Fresh, dense asteroid (New Scientist)
Most asteroids, we think, are cosmic shrapnel, having gone through many collisions in a checkered past. They are flying rock piles. But the asteroid 21 Lutetia looks different, in a fly-by of the Rosetta space probe. It’s not a pile, but a solid unit. Instead of having been battered, it’s melted and fused. It appears to be denser than granite. This makes astronomers suspect that it has remained unchanged since its formation in the early days of the Solar System.
Extreme planets – McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
The planetarium now features a show on the more spectacular planets discovered beyond the Solar System.
Python heart-building (Science Daily, Science News)
Pythons, like most snakes, lie around for months, waiting for something to wander into striking distance. Then they have this huge meal to digest (if they’re lucky). Those of us used to daily meals don’t consider digestion a work-out, but it is if you only do it once a month. It turns out that the python rises to the challenge by growing a bigger heart. The heart shrinks again when the python goes back to fasting.
Researchers at University of Colorado Boulder have isolated the mix of fatty acids that stimulates this heart growth. It also works in mice. The obvious place to go with this is stimulating damaged human hearts to heal.
Aging bacteria (Science Daily)
We assume that bacteria never age. But why not? Part of aging, biologists believe, is protein molecules getting oxidized and damaged, and that should happen to bacteria just as much as to the rest of us. It appears that bacteria can unload the damage. After so many divisions, when the damage has accumulated, the bacterial cell divides and hands off most of the damaged material to one unlucky child, leaving the other rejuvenated, free to start the reproductive cycle afresh.
I wonder if that is how other one-celled organisms do it?