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Commercial space rides for U.S. astronauts to save millions: NASA
Astronauts onboard the International Space Station successfully capture the SpaceX Dragon spacecraftBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - The U.S. space program should save more than $12 million a seat flying astronauts to and from the International Space Station on commercial space taxis rather than aboard Russian capsules, the NASA program manager said on Monday. In September, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration awarded contracts worth up to a combined $6.8 billion to Boeing and privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to fly crew to the station, a $100 billion research laboratory about 260 miles above Earth. Since retiring the space shuttles in 2011, the United States has depended on Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, to ferry astronauts to the orbital outpost. NASA expects to pay an average of $58 million a seat when its astronauts begin flying on Boeings CST-100 and SpaceXs Dragon capsules in 2017, Kathy Lueders, manager of NASAs Commercial Crew program, told reporters during a news conference in Houston and via conference call.
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:07:21 -0500
University of Wisconsin closes laboratory, ending cat experiments
A University of Wisconsin research laboratory that attracted controversy for using live cats in experiments is closing this year, the school said. The University of Wisconsin at Madison said its Department of Neuroscience will no longer conduct experiments related to "sound localization" because Tom Yin, the department interim chair and chief researcher, is retiring at age 70. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had criticized Yin for experiments the advocacy group said were cruel. Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:12:24 -0500
The upper hand: study points to early tool use by human ancestors
News ImageScientists said on Thursday an analysis of fossil hand bones of the species Australopithecus africanus that lived in southern Africa about 3 million to 2 million years ago indicated this human forerunner could use its hands in ways very much like modern people. "Forceful precision grips have been linked specifically to stone tool use and tool making, and so it is possible that Australopithecus africanus was using stone tools as well," said Tracy Kivell of Britain's University of Kent, who helped lead the study published in the journal Science with fellow University of Kent paleoanthropologist Matthew Skinner. This species appeared roughly a half million years before the first evidence of stone tools. The traditional view of scientists is that a species called Homo habilis that appeared about 2.4 million years ago was the pioneer in stone tool use in the human lineage.
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:53:06 -0500
Giant asteroid set to buzz Earth, poses no threat
News ImageBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - An asteroid measuring about a third of a mile (half a kilometer) in diameter will make a relatively close, but harmless pass by Earth Monday night, NASA said. The asteroid will pass about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Earth, roughly three times farther away than the moon. "While it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it's a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more," astronomer Don Yeomans, with NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said in a statement. The asteroid, which orbits the sun every 1.84 years, was discovered 11 years ago by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research, or LINEAR, telescope in New Mexico.
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 00:07:27 -0500
Rosetta spacecraft raises new questions about comets origin
News ImageBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Scientists using Europes comet-orbiting Rosetta spacecraft have discovered that the complicated ancient body is coated with surprisingly simple organic molecules and surrounded by a changing cloud of gases, according to new research released on Thursday. In November it released a piggyback-riding spacecraft, which descended to the comets surface for a series of independent studies. The Rosetta mission is intended to shed light on the solar systems early days by studying one of its pristine comet remnants.
