The best from the science journals: Was there life on Mars?

This artist's concept depicts astronauts and human habitats on Mars.   | Photo Credit: NASA

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Social distancing fish

Published in Nature

Social distancing has been found to cause changes in the expression of certain genes in the brain of zebrafish. When the fish were raised in social isolation, the level of transcription of a gene (parathyroid hormone 2) was found to decrease. Just 30 minutes after more zebrafish were added to the tank, the expression levels rose. The team writes that more studies are needed to understand this gene and its functions in detail.

Life on Mars

Published in Science Advances

If there was life on Mars, where would it have been? Researchers write that the most habitable region would have been several kilometers below the surface. “At such depths, life could have been sustained by hydrothermal (heating) activity and rock-water reactions. So, the subsurface may represent the longest-lived habitable environment on Mars,” says lead author Lujendra Ojha in a release.

Sound of fluid

Published in Science


How does a fluid that flows with very small friction sound like? Neither like a forest river nor like water poured into a cup. Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a perfect fluid in the laboratory using elementary particles called fermions and recorded the sound waves travelling through it. The team writes that these sounds can help study neutron stars, the early universe, and other fluids. “It’s quite difficult to listen to a neutron star. But now you could mimic it in a lab using atoms, shake that atomic soup and listen to it, and know how a neutron star would sound,” says lead author Martin Zwierlein in a release.

Fine fingerprints

Published in PNAS

When was the last time you used your fingerprint? No, not on your Aadhar. Your fingerprint ridges are at work every single time you hold something. According to a new study, your fingerprints help increase the friction when you hold smooth surfaces like a glass teacup and boosts the grip. The sweat on the fingers is also regulated to ensure maximum friction. The team writes that understanding this finger pad friction can help design better robots, prosthetics and virtual reality environments.

See you, radiodonts

Published in Science Advances

An artist’s reconstruction of ‘Anomalocaris’ briggsi swimming within the twilight zone

An artist’s reconstruction of ‘Anomalocaris’ briggsi swimming within the twilight zone   | Photo Credit: Katrina Kenny


Meet Anomalocaris, a deep-sea creature that dominated the oceans 500 million years ago. A new study has now shown that these creatures developed sophisticated eyes which were about 4-cm in length and had more than 13,000 lenses. This allowed them to see in dim light and have an evolutionary advantage. Lead author John Paterson writes: “vision became a driving force in evolution and helped shape the biodiversity and ecological interactions we see today.”

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 12:54:23 PM |

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