(TMU) – A number of liquid bodies have been found on Mars, raising the tantalizing possibility that liquid water could exist on the Red Planet long believed to be desolate and hostile to life.
A major new study published Monday by the journal Nature Astronomy indicates that a subterranean reservoir of extremely salty water is located close to the Martian south pole. For scientists, the existence of such a lake – along with a number of other wet areas – is a tell-tale sign that the planet could harbor its own native microscopic life, given the importance of liquid water to survival.
While some researchers still remain unconvinced that liquid water exists on Mars, the new study lends credibility to the belief that the Mars Express robot orbiter made the discovery, according to tentative findings from 2018 during the mission to radar map the planet’s crust.
The research gleaned from those findings found that an underground “lake” of liquid water lies beneath layers of sediment close to the planet’s south pole, similar to the subglacial lakes that exist underneath Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets here on Earth.
The 2018 study was hailed as a huge breakthrough in the search for alien life in our universe, in general, and on Mars, specifically, but skeptics continued to question whether scientists had actually accumulated enough details to know with certainty that they had actually found a vast lake of liquid water.
However, this latest study used the techniques used by the satellites orbiting our own planet to study the massive subterranean lakes underneath Antarctic glaciers to confirm that the vast store of liquid does exist on Mars, and spans about 15 miles across.
Earth’s own subglacial lakes thrive with bacterial life, leading scientists to believe that their Martian counterparts could also be teeming with microscopic activity.
“We are much more confident now,” said Elena Pettinelli, a geophysics professor at Italy’s Roma Tre University, who led the research on this and the previous study. “We did many more observations, and we processed the data completely differently.”
The researchers were also able to use the method to locate a patchwork of other buried reservoirs in the region, separated from the main reservoir.
Researchers still don’t know precisely how deep the reservoirs go, but they are located a bit more than a mile below the surface.
The data also shows that the bodies are likely filled with hypersaline solutions, or water that is so saturated with a thick concentrate of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium that they are able to remain liquid despite the extremely cold conditions on the Martian south pole.
If these pools are filled with liquid water, they are a likely venue for microbial alien life – which itself could be the remnant of life that may have existed billions of years ago on the planet if Mars had the sort of oceanic expanses of water on its surface that the Earth does.
If the discovery is confirmed, this will be the very first time that liquid water will have been found on Mars.
Cliffhanger: Mountain Biker Saved From “Imminent Death” After Falling Into Canyon
A Southern California mountain biker is likely counting his blessings after he was rescued from what authorities describe as “imminent death”” after falling from the side of a cliff in the Angeles National Forest.
The mountain biker, described as an older man, fell into the canyon at Mt. Wilson on Thursday morning and was dangling hundreds of feet above the ground before his fellow bikers, and eventually a special team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, rescued him.
For some time the man dangled by a thin cord around his ankle that was tied to his bicycle while hanging on for dear life “like a cat,” Capt. Tom Giandomenico of the LASD special enforcement bureau told the Los Angeles Times.
“He knew he was in such a precarious situation. He was just scared to even rotate his head to look at us. He just didn’t want to move a muscle,” LASD Deputy Richard Thomsen told CBSLA.
Additionally, when the helicopter team arrived it wasn’t just a matter of simply hoisting the man to safety, as the air generated by the helicopter’s rotor would have sent the man plummeting to “imminent death,” Giandomenico added.
“Because he was head-down on the rock face there, that dropped probably a good 40 feet before it hit some soft dirt and a boulder,” Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Helbring said. “And beyond that was hundreds of feet down to the bottom of the canyon.”
Instead, one of the members of the special enforcement team composed of former SWAT officers devised a plan to rappel down to the man and move him to a ledge below, from which the two could be airlifted to safety.
However, due to a lack of boulders or trees, there was nothing to tie a rope to – and thus no way to rappel down to anything.
So instead, the special enforcement team used the man’s brother and another friend to be their anchor, a plan that ultimately succeeded.
Giandomenico called the rescue “one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen.”
“Heroic, in my opinion,” he added.
Scientists Create First-Ever Embryos With Monkey and Human Cells
For the first time, scientists have created embryos in a lab that contain the cells of both humans and monkeys.
Scientists hope that by creating chimeric embryos – embryos containing cells from two distinct species – they might be able to create organs for people who desperately need transplants.
Over 100,000 people in the United States lone are currently on a waiting list for organ transplants crucial to saving their lives, but the supply of donor organs has dropped significantly since the pandemic began unfolding.
Researchers have attempted to inject human stem cells into the embryos of pigs and sheep in recent years in hopes of growing organs for transplants, but this hasn’t yielded positive results. Scientists are hoping that by turning to macaque monkeys, which share a greater genetic similarity to humans, they may have more success.
In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers in the U.S. and China injected 25 pluripotent stem cells from humans into embryos from macaque monkeys.
After one day, the researchers detected human cells beginning to grow in 132 of the embryos. They embryos ultimately survived for 19 days.
However, bioethicists have raised concerns about the potential for abusing medical regulations that currently govern the treatment of animal and human subjects, as well as the possibility that a rogue scientists might potentially spike living creatures with human cells.
“My first question is: Why?” Kirstin Matthews, a science and technology fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told NPR. “I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we’re just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do.”
Researchers insist that the study serves purely humanitarian goals that could save countless lives in the future.
“This work is an important step that provides very compelling evidence that someday when we understand fully what the process is we could make them develop into a heart or a kidney or lungs,” said University of Michigan professor Jeffrey Platt, who was not involved in the study.
US Cop Shares Tiktok Video Showing How It’s Impossible To Confuse Taser for a Gun
In recent years, policing in the United States has received a much-needed reexamination, with many demanding changes to law enforcement or even its defunding and dismantling in light of high-profile killings committed by police officers.
However, one U.S. police officer has shared a video where he points out that in at least some fatal police encounters, simple common sense can save lives.
In a video shared to TikTok by user @brianb1504, the officer points out the differences between a pistol and a Taser. The video is a seeming response to the recent slaying of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by Minnesota police officer Kim Potter.
In the video, Officer Brian can be seen loading his belt with the firearm and less-lethal weapon, noting that his pistol is “dominant” while the bright yellow plastic taser is “not so dominant.”
“Huge weight difference, guys – I don’t understand how we can mistake a taser for a gun or a gun for a taser,” Brian continues.
“If you’re in the heat of the moment and you do something like that, you shouldn’t be doing this job,” he adds.
Continuing, Brian notes that he is sick and tired of the lousy state of police-community relations resulting from the actions of killer cops.
“I’m not going to put my life on the line to try and fix your stupidity and deal with restoring the peace with my public that I serve just because of your stupid actions,” Brian said.
“It makes no sense. 99 percent of our job is communication. You don’t have to be quick to pull out a gun or a taser on somebody and think everybody’s a threat,” he said. “Not everybody’s a threat. Try talking to them, get to know these people.”
While the account seems to have disappeared, it received upwards of 6 million views along with over 1.5 million likes and thousands of comments across the platform.
The video comes as the United States braces itself for more protests following the police killing of Daunte Wright by Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Police Chief Tim Gannon claims that Potter was trying to tase Wright but he died as a result of an “accidental discharge.”
Potter has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years behind bars and/or a $20,000 fine.
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