DAILY DOSE: James Webb Space Telescope launch ushers in new age of space exploration.


At long last, after decades of preparation, the world’s most technologically advanced space telescope has left Earth for a position just beyond the moon. According to the Associated Press, “The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope rocketed away Saturday on a high-stakes quest to behold light from the first stars and galaxies and scour the universe for hints of life. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope soared from French Guiana on South America’s northeastern coast, riding a European Ariane rocket into the Christmas morning sky. ‘What an amazing Christmas present,’ said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission chief. The $10 billion observatory hurtled toward its destination 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away, or more than four times beyond the moon. It will take a month to get there and another five months before its infrared eyes are ready to start scanning the cosmos.” It really feels like time is crawling already. https://bit.ly/32zcU1U


The world may not quite be at the point where human beings can teleport long distances, a la Star Trek, but we are definitely making progress towards it one electron at a time. According to a recent paper in Science, “Recent breakthroughs in quantum computation with superconducting circuits trigger a demand for quantum communication channels between spatially separated superconducting processors operating at microwave frequencies. In pursuit of this goal, we demonstrate the unconditional quantum teleportation of propagating coherent microwave states by exploiting two-mode squeezing and analog feedforward over a macroscopic distance of d = 0.42.” Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. https://bit.ly/3Hd5xMM


The U.S. FDA continues to raise eyebrows when it comes to giving questionable new drugs the green light. This time, it’s a novel Covid-19 pill that can be taken at home. Per Science, “The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday authorized another new pill to treat the Omicron variant, this time from Merck. While Pfizer’s antiviral may prove to be more effective, and Merck’s pill has left some scientists questioning the dangers behind its mechanism of action, molnupiravir will be another weapon in the armamentarium of COVID-19 treatments for the U.S. in a time of need, as two monoclonal antibody Tue(mAb) treatments from Regeneron and Eli Lilly are no longer effective against Omicron, and as supplies of a third mAb from Vir/GlaxoSmithKline are very limited.” https://bit.ly/3yV0NbG

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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