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Coronavirus: OneWeb blames pandemic for collapse

Coronavirus: OneWeb blames pandemic for collapse

Science
OneWeb, the high-profile London-based satellite start-up, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.The firm, which has been building a network to deliver broadband across the globe, blamed the Covid-19 crisis for its inability to secure new investment.OneWeb issued a statement saying it was laying off most of its staff while it seeks a buyer for the company.The start-up recently launched the 74th satellite in a constellation planned to total at least 648 spacecraft.The idea is that this network will provide high-bandwidth, low-latency internet connections to any point on Earth, bar Antarctica.Rumours of a collapse had been swirling around OneWeb this past week. It had raised £2.6bn to imple
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover to carry 10.9M names, 155 essays to Red Planet

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover to carry 10.9M names, 155 essays to Red Planet

Science
March 27 (UPI) -- NASA's Mars Perseverance rover is set to carry the names of 10,932,295 people to the Red Planet. The names, etched onto tiny silicon chips by an electron beam, were recently attached to an aluminum plate on the rover at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The names scheduled to be carried into space next year were submitted by participants in NASA's "Send Your Name to Mars" campaign. Silicon chips featuring the essays of 155 finalists from NASA's "Name the Rover" contest were also affixed to the aluminum plate, which was mounted on the rover's aft crossbeam. The plate features an etched illustration of Mars and Earth linked by the rays of the sun. Earlier this week, engineers began configuring the rover for its ride on the Atlas V rocket. "Steps included stowing the roboti...
Heirloom plants: Saving the nation’s seeds from extinction

Heirloom plants: Saving the nation’s seeds from extinction

Science
The battle of the Somme in 1916. A British soldier fighting in France is given seeds as a memento of happier times. When he returns home, he plants them in the soil. His family and friends carry on the tradition, and, today, you can still find the Blackdown Blue pea growing somewhere in Somerset. Catrina Fenton, head of the Heritage Seed Library in Coventry, rests the seeds in her hand. "People like to grow something that's got a bit of history behind it," she says. "A lot of the varieties in our collection have got wonderful stories; they relate to a particular place, or they taste a bit like the tomatoes their grandfather used to grow."She shakes black and cream beans from another envelope on to her palm. Legend has it that se...
Scientists discover plastic-eating microbe

Scientists discover plastic-eating microbe

Science
March 27 (UPI) -- Scientists in Germany have identified a new strain of bacteria that breaks down the chemical building blocks of polyurethane, or PU, a polymer used to make a variety of plastic materials. In effect, the bacteria eats plastic's essential compounds. Researchers detailed their discovery this week in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. "The bacteria can use these compounds as a sole source of carbon, nitrogen and energy," study co-author Hermann J. Heipieper, senior scientist at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research-UFZ in Leipzig, Germany and co-author of the new paper, said in a press release. "This finding represents an important step in being able to reuse hard-to-recycle PU products." Polyurethane is used in everything from construction materials and footw...
Study: Cognitive ability is a whole-brain phenomenon

Study: Cognitive ability is a whole-brain phenomenon

Science
March 27 (UPI) -- New research suggests intelligence, or general cognitive ability, can't be traced to a single region of the brain. According to an international team of neuroscientists, cognitive intelligence is a whole-brain phenomenon. For the study, researchers used diffusion tensor imaging to study whether small variations in the the neural wiring systems of test subjects could account for differences in IQ. The international survey involved the brain scans and IQ tests of 1,717 participants from all over the world, including healthy subjects and patients with schizophrenia. Scientists at the National University of Ireland Galway used novel statistical methods to synchronize and analyze the data collected by participating researchers. "To date, this is the largest meta-analysis stu...