Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Апрель 2013 г.
Дайджест за другие годы
2013 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь
    Россия разрабатывает программу по изучению Луны с помощью автоматических зондов. Об этом сообщил Игорь Митрофанов, заведующий Лабораторией космической гамма-спектроскопии Института космических исследований (ИКИ) РАН на Микросимпозиуме 54 "Lunar Farside and Poles - New Destinations for Exploration", прошедшем 16-17 марта в Вудлендсе (Техас, США). С 2015 по 2020 гг. планируется запуск четырех спускаемых аппаратов и одного орбитального модуля.

Russia is developing a renewed robotic moon exploration program, building upon the history-making legacy of orbiters, landers, rovers and sample-return missions the country launched decades ago. Russia's rekindling of an aggressive moon exploration plan was unveiled by Igor Mitrofanov of the Institute for Space Research (IKI) in Moscow during Microsymposium 54 on "Lunar Farside and Poles - New Destinations for Exploration," held in The Woodlands, Texas, on March 16-17.
The microsymposium was co-sponsored by Brown University, Russia's Vernadsky Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the NASA Lunar Science Institute.
Notable lunar firsts
Russia launched its last moon mission in August 1976, when it was still the Soviet Union. That mission, called Luna 24, was the last in the Luna series and featured a spacecraft that landed on the moon and returned samples of the Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis) region.
The former Soviet Union's robotic lunar program achieved a number of notable "firsts" on Earth's satellite, including the first spacecraft to impact the moon; first flyby and photograph of the lunar farside; first soft landing on the lunar surface; first lunar orbiter; first circumlunar probe to return to Earth; first automatic return of lunar samples; and, of course, the first moon rover Lunokhod.
Today, Russian space scientists are scripting a new plan to reconnect with the moon.
"Exploration of the moon is an important part of the program," Mitrofanov said. "I just want to emphasize that Russia is a spacefaring country not only with the robotic but also manned flight."
Mitrofanov said that the lunar pole is a most favorable place for future outposts for humans in deep space and emphasized that moon exploration was a step toward future Mars journeys.
Moon timetable
At the microsymposium, Mitrofanov discussed Russia's moon mission schedule over the next several years. "Depending on the success of these (first) three missions, another two will be implemented," he said. Those five potential moon missions would launch in the following order:
2015 - Luna 25 (Luna Glob Lander): A small lander on the moon's south pole that would analyze lunar regolith and local exosphere and test volatiles from less than 2 feet (50 centimeters) subsurface. This spacecraft would showcase lunar landing system technology, communication systems and longtime operations.
2016 - Luna 26 (Luna Glob Orbiter): An orbiter for the moon in a 60-mile-high (100 kilometers) polar circular orbit. It would globally map the lunar surface, measure the exosphere and plasma around the moon and carry out reconnaissance of landing sites for lunar exploration, exhibiting longtime orbital operations and global mapping.
2017 - Luna 27 (Luna Resource-1): A large lander sent to the moon's south pole to study lunar regolith and local exosphere; it would also test for volatiles in the lunar subsurface. This lander would also test a drilling system for cryogenic sampling of the moon.
2019 - Luna 28 (Luna-Resource-2): A "to be determined (TBD)" mission that is a polar moon sample return involving cryogenic delivery of lunar samples back to Earth. This mission would help develop return flight system technology for transiting between the moon and Earth.
2020 - Luna 29 (Luna-Resource-3): Another TBD mission. This spacecraft would carry a Lunokhod - a large, long-distance moon rover. Once on the prowl, the wheeled device would study the lunar surface at a distance of about 20 miles (30 km) and conduct cryogenic cashing of the lunar subsurface.
Astronomical window
Mitrofanov said that Russia's robotic moon planners "have taken into account" the disaster with its Phobos-Grunt Mars mission in 2011-2012 - a failure due to reported poor management, technical glitches and a hurry to launch schedule. But the moon is much closer to the Earth than Mars, offering more flexibility in launching lunar probes.
"In this case, we have no astronomical window for the moon," Mitrofanov said.
U.S. scientists said that it is important to keep in mind that Russia is no newcomer to moon exploration. The former Soviet Union, of course, was the chief competitor to the U.S. and NASA during the space race to put human explorers on the moon in the 1960s and 1970s. During that time, Soviet scientists were prolific developing moon-bound robotic probes.
James Head of the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University in Providence, R.I. and symposium organizer, said, "keep in mind that this is Luna 25, 26, and 27 … and these aren't numbers taken out of the sky."
These are numbers that continue the sequences of missions that the former Soviet Union has already flown, Head said, most of them very successfully.
"Putting rovers on the moon, about doing automated sample returns from various places … accomplished by the Soviet Union over 40 years ago, multiple times. There is great technology there … there is the ability to do this," Head said.
Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and co-author of Buzz Aldrin's new book, "Mission to Mars - My Vision for Space Exploration," out in May from National Geographic.

