Science News Roundup: Could key ingredients for life have arrived from space? Scientists say yes; All-Private Astronaut Team Returns Safely From Historic Space Station Visit & More

Here is a summary of current scientific news.

Could the key ingredients of life have arrived from outer space? Scientists say yes

A new examination of meteorites that have landed in the United States, Canada and Australia reinforces the idea that such objects could have been delivered to Earth early in its history with chemical ingredients vital for the advent of life. Scientists had previously detected on these meteorites three of the five chemical components necessary for the formation of DNA, the molecule which carries the genetic instructions in living organisms, and RNA, the molecule crucial to control the action of genes . The researchers said on Tuesday they had now identified the latter two after refining the way they analyze meteorites.

All-Private Astronaut Team Returns Safely From Historic Space Station Visit

The first fully private team of astronauts to fly aboard the International Space Station (ISS) was safely stranded in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida on Monday, concluding a two-week science mission hailed as a landmark in commercialized human spaceflight. The SpaceX crew capsule carrying the four-man team, led by a retired NASA astronaut who is now vice president of the Texas-based company behind the mission, Axiom Space, parachuted into the sea after a 16-hour descent from orbit.

Sanders seeks to cut $10 billion funding proposal for NASA’s new moon lander

US Senator Bernie Sanders has asked lawmakers to remove language from a bill that would fund the development of a new lunar lander for NASA, a move seen as part of the senator’s effort to cut federal funds that could go to companies owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos. The provision is part of a sweeping bill that would provide $52 billion in subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing and authorize additional funds to boost competitiveness and scientific research in the United States.

A fifth of the world’s reptile species are considered threatened with extinction

About a fifth of reptile species – from the Galapagos tortoises to the Komodo dragon of the Indonesian islands, from the West African rhinoceros viper to the Indian gharial – are threatened with extinction, researchers said on Wednesday at the first overall assessment of the condition of the reptiles. The study looked at 10,196 species of reptiles, including turtles, crocodilians, lizards, snakes and the tuatara, the only surviving member of a lineage dating back more than 200 million years. They found that 21% of species are critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable to extinction as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s authority on species status. They also identified 31 species that have already disappeared.

Inmarsat chief warns of potentially dangerous satellite boom

British satellite company Inmarsat warned on Tuesday of dangerous levels of space debris coming from satellite constellations planned by Elon Musk’s Starlink, Amazon, Chinese operators and others. Inmarsat chief executive Rajeev Suri praised innovation in low-orbit satellite constellations, but added there should be better industry and regulatory coordination when they are launched.

The last crew of 4 astronauts welcomed aboard the International Space Station

Four astronauts, three from NASA and one from the European Space Agency, arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday and docked their SpaceX capsule, just two days after the last crew to leave the front returned to Earth. -position in orbit. The Crew Dragon capsule’s rendezvous with the station less than 16 hours after launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, marked one of Elon Musk’s fastest SpaceX flights ever. to the ISS from liftoff to docking, the NASA webcast commentators said.

(With agency contributions.)