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:33:09 -0500
Pediatricians Oppose Medical Marijuana, with Some Exceptions
Although a number of states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational reasons in recent years, a leading group of U.S. pediatricians says it opposes such legalization, over concerns that these laws could be harmful to children. However, the group says that in some cases, some of the chemical compounds contained in marijuana could be used to treat children with debilitating diseases. Although none of these places allows the drug to be sold to children or teens, making marijuana available to adults could increase the access that teens have to the drug, according to a policy statement released today (Jan. 26) by the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Just the campaigns to legalize marijuana can have the effect of persuading adolescents that marijuana is not dangerous," Dr. Seth D. Ammerman, a member of the AAP Committee on Substance Abuse, said in a statement. Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:52:24 -0500
Here's What to Eat to Lower Inflammation
Ginger, nuts, fatty fish and whole grains are just some of the many foods that have been touted to have anti-inflammatory properties. It turns out that experts agree that eating a diet rich in such foods may in fact help lower the levels of inflammation in the body. In a new, small study, published this month in the Nutrition Journal, researchers found that men who consumed flaxseed for 42 days experienced a significant decrease in inflammatory markers compared with men who didn't consume flaxseed. In another study, published in October 2011 in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, the authors found that taking ginger root extract appeared to reduce markers of colon inflammation. Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:33:30 -0500
Surprise, It's SpongeBob! X-Ray Shows What Toddler Swallowed
News ImageSpongeBob SquarePants was recently spotted in an unusual place. In a recent medical case, doctors saw the image of SpongeBob, the sea-dwelling character of children's cartoons, while looking at an X-ray of a 16-month-old boy. The toddler in Saudi Arabia had been brought to a hospital because he appeared to have swallowed an object. It turned out that the hapless SpongeBob was a pendant that belonged to the toddler's sister, said Dr. Ghofran Ageely, a radiology resident at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:30:31 -0500
Monster Winter Storm Spotted from Space (Photo, Video)
News ImageNew satellite imagery shows the monster winter storm now battering the northeastern United States with snow as it gathered strength for what may be an epic snowfall. The monster storm's claws are definitely out in the photos, which were captured from Saturday through Monday (Jan. 24 to Jan. 26) by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration's (NOAA) GOES-East spacecraft and combined into a new movie that shows the storm's development and movement. The new imagery overlays cloud data gathered by GOES-East in visible and infrared light with true-color photos of land and sea captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), an instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua and Terra Earth-observing satellites. The image-processing work was done at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where the joint NASA/NOAA GOES Project is based.
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:46:16 -0500
Private Space Taxis on Track to Fly in 2017
News ImageThe private spaceflight companies Boeing and SpaceX are on track to start launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, representatives of both firms said Monday (Jan. 26). In September 2014, SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts under NASA's commercial crew program to help them start flying astronauts on missions to the space station from U.S. soil in the next few years. SpaceX and Boeing are planning to launch a series of tests of their spaceships capsules called Dragon V2 and the CST-100, respectively from this year through 2017.
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:28:12 -0500
Venomous Cone Snails Weaponize Insulin to Stun Prey
News ImageAt least two species of cone snailhave turned insulin into an underwater weapon, a new study finds. When these stealthy aquatic snails approach their prey, they release insulin, a hormone that can cause blood sugar levels to plummet. The sudden influx of insulin can enter their gills and get into their bloodstream. "The snail has a very large mouth, and it kind of catches the fish within the large mouth," said the study's lead researcher, Helena Safavi, a research assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah.
Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:10:06 -0500
Football Physics: Why Deflated Balls Are Easier to Catch
After an inspection revealed that some of the footballs used during Sunday's NFL playoff game were slightly deflated, many people are asking whether the balls gave the New England Patriots an unfair advantage over the Indianapolis Colts. Last Sunday (Jan. 18), the Patriots landed a spot at the Super Bowl after beating the Colts 45 to 7. A ball that is less inflated is easier to deform and grip, said Miguel Morales, an associate professor of physics at the University of Washington. "Ideally, the way people are taught to catch it is to put their hands around the nose of the ball," Morales told Live Science. Sat, 24 Jan 2015 08:32:13 -0500
In a first, sea otter pup conceived in wild born in California lab
A baby sea otter has made history as the first pup born in captivity to a mother impregnated in the wild, and is healthy and developing normally, researchers in California said on Friday. The bundle of joy was born in November at the Long Marine Laboratory on the campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz, said Nicole Thometz, a researcher in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. To better the otter's chance of survival off the Central California shoreline, researchers are limiting their interaction with the pup, who was not named and whose sex is not known, she said. Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:23:59 -0500
Art embraces science in new British play 'Oppenheimer'
News ImageLONDON (AP) Suddenly, science is sexy. With Benedict Cumberbatch nominated for multiple trophies as Alan Turing and Eddie Redmayne turning heads as Stephen Hawking, young British actors playing scientists are all the rage this awards season.
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:32:45 -0500
NASA's New Curiosity Rover Science Chief Takes Charge On Mars
News ImageAshwin Vasavada knows he has some pretty big shoes to fill. Vasavada is the newly appointed project scientist for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, in charge of a team of nearly 500 researchers spread around the globe. He succeeds John Grotzinger, who steered Curiosity to some big finds over the past few years including the discovery that Mars could have supported microbial life in the ancient past.
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 07:39:01 -0500
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