© 2013 NBCNews.com.
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    Мартовская экспедиция по изучению проблем сохранения популяции байкальской пресноводной нерпы позволила оценить, помимо всего прочего, масштаб браконьерства. Наблюдение показало, что истребление молодых нерп (бельков) возросло, а это неизбежно ведет к старению и сокращению популяции.

Russian scientists' expedition on Lake Baikal came to a conclusion that poaching for seal pups has led to gradual aging of the seal population.
The expedition of Russian Geographical Society and Fund for Protection of Lake Baikal lasted for two weeks, which aimed to study the local seal population, RIA Novosti news agency reported recently.
There are between 50 and 100 thousand seals in the area, according to different sources.
After meeting with specialists, environmentalists, national park workers and poachers, the scientists reached a preliminary conclusion that poaching had increased. Seal pups born from February to April usually fall prey to the poachers.
The destruction of seal pups leads to the aging of Baikal seal population. In a few years the population is expected to decline sharply.
However, annual monitoring by Russian State Fish Center did not show that the seal population may decline soon.
Following the expedition scientists will make a video film about Baikal seals and prepare a photo exhibition. Seal research and preservation will continue.

Copyright 2013 by The Global Times.
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    Laboratory Equipment / Fri, 05 Apr 2013
    Chinese & Russian Approaches to Higher Education
    Russia plans to close some struggling institutions while China looks to continue expanding the excellence of their academic programs
    • By Tim Studt, Editorial Director
    Сравниваются российский и китайский подходы к изменениям в сфере высшего образования и повышению эффективности академической системы.

