Horizontal Gene Transfer in Humans

"Many animals, including humans, acquired essential ‘foreign’ genes from microorganisms co-habiting their environment in ancient times"

Horizontal gene transfer is a process whereby organisms living within the same environment pass genes between one another. In contrast, conventional evolutionary genetics dictate that genes are passed on vertically down ancestral lines.

In single cell led organisms, this is a well known mechanism and thought to be the process whereby bacterial rapidly acquire antibiotic resistance. However, in a world first led by Alastair Crisp from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge - a comparative study examined HGT in animals and humans, whereby 144 foreign genes were identified ie: human genes not from our ancestors

The study involved

Reference :

1: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/human-genome-includes-foreign-genes-not-from-our-ancestors


Sunday, 2 August 2015
Posted by Koshime

Space Propulsion


A new form of electromagnetic propulsion that does not require conventional reaction mass (eg. rockets & rocket like engines) or propellant (eg. Hall Thrusters).

"Our measurements reveal thrusts as expected from previous claims after carefully studying thermal and electromagnetic interferences.
"If true, this could certainly revolutionise space travel." by Prof Tajmer , presenting his findings to the 2015 American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics' Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition this week
It produces thrust by using solar power to generate multiple microwaves that move back and forth in an enclosed chamber. This means that until something fails or wears down, theoretically the engine could keep running forever without the need for rocket fuel

The EM Drive was developed by the British inventor Roger Shawyer, director of United Kingdom (UK)-based Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd (SPR) in 2001

Various independent replication of the EM drive in China (Chinese researchers from the Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU) in Xi'an in 2008 and 2013-14 have built, and confirmed the EM drive effect, and recently in Germany conclude that there is thrust produced.

"Nevertheless, we do observe thrust close to the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena. Our measurements reveal thrusts as expected from previous claims after carefully studying thermal and electromagnetic interferences. If true, this could certainly revolutionise space travel."

Invented by chemical engineer Guido Fetta


in 2010, Prof. Juan Yang in China began publishing about her research into EM Drive technology, culminating in her 2012 paper reporting higher input power (2.5kW) and tested thrust (720mN) levels of an EM Drive

In 2014, Prof. Yang’s papers reported extensive tests involving internal temperature measurements with embedded thermocouples.

It was reported (in SPR Ltd.’s website) that if the Chinese EM Drive were to be installed in the International Space Station (ISS) and work as reported, it could provide the necessary delta-V (change in velocity needed to perform an on-orbit maneuver) to compensate for the Station’s orbital decay and thus eliminate the requirement of re-boosts from visiting vehicles.


Dr. Harold “Sonny” White  leads the advanced propulsion research group, which built its own experimental EM Drive, leading to similar results; presenting their groups test results on July 28-30, 2014, at the 50th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio

These drives use a magnetron (recovered from home microwave ovens) to produce microwaves which are directed into a metallic, fully enclosed conically tapered high Qresonant cavity.

These drives have a greater area at one end of the device, and a dielectric resonator in front of the narrower end. They are designed to generate a directional thrust toward the narrow end of the cavity. They require an electrical power source to run the magnetron, but no other propellant.

i.e. These  EM Drives are shaped like a truncated cone with directional thrust generated out the truncated cone/narrower end

Dr. White proposed that the EM Drive’s thrust was due to the Quantum Vacuum (the quantum state with the lowest possible energy) behaving like propellant ions behave in a MagnetoHydroDynamics drive (a method electrifying propellant and then directing it with magnetic fields to push a spacecraft in the opposite direction) for spacecraft propulsion.

Below is a updated 2012 design with Harold White of how a Alcubierre type drive could work

Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Posted by Koshime


Update ** July 21-25 2015

Scattered light, described as a haze or bugs smeared on a windscreen effect were described to emanate out of the reflected bright spots in Spot 5, that are not visible when out of direct communication in the Sun.

On a dwarf planet with an almost non existent magnetic field in vacuum..and an anomaloy that seems to contain a mini atmosphere..it suggests, containment within a bubble or dome?

