Bloody Brains Your brain accounts for 2% of your body weight…

Bloody Brains

Your brain accounts for 2% of your body weight but draws a staggering 20% of your blood supply. This requires a vast network of blood vessels, a network whose growth during development is regulated by signalling proteins, including Wnts and Frizzleds. Wnts on nerve cells bind to Frizzleds on blood vessels to direct their growth. But there are many different Wnts and Frizzleds, so how is the right match made? Researchers honed in on Reck, a protein known to enhance Wnt7 signalling, and genetically altered its gene in mice. Two mutations in particular impaired Reck’s ability to enhance Wnt7a signalling. Fluorescence microscopy of sections through mouse brains (pictured) revealed that mutants (bottom) had severe defects in the development of their blood vessels (pink) and therefore their nerve cells (green) when compared to normal mice (top). This adds one more piece to the puzzle of how our brain’s blood supply develops.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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Unique terracotta sarcophagus found at olive grove in Turkey’s Bursa

Achaeologists carrying out excavations at an olive grove in Turkey’s northwestern Bursa province have discovered a terracotta sarcophagus from the late Roman period, reports said Friday.

Unique terracotta sarcophagus found at olive grove in Turkey's Bursa
Credit: İnternet Haber

The unique grave was discovered near Hisardere neighbourhood in Iznik (Greek Nikaia) district, famous for its pottery and tiles.

The tomb contained skeletons of two humans, experts said, adding that no artifacts or valuables were found inside, which indicates that they belonged to ordinary people.

The area had been put under protection by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism after illegal excavations by treasure hunters revealed a graveyard with sarcophagi.

The excavations are coordinated by Professor Dr. Ekin Meriç from Dokuz Eylül University’s Archaeology Department, and aim to uncover other ancient artefacts and graves near the area.

Experts believe that the area could be a necropolis — a large and ancient cemetery with elaborate burial chambers.

In September 2017, police teams searching the area for a stolen truck discovered a sarcophagus from the Late Antiquity period in the same area.

Another sarcophagus belonging to a queen was found near the area in 2015. It was also thought to be from the Late Antiquity period and weighed 7 tons. When it was discovered, officials found that treasure hunters had already found and raided it.

The area where the tombs were found has historically been referred to as the Bithynia region, which became a Roman province in 74 BC.

Burial chambers previously discovered in the region also had depictions of mythological figures, such as the Greek god of love Eros, as well as Hercules and Medusa.

Source: Daily Sabah [July 12, 2019]



Moon mission for an Indian probe

ISRO — Indian Space Research Organisation logo.

July 12, 2019

A few days before the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first men on the Moon, Mumbai will launch a device on the star of the night.

India launches its second lunar mission on Monday with the objective of becoming the fourth nation to set a plane on the moon, a big step for its thrifty but ambitious space program.

A few days before the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the first men on the moon, the Indian space agency ISRO plans to launch on Monday July 15 at 02:51 local (23:21 Sunday) its Chandrayaan-2 mission from the firing point of Sriharikota (south-east from India).

New Delhi has spent $ 140 million — much less than other major space agencies for missions like this — on this expedition to land a lander and a mobile robot on September 6 at the south pole of the natural satellite. located some 384,000 kilometers from the Earth.

Chandrayaan-2 («Lunar Trolley» in Hindi) will consist of an orbiter, an undercarriage and a rover, for a total weight of 3.8 tons. The whole will be propelled into the atmosphere by a rocket GSLV-MkIII, the most powerful Indian launcher, equivalent to a European rocket Ariane 5.

The fifteen minutes of the final descent of the lander Vikram, planned to land on a high plateau between the craters Manzinus C and Simpelius N, «will be the most terrifying moments because we have never undertaken such a complex mission,» K. Sivan, the director of ISRO, recently told the press.

If the mission goes according to plan, India would become the fourth country in the world — after the Soviet Union, the United States and China — to successfully pose a device on the moon. An Israeli probe missed its moon landing in April.

A 27-kilogram Indian rover, Pragyan, should then tread the lunar soil in search of traces of water and «fossil signs of the early solar system,» according to ISRO.

The vehicle will run on solar energy and should be able to walk on a lunar day, fourteen days on land. It can travel up to 500 meters.

International influence

This Indian mission is part of a renewed international interest for the Moon. The man, who strode for the last time in 1972, is preparing for his return. The US government has asked NASA to return astronauts for 2024.

The return to the Moon is seen as an essential step in the preparation of manned flights to more distant destinations, in the foreground of which the planet Mars.

The Chandrayaan-2 project is the second lunar mission of the South Asian giant, who had placed a probe in orbit around the moon during the Chandrayaan-1 mission eleven years ago.

The Indian space program has been noted in recent years by its combination of ambition and budget sobriety, with operating costs well below those of its counterparts, as well as its progression at no charge.

ISRO is planning to send a crew of three astronauts into space by 2022, which would be his first manned flight. Its scientists are also working on the development of its own space station, expected over the next decade.

The current Indian Prime Minister, the Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, pays particular attention to the space program. Beyond scientific research, he sees it as a lever of international influence and constitutive of a great national narrative on the rise of his country of 1.3 billion people.

«A spacecraft mission of the complexity of Chandrayaan-2 sends the message that India is capable of accomplishing difficult technological development endeavors,» said Amitabha Ghosh, a scientist who collaborated on NASA’s Martian missions.

Expert space at the New Delhi Observer Research Foundation, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan believes Chandrayaan-2 will enhance India’s prestige «at a time when international space programs, and especially Asian programs, are increasingly competing «.

For more informations about ISRO and Chandrayaan-2 mission, visit:

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):

Chandrayaan-2 mission:

Images, Text, Credits: AFP/ISRO/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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