We may not yet have discovered the healing waters of the fountain of youth, but one of the breakthroughs in this week’s newsletter is shaking up what we know about life and death.
Cutting-edge research on pigs is showing that death in cells isn’t instantaneous.
In fact, it’s a complex biological process — a bit like a cascade of dominoes — that can potentially be halted.
The results amazed the researchers involved in the project. Check out the pig cells, shown at right in the side-by-side comparison above, revived by the OrganEx system, a new technology they developed.
The goal, though, isn’t to bring animals magically back to life — it’s to expand the window for much-needed human organ transplants.
Force of nature
The massive eruption of an undersea volcano near Tonga in January has defied easy explanation, consistently surprising the scientists who continue to study it.
Now we know, thanks to detections from a NASA satellite, the volcano blasted such a massive amount of water vapor high into the atmosphere that it’s likely to temporarily warm Earth’s surface.
The NASA Artemis mission isn’t just about returning to the moon — it’s part of preparations for a bolder plan to go to Mars.
How astronauts will make the years-long trip to the red planet is uncertain. One idea is to induce hibernation in the space travelers, and a tiny, mouselike creature that lives in the Patagonian forest may hold a key to unlocking this approach.
Once the weather turns cold, the bug-eyed monito del monte builds a mossy nest in a tree hollow. There, the tiny marsupial enters a physiological state called torpor, and its heart rate drops from 200 beats per minute down to two or three beats per minute. During this inactive period, the animal conserves energy, taking a breath once every three minutes.
Across the universe
Walking on Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid, would be a bit like wading through a ball pit, NASA scientists have found.
Images and data from the agency’s OSIRIS-REx mission revealed the asteroid’s exterior is made of loosely packed particles that aren’t bound together securely.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which in 2020 successfully collected a sample from the asteroid, encountered little resistance when it landed — about the same amount as someone might feel pushing the plunger on a French press coffee maker.
Coins and priceless jewels once belonging to seafaring knights are among the treasures recently discovered on a Spanish shipwreck.
The Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (or Our Lady of Wonders) sank in 1656 after it collided with another boat from its fleet and crashed into a coral reef off the Bahamas.
The 891-ton vessel was carrying a massive trove, some of which was reserved as royal tax for King Philip IV, from Cuba to Seville, Spain.
Escape to worlds beyond your own with these stories:
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