"If you look at a glancing angle, you can see what seems to be haze, and it comes back in a regular pattern," Dawn principal investigator Christopher Russell, of UCLA, said during a presentation Tuesday (July 21) at the second annual NASA Exploration Science Forum

subsequently, it appears that Russell is cautioned, and a new statement is issued

“I was speaking from less than a handful of images, and the interpretation of the images is disputed by some team members. I would like the debate to go on internally before we make a pronouncement one way or the other. I of course have my personal opinion, but I am not always right.”

Optical NanoResonator

Interestingly, a new research article has just been released around the same time, with regards to a light amplification process that can resonate light 10 000 x more with a minuscule absorption

An advanced highly efficient solar cell such as that from UMW involving a optical nanoresonator could realize extreme concentration of light at subwavelength nanoscale dimensions


Ceres was discovered in 1801, a massive body the size of Texas travelling between Mars and Jupiter, and is the only dwarf planet (between the a Sun and Neptune). It is perfectly round in shape, suggesting formation early within the solar system with a low density.

Exploration of Ceres, can hold the key to water within the middle solar system compared to other icy bodies. Currently it is being surveyed by the DAWN spacecraft undergoing it's 3rd lower orbital survey, following a glitch* during descent to lower orbit (July 2015)

Ceres geology features include
  1. Haze at Occator Crater (not jet or plume)
  2. There are at least 5 bright spot locations
  3. Bright spots: some appear to be depressions rather than craters (seen below)
  4. Spot5: Mysterious complex of bright spots at Occator Crater
  5. Distribution of bright spots appeared not consistent with impact
  6. 3 mile high conical structure (within a relatively smooth surrounding
* Dawn and New Horizon spacecraft both suffered a glitch around the same time, the former during an attempt to enter a lower orbital mapping and the latter on pre flyby to Pluto

    Animation of 51 plates of Ceres
    Additional view of Spot 5 complex of bright spots

    Furrows leading up to the conical mound
    RC3 view of the conical mound
    Bright spot - appears to be a depression rather than a crater

    DAWN spacecraft

    Dawn was launched in 2007 and will undergo 4 mapping orbits around ceres, and is powered by a ion engine

    Dawn will conduct its studies from three lower orbital altitudes after RC3, taking advantage of the tremendous maneuverability provided by ion propulsion to spiral from one to another. We presented previews last year of each phase, and as each approaches, we will give still more up-to-date details, but now that Dawn is in orbit, let’s summarize them here. Of course, with complicated operations in the forbidding depths of space, there are always possibilities for changes, especially in the schedule. The team has developed an intricate but robust and flexible plan to extract as many secrets from Ceres as possible, and they will take any changes in stride.
    Each orbit is designed to provide a better view than the one before, and Dawn will map the orb thoroughly while at each altitude. The names for the orbits – rotation characterization 3 (RC3); survey; high altitude mapping orbit (HAMO); and low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO) – are based on ancient ideas, and the origins are (or should be) lost in the mists of time. Readers should avoid trying to infer anything at all meaningful in the designations. After some careful consideration, your correspondent chose to use the same names the Dawn team uses rather than create more helpful descriptors for the purposes of these blogs. That ensures consistency with other Dawn project communications. After all, what is important is not what the different orbits are called but rather what amazing new discoveries each one enables

    Additional CERES imagery

    Source: PIA 19562

    PIA 19562

    Source: PIA19065

    NASA Photojournal version
    Reprocessing from original PIA19065 and turned 180 degrees and...you see domes instead of craters
    Southern Hemisphere

    Comparative Collage of Dwarfs and moons
    Ceres (Rc3), Vesta, Mimas, Miranda, Enceladus, the Mars moons and Chariklo
    Author: Daniele Bianchino, Italy

    Wednesday, 22 July 2015
    Posted by Koshime

    Mystery of the 13 zebra stripes of Earth

    in 1960, NASA detected mysterious plasma waves in the Van Allen radiation belts, the donut-shaped rings surrounding the Earth that contain high-energy particles trapped by the planet's magnetic field.

    Half a century later, Yuri Shprits, a research geophysicist in the UCLA College, and his colleagues discovered the structure of these waves when they are very close to the equator. The scientists observed 13 equally spaced lines measured by two European Space Agency Cluster satellites, and found highly structured wave spectrograms that look like a zebra pedestrian crossing.

