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Opportunity’s mission is officially over. NASA’s Mars rover far exceeded its original 90-day mission, ultimately spending 15 years exploring the Meridiani Planum region of the planet. NASA had not heard from Opportunity since 10 June 2018, when a massive dust storm blocked the rover’s solar panels. With the passage of the windy season — which scientists had hoped might clear the panels — Opportunity now faces certain death in the deep freeze of a Martian winter.
Researchers have coaxed human pancreatic cells that don’t normally make insulin to change their identity and begin producing the hormone. When implanted into mice, these reprogrammed cells relieved symptoms of diabetes, raising the possibility that the method could one day be used as a treatment for people.
If you have cancer, your sex can affect the number and types of mutation lurking in your tumours. A genomic analysis spanning nearly 2,000 tumours and 28 types of cancer adds to a growing realization that sex is important in cancer, and not only because of lifestyle differences. “We were expecting differences in the number of mutations, not the type,” says geneticist Paul Boutros. “For example, women might be more affected by tobacco smoke than men. We didn’t expect a new process.”
Biochemist Bela Schmidt’s quest to understand an all-too-familiar career setback can be distilled into eight pieces of advice. From making a career plan to treating your supervisors as future colleagues, he offers tips to put you in the best position for success.
Science advisers offer essential independent, impartial expertise to legislators — but in some countries, their offices are being shuttered. Policy specialists Chris Tyler and Karen Akerlof look at successes and failures from across the globe, and find that impartiality, humbleness and providing good value for money are key to survival.
The Ladybird Experts book series offers to summarize serious science in the impish style of the beloved retro children’s books. But how well do Britain’s top TV boffins explain topics such as quantum mechanics, artificial intelligence and bubbles? Pretty well, find editors from the Nature journals in their reviews of the pocket-sized publications.
“I had a little rover — I sent it far away” begins the Nature homage to Opportunity (sung to the tune of a classic Hanukkah song) we wrote and performed for the holidays last year. Share your favourite plucky rover memories with me (or any other feedback) at email@example.com.
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