Nanocrystals could drive explosive volcanic eruptions

The formation of nanometre-sized crystals can even in low concentrations temporarily change the viscosity of magma and lead to violent volcanic eruptions. That is the conclusion of geophysicists in the UK, Germany and France, who say that their research helps to explain how otherwise calm and predictable volcanoes can turn unexpectedly explosive.

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Earth’s next mini-moon might be space junk from the 1960s

Earth is about to get a temporary mini-moon and this one might be space junk. Researchers are tracking an object that looks like it will be captured by Earth’s gravity for just a few months this winter before safely heading back out into the Solar System. It might be a standard asteroid, but some astronomers say that the mystery object’s path indicates that it could be a part of a 1960s era rocket.

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Head of Russian space program calls for more international cooperation in NASA’s Moon plans

The head of Russia’s space program said that NASA’s plans to send people back to the Moon are “too US-centric” for Russia to participate. He has been critical of the program in the past and now says that Russia would only be open to participating if the Moon plans were more focused on international cooperation.

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Planting parasites: Unveiling common molecular mechanisms of parasitism and grafting

β-1,4-glucanase, a cell wall degrading enzyme, is integral for plant parasitism and cross-species grafting in the plant family Orobanchaceae. Using the model Orobanchaceae parasitic plant Phtheirospermum japonicum, scientists from Nagoya University and other research institutes from Japan have discerned the molecular mechanisms underlying plant parasitism and cross-species grafting, pinpointing enzyme β-1,4-glucanase (GH9B3) as an important contributor to both phenomena.

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