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Argonne Impacts State by State

Argonne’s collaborations in Arizona and across the United States have led to groundbreaking discoveries and development of new technologies that help meet the nation’s needs for sustainable energy, economic prosperity, and security.

Arizona State, Argonne discovery may change modeling, thinking of how life evolves on exoplanets

Artist’s concept of a hypothetical planet covered in water around the binary star system of Kepler-35A and B. (Image by NASA / JPL-Caltech.)

Dan Shim, an associate professor at Arizona State University, and his team of researchers simulated conditions of planets completely covered in water to learn how life could be supported without land masses. They re-created conditions from those water-filled worlds with the help of the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory. The team brought their samples to two APS beamlines: GeoSoilEnviroCARS (GSECARS), operated by the University of Chicago, and High-Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HPCAT) operated by Argonne’s X-ray Science Division.

The researchers’ findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and focused on a new transitional phase between silica and water, indicating that the boundary between water and rock on exoplanets is not as solid as it is on Earth. This pivotal discovery could change the way astronomers and astrophysicists model exoplanets and inform the way we think about life evolving on them.

Arizona State, Virginia Tech study shows similar responses to gravity in insects and humans

A ground-breaking study shows that gravity shifts blood and air sacs in grasshoppers, who respond with cardiovascular changes similar to those observed in humans. (Image Eileen Kumpf / Shutterstock.)

Researchers from Arizona State University and Virginia Tech collaborated with the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory for a ground-breaking study showing that gravity shifts blood and air sacs in grasshoppers, who respond with cardiovascular changes similar to those observed in humans. The primary data of X-ray images was collected at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source.

While it has long been known that vertebrates rely on compensatory responses to gravity with changing body orientation, this topic has not been previously studied in invertebrates,” the study said in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study’s findings suggest that gravity-driven cardiovascular responses may be ancient and widely shared among animals, opening the door for invertebrates as model systems for investigation of cellular and systemic mechanisms of gravity responses. The researchers believe there will be many follow-ups to this study in insect physiology.