Microgravity in space can alter human cells. We now know how


Scientists have discovered how living cells may respond and adapt to the near weightlessness experienced in space. The discovery could help protect astronauts from the adverse health risks associated with long-term space missions.

While space isn’t completely free of the effect of gravity, especially immediately around Earth, this fundamental force is much weaker in orbit than on the surface of our planet. For instance, the effect of gravity at the International Space Station (ISS), just 220 miles (354 km) above Earth’s surface, is 90% weaker than on terra firma. This limited gravity is described as “microgravity” and it is known to trigger certain stress responses in the cells of living creatures.

Researchers including Rita Miller, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, have found that a protein modifier called “small ubiquitin-like modifier” or “SUMO” can help cells adapt to microgravity in artificially simulated circumstances. 

Related: Weightlessness and Its Effect on Astronauts

“Under normal gravity conditions, SUMO is known to respond to stress and to play a critical role in many cellular processes, including DNA damage repair, cytoskeleton regulation, cellular division, and protein turnover,” Miller said in a statement (opens in new tab). “This is the first time that SUMO has been shown to have a role in the cell’s response to microgravity.”

SUMO usually interacts with proteins through two types of chemical bonds, by forming a covalent bond  —  the sharing of electrons to form electron pairs between atoms —  with an essential amino acid called lysine, or via noncovalent interactions with another binding partner. Miller and the team looked at both types of SUMO bonding, or SUMOylation, in yeast cells in Earth gravity and in microgravity.

They found that in this organism, which is commonly used by biologists to assess and model cellular processes, the cells they analyzed underwent six cellular divisions whether exposed to normal Earth gravity or microgravity.

To discover the cellular processes that were affected by microgravity, the team simulated these conditions in the yeast using a cell culture vessel developed by NASA. They then compared the levels of protein expression levels (the way in which proteins are synthesized, modified and regulated in living organisms) in cells that were exposed to this weak gravity condition and in other cells that experienced normal Earth gravity. They also looked for which proteins interacted with SUMO in each situation.

What Miller and the team discovered was that in microgravity, 37 proteins had interacted with SUMO and that these showed expression levels had increased by 50% compared to the same measurement in cells exposed to normal Earth gravity.

Of the 37 proteins affected, some are vital for the repairing damaged DNA, something that can be caused in space due to the increased risk of exposure to cosmic radiation. Other proteins that had their interaction with SUMO affected by microgravity included those involved in energy and protein production, maintaining cell shape, cell division and the transport of protein within cells.

“Since SUMO can modify several transcription factors, our work may also lead to a better understanding of how it controls various signaling cascades in response to simulated microgravity,” said Miller.

The team will now attempt to discover if the lack of this SUMO modification in selected proteins can actually be harmful to cells exposed to microgravity. 

Graduate student in Miller’s laboratory, Jeremy Sabo, will present the findings at Discover BMB (opens in new tab), the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, to be held between March 25 – 28 in Seattle. 

Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab). 

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

via Space https://ift.tt/8lA6qRY

March 29, 2023 at 01:23PM

Hackers breach Tesla Model 3’s infotainment system in minutes in competition


Internet-connected vehicles bring a world of possibilities for entertainment, convenience, and safety, but they come with risks that many people don’t think about. A few weeks ago, we heard the story of a Tesla owner who was able to unlock and drive away in someone else’s car, but that’s hardly the only security issue with the company’s EVs. Automotive News reported that a French cybersecurity firm recently won a hacking competition with their lightning-quick breach of a new Tesla Model 3.

The team from the French company Synactiv won the competition by accessing the vehicle’s gateway and infotainment subsystems. Impressively, the feat took less than two minutes and involved the group hacking into the car’s head unit. They avoided hacking the car itself due to safety reasons, as they wanted to prevent any unintentional movement with other vehicles and people around.

