MI weekly selection #11

Full Monn | Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Full Monn | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Native” water once existed on the Moon

A new analysis of lunar soil samples from NASA’s Apollo missions has found evidence that the moon in its early days may have contained “native” water. The findings, which were published in the journal Nature Geoscience, go against prevailing theories that the moon formed from the debris of a large body crashing into the young Earth, which means that any water would have evaporated in space.

Astrobiology Magazine

Hejiu Hui, Anne H. Peslier, Youxue Zhang & Clive R. Neal (2013) Water in lunar anorthosites and evidence for a wet early Moon Nature Geoscience DOI:10.1038/ngeo1735

A structural continuum for large volcanoes throughout the Solar System

Volcanic eruptions may be linked to how gravity causes the structures to deform. Researchers used small models made of silicone, sand and gypsum to simulate the different ways gravity causes volcanoes to sink or spread out. Based on their experiment, scientists concluded that the models highlight a structural continuum in which large volcanoes throughout the Solar System lie

Our Amazing Planet

P.K. Byrne, E.P. Holohan, M. Kervyn, B. van Wyk de Vries, V.R. Troll, and J.B. Murray (2013) A sagging-spreading continuum of large volcano structure Geology DOI:10.1130/G33990.1

High-alcohol environment may help fruit fly larvae survive

Researchers have discovered that female fruit flies will lay their eggs in an alcohol-rich environment to ward off parasitic wasps. The high level of alcohol doesn’t affect the fruit fly larvae, but can be deadly to parasitic wasp eggs often inside them.


Balint Z. Kacsoh, Zachary R. Lynch, Nathan T. Mortimer, and Todd A. Schlenke (2013) Fruit Flies Medicate Offspring After Seeing Parasites Science DOI:10.1126/science.1229625

A molecule that helps nanoparticles evade immune attack

A synthetic molecule attached to nanoparticles acts like a passport, convincing immune cells to let the particles pass unimpeded through the body in Science. The computationally designed “self”-peptide could be used to better target drugs to tumors, to ensure pacemakers are not rejected, and to enhance medical imaging technologies.

The Scientist

Pia L. Rodriguez, Takamasa Harada, David A. Christian, Diego A. Pantano, Richard K. Tsai, and Dennis E. Discher (2013) Minimal “Self” Peptides That Inhibit Phagocytic Clearance and Enhance Delivery of Nanoparticles Science DOI:10.1126/science.1229568

Hominid-carnivore interactions during the Pleistocene

Scientists recreate potential Pleistocene scenarios of hominid-carnivore interaction for the study of Neanderthal behaviour with experiments involving extant large carnivores such as bears, hyenas, lions and wolves in Cabárceno Nature Park (Santander, Cantabria, Spain).

Edgard Camarós & Marián Cueto (2013) New methodologies for the recovery of human behaviour through the evolution of hominid-carnivore interaction during the Pleistocene Antiquity Bulletin

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