Antarctic Ice loss revealed by the decades of satellite monitoring

There are few scientists from the University of California, the University of Leeds and the University of Maryland who have viewed the decades of satellite measurements to discover that how sea ice, ice shelves, and Antarctica glaciers are changing. 

In the year 2018, June 14th the nature journal published the Antarctica-focused issue especially. This explains that how ice shelf collapse and thinning have triggered the sea level rise in the continent’s contribution. The researchers also observed that the ice surrounding of the total sea area of Antarctica had shown some change since the observation of satellite in the mid of 20th century, which is the ship based observation for a long time decline. 

According to Andrew Shepherd, an earth observation professor at the Leed’ school of Earth and environment Antarctica is too vast to survey from the ground, and it can understand from the space by looking its ice-covered continent.  

Since 1900 ice shelves are being eaten in West Antarctica by warm ocean water and the ice shelves, have collapsed at the Antarctica Peninsula, where the temperature of the air has risen sharply. The ice shelves have collapsed as its surfaces are melted as well. Since 1950 ice shelves 34,000 km of ice shelf surrounding has been lost.   

There are more than 150 studies, which has determined about the quantity of ice continent loss. The significant changes happened in places where the ice shelves are collapsed or thinned. 

According to Helen Fricker, who is a professor of glaciology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and a co-author of the review said that they know the breakups of sea and ice don’t contribute to the rise of sea levels directly. Glaciers can flow more rapidly out to sea without the action of the ice shelf. 

With the satellite observation, there is a detailed picture of sea ice cover, which is allowing the researchers to measure the thickness, age, and motion of the ice. The shelf melting, climate change and ocean circulation affects have done the regional variations, which include sea ice reduction in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas. The latest and improved satellite mission like Sentinel-3, which has recently launched climate experiment follow and gravity recovery will ensure to provide more detailed insights to the researchers into the reduction of Antarctic ice. The mission displays about the loss of Antarctic ice.

With next-generation robotic cockroach now it is possible to explore underwater environment even better

Picture provided by: Harvard Microrobotics Lab

Cockroaches can survive underwater for the duration of at least half an hour. With the advancement, a robotic cockroach is expected to survive underwater even more than it. A Harvard’s Ambulatory Micro Robot which is popularly known as HAMR can walk on land and swim in water. Also, it can walk as long as it is required underwater. 

With this next-generation advancement, HAMR has footpads which are multifunctional. These footpads rely on surface tension which creates buoyancy when it is required by a HAMR to swim. Also, it can provide a voltage break for breaking the water surface when HAMR is looking forward to sinking. The process of reducing the contact angle between surface water and material by making use of voltage is known as electro-wetting. By making these changes in corners, it is expected that it will offer flexibility to objects for breaking the water surface.

By having the capability to move over the water surface, a micro-robot can avoid obstacles which are present underwater. HAMR paddles over the water surface for swimming by making use of four pairs of flaps which are of asymmetric nature and swimming gaits which are custom designed especially for it.

“According to this research, it can be concluded that micro-robotic can be used for small-scale physics which is surface tension here to perform different functions which are a big challenge for a robot which is big in size.” Kevin Chen mentioned this. He is the first author of the paper.

In Nature Communications journal the recent research is published.

“The size of HAMR is the main reason it can perform so well,” said Neel Doshi. He is the co-author of the paper. If it has been too large or too small, then it would be challenging to support the robot with the surface tension.

The weight of HAMR is near about 1.65 grams which is equivalent to the importance of a large paper clip. Also, it can carry more weight of 1.44 grams without sinking and can paddle efficiently with this much weight. To avoid shorting it is coated with Parylene.

HAMR after reaching underwater make use of gait for walking similarly as it does on dry land. For returning to dry land HAMR has to face a lot of challenges caused by water’s hold. A surface tension force of water whose weight is almost double the weight of the robot tries to push the robot downwards.

Tropical forest conservation unexpectedly shoulder on world’s most indigent Cost

Tropical forest conserving is one of the vital parts to combat climate change. This conversation gives ultimate benefits to all. However, some of the poorest people in the world majorly face the economic crisis. When local groups are stopped from harvesting the organic/natural resources in tropical forests, their economic chances are decreased. Several conservation communities have introduced compensation programs, but according to new research, it is stated that their plans are not enough now. 

There is a compensation program held in eastern Madagascar by the World Bank, which focuses on deforestation and degradation efforts. Here researchers from Antananarivo of Madagascar and Bangor University of Ireland researchers deeply investigated that how the efforts of conversation affected the mass and only a few communities had to get the advantages from this agricultural program, but none were compensated completely. 

