Latest research news

August 27, 2003

Nasa launches Universe probe
A $2 billion (£1. billion) space observatory that can study the early history of the universe has been launched by the US space agency, Nasa. The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SITF) will detect infrared energy emitted from stars, galaxies and planets. Astronomers will be able to study distant objects hidden by gas and dust that cannot be detected with visible light telescopes.

All eyes on red planet
Mars is sneaking up on us this week. On August the red planet will be less than 56 million kilometres from Earth, the closest it's been for 60,000 years. Training even a cheap telescope on Mars will reveal a clear view of the planet's surface.

Babies give scientists an object lesson in early learning
Babies could start winning spot-the-ball competitions at the age of six months, according to research released today. Scott Johnson of New York University reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that babies learn to follow objects with their eyes at between four and six months old. They even work out where the objects are going to end up when they go out of view.
(The Guardian)

Yeast in red wine yields the secret of a long life
Red wine may hold the secret of long life. Scientists have discovered an ingredient in the drink that extends the life-span of baker's yeast by up to 80 per cent. Laboratory experiments show the molecule also has an effect on human cells, making them much more resilient to radiation. The research raises the possibility of developing drugs that lengthen life and prevent the diseases of old age.
(Independent, New Scientist)

Heatwave's warning for future of farming
Europe may be breathing a sigh of relief as its record-breaking heatwave eases, but there is still plenty to worry about. Temperature changes caused by global warming are likely to transform agriculture on both sides of the Atlantic.
(New Scientist)

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