NASA astronaut Kate Rubins casting her vote from some 200 miles above Earth should be all the motivation you need to make a plan to vote this year.
How to vote from space
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins casting her vote from some 200 miles above Earth should be all the motivation you need to make a plan to vote this year.
How to vote from space
By KC Baker, Yahoo!
Stranger things have happened, for sure. But this could be a first for many.
According to scientists, an active underwater volcano in the Pacific has started to erupt, spewing smoke and ash — plus, quite possibly, fragments of the highly adaptable sharks that live inside it — sky-high into the atmosphere.
NASA recently released satellite images showing the Kavachi Volcano, located near the Solomon Islands in the Pacific, east of New Guinea, spouting huge plumes of water from the crater that has been dubbed the “Sharkcano.”
No, not Sharknado, the goofy Syfy franchise starting Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and a host of celeb guest stars — including Gary Busey, Olivia Newton-John, Bret Michaels, Jackie Collins and Real Housewives mainstay Cynthia Bailey — battling great white sharks flying through the air.
No, this is “Sharkcano.”
The volcano earned this memorable moniker in 2015, when scientists were shocked to find two species of sharks, including hammerheads, living — and thriving — in the hot, acidic, sulfur-laden water in the crater, located deep in the ocean, according to NASA Earth Observatory.
Using a baited drop camera nearly 150 feet inside the crater, the scientists also saw bluefin trevally, snapper, sixgill stingrays, jellyfish and silky sharks living in this extreme environment, the researchers wrote in a 2016 Oceanography article, “Exploring the ‘Sharkcano’: Biogeochemical observations of the Kavachi submarine volcano (Solomon Islands).”
“Populations of gelatinous animals, small fish, and sharks were observed inside the active crater, raising new questions about the ecology of active submarine volcanoes and the extreme environments in which large marine animals can exist,” the scientists wrote in 2016 in the article.
The January 2015 expedition to the Kavachi Volcano, which is about 15 miles south of Vangunu Island in the Solomon Sea, “was serendipitously timed with a rare lull in volcanic activity that permitted access to the inside of Kavachi’s active crater and its flanks,” the scientists wrote.
Click here to read the full article on Yahoo!.
By Francesca Street, CNN
Waking up in a chic hotel room with a view of the solar system could be the future of travel, at least if space company Orbital Assembly has anything to say about it.
The US-based company has revealed new information and concepts for its space hotel idea, designs for which have been orbiting since 2019.
Originally premiered by Californian company the Gateway Foundation — and then called the Von Braun Station — this futuristic concept consists of several modules connected by elevator shafts that make up a rotating wheel orbiting the Earth.
The project is now being overseen by Orbital Assembly Corporation, a space construction company that cut links with Gateway.
Orbital Assembly is now aiming to launch not one but two space stations with tourist accommodation: Voyager Station, the renamed original design, is now scheduled to accommodate 400 people and to open in 2027, while new concept Pioneer Station, housing 28 people, could be operational in just three years.
The goal, says Orbital Assembly, is to run a space “business park” home to offices as well as tourists.
Space tourism seems closer than ever before — over the past year, billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson blasted into suborbital space with his company Virgin Galactic, while Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest person in space thanks to a jaunt with Blue Origin.
But there’s still a pretty unbelievable price point attached to any space trip, which makes it hard for many of us to actually envisage spending our annual leave out of this world.
Tim Alatorre, Orbital Assembly’s chief operating officer, thinks this barrier will lift as space tourism takes off.
“The goal has always been to make it possible for large amounts of people to live, work and thrive in space,” Alatorre told CNN Travel in a new interview.
Alatorre says the appeal of new concept Pioneer Station is that its smaller scale makes it achievable sooner.
“It’s going to get us the opportunity to have people start to experience space on a larger scale, faster,” he said.
Office spaces and research facilities will also be up for rent on both Pioneer Station and Voyager Station.
