Science News! Let’s take a look at some of the important developments in science this week…
First, the U.S. government is now launching the “National Microbiome Initiative”, a major research project intended to fund the study of microorganisms that could have implications for treating diseases, cleaning up oil spills, and increasing crop yields among other things. Read more from the New York Times here.
Second, this week NASA announced that the Kepler Space Telescope had revealed 1,284 new exoplanets, increasing the number of known alien planets by 60%. Nine new potentially habitable planets were among those found. Read more from Space.com here.
Third, scientists have discovered what was thought to be impossible, a complex cell that has no mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of eukaryotic cells, however a microbe isolated from the gut of a Chinchilla appears to use a different form of machinery, possibly acquired from bacteria. Read more from NPR here.