Heavier and less tough aluminium oxynitride, or ALON, a ceramic compound made from aluminium, oxygen and nitrogen, can replace the existing bullet-proof glass. It has sapphire-like optical and structural properties that help withstand repeated strikes of armour-piercing bullets. The much-thinner new screen will comprise an outer layer of ALON, a middle section of toughened glass and a sheet of polymer at the back.
Researchers at NASAís Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California report that glaciers around the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica are dumping more than 110 cubic kilometres of ice into the ocean each year, raising fears of an unprecedented surge in sea levels globally. The base-melting at a rate of 50 metres a year is increasing each year ' many times faster than the ice can be replaced by snowfall.
Johns Hopkins University researchers claim to have found a gene, SPRN6, that protects a mosquito from getting sick with malaria, althou-gh they carry its parasite and infect humans through biting. Experts plan to fight malaria by developing chemical sprays thatíll switch on SPRN6 in mosquitoes, making them incapable of infecting humans.
Near-infrared images of the galaxy NGC 1097, which have been taken by the European Southern Observatory, show a complex filamentary structure spiralling down to its centre. The discovery will help astrophysicists better understand how super-massive black holes lurk at the centres of many galaxies in the Universe.