3.3 to 3.8 billion years ago 
Scientists have used data from the Curiosity rover to determine that water helped deposit sediments into the Gale Crater where the rover landed around 3 years ago and this has increased odds of life once existing on the Red Planet. Sediment deposited as larges formed the foundation for Mount Sharp on mars. Rover observations suggest that series of streams and rivers existed at some point between 3.3 to 3.8 billion years back, building up lower layers of Mount Sharp through sediment deposition. Findings built upon previous research indicating the presence of ancient lakes on Mars.

New image from NASA
reveals secrets of Martian sand dunes
New images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissnace Orbiter have demonstrated a resistant and highly fractured surface amidst sand dunes. High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment/HiRISE camera abroad NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter takes images of the sand dunes to study mobile soils. Images also provide data about erosion and movement of surface material, wind as well as weather patterns, soil grains and grain sizes. Images also reveal information about the nature of substrate beneath. Fractured ground resists erosion by wind and indicates material is bedrock shattered by bending stresses and/or changes in temperature such as cooling. Surface may be a sedimentary layer once wet and shrunk, fractured as it dried, according to NASA. Small and indistinct fractures have trapped dark dune sand marching overhead and have become clear and distinct, leading to an examination of the orientation and spacing of the fractures to assess more regarding their formation processes.

Miniature satellite
OCSD CubeSat launched by NASA operational
Miniature satellite Orbital Communications and Sensor Demonstration CubeSat spacecraft is operational and in orbit according to NASA. The miniature satellite was sent into space abroad an Atlas V rocket from the California Vandenberg Air Force Base. CubeSats plays an important role in exploration, scientific research, technology demonstration and educational inquiries. This project provides an affordable platform for future NASA missions such as planetary exploration, observations of Earth and so on. OSCD is the first among six NASA managed technology demonstration missions to be launched. Miniature satellites measure close to 4 inches per side. Second mission is scheduled for February 2016.

Finger Millet figures among ICRISAT mandate crops
Finger Millet, which figured among the six small millets in research portfolio of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), has now been formally announced as the mandate crop. Finger millet provides opportunities for small holders, and ICRISAT gene bank has nearly 6000 finger millet germ plasm accessions from 24 nations. This crop is an integral part of the ICRISAT portfolio. Following its declaration as a mandate crop, it has led consumers to improved nutrition and offers much economic opportunity which is why it has been given prominence. Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of Sorghum and Millets in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (HOPE) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is showing encouraging results in improving productivity of finger millet and household incomes in East Africa. In Malawi, a three finger millet variety will resurrect crops that disappeared from the southern region of the nation. Finger millet variety U15 is the most preferred for rapid maturity and grain colour while IE 3779 is preferred because of disease resistance. Other mandate crops of ICRISAT include sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeon-pea and groundnut.

African genome decoded for the first time indicating
mass wave of migration from Europe
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have sequenced an ancient African genome from 4500 year old skull in Ethiopia confirming mass migration wave from Eurasia to Africa close to 3000 years ago. 25% of the DNA of modern Africa can be traced to this event and data shows Africans carry a considerable component of Eurasian ancestry. The research findings indicate mass migration of western Eurasians into Africa around 4000 years back originating in ancient Middle East. This marks the first time an African genome has been decoded.

Indian Railways developes prototype of Hybrid Vacuum Toilet.

Indian Railways announced that it has developed a prototype of Hybrid Vacuum Toilet. It is hybrid because the design is based on both vacuum toilets and biotoilets. It was developed by the Development Cell of the Indian Railway Board and is considered as the first of its kind to be used in any railways in the world. At present, the technology is only seen in aircrafts. It was installed in the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani train on trial basis.

Brain cells in Parkinson’s disease exhaust themselves and die prematurely.

An early study suggests that brain cells in Parkinson’s disease exhaust the mselves and die prematurely, burning out like an overheating motor. Canadian researchers say the findings might help explain why only small parts of the brain are affected in the disease. Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in certain areas of the brain but
why these cells are vulnerable has been a mystery. The work appears in Current Biology.