World / Science-Technology-Life

An X-Ray of the Observable Universe

The X-ray telescope eROSITA, developed by the Max Planck Institute in Germany, has captured an X-ray of the universe.  The images captured by the telescope on the Russian-German Spektr-RG space station were published in the professional journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The first results from the X-ray telescope sent into space last year have been published. The photos obtained by the equipment, known as eROSITA, provide an unprecedented map of the observable cosmos. The map, which includes 6 months of photographs of over 1 million elements ranging from neutron stars to black holes, offers 10 times more detailed than 30 years of research do. For the past 6 months, the eROSITA telescope connected to the Spectrum-Rontgen-Gamma (SRG) satellite, a cooperative project of Germany and Russia, has been scanning the universe, positioned at a distance of around 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. The Milky Way galaxy sits at the center of the ellipse-shaped map, which also even shows how matter is split down into its constituent elements. eROSITA detects things that are undetectable to other optical telescopes. Thus explosions, shock waves, rapid cycles, and high gravity can also be observed.

Is Chemotherapy Becoming Obsolete?

Prof. Dr. Ozlem Tureci and Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, co-founders of the German biotechnology company BioNTech, stated that they have initiated the consolidation of their research efforts in cancer treatment, expressing confidence that cancer vaccines will be market-ready by 2026.

Prof. Dr. Ozlem Tureci and Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, the founders of BioNTech, provided a statement to the German Focus magazine regarding the cancer vaccine. Prof. Sahin mentioned that an antibody targeting a form of lung cancer and a candidate antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) for metastatic breast cancer have met the criteria for approval. Sahin stated that clinical trials against 30 cancer types are ongoing and have yielded positive results. They want to provide a comprehensive cancer treatment portfolio by 2030. On the other hand, Prof. Tureci emphasized that they are focusing on individualized cancer treatment. Tureci stated that chemotherapy may not be needed in the next years.

Europe’s Most Mysterious Building

The 971-meter-long monument on the Baltic coast, made up of 300 massive rocks, caused a stir throughout Europe. The stone age wall, found on Germany’s western Baltic Sea shore, is said to have been built more than 10,000 years ago. It is believed that the wall was utilized as a trap to capture animals.

According to researchers, the stone-age wall uncovered beneath the seas off Germany’s Baltic coast could be the oldest known megastructure created by people in Europe. The data acquired on the wall, which spans for roughly a kilometer along the bottom in Mecklenburg Bay, indicated a long region of over 1670 unique stones spanning approximately 971 meters. The structure was discovered by coincidence during a student excursion about 10 km offshore, while using the research vessel’s multibeam sonar. Named “Blinkerwall”, the structure connects 300 large rocks that are difficult to move. This underwater wall, considered a remarkable discovery, is estimated to have been built more than 10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherers on land adjacent to a lake or marsh.

AI Technology Which Converts Text to Video

Artificial intelligence company OpenAI has made a significant impact with its video production technology named Sora. The artificial intelligence technology that transforms written text into video has garnered attention due to its remarkable realism.

Artificial intelligence technology has made remarkable strides, reaching a stage where it can generate photographs, drawings, and poetry. A recent breakthrough in artificial intelligence technology, known as Sora, allows for the conversion of written text into highly realistic videos. OpenAI explained that to develop this technology, the AI was trained on the world in motion. The company announced that users can create videos up to 1 minute long. OpenAI shared that Sora will undergo primarily professional testing to prevent potential risks. This is necessary as artificial intelligence technology can potentially generate harmful content. The AI company is primarily opening Sora to individuals who specialize in visual content creation, such as those in design and filmmaking fields.

Saying that Sora is capable of responding to complex scenes, OpenAI also shared related videos. In one instance, a video request for “a woman in a leather jacket walking in black shoes through the city lights in Tokyo” was recreated with remarkable realism.

On the other hand, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, emphasizes the necessity of implementing control mechanisms in AI systems. Altman warned that artificial intelligence systems introduced to society without proper control mechanisms can pose significant dangers, advocating for the establishment of a supervisory body, akin to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to oversee artificial intelligence applications.

A New Phase in Nuclear Fusion Studies

An experiment in the United Kingdom achieved generation of record energy levels. It was announced that a substantial amount of energy was generated through nuclear fusion in the experiment conducted at the JET laboratory. After over 40 years of fusion research at the JET laboratory, European scientists say, “We have accomplished feats unprecedented in our history.”

Fusion, the process where atoms merge, is a subject of scientific research, enabling the Sun and other stars to generate energy. Scientists have been conducting experiments with this method for an extended period to generate significant energy levels, all while considering environmental factors. The JET experiment produced 69 megajoules of energy for 5 seconds. This is only enough to heat 4-5 bathrooms. Nuclear fusion power plants remain a distant dream, but each experiment brings humanity closer to realizing this goal. Prof. Stuart Mangles, Head of the Space, Plasma, and Climate Research Group at Imperial College London, expresses great excitement about the new results from the study conducted at JET. Mangles highlights the power of international cooperation, emphasizing that these results were achieved thanks to the collaborative efforts of hundreds of scientists and engineers from across Europe.

In the nuclear fusion process, small atomic particles are heated and forced together, resulting in the formation of a heavier particle and the release of useful energy. It is stated that an infinite amount of clean energy could be produced if this process can be successfully commercialized.

Türkiye’s First Astronaut Alper Gezeravci Completes Mission on the ISS

Alper Gezeravci, the first Turkish astronaut, completed his mission on the International Space Station (ISS) and returned home. After his medical checks in the US, Gezeravci arrived at Ankara Esenboga Airport on a presidential plane.

Minister of Industry and Technology Mehmet Fatih Kacir, who was part of the welcoming team at Esenboga, held a press conference with Gezeravci. Minister Kacir emphasized that Gezeravci’s space science mission would be the first but not the last, and said: “We aim to carry our own space systems into space.” Gezeravci said, “I returned to my country with the pride of having achieved the goals set from the beginning of the mission, goals that eliminated the borders in the sky, which constituted the limits of our dreams.” Gezeravci noted that they were informed about the limited space inside the capsule and the potential challenges when transitioning to a larger space, but emphasized that they encountered no issues. He stated that they began setting up the experimental studies from the first hour of their arrival.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also greeted Alper Gezeravci at Esenboga Airport. Gezeravci presented President Erdogan with the Turkish flag he had carried with him during his 18-day stay on the ISS, along with a patch that read “Türkiye’s first manned space mission”.

Explorer Robot Insects

Efforts to advance the development of swarm-capable robotic insects have been intensifying in recent years. Exploration work remains uninterrupted even if a few of these robots break down, enabling the exploration of larger areas in a short time.

Exploration robots are increasingly utilized in remote and hazardous environments. However, if these robots encounter malfunctions, such as with the Opportunity rover, research may remain incomplete. Recently, Professor Dr. Nhut Ho from California State University, Northridge, received a $538,000 award from the US government for his robot insect project. Inspired by the behavior of swarming creatures like ants, the project aims to develop autonomous robotic insects capable of exploring extraterrestrial planets such as Mars. They will also have the capability to explore hard-to-reach areas on Earth, such as mines and underground caves. Similar projects are expected to become widespread in near future.