Science News Roundup: NASA unveils new spacesuit prototypes for missions; Amazon fish wears nature's 'bullet-proof vest' to thwart piranhas
Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Paris zoo unveils the "blob", an organism with no brain but 720 sexes
A Paris zoo showcased a mysterious new organism on Wednesday, dubbed the "blob", a yellowish unicellular small living being which looks like a fungus but acts like an animal. This newest exhibit of the Paris Zoological Park, which goes on display to the public on Saturday, has no mouth, no stomach, no eyes, yet it can detect food and digest it.
Scientists find how deadly malaria parasite jumped from gorillas to humans
Scientists who resurrected a 50,000-year-old gene sequence have analyzed it to figure out how the world's deadliest malaria parasite jumped from gorillas to humans - giving insight into the origins of one of human history's biggest killers. The researchers said their work also deepens understanding of a process known as zoonosis - when a pathogen that can infect animals acquires genetic changes enabling it to infect humans - as has been the case with diseases such as flu and Ebola.
Planetary 'autopsies' indicate worlds like Earth common in the cosmos
A new way of studying planets in other solar systems - by doing sort of an autopsy on planetary wreckage devoured by a type of star called a white dwarf - is showing that rocky worlds with geochemistry similar to Earth may be quite common in the cosmos. In a study published on Thursday, researchers studied six white dwarfs whose strong gravitational pull had sucked in shredded remnants of planets and other rocky bodies that had been in orbit. This material, they found, was very much like that present in rocky planets such as Earth and Mars in our solar system.
NASA unveils new spacesuit prototypes for missions
NASA on Tuesday showed off two new spacesuits tailored for future moonwalking astronauts, signaling development of a crucial component to the space agency's accelerated drive to return to the moon by 2024. Two NASA engineers strutted on a stage inside the agency's Washington, D.C. headquarters, donning the new spacesuits, modeling and doing squats and crunches in front of a crowd of students and reporters to reveal what the first zero-gravity space-wear under NASA's Artemis moon program would look like.
Brexit hits UK science funding, deters international researchers
Uncertainty surrounding Britain's exit from the European Union has hit science funding to the tune of almost half a billion euros and is putting off international researchers from coming to Britain, a leading institution said on Wednesday. An analysis conducted by the Royal Society scientific academy found that the UK's annual share of EU research funding has fallen by some 460 million euros ($509.40 million) since 2015, making it a less attractive destination for international science talent.
Japan has decided to participate in a U.S. plan for putting astronauts back on the moon by 2024 and the government will officially inform the United States within this year, the Kyodo News agency reported on Thursday. The decision was made by the Cabinet Office's space policy committee, the news agency said.
Amazon fish wears nature's 'bullet-proof vest' to thwart piranhas
One of the world's largest freshwater fish is protected by the natural equivalent of a "bullet-proof vest," helping it thrive in the dangerous waters of the Amazon River basin with flexible armor-like scales able to withstand ferocious piranha attacks. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley on Wednesday described the unique structure and impressive properties of the dermal armor of the fish, called Arapaima gigas. They said their findings can help guide development of better body armor for people as well as applications in aerospace design.
When astronauts orbit the moon or live on its surface in the decade ahead, they will probably be doing so inside inflatable space lodges now in development. Dozens of NASA officials and veteran astronauts are wrapping up a review of five space habitat mockups built by different companies. The mockups offer the U.S. space agency ideas for an ideal Gateway - the planned research outpost in lunar orbit that will house and transfer astronauts to the surface of the moon.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)