This, said Alatorre, is a “win-win” for Orbital Assembly, as a lot of its near-term goals are funding-dependent.
Orbital Assembly envisages both stations resembling a rotating wheel orbiting the earth.
In a 2019 interview with CNN Travel, Alatorre explained the physics of Voyager Station as working like a spinning bucket of water.
“The station rotates, pushing the contents of the station out to the perimeter of the station, much in the way that you can spin a bucket of water — the water pushes out into the bucket and stays in place,” he said.
Near the center of the station there would be no artificial gravity, but as you move down the outside of the station, the feeling of gravity increases.
The physics haven’t changed, said Alatorre more recently. But, he explained, as Pioneer Station will be smaller, its gravity level would be different. There will still be what he calls the “comforts” of artificial gravity, like showers, the ability to eat and drink sitting down — but the spaces with less gravity will allow for even more fun, space quirks.
Click here to read the full article on CNN.
By Alliah Czarielle, Hemophilia News Today
Climate change has been a hot topic in our circles lately. We feel it very much in the Philippines, where hot summers in the months of April and May have quickly turned into a season of strong typhoons and dangerous floods. Recently, a major typhoon hit the province of Leyte, causing a tragic landslide.
Individuals can only do so much to “save” our planet (and humanity) from the drastic effects of climate change. But we can make a difference by doing little things. We can boycott single-use plastics if we’re in a position to do so, lower our energy consumption, and deal with waste appropriately through proper separation and recycling.
Of course, having a disability factors into the equation about how much one can do to help the earth. Many people with disabilities must resort to less eco-friendly practices in order to address health issues and to thrive, although that’s not to say disabled people can’t take steps to be eco-friendly.
For instance, my husband, Jared, infuses factor products to treat his hemophilia. This procedure involves single-use plastic tubes, metal needles, and glass bottles.
According to a 2019 National Geographic article, one expert estimated that 25% of the waste generated by U.S. healthcare facilities is plastic. This is because the equipment used to treat patients needs to be sterile, and plastic serves that need well.
When my mom was ill with cancer, she needed to drink from plastic straws due to the limitations she had. And by the time she was bedridden, she needed to use disposable adult diapers.
In Japan, a country with a rapidly aging population, adult diaper waste is a growing concern, as The New York Times reported last year. Used diapers are likely to end up in incinerators, like most of the country’s waste. Compared with other types of waste, diapers require more fuel to burn, leading to costly waste management bills and high carbon emissions.
To help alleviate this problem, the Japanese town of Houki converted one of the town’s incinerators into a diaper recycling plant, which in turn produces fuel for a public bathhouse, the Times reported. This, in turn, helps to lower natural gas costs. Japan is fortunate to have the resources to come up with this creative solution.
Since there are limitations to taking steps to protect the environment when accessing or providing healthcare by people with disabilities or those who work at treatment centers, I offer the following suggestions.
If you can afford to, avoid single-use plastics.
If using single-use plastics cannot be avoided, be mindful of how often you use them and how you dispose of them. Seek out alternatives to the plastic bags you use for shopping or carrying things. At home, stock up with multiple-use, high-quality storage containers.
Leave single-use plastic products to the ones who really need them to live. This includes people with disabilities, older people, and babies, for example.
Avoid fast fashion.
I am guilty of patronizing fast fashion — which refers to the mass production of high-fashion clothing trends — because I like dressing up. My clothing budget is quite low, hence the temptation for cheap clothes from chain retailers.
According to a 2019 article by Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen, the fashion industry is responsible for producing 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes the oceans with microplastics.
What percentage of clothing in your closet do you actually wear? Think about it, and try not to buy more than you would actually use. Instead of shopping for new clothes, why not shop at secondhand stores or learn to rework old clothing into more modern styles?
Jared’s entire collection of clothes fits into just one drawer. This makes his wardrobe easier to organize. He wears a “uniform” of plain, minimalist T-shirts with classic denim jeans or shorts. When I first met him in college, he still wore clothes from as early as sixth grade! He only updated his wardrobe when he built up muscle as an adult and needed to switch to clothing a few sizes bigger.
