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As phase 1 of the Earth Microbiome Project, analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA sequences from more than 27,000 environmental samples delivers a global picture of the basic structure and drivers of microbial distribution.

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Pluto’s atmosphere is cold and hazy. Recent observations have shown it to be much colder than predicted theoretically, suggesting an unknown cooling mechanism. Atmospheric gas molecules, particularly water vapour, have been proposed as a coolant; however, because Pluto’s thermal structure is expected to be in radiative–conductive equilibrium, the required water vapour would need to be supersaturated by many orders of magnitude under thermodynamic equilibrium conditions. Here the researchers report that atmospheric hazes, rather than gases, can explain Pluto’s temperature profile.

The same device that helped control the Zika and Ebola viruses, could soon be used to tackle devastating wheat rust epidemics that are threatening global food security, thanks in part to a US$100k

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released the Handbook on Intellectual Property Rights & Technology Transfer which will help increase awareness among ICMR scientists to help them protect all new knowledge before publication.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft continues to yield surprising discoveries, more than a month after it burned up on its mission-ending dive into Saturn. New data from the probe suggest that Saturn's majestic rings are showering tiny dust particles into the planet's upper atmosphere, where they form a complicated and unexpected chemical mix.

A new self-disinfecting device has been developed by scientists in order to combat dangerous hospital-acquired infections.

Reactive Technology and the UK’s grid operator National Grid have this week announced the completion of the world’s first technology which is able to continuously measure and monitor an electricity

The 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to three scientists for improving images made of biological molecules.

Australia will establish a national space agency, the government has said.

The history of the Earth system is a story of change. Some changes are gradual and benign, but others, especially those associated with catastrophic mass extinction, are relatively abrupt and destructive. What sets one group apart from the other? Here, I hypothesize that perturbations of Earth’s carbon cycle lead to mass extinction if they exceed either a critical rate at long time scales or a critical size at short time scales. By analyzing 31 carbon isotopic events during the past 542 million years, I identify the critical rate with a limit imposed by mass conservation.

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