Best of Last Week—Smallest star ever, best ways to slow climate change and drinking coffee makes you live longer

July 17, 2017 by Bob Yirka recap
Credit: Amanda Smith

(ScienceX)—It was another good week for space news as a team led by astronomers at the University of Cambridge announced the smallest star ever discovered—just slightly bigger than Saturn, its gravitational pull is still 300 times stronger than that exerted by Earth. Also, a team in Spain announced that they had found new evidence in support of the Planet Nine hypothesis—perturbations in the orbits of the extreme trans-Neptunian objects that suggest a planet at a distance of 300 to 400 times that of Earth from the sun. And NASA released images captured by the JunoCam as the Juno spacecraft captured Jupiter's Great Red Spot—they have been added to the JunoCam website.

In technology news, a team with George Washington University announced that they had designed a solar cell that captures nearly all of the energy of the solar spectrum. The prototype integrates multiple cells stacked into a single device and has been found to be 44.5 percent efficient. And a team at Southern Methodist University announced a chemistry discovery that yielded 3-D table-top objects crafted from light. It uses photoswitch molecules to create 3-D light structures that are viewable from 360 degrees.

In other news, a team at Lund University published a paper in which they suggested that the most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed—urging people to eat plants instead of meat, to stop flying, to stop driving and to have smaller families. Also, a team at Oxford University reported that tardigrades will likely be the last survivors on Earth—living up until the sun dies. Also, a team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found out why strength depends on more than muscle—because it also depends on the fitness of the nervous system. And a team at the University of Copenhagen used a smart atomic cloud to solve Heisenberg's observation problem.

And finally, if you want to give yourself a chance at a longer life, you might be interested in a study conducted by a team at the University of Southern California; they found that drinking coffee could lead to a longer life—by lowering your chances of succumbing to several ailments.

Explore further: Juno spacecraft spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot