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This Week In Science!

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Philip Brayne

Creative Services Assistant

clockMar 11 2022, 11:51 UTC
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Man Who Received Pig Heart In World First Transplant Dies Two Months After Operation

David Bennett, the man who made history earlier this year when he became the first person in the world to receive a heart transplanted from a pig, has died. The hospital has not yet released information on the cause of death, and reportedly no obvious culprit has yet been found. The case is planned to appear in a peer-reviewed journal. He signed up for the pig heart knowing that it was experimental and had unknown risks and benefits.

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NASA Has Just Opened A Container Of Potential Lunar Gasses Sealed For 50 Years

A sample of lunar rocks from the Apollo 17 mission have been opened after being sealed in a vacuum for 50 years. Molecules in the containers have been collected, and the rocks will be observed to see if any gasses still trapped in the rocks will escape. Both initial and subsequent samples will be put through the world's most sophisticated mass spectrometers. The work will show whether even more protection is required for future missions to seal samples.

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Scientists Investigate 300-Year-Old Mummified "Mermaid" Said To Be Caught In The 1700s

A team of researchers have started to analyze a "mermaid mummy". Since its discovery (or since someone sewed a fish to a monkey) the "mermaid" has been kept at the Enjuin temple in Asakuchi, where it has been seen as an object of worship. The team will also test DNA samples taken from the mummy, to ascertain what animals have been used to create it – believed to be a monkey and a fish.

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This Is Why It’s Important To Restore Power To Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is no longer connected to the power grid following military actions from the Russian forces. Lack of monitoring inside reactor 4, where the 1986 meltdown occurred, is a pressing concern, plus the lack of ventilation system in the New Safe Containment structure, crucial to the future decommissioning of the site. Damages to that, such as a fire, would be an enormous step back in making the facility and area safe.

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Billions Of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Permitted For Release in California And Florida

After passing a risk assessment, Oxitec's technology was given an experimental use permit by the EPA allowing 2.4 billion gene-tweaked mosquitos – over 2 billion in California and just under 400 million in Florida –  to be released in two separate periods between 2022 to 2024. This has the aim to reduce the local mosquito population and combat mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue fever and the Zika virus.

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Same-Sex Parenting In The Animal Kingdom – How Common Is It?

Family structures have come a long way since “nuclear family or bust”. Now, humans raise children as single parents, adoptive parents, in multigenerational families, and in same-sex couples to name just a few.

But what about the rest of the animal kingdom?

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