February 2005 in science

February 2005 in science

__NOTOC__February 2005 : - January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December -

February 27 2005

*GIMPS proves that 225964951-1 is a Mersenne prime. At 7816230 digits this will be the largest proven prime until January 2006. [http://mersenne.org/25964951.htm (Mersenne.org)]

February 24 2005

*A fossilized foot of the carnivorous dinosaur "Neuquenraptor argentinus", has been uncovered in Argentina. This species belongs to the Dromaeosauridae along with the Velociraptor, this grouping of raptors was previously thought to have only been present in the Northern hemisphere. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4292523.stm (BBC)]

February 23 2005

*Astronomers of a team led by Cardiff University, UK, have discovered an object VIRGOHI21 that appears to be an invisible galaxy made almost entirely of dark matter. This star-less galaxy is the first such object to be detected, using radio telescopes in England and Puerto Rico. It lies 50 million light-years away. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/4288633.stm Astronomers find star-less galaxy (BBC News)]
*The Finnish security company F-Secure raises an alarm after Cabir, the first cell phone virus is spotted on two cell phones in a Santa Monica store. [http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/1725.html (EarthTimes)] [http://www.kntimes.com/035/insider035-more-mobile+phone+troubles-knc-9-kni-851.html (Khalsa)]
*A bacterium called "Carnobacterium pleistocenium" has been recovered from permafrost in Alaska. Believed to have been frozen since the Pleistocene, they came back to life when once they had been thawed, however they were shown to divide slowly and produce carbon dioxide and methane while frozen. This raises hopes of finding bacteria in the recently discovered frozen seas on Mars. [http://edition.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/02/23/bacterium.defrost.reut/ (CNN)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4287579.stm (BBC)]
*Living bacteria from 400 metres below the seafloor in 16 million year old sediment have been discovered. The researchers propose that 70% of the world's microorganisms could live in ocean sediment and could produce significant amounts of methane by their anaerobic metabolism. [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050221/full/050221-11.html (Nature)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4291571.stm (BBC)]
*The European Space Agency announces the March 4 Earth flyby of the Rosetta spacecraft to the public. It is expected to be visible with binoculars or other amateur instruments. Sky watchers everywhere are invited to submit their photos of Rosetta passing Earth to ESA. [http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/rosetta_earthflyby_050225.html (space.com)] [http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMMTBYEM4E_Expanding_0.html (ESA)]

February 22 2005

*Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have cultured the hepatitis C virus for the first time. The ability to replicate the virus in culture will allow for a more complete study of the virus life cycle, testing of antiviral compounds and may led to new treatment for liver disease caused by the virus. [http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-02/niod-srh022205.php (EurekAlert!)]

February 21 2005

*Photos taken by the European Space Agency's Mars Express have revealed the presence of a huge, frozen sea laying just below the surface of Mars. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4285119.stm (BBC)] [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/22/tech/main675559.shtml (CBS)] [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050222.wmarz0222/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/ (Globe and Mail)]
*Researchers at the Los Alamos lab have developed a fast nuclear materials detector. [http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2005-02-21-fast-rad-reader_x.htm (USA Today)]
*A United Nations legal committee approves a ban on all human cloning, the non-binding measure will go to a vote in the General Assembly. [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050221/full/050221-3.html (Nature)]

February 20 2005

*Microsoft issues a replacement offer for 14 million Xbox power cables, which were recalled after minor burns were reported by users. [http://www.physorg.com/weblog/news1154.html (PhysOrg)] [http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=83054 (Financial Express)] [http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1108680612774&call_pageid=970599119419 (Toronto Star)] [http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-rup18.4feb18,1,4427532.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=2&cset=true (LA Times)]
*Researchers in Australia have used a naturally occurring human virus Echovirus type 1 (EV1) to kill ovarian cancer cells in mice. They hope to start human trials within 18 months. [http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,12324488-2,00.html (NEWS.com.au)]

February 19 2005

*NASA announces that it will resume space shuttle missions in May, launching the "Discovery". This will be the first space shuttle flight since the fleet was grounded after the "Columbia" disintegrated in the atmosphere in February 2003. [http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-02-19-voa21.cfm (VOA)] [http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/02/18/space.shuttle/ (CNN)] [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7677755 (Reuters)]

February 18 2005

*In an unusual press release, NASA disputes earlier news reports from February 16 ( [http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_life_050216.html space.com] ) that researchers at the Ames Research Center have found "strong evidence that life may exist on Mars." [http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16186 (SpaceRef.com)]
*A research group has mapped single nucleotide polymorphisms from 71 individuals across the entire human genome. Patterns of genetic variation could help tailor drug therapy to particular patients. [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050214/full/050214-17.html (Nature)]

February 17 2005

*The Cassini spacecraft passes by Titan imaging a larger crater using its RADAR, and has the first close flyby of the moon Enceladus. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4267895.stm (BBC)]
*Researchers from the University of Michigan, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Delft University of Technology and unveiled robots that walk like people at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting . These robots walk by falling forward in a controlled manner, making movement very efficient compared to a robot like the Honda ASIMO; however, these new robots cannot climb stairs as ASIMO can. [http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-02/cuns-rww021105.php (EurekAlert!)] [http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2005/218/5 (Science)]

February 16 2005

*Two scientists from NASA's Ames Research Center claim to have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars. [http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_life_050216.html (space.com)]
*Two human skulls called Omo I and Omo II, first discovered in Ethiopia in 1967 by anthropologist Richard Leakey, have been shown to be at least 195 000 years old. First estimated to be 130 000 years old, the reappraisal makes these the oldest human skulls discovered, and brings the fossil record in line with the genetic estimates of "Homo sapiens" emerging 200 000 years ago. [http://www.nature.com/nature/links/050217/050217-7.html (Nature)] [http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=505193 (ABC News)]
*Researchers at Intel have developed a silicon laser that can produce a continuous beam of laser light. Such a laser is an important step on the path to creating computers that use light rather than electrical currents. [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050214/full/050214-9.html (Nature)] [http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/id;1667473951;fp;2;fpid;1 (PC World)]
*The Huygens probe has detected a ratio of carbon isotopes in Titans atmosphere that suggests that the planet is geologically active. [http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7043 (New Scientist)]

February 15 2005

*Doctors have separated fetal DNA from its mother's blood and were able to accurately identify single-gene mutations causing beta-thalassemia. The doctors hope that the technique could be applied to a range of other genetic disorders, overcoming the need for the more invasive procedure called amniocentesis. [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050214/full/050214-6.html (Nature)]
*The classification of fossil "Megarachne servinei" discovered in the 1980s and long thought to be the world's largest spider has been disproved. Arachnid expert Dr Paul Selden has identified the metre-long fossil as a sea scorpion. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/manchester/4268363.stm (BBC)]

February 14 2005

*Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, create a modified form of HIV which targets P-glycoproteins on cancer cells. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4257783.stm (BBC)]
*Scientists from the University of Michigan have restored hearing to deaf guinea pigs using gene therapy to regenerate the hair cells of the inner ear. [http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2005/214/3 (Science)]

February 12 2005

*Europe's most powerful rocket, an upgraded Ariane 5, is successfully launched for the first time. The rocket carries a Spanish military telecommunications satellite, the microsatellite SloshSat, and a dummy payload into orbit. [http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/050212_ariane5.html (Space.com)]

February 10 2005

*Australian plant biotechnology research institute the Centre for the Application of Molecular Biology to International Agriculture (CAMBIA) has found that three bacterial species outside the genus "Agrobacterium" can transfer genes to plants. The Center plans to make the bacteria freely available to researchers, "Agrobacterium"-mediated transformation is patented by a number of biotechnology companies. [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200502/s1300347.htm (ABC)]
*Taxonomists meeting at the International Conference for the Barcoding of Life have proposed that all species of plants and animals be identified using unique genetic sequences. Such a system would make identifying new species more simple and settle debate about the identity of known species. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4251309.stm (BBC)] [http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2005/210/3 (Science)]
*A jawbone from the World's oldest monotreme "Teinolophos trusleri" found in Inverloch Victoria, shows that mammals evolved the bone structure of the middle ear at least twice. Jawbone structure was thought to be a shared derived characteristics of modern mammals, this discovery hints that the common ancestor to the monotremes, marsupials and placental mammals lacked the three-bone ear structure. [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050207/full/050207-16.html (Nature)] [http://www.technewsworld.com/story/news/40537.html (TechNewsWorld.com)]

