Research News at Penn State's Eberly College of Science
- WISE Satellite Finds No Evidence for Planet X in Survey of the Sky
- 07 March 2014 — After searching hundreds of millions of objects across the sky, NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has turned up no evidence of the hypothesized celestial body in our solar system commonly called "Planet X," according to published scientific papers including a new study in The Astrophysical Journal authored by Kevin Luhman of the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State University.
- Water is Detected in a Planet Outside Our Solar System
- 24 February 2014 — Water has been detected in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system with a new technique that could help researchers to learn how many planets with water, like Earth, exist throughout the universe. The team of scientists that made the discovery includes astronomers at Penn State University and other institutions. The astronomers detected the water in the atmosphere of a planet as massive as Jupiter that is orbiting the nearby star Tau Boötis. The discovery is described in a scientific paper published in the 24 February 2014 online version of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
- A Key Regulatory Protein Is Discovered To Be Essential for Malaria Parasite Transmission to Mosquitos
- 23 February 2014 — Two teams have independently discovered that a single regulatory protein acts as the master genetic switch that triggers the development of male and female sexual forms (termed gametocytes) of the malaria parasite, solving a long-standing mystery in parasite biology with important implications for human health. The protein, AP2-G, is necessary for activating a set of genes that initiate the development of gametocytes -- the only forms that are infectious to mosquitos. The research also gives important clues for identifying the underlying mechanisms that control this developmental fate, determining whether or not a malaria parasite will be able to transmit the disease.