Jared doesn’t go out as often as I do, and bleeding episodes occasionally force him to stay at home. He also considers himself more of an indoor type. So he doesn’t think he needs many clothes.
But even if one’s lifestyle is active or outgoing, we can find some perspective from people like Jared. After all, how many clothes do we really need? As my drawers are now filled to the brim with clothes, I actively try to avoid buying new ones. Furthermore, I now support a local seamstress instead of buying from retail chains. The sewing takes time, but the outcome is often top quality and looks great. It’s also more eco-friendly, and I get to support someone’s livelihood.
Click here to read the full article on Hemophilia News Today.
By Tshiamo Mobe, Global Citizen
Climate change is an issue that affects everyone on the planet but women and girls are the ones suffering its effects the most. Why? Because women and girls have less access to quality education and later, job opportunities. These structural disadvantages keep them in poverty. In fact, women make up 70% of the world’s poor. In a nutshell, climate change impacts the poor the most and the poor are mostly women.
Poverty driven by and made worse by climate change also makes girls more susceptible to child marriage, because it drives hunger and girls getting married often means one less mouth to feed for their parents. Climate change also leads to geopolitical instability which, in turn, results in greater instances of violence — which we know disproportionately impacts women and girls.
Ironically, saving the planet has been made to seem a “women’s job”. This phenomenon, dubbed the “eco gender gap”, sees the burden of climate responsibility placed squarely on women’s shoulders through “green” campaigns and products that are overwhelmingly marketed to women.
There are several hypotheses for why this is. Firstly, women are the more powerful consumers (they drive 70-80% of all purchasing decisions). Secondly, they are disproportionately responsible, still, for the domestic sphere. And finally, going green is seen as a women’s job because women’s personalities are supposedly more nurturing and socially responsible.
Women should be involved in fighting the climate crisis at every level — from the kitchen to the science lab to the boardroom. Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained it best when she said: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” However, women are underrepresented in the science field (including climate science), with just 30% of research positions held by women and fewer still holding senior positions. The Reuters Hot List of 1,000 scientists features just 122 women.
Having more women climate scientists could allow for an increased emphasis on understanding and providing solutions for some of the most far-reaching implications of climate change. Diversity in background and experiences allows for different perspectives. More perspectives allow for different research questions to arise or even a different approach to the same question.
There are, however, women all over the world in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that have made some incredible strides in the fight against the climate crisis, from fire-resistant coating to protect places prone to wildfires, to a water-storing park for a region usually overwhelmed by floods. Here are just some of the world’s incredible women scientists leading the way on tackling the climate crisis.
Click here to read the full article on Global Citizen.
By Nick Wakeman, Washington Technology
Proposals are due next week for a NASA contract that supports the space agency’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance.
The contract is known as SETS for SM&A Engineering and Technical Services.
Only women-owned small businesses can bid for the contract covering a wide range of services including record management, outreach, event support and training and professional development.
Deltek estimates the contract has a value of $42.3 million. Proposals are due April 29. Banner Quality Management Inc. and Ares Corp. are the two incumbents, while Banner Quality Management is the only woman-owned small business of the pair.
In solicitation documents, NASA said it would evaluate proposals on three factors: Mission Suitability, Cost, and Relevant Experience and Past Performance. Mission suitability will carry the most weight when picking a winner. Cost and past performance/relevant experience are all equal.
A good mission suitability score will depend on demonstrating an overall understanding of the requirements, the management plan, and the technical approach to a sample task order.
NASA expects the contract to be awarded in August with a transition completed in September. A majority of work will take place at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and National Safety Center in Cleveland.
Click here to read the full article on Washington Technology.
By TOI STAFF, The Times of Israel
New fossil evidence from rocks found in Canada suggests life on Earth began between 3.75 to 4.2 billion years ago, a new study says.
