This week in science saw some major announcements regarding Indian aerospace, with ISRO revealing mid-2023 as its launch window for Chandrayaan 3 and Aditya L1. Meanwhile, in the United States, the launch of the first-ever 3D printed rocket has yielded mixed results.
And as ridiculous as it sounds, there have been new developments regarding meat “grown” and “cultivated” in labs. One can wonder what that lab meat tastes like!
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American aerospace company Relativity Space successfully managed to launch the world's first 3D-printed rocket into space. The mission was still not a complete success as it failed to reach the low Earth orbit like it otherwise aimed to.
The rocket wasn't carrying any payload and went down after three minutes of flight. Relativity Space is aiming to enhance space travel and the satellite launch market with 3D printing. If proven successful, 3D printing can be a cheaper alternative to traditional manufacturing of rockets.
But the company has a long way to go as in early March itself, it had aborted the launch of another rocket made (mostly) out of 3D-printed parts minutes before the planned lift-off.
The Indian Space Research Organisation is currently working on its lunar probe Chandrayaan 3 and its maiden solar mission Aditya L-1. Both missions now have a mid-2023 launch window as per the organisation’s latest announcement.
To quote agency chief S Somnath, “The Chandrayaan-3 craft is fully ready. It is fully integrated. Of course, there is some correction work being done, and we are building a lot of confidence in the mission through lots of simulations and tests, etc.”
Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-up to Chandrayaan-2, with its goal being the demonstration of end-to-end capability in safe landing and exploration on the Moon's surface. The mission will follow a similar structure as that of Chandrayaan-2, with the orbiter, a lander, and a rover.
German music maestro Ludwig van Beethoven struggled with deafness in the latter part of his life but he finally died in 1825 for reasons that are still debated among music historians. Now, by analysing the DNA off of a preserved strand of Beethoven’s hair, the most likely cause of his death has been ascertained to Cirrhosis (a chronic liver disease characterised by inflammation and cell degeneration).
Researchers have also concluded that the last several months of his life were marked by a liver-damaging hepatitis B infection. The studies have been published in the journal Current Biology ahead of Beethoven’s 198th death anniversary on March 26, 2023.
While many enterprises are aiming to bring lab-grown or "cultivated" meat to the American market, they must face the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture's approval.
California's UPSIDE Foods received such a clearance for their genetically-modified chicken breast back in November 2022. Now, following UPSIDE's lead, GOOD Meat has also come up with their own chicken which has received an FDA approval. To put it simply, there are at least two lab-grown chicken products which the American authorities feel are fit for human consumption.
So, how is cultivated meat created in the first place? First, scientists take a small sample of animal cells which are then blended with nutrients and stored in steel containers. After a specific period of time, these samples are processed into chunks of meat. So far, only chicken has been tested on but companies are looking to experiment with samples of beef and fish too.
What is the purpose of cultivated meat? So far, the general consensus among companies like UPSIDE and GOOD Meat is that lab-grown meat can reduce over 14.5% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions from increasing livestock (yes, the cows reared in America "fart out" methane at a concerning level).