The Pwn2Own conference gave Synactiv 10 minutes and three attempts to hack the car. They could quickly access the infotainment system and replace the Tesla logo with their own. They hacked the vehicle using its Gateway system, which manages communications between the Model 3 and the Tesla Powerwall, a battery backup system for home use.

In another effort, the team accessed the Tesla through an Ethernet network, and their access allowed them to open the car’s trunk and doors while it was in motion. Combined, the two hacks earned them $350,000 and a new Tesla Model 3.

A Tesla security team was on site and confirmed the hack. The automaker said it would issue a patch for the vulnerability via the cars’ over-the-air update function. This isn’t the first time a Tesla has been backed in a controlled environment. Last year, a researcher unlocked and started a Model S and Model Y. That hack involved redirecting signals between the mobile app, key fob, and car.

It’s easy to poke fun at Tesla, but the company is far from the only one with security flaws. Hackers have breached Volkswagens, Jeeps, and others. Toyota’s supplier portal caused it problems, and some third-party services and apps also pose risks. Researchers found that a popular remote start service created vulnerabilities in a range of car makes and could unlock, start, and locate vehicles without physical access.

Related video:

via Autoblog https://ift.tt/1UkEp2I

March 29, 2023 at 08:44AM

‘A Blow for Libraries’: Internet Archive Loses Copyright Infringement Lawsuit


A judge ruled against Internet Archive, a free online digital library, on Friday in a lawsuit filed by four top publishers who claimed the company was in violation of copyright laws. The publishers, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House filed the lawsuit against Internet Archive in 2020, claiming the company had illegally scanned and uploaded 127 of their books for readers to download for free, detracting from their sales and the authors’ royalties.

U.S. District Court Judge John G. Koeltl ruled in favor of the publishing houses in saying that Internet Archive was making “derivative” works by transforming printed books into e-books and distributing them. The digital library’s model also went against standard public libraries which can only lend out the number of books in its collection. Internet Archive was reportedly lending out more digital copies than it was allowed to, although Internet Archive argued that it had every right to lend books under the doctrine of fair use which says “purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”

The Authors Guild said in a Twitter post that it supports Koeltl’s decision and said contrary to Internet Archive’s claims, “scanning & lending books w/out permission or compensation is NOT fair use—it is theft & it devalues authors’ works.”

Koeltl’s decision was in part based on the law that libraries are required to pay publishers for continued use of their digital book copies and are only permitted to lend these digital copies a specified number of times, called controlled digital lending, as agreed by the publisher before paying to renew its license.

“Libraries are more than the customer service departments for corporate database products. For democracy to thrive at a global scale, libraries must be able to sustain their historic role in society—owning, preserving, and lending books,” Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, said in a statement. He continued, “This ruling is a blow for libraries, readers, and authors and we plan to appeal it.”

However, according to the court ruling, Hachette and Penguin provide one or two-year terms to libraries, in which the eBook can be rented an unlimited number of times before the library has to purchase a new license. HarperCollins allows the library to circulate a digital copy 26 times before the license has to be renewed, while Wiley has continued to experiment with several subscription models.

The judge ruled that because Internet Archive was purchasing the book only once before scanning it and lending each digital copy an unlimited number of times, it is an infringement of copyright and “concerns the way libraries lend eBooks.”

Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, said in a statement, “In rejecting arguments that would have pushed fair use to illogical markers, the Court has underscored the importance of authors, publishers, and creative markets in a global society.” She added, “We hope the opinion will prove educational to the defendant and anyone else who finds public laws inconvenient to their own interests.”

Internet Archive plans to appeal the judge’s decision. The online digital library did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com

March 27, 2023 at 09:55AM

Hackers Render Tesla Car Unsafe to Drive, Win Themselves a Model 3


A group of security researchers have, once again, proven that Tesla vehicles’ high-tech software and systems are easily exploited. At Zero Day Initiative’s Pwn2Own 2023 hacking competition this week, cybersecurity firm Synacktiv successfully cracked both Tesla’s infotainment and Gateway networks in a Model 3 car, as first reported in a Zero Day blogpost.

