Japan aims for the heart of an asteroid

first_imgJapan today successfully launched Hayabusa 2, a spacecraft that if all goes well will return to Earth in 2020 carrying samples, including, for the first time, material from beneath the weathered surface of an asteroid.Less than 2 hours after a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency H-IIA rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 1:22 p.m. local time, Hayabusa 2, developed by the agency’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, separated from the rocket’s second stage and embarked on its planned 6-year round trip to asteroid 1999 JU3. The probe will collect data while circling the asteroid, deploy several small landers, and briefly touch down to collect surface samples. Then, in the most audacious gambit of the mission, Hayabusa 2 will release an impactor that will blast a crater into the asteroid. The spacecraft will then touch down a second time and capture ejecta. Comparing samples from the surface and from underground will give scientists a better idea of the original material of this asteroid type and how space weathers it.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The Hayabusa 2 team hopes their probe will have a far less eventful voyage than its predecessor. Before and after touching down on the asteroid Itokawa in 2005, the first Hayabusa had to overcome fuel leaks, multiple equipment failures, and a weeks-long loss of communications that had mission managers worried the craft was lost. But in 2010, after a 7-year, 6-billion-kilometer space odyssey, Hayabusa set an historic first: It brought samples from the surface of an asteroid back to Earth. Combining the findings of the Hayabusa missions, which target different asteroid types, and those of a European spacecraft’s recent visit to a comet promises to sharpen our understanding of the early solar system and which of its varied bodies might have seeded our planet with water and organic compounds.last_img read more

New discovery may lead to targeted treatment for copper metabolism disorders

first_imgJul 31 2018Individuals with defects in copper metabolism may soon have more targeted treatment options thanks to a discovery by a research team led by Dr. Vishal Gohil of Texas A&M AgriLife Research in College Station.A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/17/1806296115 reports that an investigational anticancer-drug, elesclomol, can restore the production of cytochrome oxidase protein complex, a critical copper-dependent enzyme required for mitochondrial energy production.The discovery is vital since copper is an essential trace metal necessary for survival. Copper is found in all body tissues and plays a critical role in a variety of physiological processes, including energy production, detoxification of harmful free radicals, connective tissue maturation, neurotransmitter biosynthesis and brain development.Copper metabolism deficiencies have been linked to genetic disorders such as Menkes disease, which affects infants and young children and results in deterioration of the nervous system and failure to fully develop.The research was led by Gohil, an associate professor in the department of biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M University in College Station, and his graduate student, Shivatheja Soma, who worked collaboratively with scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory, the University of Maryland, the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences in South Carolina.”Copper is an essential micronutrient required for mitochondrial energy production,” Gohil said. “Inherited mutations that prevent copper delivery to a key mitochondrial enzyme perturb energy production and result in fatal mitochondrial disease. Currently, no therapy exists for these disorders.”Related StoriesUsing NMR to Study Protein Structure, Dynamics and MechanismsNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryHeat from nanoparticles zaps cancer cells from insideGohil said a prior attempt to treat patients with these mutations by direct copper supplementation was not successful, possibly because of inefficient copper delivery to the mitochondria.”Through a targeted search for copper-binding compounds, we identified elesclomol, an investigational anti-cancer drug, as the most efficient copper delivery agent,” he said.The study utilized multiple model organisms to test the efficacy of elesclomol in rescuing copper deficiency. In particular, a zebrafish model of copper deficiency developed by Dr. Andrew Latimer, a research scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, was vital in showing the efficacy of elesclomol in a vertebrate animal. Additionally, the authors directly demonstrated the therapeutic potential of elesclomol in human patient cells with genetic mutations that impair copper delivery to cytochrome oxidase.The research involved testing several copper-binding pharmacological agents for their ability to restore mitochondrial function in a yeast model. Among these compounds, they found elesclomol was unique in that it was efficacious at low nanomolar concentrations without exhibiting overt toxicity at higher concentrations.According to the scientists, these findings reveal that elesclomol can mimic the missing transporters of copper, which provide the potential opportunity to treat human disorders of copper metabolism.”Elesclomol has undergone multiple human clinical trials, thus our findings offer an exciting possibility of repurposing this anti-cancer drug for the treatment of copper metabolism disorders,” Gohil said. Source:https://agrilife.org/last_img read more