Put a fruit fly larva in a spacelike vacuum, and the results aren’t pretty. Within a matter of minutes, the animal will collapse into a crinkled, lifeless husk. Now, researchers have found a way to protect the bugs: Bombard them with electrons, which form a "nano-suit" around their bodies. The advance could help scientists take high-resolution photographs of tiny living organisms. It also suggests a new way that creatures could survive the harsh conditions of outer space and may even lead to new space travel technology for humans.
Snapping a picture with a nanometer-level resolution of the proboscis or muscle cells of a fruit fly isn’t easy—in fact, it’s deadly. Scientists have to use a scanning electron microscope, which must peer at objects in a vacuum because air molecules absorb the electrons that the microscope depends on to take the picture. Only a tiny number of creatures, such as the famously hardy tardigrade, can survive the process. Most other bugs die quickly of dehydration as the vacuum sucks the water out of their bodies.
A fruit fly larva is one such victim. But when Takahiko Hariyama of the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine in Japan and his colleagues placed the millimeter-sized larva in a scanning electron microscope and fired electrons at it, they found that the young fly wiggled in place for an hour as if everything was fine. When they put another larva in the same vacuum and let it sit there for an hour before bombarding it with the microscope’s electrons, it predictably dehydrated to death. Somehow, the electron stream was keeping the larva alive and so unscathed that it later grew to become a healthy fruit fly.
The scientists then used the microscope to peer closely at the edge of the insects’ skin. They found that the energy from the electrons changed the thin film on the larvae’s skin, causing its molecules to link together—a process called polymerization. The result was a layer—only 50- to 100-billionths of a meter thick—that was flexible enough to allow the larva to move, but solid enough to keep its gasses and liquids from escaping. "Even if we touched the surface [of the layer]," Hariyama says, "the surface did not break by our mechanical touch." It was almost like a miniature spacesuit.
Newly-Completed Fukushima 'Containment' Wall Already 'Slightly Leaning' 2015-12-01 21:15
Just weeks after re-starting the building of a giant ice-wall to contain groundwater leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant, TEPCO has been forced to admit that a 780-meter protective wall built alongside the crippled power station (completed only last month and designed to prevent contaminated groundwater from seeping into the sea) is already "slightly leaning." While this sounds a lot ...
Goldman Sachs Is Manipulating Gold Prices Right Before Your Eyes 2015-12-01 21:52
If you want a lesson on how to manipulate gold prices, you need only look at what Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) has been doing over the past few months.
Goldman set the table by predicting a turn in gold prices back in December 2012, which no doubt contributed to the precious metal's 5% decline in the first two months ...
Pope: Climate Change Agreement "Now or Never," Humanity on the "Edge of Suicide" 2015-12-01 19:24
Editor's comment: Meanwhile, on planet idiocracy #PopeBars is trending.
In his most apocalyptic language to date, Pope Francis told reporters aboard the papal plane returning from Africa that the COP21 climate change conference in Paris is the last chance for humanity to avert environmental destruction.
The pope discussed global warming and other issues during an hour-long press conference aboard the papal plane ...
Protest outside of asylum center after rape of 14 yr old Finnish girl 2015-12-01 19:56
Tensions are high in Finland with an asylum centre emptied as protesters march outside.
Media reports of alleged rapes by asylum seekers have stoked up tensions as the country houses up to 35,000 new arrivals this year.
Source: Channel4News Facebook
Finns protest outside of asylum center after rape of 14 yr old Finnish girl
Swedish nationalists reach record poll support, could become largest party 2015-12-01 18:02
The anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party has polled 19.9 percent, the group's highest-ever projected share of the electoral vote in a survey by Statistics Sweden.
Twice a year, Sweden's number crunching agency Statistics Sweden asks more than 9,000 people about their voting preferences in the country's biggest political poll.
In Novermber in a poll by Sentios, SD reached and all time high at ...