Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here
China’s Zhurong rover is the subject of spectacular photographs snapped from the ground and from orbit. Zhurong took the selfie above using a detachable camera that it released onto the ground. And its landing site, below, was pictured in high-resolution colour by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Other images taken by cameras fitted on the rover include a 360-degree panorama from atop the lander.
The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly in favour of legislation that invests heavily in the US National Science Foundation (NSF). If the legislation passes the US House of Representatives, the NSF’s budget could double over five years — a big win for basic research in the country. Senate lawmakers introduced amendments aimed at preventing China from stealing or benefitting from US intellectual property — a development that scientists fear could threaten international collaborations. They also funnelled some of the funding allotment originally intended for the NSF towards other US agencies that conduct research, such as the Department of Energy.
Nations, universities and research institutions around the world must redouble their efforts to expand training for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers to prepare them for jobs outside academia, urges a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental coalition of 38 nations. The report, the result of a nearly two-year investigation into the job security and working conditions of junior scientists, concludes that nations and institutions should more closely track career outcomes for PhD holders to better understand local challenges and opportunities.
Reference: OECD report
Features & opinion
When mathematician Katherine Johnson died last year, aged 101, she left readers a gift. Her memoir My Remarkable Journey is masterful, writes reviewer Ainissa Ramirez. Johnson’s story might be partly familiar to those who saw the 2016 movie Hidden Figures, which highlighted her role in the NASA Moon missions. Her own telling is even more gripping, writes Ramirez, capturing how Johnson “overcame the gravitational pulls of gender and racial discrimination” against the backdrop of a dramatic century of US history.
In 2018, Papua New Guinea had been polio-free for almost two decades. Then, children started to experience the tell-tale leg paralysis that heralds the disease. The outbreak spread to the Philippines, and later Malaysia, which had been polio-free since 1992. Mass vaccination campaigns helped to bring the outbreak under control by 2020. The tale of how polio rose again in the Asia-Pacific reveals the public-health challenges that are keeping global eradication just out of reach.
Several readers kindly wrote to say that the trees chosen for Leif’s hiding place are not, as I claimed, the sweet-smelling ponderosa pines for which Mount Charleston is famous. They’re bristlecone pines, or maybe spruce or fir. Thanks to everyone who took the time to look beyond the Leif to the trees.