If the research published in Science Advances is proven correct, the microbial fossils would be the oldest life ever found on the planet, and could indicate that life began a mere 300 million years after the Earth first formed some 4.5 billion years ago.
Scientists at University College London found minuscule structures inside the rocks they believe could only have been made by microbes, living billions of years ago near hydrothermal vents in the oceans.
Previously, the earliest confirmed microfossils were around 3.5-3.7 billion years old.
The fossils in the rocks were first described in a 2017 study by lead researcher Dominic Papineau, associate professor in geochemistry and astrobiology at UCL. However, some doubted that the structures were biological in origin, leading to more years of work by the team to ascertain how they were created.
The team described a tree-like structure about a centimeter across. The scientists said the characteristics of the structure make it highly unlikely it was created through chemical processes alone. It is also similar to those created today by some bacteria.
Click here to read the full article on The Times of Israel.
By , Sci Tech Daily
Hubble Finds a Planet Forming in an Unconventional Way
In general, the formation of planets in our universe can be likened to cooking a meal. Just like the “ingredients” for forming a planet can change, so can the “cooking method.”
Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope have caught a planet in the act of what could be likened to a “flash fry” — a violent and intense process called disk instability. In this method, instead of having a planet that grows and builds up from a small core accumulating matter and gas, the protoplanetary disk around a star cools, and gravity causes it to break up into one or more planet-mass fragments.
Astronomers have long searched for clear evidence of this process as a viable candidate in forming large, Jupiter-like planets, and Hubble’s resolution and longevity proved to be a key missing puzzle piece.
Evidence shows violent collapse responsible for formation of Jupiter-like protoplanet.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has directly photographed evidence of a Jupiter-like protoplanet forming through what researchers describe as an “intense and violent process.” This discovery supports a long-debated theory for how planets like Jupiter form, called “disk instability.”
The new world under construction is embedded in a protoplanetary disk of dust and gas with distinct spiral structure swirling around, surrounding a young star that’s estimated to be around 2 million years old. That’s about the age of our solar system when planet formation was underway. (The solar system’s age is currently 4.6 billion years.)
“Nature is clever; it can produce planets in a range of different ways,” said Thayne Currie of the Subaru Telescope and Eureka Scientific, lead researcher on the study.
All planets are made from material that originated in a circumstellar disk. The dominant theory for jovian planet formation is called “core accretion,” a bottom-up approach where planets embedded in the disk grow from small objects — with sizes ranging from dust grains to boulders — colliding and sticking together as they orbit a star. This core then slowly accumulates gas from the disk. In contrast, the disk instability approach is a top-down model where as a massive disk around a star cools, gravity causes the disk to rapidly break up into one or more planet-mass fragments.
The newly forming planet, called AB Aurigae b, is probably about nine times more massive than Jupiter and orbits its host star at a whopping distance of 8.6 billion miles – over two times farther than Pluto is from our Sun. At that distance it would take a very long time, if ever, for a Jupiter-sized planet to form by core accretion. This leads researchers to conclude that the disk instability has enabled this planet to form at such a great distance. And, it is in a striking contrast to expectations of planet formation by the widely accepted core accretion model.
The new analysis combines data from two Hubble instruments: the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrograph. These data were compared to those from a state-of-the-art planet imaging instrument called SCExAO on Japan’s 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope located at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The wealth of data from space and ground-based telescopes proved critical, because distinguishing between infant planets and complex disk features unrelated to planets is very difficult.
“Interpreting this system is extremely challenging,” Currie said. “This is one of the reasons why we needed Hubble for this project—a clean image to better separate the light from the disk and any planet.”
Nature itself also provided a helping hand: the vast disk of dust and gas swirling around the star AB Aurigae is tilted nearly face-on to our view from Earth.
Currie emphasized that Hubble’s longevity played a particular role in helping researchers measure the protoplanet’s orbit. He was originally very skeptical that AB Aurigae b was a planet. The archival data from Hubble, combined with imaging from Subaru, proved to be a turning point in changing his mind.
