DAILY DOSE: Private company moon landing a bust; A new twist in Watson-Crick-Franklin tale.

So much for the first private company to land a spacecraft on the moon. Per the Associated Press,

A Japanese company’s spacecraft apparently crashed while attempting to land on the moon Wednesday, losing contact moments before touchdown and sending flight controllers scrambling to figure out what happened.

More than six hours after communication ceased, the Tokyo company ispace finally confirmed what everyone had suspected, saying there was “a high probability” that the lander had slammed into the moon.

It was a disappointing setback for ispace, which after a 4 1/2-month mission had been on the verge of doing what only three countries have done: successfully land a spacecraft on the moon.

Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of ispace, held out hope even after contact was lost as the lander descended the final 33 feet (10 meters). Flight controllers peered at their screens in Tokyo as minutes went by with only silence from the moon.

A grim-faced team surrounded Hakamada as he announced that the landing likely failed.

What a bummer. The future will have to wait. https://bit.ly/41Yd10h

There’s a new twist in the Watson-Crick-Franklin DNA discovery story. Per The Guardian,

In the story of how Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA, the popular narrative is one of skullduggery and deceit. But now researchers say there is a twist in the tale of the double helix.

It has long been held that Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray diffraction image known as Photo 51 was illicitly shown to Watson, revealing to him that DNA has a double helix and allowing him and his colleague Crick to deduce the structure and claim the glory.

Now academics say the story should be rewritten, arguing that the image was far from the key to the puzzle and that Franklin appears to have expected her data to be shared – and was credited at the time.

“There’s no evidence that she thought she was robbed,” said Prof Matthew Cobb, of the University of Manchester.

It’s strange that Watson, Crick, or Frank’s never corrected the erroneous origin story. https://bit.ly/40FBere

A man-made chain of islands created in the Netherlands is proving to be massive test tube dedicated to how much we can impose our will on the environment. Per Nature,

Scientists... find this island cluster hard to define. It was built to awaken a dead lake and will be one of the largest ecological restoration projects in western Europe if the long-term plan for the site is completed. Yet because the archipelago is newly built and unlike anything that was there before, some researchers say the term ‘restoration’ doesn’t fit. ‘Rewilding’ is another term applied sometimes to Marker Wadden, but some researchers say that a highly engineered space like this cannot be regarded as truly wild.

“Marker Wadden is fascinating because it presently doesn’t fit easy categories,” says Eric Higgs, a rewilding specialist at the University of Victoria in Canada.

“It’s like a simulacrum — it’s a copy of something that has no true original, because there was never ever a freshwater archipelago in that area,” he says.

Working out how to build and maintain Marker Wadden has proved controversial among scientists, engineers and nature lovers. Researchers say it will serve as a living laboratory for decades to come, and will provide lessons for restoration and rewilding projects elsewhere. That is, if nature doesn’t slowly wash the islands away.

Scenarios like this never turn out well in the movies. https://bit.ly/3Hg9Yc4

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


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