Academic research is expected to see changes in the next several years as more countries realize the value of strong R&D programs as drivers of economic growth. This value is readily apparent in the U.S. with the strongest university system in the world and the largest overall economy as well. Two other countries who share the world's longest continuous common border - China and Russia, each with their own strong economic systems - are looking to improve their academic systems as well, but from somewhat different directions. "China made early and major investments in higher education," says London School of Economics Director Jonathan Earle. "Russia was slow to recognize how investments in education could diversify a country's economy" and is now trying to play catch-up. The Soviet Union did have a strong higher education system in place, but when that government system collapsed in 1991, the constitutional republic system that replaced it resulted in a lengthy period of neglect for Russian academia.
Russian improvements
Over the past several years Vladimir Putin has promised to boost science in Russia to correct those years of neglect. Following his election as President in 2012, he proposed establishing several world-class research universities by 2020. One of these was the long-desired Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, a graduate research university to be created in a science city outside of Moscow in partnership with MIT in Cambridge, Mass. At the same time, Putin promised large increases in public funding for basic and applied research with analysts noting some slight improvement in grant funding and salary increases for academic researchers in the past several years.
However, Russia's overall academic infrastructure has seen a substantial decline in the past several decades. Overall funding opportunities are still poor. Even the government's mega-grant system launched in 2010 to attract foreign researchers to Russia has not been overly successful, while most Russian scientists, outside of the high-profile areas like space programs, struggle to get any level of project grants. Here too, Putin has promised to increase the amount of grant money distributed by funding agencies by about $500 million/yr. He notes that by 2018 the average size of grants in Russia will be comparable to those awarded in Western countries.
Putin has also promised to break the long-standing dominance of the Russian Academy of Sciences hold on research grants by redistributing some of its nearly $2 billion/yr budget to other science institutes and universities. All of this is part of his sweeping 10-yr science plan.
Even more recently, the Russian government announced a plan to improve the overall higher education infrastructure through a $1.3 billion program to develop campuses and student residences at national universities. Russian universities do not have dedicated campuses and as a result, the buildings are located in different places, making formalized educational programs mostly inconvenient for both students and faculty. The initial funding for improvements will be provided to a handful of leading national universities (five or six) on a competitive basis. Funding is coming from private investors, with construction expected to begin in 2014. The initial campuses expected to be included in this program are the Moscow State Industrial Univ., the Moscow State Technical Univ. and the (Plekhanov) Russian Economic Univ. Many of the student residences now in use were built dozens and even hundreds of years ago.
Underachieving Russian universities may be downsized or even closed, according to recent reports, so that government funding can be concentrated on a number of smaller, high-performing universities. Nearly 500 institutions - 102 universities and 374 local branches - were identified in a recent audit by the Russian Ministry of Science and Education as below the standards desired for quality of students, research intensity, productivity and the amount of teaching space. Twenty institutions were found to be so bad as to be closed or merged with more proficient institutions. This audit covered public universities, and the government also has plans to perform a similar audit of the academic performance of private universities later this year.
China's flip side
China's continued strong double-digit economic growth has built up a war chest of funds that could and can be drawn upon to fund its academic institutions. While this model worked well in the 1990s and early-2000s, the Chinese government does not play as dominant of a role anymore in many academic affairs. The recruitment of international students to Chinese academic institutions, for example, has long been shifted to the universities themselves who now do that job very well. Top universities, such as the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), located in Northeast China, now provide a large share of their own scholarship support to Russian master's and bachelor's students from Russian universities having reciprocal agreements. HIT also successfully administers dozens of the Russian students on China's central government scholarships at all levels. The Chinese government has shifted its focus of selection from what countries prospective exchange students are from to prospective student aptitudes to get the best students possible registered for their institutions.
Chinese universities continue to increase their production of journal papers across all disciplines, but especially in those areas where they have vested interests. They nearly doubled their global share of the number of journal publications from 2003 to 2008 in 16 different disciplines, including materials science, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, geoscience, space science, biology, agricultural science, microbiology, genetics and immunology.
Researchers at Chinese universities also proactively work to create collaborations with external universities that include the National Univ. of Singapore, Univ. of Texas, Univ. of Tokyo, Harvard Univ., Univ. of Sydney, Imperial College of London, Seoul National Univ., Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Canada's McGill Univ. China's share of the world output of scientific papers continues to grow in crystallography (32% share of world output), metallurgy (31%), multidisciplinary physics (22%), applied mathematics (21%), ceramics (20%), polymers (19%) and inorganic chemistry (18%).
But all is not perfect in the area of Chinese publications. In the past several years, the Chinese government has tried to purge its academia of so-called "trash journals." It appears that every Chinese university was and is capable of producing its own journals, often with weak standards and concerning irrelevant topics. The Chinese General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) has been rolling out a series of reforms aimed at boosting the prestige of Chinese publishing. GAPP has secured billions of dollars from state banks with the goal of internationalization - building scientific journals and publishers capable of becoming multinational. The newly created China Science and Technology Media Group was established in 2011 to compete with foreign rivals such as Wiley, Elsevier and Springer. Despite these issues, China remains firmly in second place behind the U.S. in the number of legitmate papers published, according to a report by the Royal Society in London.
Also, like any fast-growing system, China's academic system has been plagued by corruption, primarily in the falsifying and plagiarizing of academic achievements of others, forging experimental results and data and deliberately ignoring contrary facts. Academic achievements have also been exaggerated, as have academic experience in students and researchers' efforts to increase their personal reputations. Some universities deliberately covered up this corruption to avoid an academic scandal and political repercussions. Academic corruption occurs mainly in China's universities and while the number of persons involved in these actions is not large, it has caused serious problems. In one case, the corruption led to distortions and inefficiencies in the allocations of social resources. Secondly, the corruption can ruin the academic atmosphere of the university system and negatively affect the majority of students' attitudes about their educational system. Seeing some involved in the corruption makes it appear that this practice is acceptable everywhere. Obviously, the university administrators have taken these practices seriously and since 2009 have put in place a number of programs aimed at eliminating these practices.
China's Ivy League
In 2009, nine Chinese universities formalized an elite group to foster better students and empower them to share resources. Termed the C9 League, these universities were the first nine universities to be part of China's Project 985 (formed in May 1998, hence the 985 name), which was created to promote China's higher education system. Funding for 985 includes an academic exchange that allows Chinese academics to participate in global conferences and enables foreign lecturers to go to China. Project 985 has since been expanded to include an additional 30 Chinese universities - in 2007 it was announced that no further additions would be made.
The C9 League produces a wide range of world-class scientists and highly cited research papers. While having about 3% of China's R&D personnel, the C9 League generates about 20% of the nation's output of journal articles and 30% of China's total citations. As a result, it receives about 10% of all of China's R&D expenditures - government research labs receive about 69% while industrial labs receive about 21% of the total R&D performance (spending).
A vital indicator of the mutual support among the C9 League has been the establishment of an annual conference of graduate schools that serves as a forum for the future development of China's higher education system.
The youngest of the C9 League - the Univ. of Science and Technology (USTC) of China located in Hefei, Anhui, China, just west of Shanghai - exceeds the world average citation impact in materials science, geoscience and engineering. It also continues to exceed the number of citations per published paper in Nature journals - more than any of the other C9 League members. USTC citation ranking is only exceeded in China by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. USTC 2012 journal citation indices also increased by 10% over their respective numbers in 2011.