February 8 2005

*Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announce the discovery of a star moving out from the centre of the Milky Way at over 1.5 million mph: twice the galactic escape velocity. The gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole at the galaxy's centre may be the cause of the star's exodus. [http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6990 (New Scientist)] [http://www.wired.com/news/space/0,2697,66542,00.html?tw=wn_1techhead (Wired)] [http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0505.html (CfA Press Release)]
*In China, the Ministry of Agriculture announces that it has developed a vaccine against bird flu spreading to humans [http://www.newratings.com/new2/beta/article_682782.html (New Ratings)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4242299.stm (BBC)]
*Professor Ian Wilmut and King's College London scientists, have been given approval to clone early stage human embryos to study motor neurone disease (MND). This is the second time that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority of the United Kingdom has issued a therapeutic cloning licence. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4245267.stm (BBC)]

February 7 2005

*The 2006 budget of NASA shows that the agency plans to cancel or scale back some high-profile projects. The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter mission has been cancelled. Funding for Project Constellation to build a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to replace the space shuttle for travel to the Moon has been reduced, although NASA still expects that the CEV will be operational in 2014. No funding has been requested to service the Hubble Space Telescope, however funds have been requested for a deorbit mission to safely guide Hubble into the ocean once it is no longer capable of doing science. [http://www.space.com/news/nasa_budget_050207.html (Space.com)]
*Scientists working at Penn State announce the discovery of the smallest extrasolar planet, yet. It is member of a set of planets circling a pulsar. [http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16094 (Spaceref.com)]
*The National Academy of Sciences elected Ralph Cicerone as its president. [http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2005/207/2 (Science)]
*Shoes containing Insolia, Dr. Howard Dananberg's newly released component for high-heeled shoes, exceed sales of 1 million. Research suggests that the technology, whose purpose is to adjust weight distribution through the shoe's redesign to minimize the pain associated with wearing high-heeled shoes, will ameliorate the serious long-term medical repercussions of wearing high-heels. [http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=NWCNFAS.story&STORY=/www/story/02-07-2005/0002983798&EDATE=MON+Feb+07+2005,+10:21+AM (PR Newswire)] [http://alum.mit.edu/ne/noteworthy/insolia.html (MIT)]

February 4 2005

*The United States National Institutes of Health releases its plan to promote and encourage open access of most NIH-sponsored research findings as part of an effort to allow easier and freer access to recent scientific findings. [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050131/full/050131-20.html (NPG)]
* New observations from the Arecibo radio telescope confirm that asteroid 2004 MN4 (later named 99942 Apophis in July 2005), once briefly considered an impact risk, will pass Earth on April 13 2029 at a distance of 36,350 km (22,600 mi) and will reach magnitude 3.3, easily visible to the naked eye from Europe, Africa and western Asia. [http://www.space.com/spacewatch/050204_2004_mn4.html (Space.com)]

February 3 2005

*Japanese scientists have discovered single-cell organisms living in the Pacific Ocean's deepest trench, the Challenger Deep. 432 types of hard and soft walled foraminifera were found at depths where life was assumed to be scarce. [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/02/0203_050203_deepest.html (National Geographic.com)] [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050131/full/050131-13.html (Nature)]

February 2 2005

*NASA astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii have used infrared imaging to demonstrate that Saturn has a warm "polar vortex" at its south pole. Saturn is the only planet known to have a warm polar vortex. [http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/saturn-020305.html (NASA)]
*Researchers at Hewlett-Packard have developed and successfully tested the 'crossbar latch', a nanoscale transistor. They propose that the crossbar latch may replace the transistor, important for the development of nano-computing. [http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3467491 (Internetnews.com)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4226305.stm (BBC)]

February 1 2005

*Neurotransmitter kisspeptin has been shown to trigger puberty in monkeys, by eliciting the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Kisspeptin may have a similar role in humans. [http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2005/201/2 (Science)]
*By tracking the rate of cell division in Bacterium "Escherichia coli" scientists have been able to show that bacteria age, countering the common belief that bacteria are immortal. [http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050131/full/050131-6.html (Nature)]

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