Conservationists ensure to protect Corridor Ankeniheny Zahamena rainforests in eastern Madagascar and help to save forests by planting more trees. According to a new study, it’s stated that 27,000 people had been affected negatively by this effort in this region. Many poorest people in the world have less option for developing their economic situation. 

According to researcher Malagasy Sarobidy Rakotonarivo, he said that those who are in the clearing process for agriculture land; those are the most insecure for food. The local group always suffer to feed their family and from the conversation enforcement. 

According to journal PeerJ, it is published that those who received support and compensation from world bank were not adequate for the mass. According to Bangor Professor Julia Jones if the compensation programs do not meet the promise of payment for the cost of conversation, then it’s not called corruption. The truth is that now the world is not paying enough to compensate the impoverished community. Research shows that if rich countries were able to pay the complete cost of carbon then compensation could be affordable entirely. 

According to new research, this was based, on surveys and fieldworks for more than years. They interviewed many people of eastern Madagascar communities. They say there is no conservation criticism program but the economic burdens put on the shoulders of the poor people. Hence, if the wealthiest international community underpays for the conservation cost, then it is essential that the rich world will gain benefits while they bear the conservation cost.  They will surely free load the poor residents in the forest.  

Converting Lightning to essential products: Paradigm Enzyme discovered by researchers

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the international research team has explored enzymes called cytochrome P450, which is one of the major components of plants, which has made valuable products like chemicals, plastics, and nylon. 

Cytochrome P450s are one of the versatile enzymes on the earth. These are proteins found in the human body, and it indulged in various metabolic ways, including metabolizing toxic compounds. These enzymes are studied for decades and categorized as Families A through M. 

There is a publication in nature communications that cytochrome P450 which turned out to be a unique two-component architecture that represents a brand new category of P450s: Family N. By learning about the functions of the enzymes, it helped scientists to improve the microbes. It enhances the biological conversion of plant biomass into essential products. Thus, P450s is an excellent place to begin. 

Cytochrome P450s have been built to function various functions essential for biotechnological applications, which are said by a senior research Gregg Beckham at NREL. It is designed to be better, faster and specialists. The highly versatile scaffolds for biotechnology have been engineered to tweak P450s cytochrome. 

The introduction of new cytochrome P450s have converted guaiacol to catechol, which is asked by Beckham to Christopher Johnson, who is a molecular biologist in NREL’s National Bioenergy Center. 

Guaiacol represents one building blocks of lignin and can be parted into muconate. This is the portal of chemical essential in the production of many kinds of bioplastics. A cytochrome P450 converts guaiacol to catechol in only one step; Johnson finds that. The team required to know how the enzyme works, to make it better regarding performance. This led to team efforts to get the molecular structure, and the latest P450 family discovered. 

According to researchers, the study shows that the enzyme interacts with its substrate and rapidly felt that this cytochrome P450 is more than a guaiacol specialist. This is a microbial lignin conversion, which relies on this different reaction. Cytochrome P450 enzyme can degrade various lignin-based substrates, which is said by Beckham. This is good because this is designed to become a specialist for a significant molecule. In addition to this, the expertise was exhibited in structural biochemistry, molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry by researchers from Montana State University, University of Georgia, the University of California at Los Angeles, Brazil’s University of Campinas, and the United Kingdom’s University of Portsmouth to name a few. The team from the world has designed a new paradigm for making the essential reactions in microbial lignin conversion, which enables the added lignin products into value-added products, which is said by Beckham. 

Scientists finding source of water on Mars

The surface of the Red Planet shows different signs that give a clear picture of the fluvial steam networks on Earth. IT is because of this reason, scientists have started believing the fact that once there must have been enough water on this planet which had resulted n the formation of such water streams that finally incised their path inside the soil.

In spite of such thinking, the researchers have various views regarding the source from which the water might have come up. Some of them think that it was the rain water that caused the streams as well as the rivers to swell up. Again a separate group of researchers feels that water ice beneath the soil might have melted due to the acute volcanic activity which has ultimately led to the originating of such water source. Such different perspective regarding generation of water and the various possible sources have led to the formation of different perception about the climatic history of Mars.

A recent development in the study has revealed the fact that the branching structures of the previous water filled rivers which were present on Mars have striking features with terrestrial as well as landscapes. This fact has been even published in a recent journal, Science Advances, prepared by physicist Hansjorg Seybold belonging to the group of James Kirchner, who is the ETH professor at the Institute for Terrestrial Ecosystems. The team also involved planetary specialist Edwin Kite from the University of Chicago.

With the help of different statics from all mapped river valleys on Mars, the researchers have come to know the fact that superficial rainwater must have created the contours which can be seen even today. As a result, the impact of the groundwater seepage from the soil can be kept outside the purview of being a pivotal process for such features on the surface of Mars.