© Copyright 2013 Advantage Business Media.
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    В Париже подписано соглашение о намерениях по созданию международного центра высокоскоростных железнодорожных систем между ОАО "РЖД", Национальной компанией французских железных дорог (SNCF), Московским государственным университетом путей сообщения (МИИТ), Национальной школой мостов и дорог (ENPC), Консерваторией искусств и ремесел (CNAM). Цель создания центра - организация и координация совместной научной и технической деятельности, подготовки персонала.

Les chemins de fer russes (RZD) et SNCF ont signé hier à Paris un accord d'intention pour créer un Centre franco-russe de recherche et d'enseignement de la grande vitesse ferroviaire, en coopération avec l'Université ferroviaire de Moscou (MIIT), le Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (Cnam) et l'Ecole nationale des ponts et chaussées (ENPC, École des Ponts ParisTech).
L'accord a été paraphé lors d'une cérémonie au Cnam par le Président des RZD, Vladimir Yakounine et le Président de SNCF, Guillaume Pepy, ainsi que par les partenaires universitaires du projet, le Recteur du MIIT, Boris Liovine, l'Administrateur général du Cnam, Christian Forestier et le Directeur de l'ENPC, Armel de La Bourdonnaye.
Ce centre franco-russe de la grande vitesse ferroviaire aura pour objectifs de renforcer et développer la coopération bilatérale scientifique, technologique et la formation dans ce domaine de pointe.
" La Russie et la France partagent une grande culture et des traditions ferroviaires " a rappelé Guillaume Pepy, soulignant que " ce futur Centre franco-russe doit permettre de définir une grande vitesse européenne s'étendant de l'Atlantique au Pacifique ".
" Aujourd'hui il ne s'agit pas de copier ce que fait SNCF mais de créer ensemble des systèmes encore plus modernes de transport à grande vitesse, prenant en compte la dimension des espaces de la Russie et leurs basses températures "
a déclaré Vladimir Yakounine, le Président des RZD.
" Cet accord illustre la volonté du Cnam d'accompagner les entreprises françaises dans leur développement à l'international en formant les futurs cadres et techniciens de ce projet " a expliqué Christian Forestier, Administrateur général du Cnam.
MIIT et ENPC apporteront leur expertise au travers des recherches conjointes, des échanges de professeurs, de chercheurs et d'étudiants, ainsi que des actions de formation. Cet accord s'inscrit dans le cadre de la large coopération de SNCF avec les RZD, notamment dans le domaine de la connaissance et du savoir-faire.
Ainsi SNCF et le MIIT ont formé ensemble, depuis 2006, plus de 350 cadres et dirigeants des RZD dans de nombreux domaines techniques. Quatre sessions de formation de ce type sont ainsi prévues cette année.
Un Master Infrastructure et exploitation Grande Vitesse Ferroviaire en Russie et Ukraine a également été lancé en novembre 2012 à l'initiative de la chaire Technologies et compétences ferroviaires (TCF) du Cnam et de SNCF ainsi que d'autres partenaires dont RZD, MIIT et l'Université ferroviaire de Saint-Pétersbourg.
Ce cursus, sélectionné et financé par l'Union européenne (Programme Tempus), permettra, à partir de septembre 2014 de former cadres des chemins de fer aux spécificités de la grande vitesse ferroviaire à Moscou et à Saint-Pétersbourg.
SNCF et l'École des Ponts ParisTech ont, ces dernières années, renforcé leur coopération dans le domaine des transports ferroviaires, d'une part en élargissant l'enseignement en créant en 2008 un mastère spécialisé "systèmes de transports ferroviaires et guidés" pour pallier la pénurie d'ingénieurs ferroviaires et d'autre part en développant des axes de recherche communs comme en témoigne la création de la chaire "Réinventer les gares au XXIe siècle" en mai 2012.
À propos du Cnam
Le Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (Cnam) est un grand établissement d'enseignement supérieur et de recherche dédié à la formation continue des adultes. Placé sous la tutelle du ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, ses trois missions sont la formation professionnelle supérieure tout au long de la vie, la recherche et la diffusion de la culture scientifique et technique. Avec 150 centres d'enseignement en France et une présence à l'international, le Cnam accueille chaque année près de 100 000 élèves (salariés, demandeurs d'emploi, travailleurs indépendants…) qui viennent au Conservatoire pour actualiser leurs connaissances, perfectionner leurs compétences, ou acquérir un diplôme, du niveau bac jusqu'aux diplômes de 3e cycle et d'ingénieur.
À propos de l'École des Ponts ParisTech
L'École des Ponts ParisTech est une grande école française qui forme des ingénieurs à haut potentiel, et de futurs cadres de haut niveau à profil scientifique et technique, appelés à relever les grands défis de la société d'aujourd'hui et de demain. Au-delà du génie civil, du génie environnemental et du génie mécanique qui ont fait historiquement son prestige, l'École offre aujourd'hui des formations d'excellence dans des domaines variés, allant des mathématiques appliquées à l'économie en passant par le génie industriel.
Elle propose quatre grands types de programmes : une formation d'ingénieur, des masters, des formations doctorales et des programmes spécialisés post-gradués : mastères spécialisés, MBA.
L'École des Ponts ParisTech a par ailleurs développé une activité de recherche dynamique autour de 11 laboratoires, très souvent communs avec d'autres établissements d'enseignement supérieur, organismes de recherche et entreprises.

