Home Science News at a glance: Earth science satellites, Global Fund’s haul, and Neptune’s rings | Science

News at a glance: Earth science satellites, Global Fund’s haul, and Neptune’s rings | Science

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Earth science


European satellite duo studies oceans and warming

Last week, the European Space Agency (ESA) approved the $420 million Harmony mission as the next line of Earth Explorer science missions in the race. Harmony’s two satellites carry infrared sensors and radar receivers to observe the turbulence, winds and eddies that govern the exchange of heat and gases between the ocean and atmosphere. Scientists know that the oceans are absorbing more than 90% of the excess heat of global warming, but climate change explains how and predicts the evolution of these dynamics decades ahead. Harmony’s finer-scale observations are needed to tune the model. Paco Lopez Decker, Remote His Sensing Scientist and Principal Investigator at Delft University of Technology, said: After its launch in 2029, the Harmony satellite will fly in formation with her one of ESA’s Sentinel-1 radar satellites, scheduled for launch in 2025, and pick up its reflected beams at various angles. The mission will also be able to monitor her 3D ground motion, which is just 1mm per year. This is of interest to scientists monitoring glacial ice loss, volcanic eruptions, and seismic strains that lead to earthquakes.



Fiona Ruins Puerto Rico Survey

Scientists in Puerto Rico say they are facing delays and ruin in their research after Hurricane Fiona blacked out the entire island last week, losing critical refrigerated samples. The disruption continues this week, with officials predicting it could take weeks for workers to restore a sustainable power supply. Some researchers used generators to move the samples to different locations. Her Ileana Rodríguez-Velez, a chemist at the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao, moved samples of the still-living plant she was studying for its anticancer and antibacterial properties into the refrigerator at her and her mother’s home. did. Many researchers also endured power outages when Hurricane Marea devastated the island in 2017. Restoration of the power grid is progressing slowly, and some of the generators installed by the researchers after Fiona struck either failed or lacked enough fuel to operate reliably.

public health


Donors Absorb Pandemic Institute

Eighteen months after vaccine expert Rick Bright took over the helm of a new lab with ambitious plans to stop future pandemics, he quit his job and the young organization turned to its funders. Under former President Donald Trump’s administration, Bright headed the United States’ major funding agency to support research and development of products to combat the pandemic. but resigned from that job due to disagreements about the administration’s COVID-19 response. Asked about Bright’s departure from the Pandemic Prevention Lab, a foundation spokesperson said, “Since its inception, things have changed a lot, as there are many different initiatives focused on creating a pandemic-free future. I did.” These include those led by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rockefeller said he would invest $150 million over three years to support outside scientific efforts to monitor pathogens and establish networks to share data more efficiently. I promised. Bright says Rockefeller was pivoting to focus more on climate change. “I know their leadership and support in this area will make a huge impact,” he says.



Global Disease Fund Takes Top Hole

Last week, high-income and low-income countries alike joined in committing $14.25 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the largest single funding push for global health. did. Proponents said it was the amount needed to reverse the setbacks in fighting these diseases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the amount falls short of the Global Fund’s $18 billion goal. Not reached. Pledges could be increased if Italy and the UK make contributions. Planned commitments have been delayed due to government changes this month. Many of the 45 countries, including low-income African countries, have raised their pledges by more than 30% despite inflation and other economic pressures. The Global Fund estimates that 20 million lives could be saved and 450 million new infections averted if $18 billion is reached. The US has made the single largest commitment of up to $6 billion, but Congress must approve the funding. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the largest personal pledge of $912 million.

in focus

Infrared photograph of Neptune
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured the sharpest view of Neptune and its rings since the Voyager 2 spacecraft’s brief pass in 1989. New images released last week, recorded for the first time in infrared, explain why the planet is invisible. As blue as visible light. High-altitude methane ice clouds on the gas giant look like streaks and patches, according to NASA. The image also shows his 7 of Neptune’s 14 known moons of hers (not all shown in the version above).NASA/ESA/CSA/STSCI


Many “honorary” authors

A study found that up to one-third of authors listed in a large sample of articles in scientific journals are “honorable” because they do not meet the criteria to be listed as an author. About 1% of authors provided only funding or other resources to the project. This was a contribution that would make the researcher ineligible for authorship under her two standard definitions. The study presented this month at the International Conference on Peer Review and Scientific Publishing, found that he surveyed more than 629,000 authors on his 82,000 papers published in the PLOS family of journals from 2017 to 2021. did. , which describes the contributions of each author. Previous studies estimated the frequency of honorary authors based on self-reports by scientists on their surveys.



Many journals, one peer-reviewed

Cell Press this month adopted a new peer-review methodology that allows scientists to submit a single manuscript for consideration in up to 20 life and medical science journals simultaneously. The Community Review program, the first of its kind by a major commercial publisher of a well-known journal, allows authors and reviewers to spend money when papers rejected by one journal are resubmitted to another. It is intended to reduce labor. In a trial of a new approach, editors identified which journals would be a good fit for the paper. The author can then choose to proceed with the manuscript for peer review or withdraw it and submit it to a journal other than Cell Press. About 40% of the papers were withdrawn, apparently, because they wanted to be published in better Cell Press journals, Sejal Vyas of Cell Press said this month in his peer review and international review of scientific publishing. spoke at the conference. Overall, the percentage of manuscripts that proceeded to peer review (33%) and the percentage of manuscripts that were approved for publication (21%) were comparable to the normal submission rate to individual Cell Press journals.

in other news

U.S. Scientific AdvisorThe U.S. Senate voted 56-40 to confirm Arati Prabhakar to head the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Applied physicist and former venture capitalist Prabhakar said he resigned as head of the office in February after admitting he created a hostile work environment. He will replace Eric Lander. . She will also become the president’s new science adviser, replacing Francis Collins, who has held the role since Lander’s resignation. Prabhakar headed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency from 2013 until 2017.

Ebola epidemicUganda is battling an outbreak of Sudan Ebola virus, one of six members of the genus Ebola virus country declared an outbreak on 20 September and has since reported at least 36 confirmed or suspected cases, including 23 deaths. He has two licensed Ebola vaccines, but neither is approved for use against the Sudan Ebola virus. Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared on 27 September that its latest Ebola epidemic – a single infection with the Ebola virus in Zaire confirmed on 22 August – had ended.

British fracking UK government has lifted a 2019 moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to extract natural gas in the UK. A report last week by the British Geological Survey concluded that predicting small earthquakes caused by fracking remains a challenge. It recommended drilling more test wells to obtain data.

greenhouse gas convention the US Senate ratified the 2016 Kigali Amendment, joining 137 other countries to reduce the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, a class of potent greenhouse gases. Congress has previously mandated cuts, and US companies are beginning to switch to alternatives. But the vote had symbolic significance as the first international climate treaty ratified by US lawmakers since 1992.

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