Tag Archives: Asteroids

Science: Research Salary Survey, Jumping Spiders, NASA Smashing Asteroids

The Nature salary and satisfaction survey reveals researchers’ outlook, and NASA’s test of planetary defenses.

In this episode:

00:45 Salary and satisfaction survey

Like all aspects of life, scientific careers have been impacted by the pandemic. To get an insight into how researchers are feeling, Nature has conducted a salary and satisfaction survey. We hear from some of the respondents.

Careers Feature: Stagnating salaries present hurdles to career satisfaction

09:07 Research Highlights

The physics of a finger snap, and the surprisingly strong silk of jumping spiders.

Research Highlight: It’s a snap: the friction-based physics behind a common gesture

Research Highlight: High-speed spinning yields some of the toughest spider silk ever found

11:23 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the plans to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid, and how baby formula is changing to better resemble breast milk.

Nature News: NASA spacecraft will slam into asteroid in first planetary-defence test

Chemistry World: The science of breast milk and baby formula

Technology: NASA Targets Asteroid With Spacecraft

NASA introduced the space agency’s first planetary defense test mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART, a spacecraft they plan to launch later this month on a mission to crash into an asteroid.

Space Ventures: Asteroids As Source Of Precious Metals & Elements (Video)

Mining on asteroids sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but it could soon become a reality. Nations and powerful corporations already have plans for such ventures and are hard at work staking their claim to resources from space. How can economic growth continue unfettered once all the earth’s resources have been consumed?

Major companies and governments have long been working on plans to exploit the resources to be found in the vastness of space. How far are humans from achieving this? This documentary examines the technological requirements of space mining. It also assesses how great the desire is to find new sources of raw materials. The film touches on scientific and fundamental societal issues – including humanity’s craving for new territories and our degradation of the Earth as we attempt to exploit all our planet has to offer.

2021: Five Major Stories Shaping The World (Video)

The World in 2021 will start to look beyond covid-19: to the launch of an asteroid-smashing space probe, the next step in the fight against climate change and China’s supremacy at the box office. Here are five stories to watch out for.

Video timeline: 00:00 – Top five stories for 2021 00:39 – Democracy under threat 04:17 – The electric revolution revs up 06:55 – A chance to turn a corner on climate change 10:39 – China v Hollywood: battle of the box offices 14:40 – Defending the planet

Science Podcast: Shallow Pool Origins For Life On Earth, ‘Covidization’

How water chemistry is shifting researchers’ thoughts on where life might have arisen, and a new model to tackle climate change equitably and economically.

In this episode:

00:46 A shallow start to life on Earth?

It’s long been thought that life on Earth first appeared in the oceans. However, the chemical complexities involved in creating biopolymers in water has led some scientists to speculate that shallow pools on land were actually the most likely location for early life.

News Feature: How the first life on Earth survived its biggest threat — water

07:44 Coronapod

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively shifted the scientific landscape, changing research and funding priorities across the world. While this shift was necessary for the development of things like vaccines, there are concerns that the ‘covidization’ of research could have long-term impacts on other areas of research.

News: Scientists fear that ‘covidization’ is distorting research

20:45 Research Highlights

The Hayabusa2 mission successfully delivers a tiny cargo of asteroid material back to Earth, and a team in China claims to have made the first definitive demonstration of computational ‘quantum advantage’.

Nature News: Physicists in China challenge Google’s ‘quantum advantage’

22:38 Calculating carbon

Limiting carbon emissions is essential to tackling climate change. However, working out how to do this in a way that is fair to nations worldwide is notoriously difficult. Now, researchers have developed a model that gives some surprising insights in how to equitably limit carbon.

Research Article: Bauer et al.

News and Views: Trade-offs for equitable climate policy assessed

29:08 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, bioluminescent Australian animals, and the collapse of the Arecibo telescope.

World News Podcast: Russian Covid-19 Vaccine, Japanese Asteroid Samples

Radio News 24/7 reports: Russia rolls out its Sputnik vaccine, a 6-year Japanese space mission returns sample from an asteroid, and other top world news.

Space: The Struggle To Detect ‘Asteroid Impacts’

Stephen Hawking thought an asteroid impact posed the greatest threat to life on Earth.

Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although  asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets. Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the sun. Although asteroids orbit the sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets.

Science Podcast: Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine Review, Bacteria On Asteroids

Scientists this week announced hopeful results in two of the big COVID-19 vaccination trials. Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford, describes some of the methodology used, what the efficacy statistic means, and how the novel approach of inserting mRNA rather than deactivated virus parts, is so exciting. 

Prof Charles Cockell has been investigating how bacteria might be grown in space on lumps of asteroid to extract precious minerals, and as Kim McAllister reports, his lab is itself in orbit. And it is just a few weeks since the UK, and several other countries, signed up to a set of bilateral agreements with the US called the Artemis Accords. These are an attempt to update previous outer space treaties on how countries – and indeed companies – might mine and use resources in space, given that no-one can currently legally claim sovereignty. As Dr Thomas Cheney of the Open University and Prof Jill Stuart of the LSE describe, the Accords have been greeted in certain quarters with some discord.