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    The Telegraph / 08 Apr 2013
    Business talent and investment boosts pace of innovation
    Vice president for external economic relations at Skolkovo Foundation, Conor Lenihan, gives his viewpoint on the rise of Russia's technoparks
    • By Conor Lenihan
    Вице-президент фонда "Сколково" по внешнеэкономической деятельности Конор Ленихан - об инновационных перспективах в России.

German statesman Otto von Bismarck once famously observed that the Russian cavalry were "slow to saddle up, but ride fast".
Nowhere is this saying truer than in innovation, where Russia has climbed rapidly up the innovation rankings in the past five years. France's Insead Business School recently placed Russia in 51st place in its innovation index, while a new Bloomberg ranking put the country as high as 14th worldwide in a measure that looked at research and development intensity, among other things.
The collapse of the Soviet Union dealt a tough blow to the prestige and standing of Russian science. The resulting human capital flight, through the emigration of talented Russian scientists, engineers and technologists, was dramatic. Just ask Cisco Systems, now a strong promoter of Skolkovo, Russia's flagship innovation project: it has no fewer than 700 Russian émigrés among its staff in Silicon Valley alone.
The sharp increases in oil, gas and commodities prices in the 2000s also left an economy lopsided and in need of diversification, modernization and improved infrastructure - with a particular focus on growing small and medium-sized businesses. The OECD has stressed the need to create alternative champions to the giants Gazprom and Rosneft in the non-resource sectors. Of course, these companies are vital for Russia's revenues, but nimbler, more innovative, small companies need to emerge from the country's research landscape.
In response, the government has launched a series of initiatives on innovation, including technology platforms, tax benefit-driven territorial clusters, special economic zones and development institutions such as Skolkovo, Rusnano, the Russian Venture Corporation and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. When fully built, Skolkovo will be a brand new, hi-tech city 12 miles south-west of the Kremlin. Since its inception has already created a start-up pipeline of more than 850 companies, in addition to the presence of large global corporates, such as Samsung, Intel, Microsoft, Honeywell, Siemens, J&J, SAP and BP - all of which are either locating R&D centres or venture funding start-ups. All of this has been accomplished in under three years.
In my native country, Ireland, the decision to ramp up R&D spending came about as a result of success in inward investment, and over a 10-year period commercialisation began to occur. In Russia it is happening at a much sharper pace, thanks to huge investment from the state, the obvious technical talent and the valuable market opportunity that Russia represents for investor companies.
Apart from the traditional locations of research excellence, a number of other technopark locations, including Skolkovo, are set to emerge. Locations such as Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novogorod, Tomsk, Ulyanovsk and Zelenograd are providing a competitive R&D challenge.
From Cold War days, Russia had a total of 11 closed cities where research scientists worked, mainly on Soviet defence-related projects. Nowadays, those skills are being put to commercial use instead, especially through Skolkovo. While Skolkovo will accommodate more than 31,000 residents, Tatarstan is creating an innovation hub of some 150,000 scientists, engineers and information technology professionals. Nikolai Nikiforov, the author of the idea, was last year appointed Russia's Communications and IT Minister at the age of 29.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology experts managing the development of the graduate-only Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, or SkolTech, hope Russia's rise up the research rankings will ensure talented Russian technologists will not have to leave the country to pursue their careers elsewhere.
SkolTech aims to instil values of commercialisation, top-quality research and entrepreneurialism with third-level institutions from all over Russia making a contribution. The ready availability of significant talent, funding and WTO accession are fuelling an investment push toward Russia.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013.
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    Во время встречи с руководством Европейской организации по ядерным исследованиям (ЦЕРН) заместитель председателя Правительства Российской Федерации Ольга Голодец подтвердила намерение России повысить статус со страны-наблюдателя в ЦЕРН до ассоциированного члена.

Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets has confirmed Russia's decision to raise its status in the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, from an observer state to an associate member, the government's press service said on Monday.
At the meeting with the CERN authorities in Geneva on April 5 she expressed confidence that Russia's more active participation in the project is advantageous for all parties.
"Qualification and knowledge of Russian scientists in physics are recognized by the international community and not disputed. It is principally important for Russia to participate in the world's leading research projects," she said.
"CERN membership will open for Russia broader access to participation in projects and property as a result of these projects as well as broader opportunities for all types of education programmes," Golodets said.
In particular, she noted that CERN researches yielded results not only in physics, but also in medicine.
A special group of CERN is expected to arrive in Moscow on April 18 to confirm Russia's readiness for associate membership. In this case a new status can be granted to Russia in 2014.
During her visit Golodets inspected CERN's new project - the Large Hadron Collider - and met with Russian researchers engaged in the project.
After her mission Russia's Education and Science Ministry received certain instructions to improve education programmes and working conditions for researchers.
Russian has been participating in CERN projects since 1967. Now over 800 Russian scientists work with the organization.

© 2007-2013 Russia Beyond The Headlines.
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    На Дальнем Востоке энтомологам (Биолого-почвенный институт ДВО РАН, Дальневосточный федеральный университет) удалось поймать и описать два редких вида чешуекрылых из семейства Ypsolophidae.

Ypsolophid moths are a peculiar group of Lepidoptera that attracts attention with their strange preference for a pose of rest. To take a break adult Ypsolophids like to go bottom up with antennae stretched forward. The larvae of these quirky species live and feed in webs they form on the leaves, buds and twigs of plants. When they are ready to pupate they produce a cocoon like cradle attached to the host plant.
This bizarre group of moths is also particularly hard to catch. The standard methods for collecting adults, usually comprising of breeding them from larvae or attracting the adults by light, both work rarely in the case of Ypsolophids. The larvae of most species usually live solitary on host plant and are hard to find in nature and unlike most flying insects, adults of many species fly on light infrequently. Thus the collecting of specimens from this group is big event for entomologists, especially if the species caught turns out to be unknown for science. Russian scientists have had the rare luck to catch and describe two new species of ypsolophid moths from the south regions of the Russian Far East. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
Being thermophilic, Ypsolophid moths represent a group that has a propensity for relatively higher temperature of the southern regions of the Russian Far East. During last decade the number of known species from Russian Far East has been more than twice increased. Including the species described in this paper, they reached the number of 30 species, which makes for a fourth of all known Ypsolophids worldwide.
"Faunistic studies are not only a whim! Exploring species diversity is a task with ecological repercussions on a local, and global scales", explains Dr. Ponomarenko, Institute of Biology and Soil Science, Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Science. "Studying the species diversity in East Asia as a whole and in the Far East of Russia in particular is an important endeavour. Faunistic investigations are only the first step in a long row of scientific tasks towards forming a primary database for further theoretical reconstructions and conclusions for the benefit of biodiversity conservation and species preservation."

© 2002-2013 redOrbit.com. All rights reserved.
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    На снимках поверхности Марса, полученных с помощью MRO (автоматическая межпланетная станция НАСА) удалось разглядеть советский зонд "Марс-3", отправившийся к Красной планете 29 мая 1971 года. 2 декабря была совершена первая в мире посадка на планету, и зонд начал передавать информацию. Через 14,5 секунды связь оборвалась.
    Пропавший зонд в одном из объектов на фотографии заподозрили российские астрономы-любители, после чего НАСА организовало повторную съемку, с большой степенью вероятности подтвердившую версию о "Марс-3".

