NATURE BRIEFING

Daily briefing: NASA says India’s anti-satellite missile test put ISS at risk

Test was “a terrible, terrible thing”. Plus: how to take the cancer-research road less travelled and discover the salmon that survive spawning.

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View of the Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test launch in India

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine says that the ‘Mission Shakti'’ anti-satellite test endangered the International Space Station.ISRO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

NASA: India’s anti-satellite missile test “a terrible, terrible thing”

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has called out India’s anti-satellite missile test for creating hundreds of pieces of orbital debris that could threaten the International Space Station. “That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight,” said Bridenstine. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last week that the country had shot down its own satellite with a ground-to-space missile. India said that any debris would soon fall to Earth, but Bridenstine said that the short-term risk to the International Space Station was still “unacceptable”. A similar test done by China in 2007 is one of the biggest sources of space debris ever.

CNN | 4 min read

Lawsuits take Sacklers to task over opioid crisis

Several US lawsuits looking to place blame for the opioid crisis are reaching beyond Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, to the family that controls it: the Sacklers. “The suits are not only an effort to get at the Sacklers’ personal fortunes — estimated by Forbes to be $13 billion — but to expose the extent to which the Sacklers themselves have been calling the shots,” reports The New York Times. Sackler family members have called the claims against them “demonstrably false and unsupportable by the actual facts”.

New York Times | 11 min read

FEATURES & OPINION

Illustration of naked mole rat

Illustration by David Parkins

Take the cancer-research road less travelled

“It’s important not to ignore unexpected results that don’t fit your hypothesis, because most of the time nature is smarter than us,” says comparative biologist Vera Gorbunova, who studies why the naked mole rat lives so long and almost never gets cancer. She is one of five scientists sharing how they created successful careers out of innovative approaches to cancer research.

Nature | 10 min read

How to stop another scandal like Duke’s

Duke University’s huge misconduct fine is a casualty of a culture that prizes impact over robustness, argues microbiologist and immunologist Arturo Casadevall. “The seeds of misconduct, although they grow in only a very few individuals, are planted in the very heart of academic biomedical sciences”, he says. He proposes how to make the difficult but necessary culture shift to valuing rigour over impact.

Nature | 5 min read

Spawn, survive, repeat

“Spawn till you die” reads the classic salmon-themed T-shirt from artist Ray Troll. But some rare salmon survive spawning and make the gruelling return trip from river to sea over and over. These survivors are called ‘kelts’, and scientists are only starting to understand why they live when so many others die.

Hakai | 6 min read

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Utter chaos. Disaster. A national act of self-harm.”

Quoting terms used by leading scientists to describe the state of the United Kingdom’s plans to leave the European Union, a Nature editorial calls on scientists to help repair the damage that has been done to research, relationships and communities. (Nature)

I personally love a rainbow colour scheme, but reviewers, apparently, don't. Check out Nature climate-science editor Michael White’s twitter thread of good formatting choices for scientific papers. No need to stand on ceremony with me, though — I welcome your non-continuously-numbered feedback at briefing@nature.com.

Thanks for reading!

Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing

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