half moon at nighttime

DAILY DOSE: Chang’e-5 rover samples lead to discovery of abundant source of water on the moon; Asian-Americans still struggling a century after a landmark Supreme Court decision.

Working with samples of lunar soil samples returned to Earth from the Chinese Chang’e-5 rover mission, scientists have discovered a potentially abundant source of water on the moon. Per The Guardian,

Tiny glass beads strewn across the moon’s surface contain potentially billions of tonnes of water that could be extracted and used by astronauts on future lunar missions, researchers say.

The discovery is thought to be one of the most important breakthroughs yet for space agencies that have set their sights on building bases on the moon, as it means there could be a highly accessible source of not only water but also hydrogen and oxygen.

“This is one of the most exciting discoveries we’ve made,” said Mahesh Anand, a professor of planetary science and exploration at the Open University. “With this finding, the potential for exploring the moon in a sustainable manner is higher than it’s ever been.”

Anand and a team of Chinese scientists analysed fine glass beads from lunar soil samples returned to Earth in December 2020 by the Chinese Chang’e-5 mission. The beads, which measure less than a millimetre across, form when meteoroids slam into the moon and send up showers of molten droplets. These then solidify and become mixed into the moon dust.

Tests on the glass particles revealed that together they contain substantial quantities of water, amounting to between 300m and 270bn tons across the entire moon’s surface. http://bit.ly/3TMSMQl

Over a century ago, an important Supreme Court decision helped define how Asians born in the United States were classified in terms of citizenship. It had to do with the attempted deportation of a man named Wong Kim Ark. An article in the Smithsonian Magazine looks back at how Wong took the initiative to fight for his right to stay in America.

Far from simply accepting his deportation, Wong mounted a legal challenge while detained on a series of steamships off the coast of San Francisco. His case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor in 1898, reaffirming the 14th Amendment’s declaration that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Wong’s troubles didn’t end with his victory in court. His continued struggles “demonstrate that the U.S. government was simply unwilling to accept that the native-born children of Chinese immigrants were Americans,” says Amanda Frost, an expert on constitutional, immigration and citizenship law at American University.

To this day, Asians are struggling in the United States. See the following article… http://bit.ly/3FUvm5Y

A lot has been written about former President Donald Trump’s policy of going after Chinese researchers in the United States whom the Administration suspected of having hidden ties to China. Dubbed the “China Initiative”, the policy led to the smearing of many innocent researchers in America. Now, it turns out that the National Institutes of Health were also involved in their own version of the China Initiative. Per Science,

For decades, Chinese-born U.S. faculty members were applauded for working with colleagues in China, and their universities cited the rich payoff from closer ties to the emerging scientific giant. But those institutions did an about-face after they began to receive emails in late 2018 from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The emails asked some 100 institutions to investigate allegations that one or more of their faculty had violated NIH policies designed to ensure federal funds were being spent properly. Most commonly, NIH claimed a researcher was using part of a grant to do work in China through an undisclosed affiliation with a Chinese institution. Four years later, 103 of those scientists—some 42% of the 246 targeted in the letters, most of them tenured faculty members—had lost their jobs.

In contrast to the very public criminal prosecutions of academic scientists under the China Initiative launched in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump to thwart Chinese espionage, NIH’s version has been conducted behind closed doors. Michael Lauer, head of NIH’s extramural research, says that secrecy is necessary to protect the privacy of individual scientists, who are not government employees. Universities consider the NIH-prompted investigations to be a personnel matter, and thus off-limits to queries from reporters. And the targeted scientists have been extremely reticent to talk about their ordeal.

If U.S. authorities went after Chinese researchers based solely on their ethnic backgrounds, it’s time to call the race-based discrimination what it is. https://bit.ly/3FX9Kpz

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


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