Cosmochemists’ discovery, protein crystal experiment at ISS and China’s powerful telescope

meteorite_curium_1000x511.jpgCosmochemists find evidence for rare element in early solar system

University of Chicago scientists have discovered evidence in a meteorite that a rare element, curium, was present during the formation of the solar system. This finding ends a 35-year-old debate on the possible presence of curium in the early solar system, and plays a crucial role in reassessing models of stellar evolution and synthesis of elements in stars. Details of the discovery appeared in the 4 March edition of Science Advances.

“Curium is an elusive element. It is one of the heaviest known elements, yet it does not occur naturally because all of its isotopes are radioactive and decay rapidly on a geological time scale,” said the study’s lead author, François Tissot, now a W.O. Crosby Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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JAXA, PeptiDream Team up for protein crystal growth experiment aboard ISS

Just last month, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) signed a contract with biopharmaceutical company, PeptiDream for commercial research on the implementation of High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth (PCG). Through the partnership, a series of protein crystal growth experiments will be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) in the station’s Kibo module from now until August 2017. JAXA has been using the Kibo module to perform protein crystal growth experiments inside the Kibo module since 2009, and has partnered with PeptiDream in the past. Last September, JAXA successfully crystallized a PeptiDream protein sample on Earth.

 JAXA has been conducting PCG experiments on the International Space Station since 2003 on the Zvezda module, and has perfected the technology needed to create high quality protein crystals in low-orbit.

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China plans space telescope that will dock with their space station

1-chinaplansspChina has plans to build a new space telescope which should outperform Hubble. According to the Chinese English Language Daily, the new telescope will be similar to Hubble, but will have a field of view that is 300 times larger. The new telescope, which has not been named yet, will have the ability to dock with China’s modular space station, the Tiangong.

The China National Space Administration has come up with a solution to a problem that dogged the Hubble Telescope. Whenever the Hubble needed repairs or maintenance, a shuttle mission had to be planned so astronauts could service it. China will avoid this problem with its innovative solution. The Chinese telescope will keep its distance from the Tiangong, but if repairs or maintenance are needed, it can dock with Tiangong.

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