    The European Cluster spacecraft observed ring distributions of protons in space that provide the energy for the plasma waves. Modelling of waves based on these observations provided additional evidence that waves are excited by so-called proton ring distributions resulting in wave generation of such high energy particles into the atmosphere

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015
    Posted by Koshime
    Tag :



    **Update: 30th July 2000 BST**

    "One of the big questions, though, is this material made on the comet? Or is it made first in space and then incorporated into the comet? We don't know the answer to that yet."

    Results from the lander's seven instruments are published in a special collection of papers in the journal Science.

    67P Composition

    Born from the detritus of the primordial solar system more than 4.5 billion years ago, the icy comet has a fluffy coating over a hard-grained surface pocked with gas-spewing sinkholes

    Electromagnetic signals fired through the centre of the comet showed the object had a uniform structure that was highly porous. The interior is 75% empty space

    One team running a device called COSAC found no fewer than 16 organic compounds, four of which had not been known to exist on comets before

    1. Hydroxyethanal is "an efficient initiator in the prebiotic formation of sugars", they write.
    2. Methanenitrile is "a key molecule in the prebiotic synthesis of amino acids and nucleobases and even offers an elegant pathway to sugars".
    3. PTOLEMY discovered a simple polymer of formaldehyde (in the same ratio of carbohydrates to sugars found on Earth

    Ancestral material

    Prof Ian Wright of the Open University, who leads another instrument, Ptolemy, said the results were "really interesting".

    It indicated the presence of a polyoxymethylene (POM), an organic polymer, or chained compound, on the comet surface.
    POM has been suggested as playing a key role in prebiotic chemistry. But so far Philae has produced no evidence of amino acids, which chain together to form proteins, the building blocks of life.
    "I see this cometary material that we're analysing as frozen primordial soup. It's the kind of stuff that if you had it, and warmed it up somehow, and put it in the right environment, with the right conditions, you may eventually get life forming out of it.
    "What we may be looking at here is our abiological ancestral material - this is stuff that went into the mix to produce life.
    "In many ways it's quite a humbling thing to be working on, because this is life before life happened."
    PTOLEMY - instrument discovered polyoxymethylene, a string of relatively simple molecules forming a polymer of formaldehyde: (C-2H-O) repeated. "That same ratio of elements occur in carbohydrates and sugars so it's very interesting and implicated in the biological cycle we have on Earth."


    Newly published data show that Philae came to rest with three feet pointing up in partial shadow where it was unable to keep itself warm or generate sufficient electricity from its solar panels. Just three days after landing it shut down.
    Although the probe began communicating again on June 24 it has been silent since July 9 and scientists now fear it will never make contact again.

    "The landing site is dominated by metre-scale blocks, with a large elongated cliff, starting around one metre away. These large structures are responsible for Philae being partially shadowed, drastically limiting its energy intake for both warming up the internal compartment and supplying the solar panels."
    However the final touchdown site was much harder than the original surface which meant that a hammer and drill on board Philae could not penetrate ground and gather samples as planned.
    The image team, led by Dr Jean-Pierre Bibring, from the Universite Paris-Sud in France, described how Philae seemed to be "in a hole about its own size, partially shadowed by nearby boulders or cliffs".
    One foot was probably stuck in a "local cavity", another rested on a sun-lit surface, and the third was "pointing upward".

    1. ESA

    Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

    67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is unusual.

    The images alone suggest its no normal asteroid. But before we get into all that, let us journey across the timeline of 67P. Comet 67P has two distinct lobes, attached by a thinner neck. The larger of the two lobes, the body, and the smaller lobe, known as the head, give the comet a look similar to a plastic rubber duck. It appears as though this double-lobed shape is common among comets.

    • 67P water vapour is different (from other planets and earth)
    • origin of life has been strongly hinted at 
    • organic rich black crust (beneath ice) suggests alien microbial life forms*
    • orbiting Rosetta spacecraft is said to have picked up "strange clusters of organic material that resemble viral particles"

    The comet has a black hydrocarbon crust overlaying ice, smooth icy “seas” and flat-bottomed craters containing lakes of re-frozen water overlain with organic debris.