The distribution of the different angles of the valleys on the Red Planet is very much akin to the landscape that can be visible in arid landscapes on Earth. As per the statement made by Seybold, it shows that there must have been a same hydrological environment with heavy rainfall situations on Mars over a more extended period. Furthermore, such rainwater may have slipped off quickly over the surface thereby forming the valley networks. 


Neutron stars which are very dense also fall like feathers

According to the theory of General Relativity stated by Einstein, every object tends to fall in the same way no matter what mass or composition it is having. Several tests were held on earth to know the results, and with every test, this theory stands true. But is it right with other massive and dense objects which are present in the universe or not? Some international astronomers have raised this question which has further lead to a rigorous test of the theory ever.

The findings of their research are published in a journal known as Nature. According to their research results, the theory of general relativity by Einstein is correct even with most extreme scenarios which universe can offer.

In the late 1500s, a concept was studied by Galileo according to its results it can be said that even if all the air is removed and a hammer and feather is made to fall then they both will fall at the same rate and there will be no difference because they possess different mass.

This theory of Einstein stands true, and till present date, it has cleared every test which was conducted to check this theory. Be it a laboratory study or observation of planets present in our solar system the result obtained was always in favor of this famous theory of Einstein.

Some other alternatives to the theory of general relativity predict that in strong gravity compact objects like neutron star may fall by following a different manner than an object which is having less mass compared to it. The difference which this theory is predicting is because of gravitational binding energy.

In the year 2011, a natural laboratory test was conducted by the National Science Foundation to check whether this theory is true in extreme conditions or not.  PSR J0337+1715 a three-star system located away from earth by about 4200 light years was considered for this test. This system is comprised of two white dwarfs and one neutron start. Neutron star along with one white dwarf is in 1.6 days orbit and the second white dwarf pairs the orbit over a period of 327 days.

The system was observed by Green Bank Telescope (GBT) on a regular basis since it was discovered. GBT has spent more than 400 hours on the observation of this unique three-star system. 

The neutron star of this three-star system is a pulsar, and because of it, the telescope was able to study the entire system. GBT is among the most sensitive telescope radio in the entire world, and it can detect these faint radio waves as well to explore concepts of extreme physics. Ryan Lynch, a co-author of the study, said.

CO2 becoming low with common elements and sunlight

An International Research Team which also includes personnel from the Tokyo Institute of Technology along with Universite PARIS DIDEROT and CNRS has eventually found that CO2 is getting reduced to CO in such situation where photocatalyst which is made up of an organic semiconductor material and as well as iron complex which is very much exposed to visible light. These crucial experiments have made clear the fact that that it is very much possible to convert CO2, which is a primary concern for global warming, into a priceless resource of carbon with the help of visible light considering it to be a relevant energy source. Even the process can be conducted with the support of photocatalyst which is composed of only commonly occurring minerals.

Within the past few years, different technologies have been adopted to turn CO2 into a source with the help of metal conductors as well as semiconductors in the form of photocatalysts which are being developed worldwide. Scientists are pretty much sure of the fact that if this artificial process of photosynthesis can be put to use correctly, then it would be very much more comfortable to convert CO2, which is thought to be a primary concern for global warming, into a valuable carbon resource using sunlight as the energy source.

Different complex as well as inorganic semiconductors involving precious and rare metals, for instance, ruthenium, rhenium and finally tantalum are being used in highly active photocatalysts that are reported so far. At the same time considering the massive amount of CO2, there was always a requirement to establish new photocatalysts that are made with elements that are available on Earth in abundance.

Some of the prominent researchers like Professor Osamu Ishitani, research staff Ryo Kuriki, Associate professor Kazuhiko Maeda in association with JST exhibited collaborative research along with the research group of Professor Marc Robert of Universite PARIS DIDEROT and CNRS. As such by mixing carbon nitride which is an organic semiconductor with a mixture of iron and natural materials and after that utilizing them in the form of photocatalyst they were able to CO2 into a resource which proved to be highly efficient under the various conditions of exposure to visible light at ordinary temperatures as well as pressure.

After combining the organic semiconductor, carbon nitride which is composed of carbon and nitrogen with the help of iron complex and using it as a photocatalyst, they finally discovered that they could convert CO2 to CO with a right amount of efficiency.   

Detailed processing could teach robots with manly tasks

For many people doing the household activities is a nightmare. It becomes an inseparable part of your life, and you feel pretty bored and helpless while doing such unproductive activities. Even if you do such household works, you do them with little importance. In such a situation how will you feel if a robot can help you with all your household activities?

In recent ongoing research, computer scientists have been making full efforts on educating the machines to perform the more significant amount of tasks around the house. As per the latest publications which are headed by the MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) along with the University of Toronto researchers. The researchers exhibited “Virtual Home” which is a system that can simulate in-depth household tasks and then leave the task to the artificial “agents” for correctly executing them.

