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A look inside Mars

A look inside Mars

Science
The InSight mission, launched today from California's Vandenburg Air Force Base, is now on a six-month cruise to Mars. It is expected to arrive in November, but what will it find?Mars may appear to be getting crowded, thanks to its growing robotic population, so why send another lander?Illustrator and planetary scientist James Tuttle Keane takes us inside the Red Planet to explain why InSight is such a unique mission.Nasa probe blasts off to study Mars quakesMars mission: ready to rumbleSet to land in Elysium Planitia, InSight will take up residence just north of the boundary between Mars' older, cratered southern highlands and northern lowland plains. Also in the neighbourhood, not far to the south, is Gale Crater, where the Curiosity rover is currently exploring. Once landed, InSight wil...
InSight probe to survey Mars for secrets inside the planet

InSight probe to survey Mars for secrets inside the planet

Science
May 4 (UPI) -- As NASA's Insight probe begins its trip to Mars on Saturday, the spacecraft is tasked with studying Mars' insides. But the probe's observations could offer insights into the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth."As a smaller planet, Mars' interior convection has slowed dramatically or stopped entirely," Elizabeth Barrett, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told UPI this week. "Thus, Mars' frozen interior preserves a snapshot of the past of the core, mantle and crust."Barrett is coordinating surface operations for the mission's science and instrument teams."By studying Mars we can learn about the formation of Earth itself," she said. "Eventually Earth's convection will slow, so the InSight mission can help us predict what the f...
Scientists capture video of cells as they function inside organisms

Scientists capture video of cells as they function inside organisms

Science
April 20 (UPI) -- Scientists have adapted an optics technique used by astronomers to render biological processes at both the cellular and sub-cellular level in unprecedented detail.Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School worked together to build a next-generation microscope powered by "guide star" technology."For the first time, we are seeing life itself at all levels inside whole, living organisms," Tom Kirchhausen, a professor of cell biology and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital, said in a news release.The new microscope can be used to study almost any biological process or system in any kind of living organism. Scientists can use the microscope to render 3D images of a ra...
Miniature human brain implants survive, grow inside mice for months

Miniature human brain implants survive, grow inside mice for months

Science
April 16 (UPI) -- Miniature human brains, or human brain organoids, can survive and grow after being implanted in the skulls of mice. It's the first time human cerebral organoids have been installed inside another species.Researchers describe the breakthrough in a new paper published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.Scientists grew the pea-sized brains from stem cells and then placed them inside the skulls of mice. Researchers removed a small amount of tissue to make room for the miniature brains. Tiny, transparent windows in the skulls of the test mice allowed scientists to keep tabs on the brain implants -- the organoids were also designed to express a green fluorescent protein, causing them to glow inside the mice skulls.Roughly 80 percent of the implants were successfully rec...