Saturday, December 27, 2008

Asteroid Impact Footage

This incredible footage shows the devastating effects of an asteroid hitting the Earth, provided by the Discovery Channel, it gives a chilling and real view of how fragile our planet really is.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

40th Anniversary of "Earthrise" Photo

Exactly 40 years ago today, Astronaut William Anders took this historic photo during the Apollo 8 mission to the Moon. The picture was taken during lunar orbit with a Hasselblad camera, and was titled "Earthrise" showing us how beautiful the Earth really is from afar.

Conspiracy theorists have claimed this photo is proof that the lunar program was a hoax because no stars are visible in the shot. Unfortunately for those nay-sayers, this is due to the overexposure of the camera, not a lunar conspiracy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rainforest May Hold the Future of Bio Fuels

A type of fungus found on trees in the Patagonian rain forest may provide a source of fuel for diesel cars, as it was found to have almost the exact same properties of regular diesel fuel. The fungi, called Gliocladium roseum, is incredibly similar to diesel fuel in its natural state, and therefore would require little modification to utilize as a source of fuel. In addition to having the same chemical characteristics, the fungi can also consume the waste caused from modern biofuel production. Although the research is just beginning, the assistance this could provide in the future efficiency of biofuel production, and in the creation of new biofuels is astounding.

Lead researcher Gary Stobel, a plant scientist from Montana State University said of the discovery "This is the only organism that has ever been shown to produce such an important combination of fuel substances, we were totally surprised to learn that it was making a plethora of hydrocarbons."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Feat!

When doctors performed a standard MRI scan on three-day old Sam Esquibel, they were definitely not ready for what they would find. What looked like a microscopic brain tumor forming, was actually a nearly perfectly formed foot and partial formation of another foot, a hand, and a thigh. A case like this has been given the name "foetus in foetu", which is a twin beginning to form within its sibling, and is rarely seen.

Mr Dominic Thompson, a consultant paediatric neurosurgeon at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, said there were probably less than 100 recorded cases of foetus in foetu in the medical literature. Sam was operated on without any problems, and all that is remaining of this little foot, is a little scar.

Feat For Fish

It started in Turkey thousands of years ago, moved to eastern Asia after that, and is currently sweeping through North American spas as the new hot format for pedicures. People dip their feet into tanks of warm water containing many baby-carp. Due to the lack of vegetation in water of such a high temperature, the fish do not have many options when it comes to their feeding habits. At the sight of two fresh human feat, they begin their feast. Since they have no teeth, they target all the dead skin they can find, and provide spa clients with a very natural method for exfoliation.

Discovery of Carbonate Minerals on Mars

Images taken by the high resolution CRISM spectrometer on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in a recent study by Brown University have broken new ground in the age-old question of whether or not Mars could have at one point sustained life. The discovery of magnesium carbonate rocks in several research sites is important because these carbonate minerals form in the presence of water, and for the first time the research has suggested that they formed in neutral-pH water that would have provided an ideal environment for living organisms.

Lead Astronomer Bethany Ehlmann says "Such water represent a different sort of aqueous environment -- potentially a habitat for micro-organisms -- on ancient Mars."

In some regions where research has been conducted on the surface of Mars, it is clear that acidic waters were at one point present, and it was assumed that this was the case for most of the planet. Astronomers are eager to study the wide range of possible environments this discovery has proven there could be on the planet, and arduously continue to prove the existence of life on Mars.

John Mustard, another member of the Brown University team added "This is opening up a range of environments on Mars. This is highlighting an environment that to the best of our knowledge doesn't experience the same kind of unforgiving conditions that have been identified in other areas. We know there's been water all over the place, but how frequently have the conditions been hospitable for life? We can say pretty confidently that when water was present in the places we looked at, it would have been a happy, pleasant environment for life."

An Artist's Conception of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Welcome Millkit!

Scientists in Argentina have found ways to make cows produce more milk, through injections of bovine growth hormone produced by genetically modified dairy cows. Also known as rbST, synthetic bovine somatotropin is not a newly developed product used for injection, however this team of scientists claim that their method is cheaper and produces a natural bovine hormone.

The head of research and development at biotechnology firm Bio Sidus, Andres Bercivich, explained that if under normal circumstances a cow produces 20 liters of milk/day, it could produce 25 liters when injected with this hormone. When looking at one cow, it might not seem like much, but convert that statistic to the output levels at huge milk firms, an increase of 25% will equal a huge jump in profits.

The company plans to export the dairy hormone technology to the United States, Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, as this product has not yet been approved for sale in Argentina.

Now I will take this opportunity to introduce a new member to Markit Science team: the one and only Millkit

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Meteorite Spotted + Found!

The fireball seen in the video above was captured by a peace officer's dashboard cam in Devon, Alberta, providing an excellent account of this event. The meteorite fall occurred on 2008 November 20 at 5:26.42 MST. It was seen by thousands of people across the Canadian prairies, sparking a wide range of reactions from sheer awe to fear and panic.

Thousands of meteorites are expected to have rained down over a 20 square km area, but they were difficult to find in the varied terrain of Buzzard Coulee. After quick examination of the suspected region of impact, the first meteorites were located by Ellen Milley, a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary, in a frozen fish pond near the agricultural community of Lone Rock, Saskatchewan.

The largest meteorite fragment to be recovered in the first days was a 13 kg whopper which creating a form fitting indentation 5-10 cm deep before bouncing out and resting on the frozen ground a few cm away. Take a look at the detailed topographical map to see the exact impact location of the large meteorite.