Jeff Bezos’ Rocket Crashes, Zinetac Poses Cancer Risk, NASA Makes Music From Footage

The disastrous launch of Jeff Bezos’ unmanned Blue Origin rocket wasn’t the only science news story to make headlines this week. Other science updates you may have missed include the spread of a deadly cattle disease in India, the discovery of a new omicron subvariant in the UK, and the James Webb Space Telescope. of NASA achieving another breakthrough.

1. The Blue Origin rocket crashes, the capsule is parachuted safely

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is one of many space-obsessed billionaires. So hopes were high when a rocket from its aerospace company Blue Origin was ready for vertical liftoff from Texas, US on Monday, September 12. But less than a minute after launch, the rocket crashed even though a capsule carrying experiment equipment was parachuted to safety.

A booster failure was the reason for the accident, and the New Shepard rockets have been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the time being. What is concerning is that the same rocket model is offered for Blue Origin’s passenger flights. Bezos himself was part of a New Shepard rocket crew on a trip to space last year.

2. Omicron sub-variant found in UK

The UK Health Safety Agency recently released details of a new sub-variant of Omicron which was discovered in the country last month. Referred to as BA 4.6, the research behind it is still in the formative stage and scientists have yet to figure out the exact source behind the strain.

From BA 1 to BA 4.6, the new omicron subvariants are not even a surprise in the post-pandemic world (photo-DailyO)

In early August, 3.1% of all samples showed signs of BA 4.6 in the UK. In the United States, the subvariant was found in 9% of cases. To date, no cases of this subvariant have been reported in India.

3. Lumpy skin disease kills livestock in India, milk production affected

With over 57,000 cattle dead in India, lumpy skin disease (LSD) has become a major bovine threat. The disease is a viral epidemic caused by a virus from the Poxviridae family, the same viral group that includes the monkeypox and cowpox viruses.

Since the first case of lumpy skin disease was reported in Kutch region, Gujarat in April this year, the disease has been transmitted through contaminated water and food, as well as insects such as mosquitoes, flies and lice. Skin nodules are the most obvious signs of the disease, along with conditions such as anorexia (leaving livestock severely undernourished), loss of fertility and even death. Milk collection has been heavily affected in Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jharkhand. While Prime Minister Modi claims that a vaccine for the disease has been developed, the Delhi government plans to procure 60,000 doses of goat pox vaccine for the same.

4. NASA aims to convert images from the James Webb Telescope into sound

Over the past few weeks, the James Webb Space Telescope has obtained high-quality images of planets in the solar system as well as celestial bodies in other planetary systems. Now NASA plans to convert these images into sound. But how does this process work?

In the first color infrared images obtained by the telescope, a team of musicians assigned specific grades to specific regions based on density. So while the gas and dust in the upper half (appearing in bluish hues) sounds windy, the orange-red sky in the lower half has a more melodic soundscape. Brightness is another factor, with brighter areas being stronger and darker regions being denoted by lower frequencies. The unique composition is available on NASA’s YouTube and Soundcloud profiles.

5. Rantac, Zinetac acidity pills removed from essential medicine list in India

Ranitidine, the pharmaceutical salt sold as Rantac and Zinetac tablets (also known as Zantac in the United States), has been removed from the list of essential medicines by the Indian Ministry of Health. The move comes in light of global concerns, even with US health agencies investigating ranitidine.

For the unfamiliar, ranitidine is usually prescribed for acidity and gastric issues. However, the United States has raised concerns since the drug began to show traces of contamination, including from the organic compound N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Although low levels of NDMA are normally ingested by humans through food and water, higher levels of ranitidine could increase cancer risks. This is why Rantac and Zinetac join the list of 26 drugs that have been removed by the Ministry of Health from its revised national list of essential drugs.

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