“We could not detect this motion on the order of a year or two years,” Currie said. “Hubble provided a time baseline, combined with Subaru data, of 13 years, which was sufficient to be able to detect orbital motion.”
“This result leverages ground and space observations and we get to go back in time with Hubble archival observations,” Olivier Guyon of the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Subaru Telescope, Hawaii added. “AB Aurigae b has now been looked at in multiple wavelengths, and a consistent picture has emerged—one that’s very solid.”
The team’s results are published in the April 4, 2022, issue of Nature Astronomy.
“This new discovery is strong evidence that some gas giant planets can form by the disk instability mechanism,” Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington, D.C. emphasized. “In the end, gravity is all that counts, as the leftovers of the star-formation process will end up being pulled together by gravity to form planets, one way or the other.”
Click here to read the full article on Sci-Tech Daily.
BY ALEXANDRA LARKIN, CBS News
Researchers studying recordings made by microphones on NASA’s Perseverance rover found that sound travels much slower on Mars than it does on Earth. In a study published in Nature on Friday, the team said it looked at recordings dating back to February 19, 2021, the day after the rover arrived on the planet.
Using recorded sounds generated by the rover — like shock waves from the rover’s laser that was used to cut rocks, and flight sounds from the Ingenuity helicopter — the researchers were able to compare the Martian sounds to Earth sounds. They determined that sound travels 100 meters per second slower on Mars than on Earth.
In addition, the researchers realized that there are two speeds of sound on Mars — one for high-pitched sounds and one for low-pitched sounds. This would “make it difficult for two people standing only five meters apart to have a conversation,” according to a press release on the findings.
The unique sound environment is due to the incredibly low atmospheric surface pressure. Mars’ pressure is 170 times lower than Earth’s pressure. For example, if a high-pitched sound travels 213 feet on Earth, it will travel just 26 feet on Mars.
While sounds on Mars can be heard by human ears, they are incredibly soft.
“At some point, we thought the microphone was broken, it was so quiet,” said Sylvestre Maurice, an astrophysicist at the University of Toulouse in France and lead author of the study, according to NASA. Besides the wind, “natural sound sources are rare,” the press release said.
But NASA scientists think Mars may become more noisy in the autumn months, when there is higher atmospheric pressure.
“We are entering a high-pressure season,” co-author of the study Baptiste Chide said in the press release. “Maybe the acoustic environment on Mars will be less quiet than it was when we landed.”
When the initial recordings were made last year, researchers declared it the first time sounds from a foreign planet had ever been captured.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said at the time the recordings are “the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit.”
Perseverance is now hunting for signs of ancient life in the Jezero Crater. In October, it found Mars experienced “significant” flash floods that carved the landscape into the rocky wasteland we see today. And a decade from now, the rover plans to be the first to send samples from the red planet back to Earth.
Click here to read the full article on CBS News.
By Carl Bennett, GB News
Dyson has created headphones that include a purifying visor designed to help people avoid polluted air in cities.
Called the Dyson Zone, the wearable device combines noise-cancelling over-ear headphones with a visor that sits just in front of the nose and mouth, delivering filtered air.
The British technology firm said the headphones have been created in response to growing concerns about air and sound pollution in urban areas.
It cited World Health Organisation (WHO) figures estimating nine in 10 people globally breathe air that exceeds its guidelines on pollutant limits, while around 100 million people in Europe are said to be exposed to long-term noise exposure above its recommended level.
The headphones are the result of six years’ development and more than 500 prototypes, Dyson said.
Compressors in each ear draw air through built-in filters and project two streams of purified air to the wearer’s nose and mouth through the visor.
The visor can be lowered when the wearer is speaking or detached completely when not in use.
Dyson said the headphones will go on sale in the autumn. A price has yet to be confirmed.
“Air pollution is a global problem – it affects us everywhere we go,” Jake Dyson, the company’s chief engineer, said.
