NATURE BRIEFING

Daily briefing: ESA satellite forced to move to avoid SpaceX collision

No hard feelings after game of space chicken. Plus: the first iPS cornea transplant and India’s risky Moon landing.

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Anterior segment of human eye showing cornea, iris, and lens.

The transparent cornea protects the eye from damage.Credit: Ralph C. Eagle Jnr/Science Photo Library

First ever iPS cornea transplant

A Japanese woman in her forties has become the first person in the world to have her cornea repaired using corneal cells made from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. iPS cells are made by reprogramming adult skin cells from a donor into an embryonic-like state, from which they can transform into other cell types. Doctors say the woman’s vision has improved since the transplant.

Nature | 2 min read

India counts down to risky Moon landing

After countless setbacks and delays, India will attempt to set a lander down on the Moon in the early hours of 7 September. The Chandrayaan-2 mission shot into space six weeks ago — more than a year behind schedule — ferrying an orbiter and a lander loaded with a six-wheeled rover. The mission’s main aims are to investigate the unexplored lunar south pole and provide the most detailed maps yet of sources of water on the Moon.

Nature | 5 min read

By the numbers

1 lunar day

The designed lifespan of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander and Pragyan rover — that’s about about 14 Earth days.

ESA satellite dodges SpaceX in orbit

The European Space Agency (ESA) says it had to shift its Aeolus Earth observation satellite on Monday to avoid a collision with a spacecraft from SpaceX’s multi-satellite Starlink system. SpaceX declined to yield after the US military alerted both organizations to the risk. But there are no hard feelings, says Holger Krag, head of ESA’s Space Debris Office. “There are no rules in space,” he says. “Nobody did anything wrong. Space is there for everybody to use. There’s no rule that somebody was first here.”

Forbes | 5 min read

FEATURES & OPINION

Workflows give science a common language

Workflow tools such as Snakemake, Nextflow and the Common Workflow Language (CWL) can make your computational methods portable, maintainable, reproducible and shareable. A Nature Toolbox article includes a worked example that shows how Snakemake helps turn raw data into scientific knowledge.

Nature | 7 min read

How to have a life while getting a PhD

Learn to focus, don’t sully your off-hours with work and don’t try to be perfect when good-enough will do, says bioscience PhD candidate Alejandra Ortega. She shares her tips for achieving academic success while enjoying a social life.

Nature | 5 min read

A beginner's guide to the P-value crisis

“A mathematical analysis of what it is to be human can take us only so far,” writes mathematician Hannah Fry in her examination of what statistics can — and can’t — tell us. She points to the example of Harold Shipman, a trusted British family doctor and prolific serial killer, as a case where stats could have saved lives. She also presents an intriguing list of real and imagined scenarios in which the concept of statistical significance points us in the wrong direction.

The New Yorker | 15 min read

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The effects of any chemical weapon are inherently unpredictable; history is full of examples of ‘friendly’ casualties caused by agents carried on shifting winds.”

We need a better understanding of the effects of tear gas and pepper spray — and proper rules for their use, argues defence consultant Dan Kaszeta. (Nature)

For everyone heading into a new academic year, we wish you the best of luck and share ecological communicator Liz Anna Kozik’s lovely prayer for the kindness of a timely gentian in front of your peers. Send me your hopes for the year ahead (plus any other feedback on this newsletter) to briefing@nature.com and I guarantee that every wish you share with me will definitely come true.

Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing

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