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Science Saturday: Lunar exploration, life on Mars, Neuralink and glimpses of galaxies

Tech It Out


Lunar exploration

Japan's lunar spacecraft has regained power more than a week after it achieved an unconventional but precise moon landing. It ran out of electricity because its solar panels were at the wrong angle.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said it re-established communication with its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon or "SLIM" late on January 28. The agency said the probe has resumed analyzing the composition of olivine rocks on the surface for clues about the moon's origin.

Life on Mars

NASA's rover Perseverance has gathered data confirming the existence of ancient lake sediments. This was in a study in the journal Science Advances on Friday. The study said the findings back up previous orbital imagery and other data supporting theories that portions of Mars were once covered in water. These areas may have harbored microbial life. The research was based on sub-surface scans taken by the rover.

The Perseverance has been making its way from the crater floor onto an adjacent expanse of sedimentary-like features. Viewed in orbit, these features resemble the river deltas found on Earth.

Human brain implant

The first human patient to receive an implant from brain-chip startup Neuralink is recovering well. Company founder Elon Musk said initial results showed promising neuron spike detection. Spikes are the activity of neurons, which are cells that use electrical and chemical signals to send information around the brain to the body.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Neuralink clearance last year to conduct its first implant trial on humans. It's seen as a critical milestone for the startup to help patients overcome paralysis and a host of neurological conditions.

Glimpses of galaxies

A batch of newly released images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope are showing in remarkable detail 19 spiral galaxies residing relatively near the Milky Way. The fresh images offer new clues on star formation as well as galactic structure and evolution. The images were made public on Monday.

The closest of the 19 galaxies is called NGC5068, about 15 million light years from Earth. The most distant of them is NGC1365, about 60 million light-years from Earth.

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