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New worries about Earth’s asteroid risk, and harnessing plants’ chemical factories

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On this week’s show: Earth’s youngest impact craters could be vastly underestimated in size, and remaking a plant’s process for a creating a complex compound


First up this week, have we been measuring asteroid impact craters wrong? Staff Writer Paul Voosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about new approaches to measuring the diameter of impact craters. They discuss the new measurements which, if confirmed, might require us to rethink just how often Earth gets hit with large asteroids. Paul also shares more news from the recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas.


Next up, pulling together all the enzymes used by a plant to make a vaccine adjuvant—a compound used to boost the efficacy of vaccines—in the lab. Anne Osbourn, a group leader and professor of biology at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England, talks about why plants are so much better at making complex molecules, and an approach that allows scientists to copy their methods.


This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.


About the Science Podcast


[Image: NASA/JPL; Music: Jeffrey Cook]


[alt: Itturalde crater in Bolivia with podcast overlay]


Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen


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