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Japan has successfully launched a new navigation satellite into orbit that will replace its decade-old navigation satellite.
The satellite, QZS-1R, was launched onboard an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 10.19 p.m. on Monday night, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement.
The company builds and operates H-2A rockets the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
QZS-1R is a replacement for Quasi-Zenith Satellite System 1 satellite first launched in 2010. “It was a really beautiful launch," the company said in a tweet after a successful lift-off.
"H-IIA F44 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 28 minutes 6 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload separated from the launch vehicle," the statement said.
The official QZSS website lists four satellites in the constellation: QZS-1, QZS-2, QZS-3 and QZS-4, Space.com reported.
The QZSS constellation will eventually consist of a total of seven satellites that fly in an orbit passing through a near-zenith (or directly overhead) above Japan, and QZS-R1 is meant to share nearly the same transmission signals as recent GPS satellites, according to JAXA.
It is specially optimised for mountainous and urban regions in Japan, JAXA said.
Mitsubishi's H-2A 202 rocket launch system has been operational since 2003 and has sent satellites to locations such as Venus (Akatsuki) and Mars (Emirates Mars Mission).
The latest H2-A rocket launch is the first since November 29, 2020, when Japan launched an advanced relay satellite with laser communications tech into orbit, the report said. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Science, Space Satellite, Communications, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, satellite QZS-1R
Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.
Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.
Surgeons attached the pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days. The kidney did what it was supposed to do — filter waste and produce urine — and didn't trigger rejection.
"It had absolutely normal function," said Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the surgical team last month at NYU Langone Health in New York. "It didn't have this immediate rejection that we have worried about."
This research is "a significant step," said Dr. Andrew Adams of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who was not part of the work. It will reassure patients, researchers and regulators "that we're moving in the right direction."
The dream of animal-to-human transplants, or xenotransplantation, dates to the 17th century with stumbling attempts to use animal blood for transfusions. By the 20th century, surgeons were attempting transplants of organs from baboons into humans, notably Baby Fae, a dying infant, who lived 21 days with a baboon heart.
With no lasting success and much public uproar, scientists turned from primates to pigs, tinkering with their genes to bridge the species gap.
Pigs have advantages over monkeys and apes. They are produced for food, so using them for organs raises fewer ethical concerns. Pigs have large litters, short gestation periods and organs comparable to those of humans.
Pig heart valves also have been used successfully for decades in humans. The blood thinner heparin is derived from pig intestines. Pig skin grafts are used on burns, and Chinese surgeons have used pig corneas to restore sight.
Kidney ready for transplantation from a live donor Image credit: wikimedia commons
In the NYU case, researchers kept a deceased woman's body on a ventilator after her family agreed to the experiment. The woman had wished to donate her organs, but they weren't suitable for traditional donation.
'Good could come from this'
The family felt "there was a possibility that some good could come from this gift," Montgomery said.
Montgomery himself received a transplant three years ago, a human heart from a donor with hepatitis C because he was willing to take any organ.
"I was one of those people lying in an ICU waiting and not knowing whether an organ was going to come in time," he said.
Several biotech companies are in the running to develop suitable pig organs for transplant to help ease the human organ shortage. More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for kidney transplants. Every day, 12 die while waiting.
The advance is a win for Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, the company that engineered the pig and its cousins, a herd of 100 raised in tightly controlled conditions at a facility in Iowa.
The pigs lack a gene that produces alpha-gal, the sugar that provokes an immediate attack from the human immune system.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved the gene alteration in the Revivicor pigs as safe for human food consumption and medicine.
But the FDA said developers would need to submit more paperwork before pig organs could be transplanted into living humans.
"This is an important step forward in realizing the promise of xenotransplantation, which will save thousands of lives each year in the not-too-distant future," said United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt in a statement.
Experts say tests on nonhuman primates and last month's experiment with a human body pave the way for the first experimental pig kidney or heart transplants in living people in the next several years.
Raising pigs to be organ donors feels wrong to some people, but it may grow more acceptable if concerns about animal welfare can be addressed, said Karen Maschke, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, who will help develop ethics and policy recommendations for the first clinical trials under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"The other issue is going to be: Should we be doing this just because we can?" Maschke said. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Transplant, Pig, Human, Kidney, FDA
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Actor R. Madhavan lends his voice for the upcoming science documentary titled 'India's Space Odyssey' that captures the landmark endeavours achieved during India's space programme which helps understand the tough circumstances under which ISRO succeeded, a victory considered impossible by some around the world.
Talking about the show, Madhavan said, "Curiosity has brought humans to where we are today, and it will continue to do so. I thank Discovery India for this wonderful learning opportunity, and I feel honoured to have lent my voice to a project that could inspire future generations to embark on their quest to explore space".
Produced by Miditech Studios, 'India's Space Odyssey' features different experts from ISRO as well as space historians and researchers and most notably, the former Chairman of ISRO, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair.
The journey was commenced by Dr. Homi J. Bhabha and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai on India's quest to become a leader in space exploration and pioneering space technology.
"The Indian space programme since its inception has achieved significant feats, thanks to the contributions of all the people who have worked alongside the programme. We are delighted that a platform like Discovery has been taking these initiatives to the people in an attempt to encourage and inspire them," said Dr. K. Sivan, Chairman ISRO, Secretary DOS.
Using a combination of expert interviews, archive footage and graphic representations this special documentary captures the journey so far and further highlights India's most revolutionary space developments with the highly complex Chandraayan and Mangalyaan missions.
"We focus on exploring content that will give the audience an enriching and inspiring experience. We believe 'India's Space Odyssey' will delight Discovery fans and draw in all the space enthusiasts from across the country who are looking to satisfy their curiosity," said Sai Abhishek, Original Content Head, South Asia, Discovery Inc. IANS/JB
The documentary is premiering on October 7 on discovery+.
Keywords: Science, India, ISRO, Madhavan, Technology.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Wednesday awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to two scientists for their work - independently – in developing a new way of building molecules, a process with applications throughout industry.
Speaking in Stockholm, academy Secretary General Goran Hansson said chemists Benjamin List of Germany's Max Planck Institute and David MacMillan of Princeton University will split this year's prize.
In presenting the award, the academy explained the two chemists developed new, organic catalysts to help build molecules.
Catalysts are substances that control and accelerate chemical reactions, without becoming part of the final product, and are essential to constructing molecules for research and industry.
The academy said previously, it was believed there were just two types of catalysts available: metals and enzymes. But over the last 20 years, List and MacMillan, working independently of each other, have developed a third type of catalyst, known as asymmetric organocatalysis.
German Chemist Benjamin List also wins the Nobel Prize for chemistry for finding an "ingenious" and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make everything from medicines to food flavorings. Source: voa
In the words of the academy, "Organic catalysts have a stable framework of carbon atoms, to which more active chemical groups can attach. These often contain common elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur or phosphorus. This means that these catalysts are both environmentally friendly and cheap to produce."
Using these reactions, researchers can build molecules that can form elastic and durable materials, store energy in batteries or inhibit the progression of disease.
The Nobel Prizes for medicine and physics were awarded earlier this week. The prizes for literature, peace and economics to be awarded over the next week. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Nobel Prize, Chemistry, Academy, Catalysts
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