Russian space enthusiasts poring through photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have spotted what looks like the remains of the Soviet Mars 3 lander that arrived at the Red Planet in 1971.
The Soviet Union lander was the first spacecraft to survive a Mars landing long enough to transmit data back to Earth. However, after transmitting for just 14.5 seconds after landing on Dec. 2, 1971, Mars 3 went dark for unknown reasons.
Now a group of Russian Mars fans, who track the progress of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity online, may have found the lander after all these years.
The citizen enthusiasts, led by Vitali Egorov of St. Petersburg, Russia, undertook a crowdsourcing effort to search for the vehicle in photos of the projected landing site from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which has been circling Mars since 2006. MRO launched toward the Red Planet in 2005 and is NASA's youngest and most powerful orbiter to study Mars from above.
In an image from 2007, they found features that resemble the Mars 3 lander, along with its parachute, heat shield and terminal retrorocket. The features are the right size and shape for the equipment, and they're arranged in the configuration expected from the mission's entry, descent and landing plan, but it's too early to say for sure whether the photo actually depicts Mars 3.
"I wanted to attract people's attention to the fact that Mars exploration today is available to practically anyone," Egorov said in a NASA statement. "At the same time we were able to connect with the history of our country, which we were reminded of after many years through the images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter."
A Russian scientists and adviser to the group, Alexander Basilevsky of the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry in Moscow, contacted the MRO team and requested the orbiter take a follow-up image to confirm the features. The satellite's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera took a second image on March 10 of this year, which confirmed the features.
"Together, this set of features and their layout on the ground provide a remarkable match to what is expected from the Mars 3 landing, but alternative explanations for the features cannot be ruled out," said HiRISE principal investigator Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona. "Further analysis of the data and future images to better understand the three-dimensional shapes may help to confirm this interpretation."
Following the Mars 3 mission, the Soviet Union attempted twice more to land spacecraft on the Red Planet with the Mars 6 and Mars 7 missions in 1973, but both of those failed. The first vehicle to survive a landing on Mars was the U.S. Viking 1 lander, which touched down in July 1976.

© 2013 NBCNews.com.
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    Институт общей генетики имени Н.И.Вавилова РАН и Университет Гронингена (Нидерланды) заключили соглашение о создании Центра науки, инноваций и образования по исследованию стволовых клеток.

After a historic three-way deal signed in Amsterdam this week, a ground-breaking Center for Stem Cell Research will be set up in Moscow in 2014 with collaboration between major Dutch and Russian universities.
The University Medical Centre Groningen in the Netherlands, the Russian Vavilov Institute of General Genetics and Moscow's Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) have set up the first Center for Research, Education and Innovation (CREI) to position both countries as leaders in stem cell technology.
There will be strong financial support for the CREI from the Russian government to commercialise the considerable opportunities from biomedical research. Fifteen of these five-year long research projects will be founded by 2020 and possess a cumulative budget of $675 million.
The US will also participate through a sub-contract to the Whitehead Institute in Groningen in a global effort to accelerate the commercialisation of stem cell science, which is one of the fastest developing and promising fields in biomedicine.
The 2012 Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent (stem cells) by scientists in Japan and the UK, and Skoltech has engaged one of the world's leading experts in cancer and molecular genetics to oversee the project.
"At Skoltech we are building a university from the ground up in a unique way, dedicated to translating research to real impact in the commercial world. We have convinced a world leader in the field to move to Moscow to start the Center and we are really excited to have attracted him," said Edward Crawley, President of Skoltech.
The Center will also bring to Moscow leading international researchers in the field to conduct courses and training for industry, faculty and researchers. Previously, these individuals would have had no other recourse but to search for expertise outside of the country.
The Skoltech Center for Stem Cell Research will focus on using stem cells to address liver diseases, cancer, aging and current incurable diseases by creating transplantable stem cells from induced pluripotent cells and developing specific cellular systems. The Center will also work with many of the 800 start-up companies that are based at the Skolkovo Park in Moscow to create marketable products.
Currently there is not a single Russian university in the world's Top 200 universities, and Skoltech is a major project to address this. The creation of the Skolkovo campus at the Skolkovo Park in a partnership with Boston's MIT, and international deals of this nature are expected to push Russia into this elite within five years.
The academic tie-up with the Netherlands follows recent Russian commercial partnerships with corporations such as Cisco, IBM, Siemens and Rosneft that have all invested in Skolkovo. These blue-chip companies were recently joined at the end of 2012 by Samsung who signed an agreement to set up a R&D centre in Moscow.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013.
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    Libération / 9 avril 2013
    Souris, gerbilles, lézards et escargots dans une fusée
    Cette semaine, escapade dans l'espace avec un groupe d'animaux terrestres reconvertis pour un mois en astronautes. Une carrière pas forcément enviable
    С космодрома Байконур запущен российский научный спутник "Бион-М" с различной живностью на борту: грызунами, тритонами, улитками, рыбами, микроорганизмами. Спутник пробудет на орбите около месяца, основная цель исследований - выяснить, какие изменения на генетическом уровне происходят во время длительного полета в условиях высокой радиации.

