Among the scientific news of the week:
- What is the secret of the DNA of centenarians
- Who needs satellite and cellular communications on the moon
- How makeup can lower your image
Repairer genes are the key to longevity
Life expectancy around the world is growing steadily and today averages 72 years. However, many live much longer, and 100 years is far from the limit.
Many associate this with a healthy lifestyle and heredity, but despite the belief of scientists that genetics plays an important, if not decisive, role in longevity, the mechanism of life extension itself remains largely unexplored.
Meanwhile, such knowledge could greatly advance humanity, if not in the search for the elixir of eternal youth, then at least in the acquisition of important tools to combat aging.
A big step in this direction was taken by a group of researchers led by Professor Paolo Garanani from the University of Bologna.
They sequenced the genomes of 81 people over the age of 105 and 110 years and then compared them with the genomes of a relatively young group of healthy people aged 68 years.
“The people in the second group did not suffer from many age-related diseases, and therefore presented an excellent example of healthy aging,” emphasizes Professor Garanani.
The scientists found that among people in the 105-over group, there were more owners of the five main genetic variations associated with effective DNA repair than in the younger group.
Results from previous studies of a group of 300 centenarians have shown that they have the same gene groups.
The genes of all these people were inherited from their parents, but DNA can change throughout our lives.
Some of these changes, known as somatic mutations, occur in specific cell lines throughout the body and are associated with the aging process.
Despite the fact that people in the older group lived three or even four decades more than people in the younger group, they found far fewer such mutations.
According to scientists, this means that some people are simply born with genetic variations that allow better DNA repair, and they are more likely to live to a very ripe old age. However, the very mechanism of slowing down somatic mutations remains a mystery. The only thing we can say with certainty is that the body's ability to reduce damage to cells itself plays a key role in longevity.
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And the phone will ring on the moon …
Earthlings have long been making plans for the settlement of the moon and the development of its expanses, but so far it has not yet come to the construction of real bases. Nevertheless, the European Space Agency (ESA) is already thinking about one important component of the future lunar infrastructure – cellular communications and satellite navigation systems. Indeed, how else can astronauts navigate the lunar surface, where there are no road signs yet?
Dubbed Moonlight, the project will also include a telecommunications network. It is timed to coincide with the launch of a series of manned missions to the moon as part of NASA's Artemis project, which will replace Apollo, which ended more than half a century ago.
The satellite network should provide almost complete coverage of the lunar surface
ESA instructed two European consortia at once to develop a lunar satellite navigation and cellular communications network, which will consist of at least three – and most likely more – positioning and relaying satellites that could cover almost the entire lunar surface, as well as install several beacons for signal correction. It is expected that satellites will allow initially achieving positioning on the ground with an accuracy of up to 100 meters, and then, as the network develops, up to 30 meters.
One of the consortia is the Surrey-based small British satellite company SSTL, which has previously launched equipment for the European Union's Galileo satellite navigation system into space.
Access to the network that ESA plans to deploy will allow entire countries and individual companies intending to send their probes or ships to the Moon in the next decade to reduce the associated risks and save significant funds.
This satellite network will also greatly facilitate the work of lunar rovers and space telescopes on the far side of the moon, allowing much larger amounts of information to be transmitted to Earth.
ESA is expected to adopt a commercial model whereby it will buy services from telecom operators rather than owning or operating the equipment itself.
If this model takes root, then the services of such an operator or operators will be able to use both small private space companies and giants like ESA and NASA.
Actually, NASA has long been using the services of subcontractors, in particular, within the framework of the Artemis project, they launch cargo ships for NASA and develop manned ones.
Pathfinder is expected to be launched into lunar orbit as early as 2023-24
ESA has also decided to go down the beaten path and has entered into a telecommunications contract with SSTL, whose Pathfinder lunar satellite may serve as a prototype for the Moonlight satellites.
The satellite is now in the process of being assembled at the Guildford facility (which operates on a self-financed basis), and after launch, scheduled for 2023-24, the services of this satellite – for a fee – will be available to anyone interested.
The Pathfinder will be launched into a high elliptical orbit so that it will remain in sight of the Moon's south pole for a long time, where the first Artemis missions will be sent.
Pathfinder needs to probe the market, because when you launch a commercial project, it is much easier to start small, with one satellite, to make sure that it provides the right connection, says Nelly Offord, head of commercial research at SSTL. interact with the entire future network, so that, if you like, he will be the first node in this network. “
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Make-up woman syndrome
There is nothing wrong with beautiful makeup, and under certain conditions it can be very appropriate and even necessary, and how cosmetic companies with a multibillion-dollar annual turnover are trying to prove it, it goes without saying, but …
As Dax Kelly and his colleagues from the University of New South Wales in Australia found out experimentally, the more makeup a woman puts on, the (as a rule) the lower her mental abilities and moral standards are estimated by those around her.
In the first experiment (fully published in the European Journal of Social Psychology), women between the ages of 18 and 59 were asked to imagine that they were participating in one of four scenarios: a date, an interview with an employer, composing an Instagram message, or a hike. to the grocery store.
After the roles were assigned, women were asked to choose the appropriate makeup for the scenario and apply it in Photoshop, and then fill out a questionnaire in which they describe how they assess themselves in terms of intelligence, emotionality, the ability to compassion and make deliberate decisions, desire competing with other women and reacting to jealousy from a partner.
That being said, the researchers did not find that makeup had any effect on women's self-esteem.
In the next experiment, a mixed group of men and women was shown photographs of women from the first experiment, first without makeup, and then with makeup in Photoshop. At the same time, they were asked to assess how they see the mental abilities and moral qualities of these women (in fact, they were asked the same questions that were contained in the questionnaire for the participants of the “first round”).
And then it turned out that women who had more makeup seemed more attractive, but at the same time more accessible and windy.
According to scientists, this indicates that the connection between makeup and attractiveness does not in itself turn women into sexual objects, but at the same time cosmetics suggests easy accessibility, and here a woman is denied high mental abilities and moral qualities.
“The result of the second experiment clearly demonstrates that the amount of cosmetics definitely affects how people assess sanity, a woman's ability to act rationally and emotionally, – explains Kelly. – Well, how positive or negative these assessments were, depends on whether the third party connects make-up observer with the attractiveness of a woman or with her easy accessibility. “
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