One of NASA’s supercomputers, generally dedicated to running climate models to predict Earth’s future climate, will now lend its capacity to fighting the new coronavirus pandemic. In an announcement made on Monday, the White House reported that the space agency has joined efforts to provide researchers with access to high-performance computing resources in the search for treatment and vaccine for Covid 19.
In addition to Nasa and the National Science Foundation, several laboratories, academic institutions from the Department of Energy and companies such as IBM, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are part of the initiative.
“I am proud that NASA is lending its supercomputing expertise to help in the global fight against COVID-19,” said agency administrator Jim Bridenstine in a Twitter post. “For more than six decades, the agency has used its experience to face challenges that have benefited people around the world in innovative ways,” he added.
According to NASA director and scientific missions Thomas Zurbuchen, the supercomputer in the Earth Sciences division will have processing and time redirected to Covid-19 research. Researchers will be able to submit research proposals related to the new coronavirus through an online application, which will be analyzed and combined with the computing resources of one of the partner institutions.
“The United States is teaming up to fight Covid-19, and that means unleashing all of the capacity of our supercomputers to advance scientific research rapidly,” said the federal government’s chief technology officer, said Michael Kratsios.
Researchers Create Microchip With Supercomputer Capability
MIT researchers has developed a “brain on-chip” which is smaller than a piece of confetti and that has tens of thousands of artificial brain synapses, known as memristors.
Not only the MIT develop a neuromorphic chip: Google, Microsoft, Intel, Apple, and Nvidia also these companies have their own machine learning hardware versions.
However, AI brain memristors use Silver. MIT researchers realized they could make each AI synapses either with silver and copper, along with silicon.
The United Arab Emirates Preparing Its First Mission To Mars
Mars is in the sights of Earth. In addition to the USA (with Mars 2020 ) and China (with Tianwen 1 ), another country this year will launch a mission towards the red planet: the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
If all goes well, in February next year the United Arab Emirates will be the fifth nation to successfully orbit Mars, in time for the celebration of the country’s 50th anniversary in December 2021.
According to Omran Sharaf, leader of the Hope mission, the goal is not simply to reach Mars. “It is part of something bigger: accelerating the development of our educational and academic sector” and generating knowledge that can be useful for the country in a future “post-oil” economy, from which most of its revenue currently comes from.
The mission aims to study the atmosphere of Mars, generating a map of its climate system over a Martian year, equivalent to 1.8 terrestrial years. Like Earth, Mars has seasons that influence winds, temperature, condensation and evaporation of ice, etc.
Most of the data we have comes from “one-off” observations, obtained from the equipment on the planet’s surface, which makes it difficult to construct a global climate panorama. To carry out its mission, Hope has three instruments mounted on an “arm”, capable of carrying out multiple measurements simultaneously: a camera sensitive to visible and ultraviolet light and spectrometers sensitive to infrared and ultraviolet light.
Its orbit around Mars lasts 55 hours and was calculated to offer two “points of view”: one where the planet rotates under the spacecraft, and the other where it tracks its speed of rotation, which allows it to observe a point static on the surface.
“This science was the sweet spot for us. We are complementary to other contemporary missions, so we maximize the global benefit that scientists will derive from our mission, which fuels other current areas of research and expands human knowledge as a whole, ”said the officials.
Hope’s launch is scheduled for July 14 this year. The mission will take off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on an H-2A rocket built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Eye Has Self-cleaning System Similar To Brain, Says Research
Researchers have found that the eyes, as well as the brains of mice, have a self-cleaning system – and they believe this could also be applied to humans.
This type of maintenance is necessary to wash the cells and the residual fluids, and we know that the nervous tissue makes use of a small network of tubes known as the lymph system, similar to the lymphatic system that cleans the waste from the rest of the body.
New tests in mice and rats show that the structures at the back of the eyes – such as the optic nerve and the retina – channel the waste through a network much like the one the brain uses.
“Similar to the brain inside the cranial vault, the internal structures of the eye are contained in a confined space, requiring strict control of fluid homeostasis,” write the researchers in the article published in Science.
One of the main jobs of the system is to eliminate toxic beta-amyloid proteins that have been associated with the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.
Although the research is based on mice and rats, and not on humans, these animals have similar eye configurations to ours – albeit on a more simplified level.
In addition, the discovery of the glymphatic system in the human brain was also inspired by experiments on mice – increasing the chances that, again, this is not just a rodent thing.
“It is the first time that someone has really shown the ocular glymphatic system as an additional pathway for the release of metabolites in the eye and relevant to beta-amyloid,” says neuroscientist Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, the first researcher to associate protein deposits with Alzheimer’s.
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