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Twin stars reveal planet-eating habits

A terrestrial planet being captured by a twin star. Artist’s impression by intouchable, © OPENVERSE.

At least one in a dozen stars show evidence of planetary ingestion according to a paper published in Nature today.

The international research team studied twin stars that should have identical composition. But, in about eight percent of cases, they differ, perplexing astronomers.

The team, led by ASTRO 3D researchers has found that the difference is due to one of the twins devouring planets or planetary material. The findings have been made possible thanks to a large dataset collected with the 6.5-metre Magellan Telescope and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, both in Chile, and the 10-meter Keck Telescope in Hawaii, United States.

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Will the world’s mangroves, marshes and coral survive warm, rising seas this time?

Research published in Nature warns that rising seas will devastate coastal habitats, using evidence from the last Ice Age.

17,000 years ago you could walk from Germany to England, from Russia to America, from mainland Australia to Tasmania. Sea levels were about 120 metres lower than today. But, as the last Ice Age ended, the oceans rose quickly by one metre a century on average.

Vast swathes of coastal habitat were wiped out. Recovery took thousands of years.

Rapid sea level rise and coastal habitat retreat will happen again if warming levels rise above Paris Agreement targets, warns a global research team led by Macquarie University.

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Will the world’s mangroves, marshes and coral survive warm, rising seas this time?

Research published today in Nature warns that rising seas will devastate coastal habitats, using evidence from the last Ice Age.

17,000 years ago you could walk from Germany to England, from Russia to America, from mainland Australia to Tasmania. Sea levels were about 120 metres lower than today. But, as the last Ice Age ended, the oceans rose quickly by one metre a century on average.

Vast swathes of coastal habitat were wiped out. Recovery took thousands of years.

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Media releases from the World Mining Congress

Daily alerts

Media releases

Third-party releases



Towards zero deaths, robot dozers, saving sand, Moon mining

Just another day for Brisbane’s mining pioneers

Media call, noon Sunday at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, on the steps of the Merivale Street entrance.

Brisbane is hosting the World Mining Congress this week, starting Monday, with 3,500 delegates from 70 countries.  

We’re offering interviews and a media call at noon today to brief you on the Congress, and Brisbane’s ongoing role in creating a safer, more sustainable industry.

  • World Mining Congress program manager Prof Mike Hood
  • Brisbane’s CSIRO researchers who
  • Have made deep mining safer with longwall technology
  • Are now helping NASA prepare for mining on the Moon
  • The sand guru from UQ – sand is the most mined material on Earth
  • And Thiess – started as a road building business, now a leader in autonomous mining services
  • Plus overlay of autonomous vehicles, NASA’s Artemis mission and more
  • Plus Centre walk through of exhibition set up with trucks, tech and hi vis.  

Tomorrow, Monday 26 June, Brisbane welcomes 3,000 delegate to the 26th World Mining Congress and the first in Australia. The Congress has been ten years in the planning with CSIRO’s Hua Guo leading a delegation to Brazil to bid for Brisbane in 2016.

“Here at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, in the heart of beautiful Brisbane, we have gathered the greatest minds in mining around the world, the influential companies, the smartest inventors, the most progressive investors and thousands of passionate delegates,” says Dr Guo who is the Congress Chair.

“Together, we are the people who can reimagine mining to resource the world for tomorrow, creating value for society,” he says.

“We started organising the Congress on the cusp of COVID, in February 2020,” says Congress organiser Emma Bowyer. “It’s exciting to be back in action and filling Brisbane’s massive Convention Centre.”

The big question at the Congress is, “Can mining walk and talk the same time,” says Professor Mike Hood, program director for the Congress. “Can we find and sustainably mine the vast amounts of critical minerals needed for decarbonisation. And at the same time, how can we decarbonise the industry itself, and make mining safer.”

“Brisbane researchers have many of the answers,” he says.

Sand is the most exploited natural resource on the planet,” says UQ’s Professor Daniel Franks. It’s the critical mineral for city and infrastructure building. for cities. However, its extraction from seas, rivers, beaches and quarries has an impact on the environment and surrounding communities. He’s leading a symposium on Monday on how to produce sand and other building materials sustainably, including harvesting it from mining waste.

“Around 90 per cent of Australia’s underground coal production comes from longwall mining using massive machines augmented with automation technologies developed by CSIRO in Brisbane,” says CSIRO’s Dr Jonathon Ralston. “At the Congress we’ll present our latest remote innovations utilising 50 individual lidars, multiple cameras, and high-performance inertial sensors on production mining equipment.”

He says that this technology combined with modelling, data fusion and visualisation will provide real time, actionable information for underground mining operations, making them safer.

And he’ll talk about the other end of the scale – small scale mining on the Moon to support NASA’s planned return mission, Artemis. Producing just one kilogram of a resource such as water, oxygen or a building material on the Moon could save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mining industry pioneer Thiess will be joining Caterpillar at the Congress for a live demonstration of remote operation of Cat semi-autonomous dozers on an operating mine site, more than 800km away in Central Qld. Trent Smith, Group Manager – Autonomy Services is available at the media call to discuss Thiess’ shift to autonomous mining

The five Thiess brothers started as road contractors on the Darling Downs in 1934. They went on to win their first mining contract at Muswellbrook Coal Mine in the Hunter Valley in 1944.

