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On one of my recent safari’s through the internet jungle, I came across a remarkable little creature. It’s a small (maximum diameter about 4.5 millimeters) bell-shaped jellyfish, with a number of tentacles ranging from 8 in young specimens to 90 in adult ones.

It’s name is Turritopsis nutricula (see figure 1), and it can actually age backwards. A cnidarian Benjamin Button, as it were.


Figure 1: The immortal jellyfish, T. nutricula.

(Source: zmescience)


We all remember the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit Japan (see figure 1) and caused major troubles in the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was severely damaged. Problems with containing radiation followed, leading to the pumping of huge amounts of seawater into the reactor, in an attempt to cool it down.


earthquake observed in Japan

Mimicry can often be observed in nature, and several types can be discerned. One of these types is known as Müllerian mimicry (named after the German zoologist Johann Friedrich Theodor Müller), or when two or more harmful species copy each other’s warning signals. This type of mimicry is well-known among unpalatable butterflies.

The question,  however, is, how do they do this?

: a book      
Location: high shelf, exact location unknown
Agent: Swarmanoid, robot swarm consisting out of three types of robot.
Mission: Impossible?

A new cancer therapy has been recently described in the New England Journal of Medicine, and Science Translational Medicine. The therapy is based on the idea that T cells, the frontline fighters of the human immune system are quite good at their job, which is recognizing intruding cells and starting a cascade of events that will eventually lead to their demise. So, engineering these cells to recognize cancer cells could be a good start in the fight against cancer.

This, however proved to be quite difficult.

Components of DNA have been found in several meteorites ever since the 1960’s, but the question that continually lingered was whether these components were actually made in space, or rather the result of terrestrial contamination. Now, NASA-funded researchers present three lines of evidence that should support the notion that these DNA building blocks were made in space (see figure 1).


Figure 1: DNA blocks made in space?

(Source: NASA)


So, can the building blocks of life be made inside meteorites?