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Tag: formation

New Horizons spacecraft ‘alters theory of planet formation’

New Horizons spacecraft ‘alters theory of planet formation’

Science
Scientists say they have "decisively" overturned the prevailing theory for how planets in our Solar System formed.The established view is that material violently crashed together to form ever larger clumps until they became worlds.New results suggest the process was less catastrophic - with matter gently clumping together instead.The study appears in Science journal and has been presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Seattle.The study's lead researcher, Dr Alan Stern, said that the discovery was of "stupendous magnitude". "There was the prevailing theory from the late 1960s of violent collisions and a more recent emerging theory o...
Scientists observe formation of individual viruses, a first

Scientists observe formation of individual viruses, a first

Science
Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Scientists have captured images of individual viruses forming, gaining insights into the mechanics of viral assembly. "Structural biology has been able to resolve the structure of viruses with amazing resolution, down to every atom in every protein," Vinothan Manoharan, a professor of physics and chemical engineering at the Harvard University, said in a news release. "But we still didn't know how that structure assembles itself. Our technique gives the first window into how viruses assemble and reveals the kinetics and pathways in quantitative detail." For the study, Manoharan and his research partners focused on the bacteriophage MS2, a virus that infects E. coli bacteria. MS2 is a single-stranded RNA viruses, the most abundant type of virus on Earth, and the type respon...
Study details the physics of proto-stellar disk formation

Study details the physics of proto-stellar disk formation

Science
Sept. 6 (UPI) -- In studying the movements of a trio of protostars in the Perseus molecular cloud, astronomers have gained new insights into the physical conditions that enable the formation of proto-stellar disks. The basic roadmap for the formation of stellar and planetary systems is well established. Over time, gas and dust in interstellar space coalesce. Eventually, the dense cloud of material collapses under its own gravity. A stellar core forms and, thanks to the conservation of angular momentum, a proto-stellar disk forms. After roughly 100,000 years or more, the star gets dense enough to ignite nuclear fusion. Shortly afterwards, planets form from the proto-stellar disk. But questions remain. The details of how angular momentum enables proto-stellar disk formation remains poorly ...
Study reveals key mechanism in formation of spider silk

Study reveals key mechanism in formation of spider silk

Science
May 29 (UPI) -- A team of scientists has discovered a previously unidentified structural component key to the formation of spider silk and its extraordinary strength. Prized for its strength and flexibility, material scientists have long tried to produce synthetic analogs for spider silk. The results of previous efforts, however, have been mixed. Studies have shown the importance of beta sheets, or beta strands, the secondary structure in spider silk proteins, but scientists have struggled to understand how these strength-giving structures form. The transformation from soluble proteins to crystalized silk happens fast, making it difficult to study the proteins' structures. In order to gain new insights into the formation process, scientists at Japan's RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resourc...
Rising temperatures enabled peatland formation at the end of the last ice age

Rising temperatures enabled peatland formation at the end of the last ice age

Science
April 16 (UPI) -- New research suggests periods of global warming during the last ice age encouraged the formation of peatlands.Researchers began by designing a computer model to simulate local climate patterns during the last 26,000 years. The last ice age reached its glacial maximum between 26,000 and 22,000 years ago, after which glaciers began to retreat.Scientists also created a timeline of peatland formation using radiocarbon dating peat samples collected in North America, northern Europe and Patagonia. When they compared their timeline with their model's simulations, they found higher local summer temperatures, not increased rainfall, accurately predicted peatland formation."This work helps explain the genesis of one of the world's most important ecosystem types and its potentially ...