In the first step, the team trained the system near about 3000 programs about various activities which are subsequently broken down into small subtasks to enable the machine to understand the same. An easy task like “making coffee” would also include the step of “grabbing a cup.” Keeping in pace with this statement, the researchers demonstrated a virtual home in a 3D world which is very much inspired by the Sims video game. It is learned that the team’s AI agent can go through 1000 of these interactions within the Sims-style world which involved eight different scenes starting from the living room, kitchen, dining room, bedroom and home office.

According to Ph.D. student Xavier Puig, in a computer program, the actions have to be described in an unambiguous way which will enable the machine to complete the task correctly. Xavier was the in charge in respect of this paper. He further added that such programs could train a robot or even a virtual character to be used as a representative for executing complex tasks with smooth actions.

This particular project was co-developed by CSAIL along with the University of Toronto and also the scientists from the McGill University. This latest project will be displayed at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference which will take place in the current month in the Salt Lake City.

Robots unlike the human beings need more detailed instructions to complete easy tasks. The robots cannot just interpret on their own quickly and so requires minute programming.

Researchers come for the rescue of low-cost solar cells

Recently a team of University researchers has reported having solved a significant fabrication regarding perovskite cells which are the potential challengers as far as silicon-based solar cells are concerned. These newly developed crystalline structures have the potential to exhibit enormous promise because they can absorb almost all the wavelengths of the light. It is learned that Perovskite solar cells already adequately marketed on a small scale. But the vital feature concerning the recent improvements in their power conversion efficiency (PCE) is proving to be the primary interest concern because of the low-cost alternatives for solar panels. 

A cover article was brought up online as on June 28, 2018, within the Nanoscale journal which is a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In such an article, the research team has revealed a new and proper means of applying a critical component to the perovskite cells to reduce any such major challenge that comes in the way of fabrication. The researchers went through the process of using the critical electron transport layer (ETL) within the perovskite photovoltaic cells in a brand new process. Such a process is known as the spray coating whose primary function is to imbue the ETL with a high level of conductivity and also an active interface with the neighbors, which is the perovskite layer. 

As per the sources, the research activity is done under the leadership of Andre D. Taylor who is n associate professor in the NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Chemical as well as Bimolecular Engineering Department along with Yifan Zheng who is the first author of this paper and also Peking University researcher. Even there are co-authors for this research who belong from the University of Electronic Science and the Technology of China, Johns Hopkins University as well as Yale University.     

The researchers have further conveyed that most of the solar cells are “sandwiches” of materials which are placed in such a way that when the light touches the cell’s surface, it energizes the negatively charged material and establishes an electric current in the way of pushing the electrons towards the latticework of positively charges “holes”. Within the perovskite solar cells, there is a simple planar orientation called p-i-n whereby the perovskite involves the light-trapping intrinsic layer in between the negatively charged ETL and a positively charged Hole Transport Layer (HTL).

Engineers trying to harness photosynthesis to perform metabolic reactions

To build up an artificial cell, there are two-way outs. The first approach involves re-engineering the genomic software of living cell while the second approach involves cellular hardware, producing simple cell-like structures above the ground that imitates the function of the living cells. One of the most challenging situations pertaining to the second approach is intimating the intricate chemical as well as the biological reactions needed for the cells to undergo complex behavior.

In this situation, an international group of researchers belonging from Harvard University and Sogang University located in Seoul have identified a cell-like structure that processes for photosynthesis in order to perform metabolic reactions which also involve metabolic reactions such as energy harvesting, carbon fixation as well as cytoskeleton formation. This particular research is being published in Nature Biotechnology. 

According to Kit Parker who is the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering as well as Applied Physics at the Harvard John A Paulson school of Engineering and Applied Sciences and also a co-principal investigator of the project said that this particular research is a part of the deep collaboration between Harvard and the Sogang University and has opened up several ways regarding what could be done on the cellular level. Kit further added that they had activated metabolic activity with light which is built an on-demand protein network that is found within a cell with packaging all the components that is needed to do this into one cell. Parker is also a vital member of the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering as well as the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

As per the statement given by Kwanwoo Shin who is the Director of the Institute of Biological Interfaces and also a Professor in the Chemistry Department at the Sogang University said that the mechanisms that they have set up would be the first step in the development of multiple regulatory networks in terms of the artificial cells that can showcase the homeostasis and complex cellular behaviour.

To execute this synthetic system, the scientists developed a photosynthetic organelle from the special components of the plant as well as the animal world. The photoconverters are very much responsive to the various wavelength of light: the first one is red, and the next one is green. The proteins were found within a pure lipid membrane, and also traces of enzymes were found that generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which are the essential energy carriers of cells.