And then the Congress. On the first day we will explore:

Media accreditation is still open.

For more information and accreditation contact
Niall Byrne,,  +61-417-131-977 and visit

About the Congress

The World Mining Congress was first held in 1958 in Poland. It has been held every two to three years ever since. It is UN-affiliated and continues to have a secretariat in Poland.

The 26th World Congress will be held for the first time in Australia, spanning the entire Brisbane Convention Centre from 26 to 29 June 2023. The Congress anticipates over 3000 participants from over 70 countries.

The Congress was brought to Australia with the support of the host, CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency. The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources is our Major Sponsor and Queensland is our Host State Sponsor. A large suite of leading global and national companies and research agencies are also major sponsors of the Congress.

Inclusion of Congress speakers in media releases does not imply endorsement by the WMC, its hosts, partners and sponsors.


NASA moon mission media kit:

And video

Thiess media kit and overlay:

CSIRO Longwall automation:

CSIRO Moon mining:

UQ and sand: and

A mobile stress test to fast-track aircraft certification

A unique Australian technology wins awards, and gets smaller, simpler and even more capable.

DSTG Group Leader Dr Nik Rajic with the new stress imaging device. Credit DSTG

Media call at 11 am Friday 3 March 2023 on the Defence Stand, Exhibition Hall 3, Australian International Airshow at Avalon.

A technology invented in Melbourne can quickly reveal how stressed an aircraft is.

It will help fast track structural testing of new aircraft designs.

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Making high tech medical gels with Australian spinifex grass

The birth of a new Australian industry, majority owned by Indigenous Australians

Spinifex grass. Credit: AIBN

Uniseed and Bulugudu have agreed to invest $2.6 million into Trioda Wilingi, a University of Queensland/UniQuest spin out company, to develop innovative medical gels from cellulose nanofibres extracted from spinifex harvested in north-west Queensland.

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How teamwork makes superbugs more deadly and drug-resistant

Posted for Macquarie University

Written by Mary O’Malley,

Some of the world’s most deadly and drug-resistant pathogens work collaboratively to become more powerful and infectious, a new study has found.

Dr Lucie Semenec and researchers from Macquarie University and University of Newcastle have characterised for the first time the mutually beneficial relationship between Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii, microorganisms responsible for such conditions as pneumonia, urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections.

Due to their multiple drug resistance, these two notorious pathogens are on a World Health Organisation priority list for urgent need of new antibiotics. These pathogens are commonly present in polymicrobial infections, acute and chronic diseases caused by various combinations of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Some studies in the US and Europe have found them co-existing in about 40 percent of all hospitalised patients.

“This research is significant because diagnostic methods commonly look for the most dominant pathogen and therefore treatment is targeted at that,” says Dr Semenec.

“New drugs now can be informed in future research by the molecular mechanisms we find in this work,” says Dr Semenec.

The Nature Communications study outlines how Klebsiella feeds Acinetobacter through its metabolic by-products.  In return, Acinetobacter protects Klebsiella from high concentrations of drugs through antibiotic-degrading enzymes that it secretes.

“We have found that they have a mutually beneficial relationship to one another that enables Klebsiella to survive in antibiotic concentrations significantly higher than it can on its own,” Dr Semenec says.

Co-lead author, Associate Professor Amy Cain of Macquarie University, says the research highlights the pressing need for improved screening for mixed infections in hospital settings.

“It’s important to understand that together these bugs are more infectious, more resistant to treatment and they feed off each other,” she says.

The study investigated two strains previously co-isolated from a single lung infection and examined them using multiple screening and analysis mechanisms, from microscopy to genomics and infections in living organisms. It involved a team of researchers from Macquarie University and University of Newcastle.

“Rather like photographing a sculpture from different angles so you can see it its entirety, we really needed a combination of methods to understand this interaction,” Dr Semenec says.

Caterpillar in vivo infection studies allowed the researchers to uncover that these two pathogens are more deadly when they co-infect. These experiments were performed using the ethical Galleria mellonella (greater wax moth larvae) animal model alternative at the Macquarie Galleria Research Facility, the first of its kind in Australia.

Nature Communications


Fusion energy

Reactions: interviews available with Australian nuclear physicists at the Australian Institute of Physics Congress in Adelaide

The US experimenters apparently have got out more energy than they put in in a fusion experiment, thus technically achieving ignition. This indeed is a breakthrough worthy of celebration.

However, there is a long way to go. From the nature of the facility where the experiment was performed, I’d say this energy came in a single pulse or “flash”. So, for a viable power source it would be necessary to have sustained repeated such pulses, and be able to collect the energy released efficiently. There’s still a long way to go. That said, achieving ignition is an essential milestone that apparently now has been reached. Practical fusion power is a step closer to reality.

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