A new discovery on Mars could change future missions

businessinsider.com – Researchers now say it's highly likely that extreme temperature changes on Mars trigger snow storms at night on the planet's surface.

Source: Aymeric Spiga, et al. Snow precipitation on Mars driven by cloud-induced night-time convection. Nature Geoscience, 2017.

Now There’s a VR Rig for Lab Animals

technologyreview.com – How do you study the way zebrafish translate visual cues into movement, or whether mice are afraid of heights?

Source: John R Stowers, et al. Virtual reality for freely moving animals. Nature Methods, 2017.

No coding experience needed! MIT’s robot-building software is foolproof

digitaltrends.com – Researchers from MIT developed software called “Interactive Robogami,” allowing users to quickly design and 3D print robots.

Source: Adriana Schulz, et al. Interactive robogami: An end-to-end system for design of robots with ground locomotion. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 2017.

MUSE Observations of ‘Jellyfish’ Galaxies Reveal New Way to Fuel Supermassive Black Holes

sci-news.com – An international research team, led by Dr. Bianca Poggianti of the INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova, has used the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope to study how gas can be stripped from so-called ‘jellyfish’ galaxies -- galaxies with long ‘tentacles’ of material that extend for dozens of thousands of light-years beyond their galactic disks.

Source: Bianca M. Poggianti, et al. Ram-pressure feeding of supermassive black holes. Nature, 2017.

New Evidence for That Huge Dinosaur Family Tree Rewrite

discovermagazine.com – Researchers follow up a controversial paper rewriting the dinosaur family tree with a reanalysis of an unusual South American dinosaur.

Source: Matthew G. Baron, Paul M. Barrett. A dinosaur missing-link? Chilesaurus and the early evolution of ornithischian dinosaurs. Biology Letters, 2017.

Cryptographers and Geneticists Unite to Analyze Genomes They Can't See

sciam.com – Computer-security methods could help scientists identify disease-causing genes—while preserving patient privacy

Source: Karthik A. Jagadeesh, David J. Wu, Johannes A. Birgmeier, Dan Boneh, Gill Bejerano. Deriving genomic diagnoses without revealing patient genomes. Science, 2017.

Sugars in Breast Milk Kill Pathogenic Bacteria: Study

the-scientist.com – Oligosaccharides from one mom wiped out a Group B Strep colony in culture.

Source: Dorothy L. Ackerman, et al. Human Milk Oligosaccharides Exhibit Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Properties against Group B Streptococcus. ACS Infectious Diseases, 2017.

Giant Plankton May Help Move Plastic Pollution to Sea Floor

the-scientist.com – Researchers show that pinkie-size marine organisms can ingest and poop out microplastics, potentially transporting them to the depths.

Source: Kakani Katija, C. Anela Choy, Rob E. Sherlock, Alana D. Sherman, Bruce H. Robison. From the surface to the seafloor: How giant larvaceans transport microplastics into the deep sea. Science Advances, 2017.

Gene that makes large, plump tomatoes identified

sciencedaily.com – Farmers can grow big, juicy tomatoes thanks to a mutation in the cell size regulator gene that occurred during the tomato domestication process.

Source: Qi Mu, et al. Fruit weight is controlled by Cell Size Regulator encoding a novel protein that is expressed in maturing tomato fruits. PLOS Genetics, 2017.