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Published on 12 Jul 2024

Real-life ‘stillsuit’: Dune-inspired upgrade for spacesuits allow astronauts to recycle urine into water

Existing waste management systems for spacesuits are uncomfortable, unhygienic, and don’t recycle valuable water in urine. Now, researchers from Cornell University have designed a prototype for an integrated urine collection and recycling system, which can be carried on the back of next-generation spacesuits. The system is now ready for testing.

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Published on 05 Jul 2024

Desert-loving fungi and lichens pose deadly threat to 5,000-year-old rock art

Researchers sampled microflora from the rocks bearing unique, millennia-old petroglyphs in the Negev desert. The diversity and abundance of species found on these rocks was low, suggesting that few can survive the harsh conditions. Most identified species from the petroglyphs were specialized microcolonial fungi and lichens, known to damage rock art through mechanical and chemical means. The authors cautioned that these natural deterioration processes can’t be stopped, making it necessary to monitor and document this important cultural heritage.

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Published on 02 Jul 2024

Study shows hairy skin does not become less sensitive with age

Our sense of touch is generally thought to decline with age, just like the other senses. However, a study has now shown for the first time that age-related decline in sensitivity only happens in hairless skin like the tip of the index finger, but not in the hairy cheeks and forearms. The authors speculate that the exceptional sensitivity of the cheeks throughout life is due to our evolutionary history as social primates, for whom touch is an important method of communication.

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