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Gizmorama - September 5, 2016

Good Morning,

I'm a little worried after reading a headline that combines things like 'telescopes', 'strong signal' and 'distant star'. The possibilities are endless. And that's scary to me. See what you think after reading the first article in today's issue.

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the cientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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* Scientists point telescopes at 'strong signal' from distant star *

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Astronomers are turning their telescopes to a very strong signal coming from a star about 94 light years away in the constellation Hercules.

Scientists with the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) are following up on a signal recently detected by a Russian telescope at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains. The signal was coming from a star named HD 164595. Researchers are trying to identify the signal's origin.

"The signal from HD 164595 is intriguing, because it comes from the vicinity of a sun-like star, and if it's artificial, its strength is great enough that it was clearly made by a civilization with capabilities beyond those of humankind," astronomer Douglas Vakoch, president of Messaging ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence International, told CNN.

Scientists don't know yet what made the signal the Russians detected, but theories about the star system 94 light years away are already being formed.

"This system is known to have one planet, a Neptune-sized world in such a very tight orbit, making it unattractive for life." Seth Shostak, president of SETI said in a statement on the group's site. "However, there could be other planets in this system that are still undiscovered."

The star system is so far away that signals from Earth have not yet reached it, so any intelligent life wouldn't necessarily know we even existed. Interestingly, scientists have worked out the signal's strength and determined that if it was directed narrowly at our solar system, it is of a power far beyond our capabilities.

But Shostak urged caution in interpreting the signal.

"It's hard to understand why anyone would want to target our solar system with a strong signal. This star system is so far away they won't have yet picked up any TV or radar that would tell them that we're here," he said.

"The chance that this is truly a signal from extraterrestrials is not terribly promising, and the discoverers themselves apparently doubt that they've found ET," Shostak said. "Nonetheless, one should check out all reasonable possibilities, given the importance of the subject."

*-- Researchers unveil ciliated microbots --*

DAEGU, South Korea - Scientists in South Korea have created microbots that move and function like single cells.

The bots were specifically modeled after the genus of unicellular ciliated protozoans known as Paramecia. Cilia are the hair-like organelles protruding from the bodies of the paramecia. Their whiplash movement propel the protozoans.

Researchers at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology modeled the movements of cilia to create a microbot uniquely positioned to navigate viscous fluid environments inside the human body.

The ciliary strokes are made possible by hair-like microstructures controlled by what's called asymmetric magnetic drive technology. The tiny bots feature a core made of a photo-curable polymer material, surrounded by layers of nickel and titanium. A laser was used to carve out the cilia.

Previous fluid-navigating bots have utilized different motions powered by magnetic attraction. The new microbots trigger the whip-like motion of their cilia via magnetic actuation, yielding faster, more efficient movements. In other words, magnetic fields don't pull a bot in a specific direction but trigger a series of motions to propel it forward.

"With precise three-dimensional fabrication techniques and magnetic control technology, my team has developed microrobots mimicking cilia's asymmetric reciprocation movement, which has been never realized so far," Choi Hong-soo, a professor of robotics engineering at DGIST, said in a news release. "We'll continually strive to study and experiment on microrobots that can efficiently move and operate in the human body, so that they can be utilized in chemical and cell delivery as well as in non-invasive surgery."

Scientists detailed the microbots' unique technology and biomedical promise in the journal Scientific Reports.


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