As the “Pwn2Own” name of the contest suggests, the researchers subsequently won the vehicle—along with a combined cash prize of $350,000 for the two achievements.

On Wednesday, Snyactiv’s white hat hackers breached the Model 3’s Gateway system. Tesla’s Gateway is an energy management interface that communicates between Tesla vehicles and Tesla Powerwalls— the company’s home grid system. Though the security researchers weren’t working on an actual vehicle, the breach would’ve theoretically allowed them to open the car’s doors and front hood, per an Axios report.

The following day, Synactiv was also able to “exploit the infotainment system” on a Tesla and gain extensive enough access to potentially “take over the car,” according to a tweet from the cybersecurity firm. Zero Day, too, seemed to back up this assessment in its own post announcing an increased prize for the accomplishment.

G/O Media may get a commission

Combined and applied maliciously, the hacks would’ve easily rendered a Tesla car unsafe to drive. Thankfully, they were confined to the company sponsored competition. To the company’s credit, Tesla put its tech up for the test, and will almost certainly patch the security flaws uncovered at Pwn2Own.

That said, this is far from the first time that security researchers and hackers have broken into a Tesla. Last year, a white hat uncovered a vulnerability that could lead to one of the EVs being stolen. Also in 2022, a teenager claimed to have breached an entire global fleet of 25 different Teslas—and be able to run remote commands on those vehicles. Additional past hacks have demonstrated security vulnerabilities in the cars’ key fobs and data security systems

via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com

March 24, 2023 at 04:27PM

Why the First Launch of a 3D-Printed Rocket Wasn’t a Total Failure


Screenshot: Relativity Space

In addition to passing Max-Q, the mission managed to complete main engine cut-off (MECO), stage separation, and the ignition of the lone second-stage Aeon vacuum engine. Roughly three minutes into the flight, however, the second stage engine appeared to sputter and then completely shut off, effectively ending the mission. The upper stage got no higher than around 81 miles (130 kilometers) above the surface and traveled no faster than about 4,600 miles per hour (7,400 km/hr), according to on-screen data provided during the webcast. Debris from the spent upper stage presumably fell down onto the Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of miles from the Florida coast. No customer payload was included for this mission, which proved to be a smart decision.

via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com

March 23, 2023 at 12:39PM

Relativity Space launched its 3D-printed rocket, but failed to reach orbit


Relativity Space has finally launched its 3D-printed rocket after multiple scrubbed attempts, but the results are decidedly mixed. The startup’s Terran 1 vehicle successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral late Wednesday, but it failed to reach orbit after the second stage engine ignited only momentarily. It’s not clear what led to the failure, but Relativity is promising updates in the "coming days."

The company still characterizes the mission as an accomplishment. Terran 1 endured Max-Q (maximum dynamic pressure), the moment expected to place the most stress on the 3D-printed design. The rocket wasn’t carrying a customer payload. Instead, it carried the first metal produced from Relativity’s 3D printing system.

As CNNexplains, the two previous launch attempts were plagued with problems. Relatively had trouble cooling propellant in time for the first liftoff, while the second was hampered by both a wayward boat and a software flaw that prompted an automatic engine cutoff shortly after ignition.

Relativity is using the expendable Terran 1 to demonstrate the viability of its 3D printing technique ahead of the reusable Terran R rocket’s planned 2024 launch. The manufacturing process theoretically provides simpler, more reliable rockets that are cheaper to make and can be ready within weeks. That, in turn, could lower the costs of delivering satellites and experiments into orbit.

While this launch represents progress, there’s mounting pressure to complete testing. Relativity already has contracts that include launching OneWeb satellites and Impulse Space’s commercial Mars mission. There’s also the simple matter of competition: rivals like SpaceX, Blue Origin and Rocket Lab aren’t standing still, and any setbacks limit Relativity’s chances to win business.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://ift.tt/0Haw9xJ

via Engadget http://www.engadget.com

March 23, 2023 at 10:46AM