    The Ambition

    Prior to landing on 67P, this promotional film was released by ESA. And therein, lies a scripted tale, easter eggs and an ambition (for humanity) by no other than Aidan Gillen "littlefinger" of HBO Game of Thrones fame. Date 24th Oct 2014

    In the name of old Gods
    Update: July 19 2015

    67P is divided into 19 parts and named after Egyptian gods following the use of the Rosetta stone of the Rosetta spacecraft.

    "Just as the Rosetta Stone provided the key to an ancient [civilization], so ESA's Rosetta spacecraft will unlock the mysteries of the oldest building blocks of our Solar System — the comets"

    "We picked Hapi for the neck since Hapi is the Nile god, and we figured that he should separate the lobes in the same way that the Nile splits Egypt into an eastern and western side,"

    Regions on the body lobe of the comet are named after Egyptian gods, and regions on the head are named after goddesses, according to El-Maarry. So far there are 19 regions, which fall into five categories: dust-covered regions (Ma'at, Ash and Babi); one region covered in pits and circular structures that are underlain with brittle materials (Seth); regions with big depressions (Hatmehit, Nut and Aten); smoother regions (Hapi, Imhotep and Anubis); and those with rocklike surfaces (Maftet, Bastet, Serqet, Hathor, Anuket, Khepry, Aker, Atum and Apis).

    The region names are mostly those of lesser-known Egyptian gods and goddesses, which El-Maarry said was intentional because many of the more popular deity names have already been used by other space missions. 

    Source: Gods among the stars

    Rosetta 3D view of 67P

    Posted by Koshime

    Listening for Extra Terrestrial Life: Breakthrough Listen and Breakthrough Message initiative

    The search to prove if "life exists beyond earth" was heralded by Internet investor Yuri Milner, physicist Stephen Hawking, cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees, SETI research pioneer Frank Drake, co-founder and CEO of Cosmos Studios Ann Druyan, and UC Berkeley astronomy professor Geoff Marcy

    Russian internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner has offered $100 million over the next 10-years to detect signals from other technological civilizations in the universe whilst developing new digital signal processing technology to monitor 10 billion radio frequencies simultaneousl based on field-programmable gate arrays—a type of reconfigurable computer chip—and graphical processing units (GPUs) to crunch the 10 gigabytes of data per second

    The two initiatives launched today include

    1. Breakthrough Listen, will be the most powerful search ever taken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth. The project will survey the 1 million stars in the Milky Way closest to Earth, as well as the 100 closest galaxies.
    2. Breakthrough Message, will fund an international competition to determine the content of messages sent from humanity to alien civilizations.
    Monday, 20 July 2015
    Posted by Koshime
    Tag :

    Space Explloration: Antimatter Source entrapped by van Allen belt

    Antimatter reservoir. A newly discovered belt of antiprotons lies within the innermost portion (pink) of Earth's magnetosphere, the large bubblelike region interior to the blue arc that is controlled by the planet's magnetic field.
    An antimatter belt, which consists of antiprotons trapped by Earth's magnetic field several hundred kilometers above the planet's surface, may ultimately become a key source of fuel for missions venturing beyond the solar system.


    in 2011 researchers  analyzing data from the 2006 PAMELA (Payload for Antimatter/Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics)  identified 28 antiprotons with kinetic energies between 60 million and 750 million electron volts. That number is far higher than scientists would expect to see shooting toward Earth from distant reaches of the galaxy. The antiparticles appear to form a thin belt around Earth, gyrating around Earth's magnetic field lines and bouncing back and forth between the planet's north and south magnetic poles. The belt, which extends from a few hundred to about 2000 kilometers above Earth.  The antiprotons in the belt are nearly a trillion times more valuable than diamonds,

    Previously, the anti proton source was postulated to be sourced from annihilation of stars being ripped apart by Neutron stars and blackholes (1999 ESA INTEGRAL) and recently rogue antimatter found in thunderclouds

    The study titled ‘The Discovery of Geomagnetically Trapped Cosmic-ray Antiprotons’, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, suggests that a thin band of antiprotons has been observed in the Van Allen belt surrounding Earth, and thus being able to be trapped by Earths magnetic field

    Source: Antimatter Belt and Astrophysics Journal, letters
    Posted by Koshime
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