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Global News: Science

Read the best science news from around the world this week

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Cryogenics breakthrough in ‘nano-warming’

US scientists have made a major breakthrough in the practice of cryogenics by successfully freezing and rewarming heart tissue without damaging them. The new technique, called ‘nano-warming’, involves the infusion of magnetic nanoparticles into tissue which helps to rewarm tissue when passed through a magnetic field. Currently, donor organs need to be transplanted within hours of being removed or else cells begin to die. This results in 60 per cent of hearts and lungs donated are discarded each year. This new technique could mean that organs can be stored for months or even years, to be used to save lives of those on the transplant list.

Artificial mouse embryos created 

Cambridge scientists have created the first self-developing artificial embryo from stem cells. The process did not involve the natural process of a fertilised egg, but two different types of stem cell. It allowed the embryos to be grown outside of the womb, until they were roughly equivalent to one third of the way through pregnancy. Contrary to reports, this will not lead to the controversial production of artificial human embryos and ‘designer babies’. Instead, this will help provide more information about the early stages of pregnancy and the discovery of new fertility treatments.

Controversial UK fracking in Amazon rainforest

The first shipment of gas has arrived in the UK from Peru, where the Camisea project has begun fracking for gas in the Amazon rainforest. The first shipment comes from the heart of the rainforest, only 60 miles from Machu Picchu. Fracking is a controversial process, which is known to cause great environmental damage and contribute to climate change. In addition, new information suggests that the Camisea project may be harming the indigenous people of the area and bringing diseases to previously uncontacted tribes.

Chances of finding life on Mars increases

A new study suggests that Mars may have once been entirely submerged in water, which substantially increases the chances that it once supported life. It has been previously thought to be an ancient, dry environment, but now scientists are rethinking the history of the planet. This discovery coincides with NASA’s proposal to create a magnetic ‘shield’ around Mars to help humanity colonise the planet and protect from harmful solar winds and debris. The shield will allow the restoration of the Mars atmosphere over the course of a few years, since it lost its own magnetic field around 4.2 billion years ago.