“In our homes, at school, at work and as we travel, whether on foot, on a bike or by public or private transport.
“The Dyson Zone purifies the air you breathe on the move. And unlike face masks, it delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face, using high-performance filters and two miniaturised air pumps.
“After six years in development, we’re excited to deliver pure air and pure audio, anywhere.”
Click here to read the full article on GB News.
By American Chemical Society, Phys Org
NASA is preparing to send humans to Mars sometime in the 2030s. The 3-year mission will expose astronauts to a long period of microgravity, which will cause them to lose bone mass. But now, scientists report transgenic lettuce that produces a bone-stimulating hormone. Someday, astronauts could grow the lettuce in space and help guard against bone loss—simply by eating a big bowl of salad. In addition, the lettuce might help stave off osteoporosis in resource-limited areas here on Earth, the researchers say.
The researchers will present their results today at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Previous studies of astronauts on extended space missions have shown that they lose, on average, more than 1% of bone mass per month spent in space, a condition known as osteopenia. “Right now, astronauts on the International Space Station have certain exercise regimens to try to maintain bone mass,” says Kevin Yates, a graduate student who is presenting the work at the meeting. “But they’re not typically on the International Space Station for more than 6 months.” In contrast, it takes about 10 months to get to Mars, and the astronauts would remain for about a year to study the planet before making the trip home to Earth.
The 3-year mission could leave astronauts vulnerable to osteopenia, and later, osteoporosis. A medication containing a peptide fragment of human parathyroid hormone (PTH) stimulates bone formation and could help restore bone mass in microgravity, but it requires daily injections. Transporting large quantities of the medication and syringes and administering it during space missions is impractical. So Yates; Somen Nandi, Ph.D.; Karen McDonald, Ph.D.; and their colleagues wanted to find a way for astronauts to produce it themselves—while also enjoying some tasty greens, which are severely lacking in astronauts’ mostly canned and freeze-dried diets.
“Astronauts can carry transgenic seeds, which are very tiny—you can have a few thousand seeds in a vial about the size of your thumb—and grow them just like regular lettuce,” Nandi says. “They could use the plants to synthesize pharmaceuticals, such as PTH, on an as-required basis and then eat the plants.”
On the International Space Station, astronauts have already shown they can grow regular lettuce in this resource-limited environment. Yates, Nandi and McDonald, who are at the University of California, Davis, wanted to develop a transgenic lettuce that expresses the PTH peptide in a form that could be taken orally, instead of by injection. The special lettuce might also help treat osteopenia in regions of Earth that lack access to traditional medications. To increase PTH’s stability and bioavailability in the body, they attached a piece of another protein, the fragment crystallizable (Fc) domain of a human antibody, to PTH’s sequence. Previous studies have shown that the Fc fragment increases the time that the attached peptide circulates in the blood, making it more effective.
The researchers introduced a gene encoding PTH-Fc to lettuce by infecting plant cells with Agrobacterium tumefaciens—a species of bacteria used in the lab to transfer genes to plants. They screened the transgenic lettuce plants and their progeny for PTH-Fc production. Preliminary results indicate that, on average, the plants express about 10-12 milligrams of the modified peptide hormone per kilogram of fresh lettuce. According to Yates, this means that astronauts would need to eat about 380 grams, or about 8 cups, of lettuce daily to get a sufficient dose of the hormone, assuming about 10% bioavailability, which he acknowledges is a “pretty big salad.”
“One thing we’re doing now is screening all of these transgenic lettuce lines to find the one with the highest PTH-Fc expression,” McDonald says. “We’ve just looked at a few of them so far, and we observed that the average was 10-12 mg/kg, but we think we might be able to increase that further. The higher we can boost the expression, the smaller the amount of lettuce that needs to be consumed.” The team also wants to test how well the transgenic lettuce grows on the International Space Station and whether it produces the same amount of PTH-Fc as on Earth.
Click here to read the full article on Phys Org.