Une petite arche de Noé est arrivée ce vendredi, en orbite terrestre, avec à son bord un petit régiment de rongeurs et une équipe de reptiles qui doivent permettre à des chercheurs russes et européens d'observer les effets d'un séjour spatial sur leurs organismes.
Une fusée russe Soyouz a décollé à midi, heure française, de Baïkonour, emportant dans l'espace souris, lézards et escargots, qui resteront un mois en orbite pour des expériences visant à la recherche médicale, mais aussi à préparer le vol des hommes vers Mars.
"C'est une vraie arche de Noé", a commenté la télévision publique russe, présentant l'expérience menée par l'Institut des problèmes biomédicaux de Moscou (IMBP). Le Cnes, centre d'études spatiales français, a de son côté indiqué dans un communiqué être partenaire de ce vol de l'appareil spatial Bion-M, un "biosatellite automatique".
Ce vol marque la reprise des études physiologiques animales dans l'espace, "interrompues depuis quelques décennies", souligne le Cnes. A bord de Bion-M, mis en orbite en même temps que divers satellites, se trouvent notamment 45 souris, 8 gerbilles de Mongolie, 15 lézards, 20 escargots et divers autres organismes vivants.
Les animaux, placés dans des compartiments séparés et sous surveillance vidéo permanente, vont rester en orbite un mois et redescendront, comme un équipage humain le 18 mai pour que les scientifiques puissent étudier les conséquences de leur séjour dans l'espace. "Il s'agit de déterminer à quel point notre organisme s'adapte aux conditions de l'apesanteur et de comprendre ce qu'il faut faire pour assurer la survie lors de vols au long cours", a indiqué le directeur du programme au Centre spatial russe, Valéri Abrachkine, à la chaîne publique.
Influence sur les os, les muscles et le rythme cardiaque
La télévision a montré plusieurs compartiments à porte vitrée, dans lesquels se trouvaient des rongeurs. Les expériences menées sur les souris visent notamment à "comprendre les mécanismes qui régissent les changements observés dans le système cardiovasculaire en microgravité", a de son côté indiqué le Cnes. A cet effet, "cinq des souris ont été équipées de capteurs implantables qui mesurent en continu la pression artérielle et la fréquence cardiaque, avant, pendant et après le vol", a ajouté le Cnes.
La même source souligne que ce suivi à distance a été rendu possible par un système de télémétrie "adapté par le Cnes", qui constitue une "première mondiale". Le centre français indique encore que des expériences doivent porter sur les conséquences d'un vol spatial sur les os et les muscles.
Un responsable du programme à l'Institut des problèmes biomédicaux de Moscou, Evgueni Iline, a indiqué à l'agence Interfax que des souris restant à terre seraient euthanasiées deux jours après le décollage de Soyouz, pour des prélèvements de tissus qui serviront ensuite de base de comparaison pour évaluer les changements survenus sur leurs congénères après leur séjour dans l'espace.
Une source au cosmodrome de Baïkonour a du reste indiqué à l'agence qu'une partie des souris avaient dû être remplacées par un groupe de "doublures" après une bagarre qui avait causé la mort de l'un des animaux. "Ce sont des mâles que l'on envoie dans l'espace, ils sont agressifs et sujets au stress", a observé cette source.
L'institut scientifique en charge de la mission a indiqué envoyer également dans l'espace des œufs de poisson, des micro-organismes, des graines et des plantes, pour étudier également les effets de l'apesanteur sur leur évolution. Le vaisseau Bion-M doit atterrir telle une capsule de retour des cosmonautes humains, dans la région russe d'Orenbourg (Oural).
Les précédentes expériences de ce type avaient été menées avec des singes, a indiqué la télévision russe, montrant des images en noir et blanc de ces primates dont l'expérience dans l'espace avait servi à préparer les missions humaines à bord de la station soviétique Mir puis de la station spatiale internationale ISS.
La première expérience soviétique de ce type avec un animal avait été le vol de la chienne Laïka, en 1957, qui avait précédé le premier vol spatial d'un homme, Iouri Gagarine, en 1961. La chienne était morte après quelques heures dans l'espace.

© Libération.
* * *
    Ученые Института химии твердого тела и механохимии СО РАН и Института химии и химической технологии Академии наук Монголии разработали бездымное топливо на основе бурого угля.

Scientists of Institute of chemistry of solid states of objects and mechanical chemistry Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of chemistry and chemical technology of Academy of Sciences of Mongolia have developed smokeless fuel based on brown coal (lignite).
According to the chairman of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Aseev, the technology provides for the removal of organic substances from coal and the thus formed semi-coke turns into a fuel briquette. He noted that development is very much in demand by the small boilers working on coal. In the papers of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science it is said that the technology has been developed by use of brown coal from Baganur and Tavan-Tolgoy fields of Mongolia.

© 2007-2013 Russia Beyond The Headlines.
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