A medium-sized bus equipped with autonomous driving technologies made its debut on Thursday in Chongqing Municipality, a vehicle-manufacturing powerhouse in southwest China.
The L4 autonomous bus was a joint effort of Baidu Apollo and domestic bus manufacturer King Long, reports Xinhua.
After one-year construction, a test base for autonomous driving was put into use on Thursday in Chongqing.
Several carmakers have carried out L4 self-driving tests and demonstrations in five application scenarios.
Baidu Apollo will work together with Chongqing to set a benchmark for the self-driving industry in west China, and provide R&D test services and rich application scenarios for carmakers and auto parts manufacturers in the autonomous vehicle field, said Li Zhenyu, vice president of Baidu.
Astronomers have found a potential sign of life high in the atmosphere of Venus.
They hints there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of the hothouse planet, reports AP.
Two telescopes in Hawaii and Chile spotted the chemical signature of phosphine, a noxious gas that on Earth is only associated with life, in the thick Venusian clouds according to a study in Monday’s journal Nature Astronomy.
Several outside experts — and the study authors themselves — agreed this is tantalising but said it is far from the first proof of life on another planet.
They said it doesn't satisfy the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" standard established by the late Carl Sagan, who speculated about the possibility of life in the clouds of Venus in 1967.
“There is a distinct whiff of cordite in the air which may be suggesting something,” said study co-author David Clements, an Imperial College of London astrophysicist.
As astronomers plan for searches for life on planets outside our solar system, a major method is to look for chemical signatures that can only be made by biological processes, called biosignatures.
After three astronomers met in a bar in Hawaii, they decided to look at the closest planet to Earth: Venus. They searched for phosphine, which is three hydrogen atoms and a phosphorous atom.
On Earth, there are only two ways phosphine can be formed, study authors said. One is in an industrial process. The other way is as part of some kind of poorly understood function in animals and microbes. Some scientists consider it a waste product, others don't.
Phosphine is found in “ooze at the bottom of ponds, the guts of some creatures like badgers and perhaps most unpleasantly associated with piles of penguin guano,” Clements said.
Study co-author Sara Seager, an MIT planetary scientist, said researchers “exhaustively went through every possibility and ruled all of them out: volcanoes, lightning strikes, small meteorites falling into the atmosphere. ... Not a single process we looked at could produce phosphine in high enough quantities to explain our team’s findings.”
That leaves life.
The astronomers hypothesize a scenario for how life could exist on the inhospitable planet where temperatures on the surface are around 800 degrees (425 degrees Celsius) with no water.
“Venus is hell. Venus is kind of Earth’s evil twin,” Clements said. “Clearly something has gone wrong, very wrong, with Venus. It’s the victim of a runaway greenhouse effect.”
But that’s on the surface.
Seager said all the action may be 30 miles (50 kilometers) above ground in the thick carbon-dioxide layer cloud deck, where it's about room temperature or slightly warmer. It contains droplets with tiny amounts of water but mostly sulfuric acid that is a billion times more acidic than what’s found on Earth.
The phosphine could be coming from some kind of microbes, probably single-cell ones, inside those sulfuric acid droplets, living their entire lives in the 10-mile-deep (16-kilometer-deep) clouds, Seager and Clements said. When the droplets fall, the potential life probably dries out and could then get picked up in another drop and reanimate, they said.
Life is definitely a possibility, but more proof is needed, several outside scientists said.
Cornell University astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger said the idea of this being the signature of biology at work is exciting, but she said we don’t know enough about Venus to say life is the only explanation for the phosphine.
“I’m not skeptical, I’m hesitant,” said Justin Filiberto, a planetary geochemist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston who specializes in Venus and Mars and isn’t part of the study team.
Filiberto said the levels of phosphine found might be explained away by volcanoes. He said recent studies that were not taken into account in this latest research suggest that Venus may have far more active volcanoes than originally thought. But Clements said that explanation would make sense only if Venus were at least 200 times as volcanically active as Earth.
David Grinspoon, a Washington-based astrobiologist at the Planetary Science Institute who wrote a 1997 book suggesting Venus could harbor life, said the finding “almost seems too good to be true.”
“I’m excited, but I’m also cautious,” Grinspoon said. “We found an encouraging sign that demands we follow up.”
NASA hasn’t sent anything to Venus since 1989, though Russia, Europe and Japan have dispatched probes. The US space agency is considering two possible Venus missions.
One of them, called DAVINCI+, would go into the Venusian atmosphere as early as 2026.
Clements said his head tells him “it’s probably a 10 percent chance that it’s life,” but his heart "obviously wants it to be much bigger because it would be so exciting.”
Banglalink has officially commenced the registration process of the fourth edition of innovators, a digital ideation competition for innovative youngsters aspiring to become successful future professionals.
Monzula Morshed, chief human resources and administration officer of Banglalik made the announcement at a virtual press conference, said a press release on Sunday.
Qazi Urfi Ahmad, brands and communications director, Ayesha Saeed, head of talent management and other high officials of the company also participated in the online event.
Finding out the most innovative participants, Banglalink innovators will provide them with the opportunity to develop their skills through grooming, boot-camp sessions, workshops and many other activities, the company said in the press release.
The winning team consisting of four participants will be announced after completing a rigorous selection process.
Along with receiving attractive prizes, the winning team will directly participate in the “Assessment Center of the Strategic Assistant Program” of Banglalink.
The members of the first and the second runner-up teams will also get a direct entry to the programme along with attractive prizes.
All members of the top five teams will directly qualify for Banglalink’s “Advanced Internship Program (AIP)” and get opportunities to participate in “Learn from the Startups” and “Campus to Corporate”, two programmes launched for giving students an exposure to startup- and corporate-experiences, respectively.
Students from any UGC approved university can participate in Banglalink innovators by completing the online registration on https://ennovators.banglalink.net
The registration phase will end on October 24.
A total of more than 40,000 students participated in the first three editions.
An international research team has discovered a new species of luminous fungus in Asia, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said, reports Xinhua.
Scientists from Kunming Institute of Botany under the CAS, along with Indian scientists, conducted several scientific investigations in northeast India since 2018 and found a species of luminous fungus on a dead bamboo.
The analysis showed that the fungus is a new species belonging to the genus Roridomyces.
It is also the first time that Roridomyces has been discovered in India, according to the report.
Due to its wide application in medicine, agriculture and ecology, the luminous fungus has received much attention from scientists.
The study was published in the journal PHYTOTAXA.
Chinese researchers have identified a specific neuron that plays a key role in regulating sleep, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The research, published in the journal Science, reveals the neural mechanism of sleep homeostasis regulation, offering insights into the treatment of sleep disorders, reports Xinhua.
The regulation of sleep involves two major mechanisms including day-night rhythm and sleep homeostasis, referring to the balance between the duration of sleep and wakefulness.
Previous studies have identified many genes and molecules related to sleep homeostasis, among which adenosine is a key factor. But, how neural activity controls the release of adenosine in the brain remains unclear.
Researchers from the Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology under the CAS, Peking University as well as other institutions designed a genetically encoded adenosine sensor with high sensitivity and conducted research on mice.
They found that glutamatergic neurons in the basal forebrain region contributed to the adenosine increase and the accumulation of sleep pressure.