This week NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter took its final flight, a newly discovered astronomical object is either the heaviest known neutron star or the lightest black hole, and a new gene therapy enables an 11-year-old boy to hear for the first time. Finally, we investigate the history behind BMI, and why it is not a measure of health.
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New Room Temperature Superconductor Throws Hat In The Ring – This Time, It’s Graphite
Superconductive materials can transmit electricity without resistance, making them fundamental for advanced and efficient technologies. The current drawback is that this property is only obtained below a certain temperature, often pretty close to absolute zero. Scientists are hunting for a material that would be superconductive at room temperature, and the latest “hat in the ring” for this quest is actually a pretty common material in a pretty peculiar configuration: graphite, the substance that makes up the writing part of pencils. Read the full story here
Goodbye Ingenuity, Humanity’s First Flying Vehicle On Another Planet
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter has taken its final flight across the dusty plains of Jezero Crater. The first flying vehicle on another world, Ingenuity spent almost 1,000 days on the Red Planet carrying out test flights and helping its rover companion Perseverance navigate the Martian terrain, 33 times longer than NASA had initially planned. Having proven that controlled powered flight on another world is possible, after its most recent flight, a brief loss of communication, and a bad landing, NASA has confirmed the mission has ended. Read the full story here
World’s First IVF Rhino Pregnancy Is Big Step To Saving Species On Brink Of Extinction
A huge breakthrough for endangered rhino species in Africa has been achieved through the world’s first in-vitro fertilization (IVF) rhino pregnancy. A team has successfully implanted a lab-created rhino embryo into a surrogate rhino mother for the first time, resulting in pregnancy. This could be a big step towards saving the northern white rhino, a species on the very brink of extinction. Read the full story here
Newly Discovered Astronomical Object Is Right On The Edge Of Two Extreme Possibilities
Astronomy is full of puzzling objects, and an international team of researchers has just added another juicy one: A dense compact object that has been spotted orbiting a pulsar. This in itself is not that groundbreaking – but the mass of this object is puzzling. It's in the so-called mass gap. Researchers are either observing the heaviest neutron star known or the lightest black hole. Read the full story here
11-Year-Old Boy Hears For First Time Ever Thanks To Gene Therapy Breakthrough
An 11-year-old boy who was born with an extremely rare form of deafness that is thought to affect only about 200,000 people worldwide has become the first patient to receive a new gene therapy procedure, and it’s allowed him to hear sounds for the first time in his life. Now, the procedure is being trialed on more children. Read the full story here
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Feature of the week:
Your BMI Is Not A Health Measure – Here's Why
In the last 50 years, the body mass index (BMI) has gone from a relatively obscure demographic tool to an ever-present gauge of personal worth. With the level of importance we tend to impart upon the metric, you might expect the BMI to be the result of years of research by health experts. It’s not. In fact, it was never meant to be used on individuals at all. Read the full story here
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