Published: Saturday 15 April 2006

freshness sensor: Grocers, florists and even pharmacists may soon have a better way to monitor the quality of products they get from suppliers: a sensor that will tell when a product spoils.

A team of University of Florida (in the US) engineering students has designed and built a prototype of the sensor, which can also record and wirelessly transmit information to retailers about when and where glitches occur as a product is being shipped. The sensor will make the perishable goods supply chain both safer and more efficient.

space geysers: One of Saturn's moons, Enceladus, is sending geysers of water into space that fall back on the satellite as snow, a joint US-European exploratory space mission reports. The plumes of icy water also replenish the water particles that make up Saturn's largest ring -- the E-ring, the scientists have discovered. Data from the spacecraft Cassini show the water originates near "south polar hot spots on the moon, possible locations for the development of primitive life in the solar system," the scientists said.

fish catalogue: The technology used to image brain tumours and torn knee ligaments is now taking marine biology to a new dimension by allowing anyone with Internet access to examine fish as never before.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego's Keck Center for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (all in USA) will create a high-resolution, three-dimensional, online catalogue of fishes from Scripps's Marine Vertebrate Collection, one of the world's most comprehensive libraries of preserved fish specimens.

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