July 13, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

On the news this week: 4 billion-year-old fragment of the Earth found; gene-edited monkey clones made for biomedical research; and Australian heatwave finally subsiding.

First up, researchers at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston claim to have found a 4 billion-year-old fragment of the Earth, which was collected from surface of the moon during the Apollo 14 mission back in 1971. The team believe the rock originates from the Earth, as it contains quartz, feldspar, and zircon, which are common findings on Earth, but rare on the moon. In addition, the conditions under which it seems to have formed are consistent with those of early Earth, making its Earthly origins the simplest explanation! An impact likely projected the fragment into space and onto the moon, where it was buried by another impact, and then excavated by yet another one 26 million years ago in preparation for its discovery!


Next, Chinese scientists have made clones of a gene-edited monkey to be used in the research of sleep rhythm disorders that are linked to depression and Alzheimer’s disease. This marks the first time that multiple clones have been made from a gene-edited animal for biomedical research. The monkeys were born at the Institute of Neuroscience at the China Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, and you’ll be pleased to hear that the programme is reported to be in line with international ethical standards for animal research.


And finally, humans and animals alike will be pleased to hear that the heatwave down under has finally subsided in time for Australia day. Over a dozen new records were set in a fortnight that saw temperatures reach as high as 49.5°C. Australia has recently seen a rise in carbon emissions, in part thanks to a federal government widely acknowledged to be led by climate change deniers, and many meteorologists are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact this could have on the environment. For now though, the air temperature has reduced to a more manageable range closer to 20 degrees.

This week’s news was written and presented by Madeleine Openshaw, Harry Lampert, and Julia Langer, who are studying for a MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London.

Banner image: Heatwave sunset, Flickr