The newspaper of La Pampa

The impressive crystals of time, the plan to make Mars habitable and the dream of “artificial life”.

1 – The Incredible Time Crystals

A team of scientists announced the creation of the first time crystals in an article published in Nature. His works have nothing to do with journeys into the future or past, but into a new phase of matter in which the atoms move in a repeating pattern, not in space as in normal crystals, but in time. This research could open a new branch of physics and little by little, more and more studies will lead us into this hitherto unknown world. It’s still too early to think about possible applications, but it seems that these time crystals could be useful to store or transmit information in future quantum computers.

2 – The plan to make Mars habitable

The idea sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. NASA presented a proposal to make Mars a habitable planet similar to ours at a meeting of the space agency’s Planetary Sciences Division. The plan would be to place a magnetic shield on the red planet to “naturally” restore its atmosphere. If this worked, future Mars would be much more Earth-like and would have water flowing over its surface. The solution is to place a magnetic dipole shield at Mars’ L1 Lagrange point (a point in space between the planet and the Sun where an object could become stationary). For now, the idea is “fantastic,” but in the future it’s possible that multiple inflatable structures could create a powerful magnetic shield that can counteract the solar wind.

3 – The dream of artificial life

A major international consortium of scientists has published seven articles in the prestigious journal Science that will mark a before-and-after race in the race to design living beings on demand. Researchers have managed to create artificial variants of 30 percent of baker’s yeast genetic material, a major step forward in the quest to synthesize the first complex cell whose genes were designed entirely by humans. There is still a long way to go, but achieving it in the future will have many applications, such as manufacturing medicines or breaking down pollutants, it will also greatly expand the knowledge of living things genetics, and eventually usher in a new era of science as defended by the scientists involved.

4 – Neanderthals took “aspirin”

In the journal Nature, the researchers revealed previously unpublished aspects of the life of the Neanderthals, the intelligent human ‘other species’ who disappeared from Europe shortly after the arrival of the first modern humans, our direct ancestors. The work showed that Neanderthals were much better able to adapt to their environment than previously thought and that they mastered a range of medicinal plants, which they used with ease to cure diseases and ailments. These include the fungus Penicillium and poplar bark, which contains the active ingredient of modern aspirin. These novelties were discovered because, for the first time, it was possible to analyze the DNA contained in the tartar deposits of these Neanderthals.

5 – Have a super memory in 40 days

It looks like an ad for a miracle pill, but it’s not. Memorizing lists of dozens of words is not an extraordinary skill of a few brainstorms, researchers at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, Netherlands, published in the journal Neuron. After 40 days of half-hour daily training using a special technique called loci, which involves relating words to familiar places, people with what can be described as normal memory double their ability to retain data. For example, if they memorize 26 words from a list of 72 words, they remember 62. And the benefits are long-lasting because four months later, with no further training, their ability is still high.

6 – The coldest place in the universe

They say it will be colder than in space. NASA announced that it will try to create the coldest place in the universe directly on board the International Space Station (ISS). In August, it will ship a refrigerator-sized box called the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL). There, a laser will freeze gas atoms to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, more than 100 million times colder than deep space. These experiments, which will be attended by Nobel laureate Eric Cornell, one of the “fathers” of the Bose-Einstein condensates (a rare state of matter), will contribute to the development of technologies such as sensors, quantum computers and atomic clocks, and may shed light on the matter about the mysterious and elusive dark energy.

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