New Effort To Clean Up Space Junk Reaches Orbit
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A rendering showing ELSA-d's concept of operations.

By , NPR

A demonstration mission to test an idea to clean up space debris launched Monday morning local time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Known as ELSA-d, the mission will exhibit technology that could help capture space junk, the millions of pieces of orbital debris that float above Earth.

 

 

 

The more than 8,000 metric tons of debris threaten the loss of services we rely on for Earth-bound life, including weather forecasting, telecommunications and GPS systems.

The spacecraft works by attempting to attach itself to dead satellites and pushing them toward Earth to burn up in the atmosphere.

ELSA-d, which stands for End-of-Life Services by Astroscale, will be carried out by a “servicer satellite” and a “client satellite” that launched together, according to Astroscale, the Japan-based company behind the mission. Using a magnetic docking technology, the servicer will release and try to “rendezvous” with the client, which will act as a mock piece of space junk.

The mission, which will be run from the U.K., will carry out this catch and release process repeatedly over the course of six months. The goal is to prove the servicer satellite’s ability to track down and dock with its target in varying levels of complexity.

The spacecraft is not designed to capture dead satellites already in orbit, but rather future satellites that would be launched with compatible docking plates on them.

Space junk has been a growing problem for years as human-made objects such as old satellites and spacecraft parts build up in low Earth orbit until they decay, deorbit, explode or collide with other objects, fragmenting into smaller pieces of waste.

In 2019, for example, India blew apart one of its satellites orbiting Earth, creating hundreds of pieces of debris that threatened to collide with the International Space Station.

According to a recent report by NASA, at least 26,000 of the millions of pieces of space junk are the size of a softball. Orbiting along at 17,500 mph, they could “destroy a satellite on impact.” More than 500,000 pieces are a “mission-ending threat” because of their ability to impact protective systems, fuel tanks and spacecraft cabins.

And the most common debris, more than 100 million pieces, is the size of a grain of salt and could puncture a spacesuit, “amplifying the risk of catastrophic collisions to spacecraft and crew,” the report said.

According to NASA, cleaning up space — and addressing the risks associated with debris — depend on preventing the accumulation of more waste and actively removing it.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

High-speed space junk risk prompts NASA to abruptly delay spacewalk on the International Space Station
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European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet conducts a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on June 20, 2021. NASA

By , Insider

NASA postponed a spacewalk on Tuesday due to a threat that’s becoming routine: space debris that might fly too close to the International Space Station (ISS).

A pair of astronauts was supposed to don spacesuits, drift out of the ISS, and spend six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system. But NASA announced early Tuesday that it had received a “debris notification” for the ISS the night before. It’s unclear what the debris notification indicated, including when or at what distance debris was expected to pass the ISS. NASA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for further details.

So NASA’s astronauts — Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron — will float outside the ISS on Thursday instead.

“Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the spacewalk planned for Tuesday, November 30, until more information is available,” NASA said in a statement.

Ultimately, after taking more time to evaluate the debris’ orbit, NASA determined it wasn’t at risk of colliding with astronauts during the scheduled spacewalk time, the agency said in an update Tuesday evening.

This is not the first time space junk has disrupted ISS operations. The amount of debris in Earth’s orbit has been increasing for years, as old spacecrafts break apart, dead satellites crash into each other, and countries test anti-satellite missiles, causing individual satellites to explode into thousands of pieces. According to the European Space Agency, an average of 12 events have occurred every year for the last two decades.

Space junk isn’t just messing with NASA’s schedule. It’s dangerous. Hundreds of thousands of broken-up bits of old satellites and rockets are careening around the planet at about 10 times the speed of a bullet. If space debris strikes the ISS, it could puncture holes in the orbiting laboratory — and it has, on several occasions.

If a piece of debris were to strike a spacewalking astronaut, the hit could be deadly.

Click here to read the full article on Insider.

World’s first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say
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The C-shaped parent xenobots collect and compress loose stem cells together into piles which can mature into offspring.

By Katie Hunt, CNN

The US scientists who created the first living robots say the life forms, known as xenobots, can now reproduce — and in a way not seen in plants and animals.

Formed from the stem cells of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) from which it takes its name, xenobots are less than a millimeter (0.04 inches) wide. The tiny blobs were first unveiled in 2020 after experiments showed that they could move, work together in groups and self-heal.

Now the scientists that developed them at the University of Vermont, Tufts University and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering said they have discovered an entirely new form of biological reproduction different from any animal or plant known to science.

“I was astounded by it,” said Michael Levin, a professor of biology and director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University who was co-lead author of the new research.

“Frogs have a way of reproducing that they normally use but when you … liberate (the cells) from the rest of the embryo and you give them a chance to figure out how to be in a new environment, not only do they figure out a new way to move, but they also figure out apparently a new way to reproduce.”

Robot or organism?
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to develop into different cell types. To make the xenobots, the researchers scraped living stem cells from frog embryos and left them to incubate. There’s no manipulation of genes involved.

“Most people think of robots as made of metals and ceramics but it’s not so much what a robot is made from but what it does, which is act on its own on behalf of people,” said Josh Bongard, a computer science professor and robotics expert at the University of Vermont and lead author of the study.

“In that way it’s a robot but it’s also clearly an organism made from genetically unmodified frog cell.”

Bongard said they found that the xenobots, which were initially sphere-shaped and made from around 3,000 cells, could replicate. But it happened rarely and only in specific circumstances. The xenobots used “kinetic replication” — a process that is known to occur at the molecular level but has never been observed before at the scale of whole cells or organisms, Bongard said.

With the help of artificial intelligence, the researchers then tested billions of body shapes to make the xenobots more effective at this type of replication. The supercomputer came up with a C-shape that resembled Pac-Man, the 1980s video game. They found it was able to find tiny stem cells in a petri dish, gather hundreds of them inside its mouth, and a few days later the bundle of cells became new xenobots.

“The AI didn’t program these machines in the way we usually think about writing code. It shaped and sculpted and came up with this Pac-Man shape,” Bongard said.

“The shape is, in essence, the program. The shape influences how the xenobots behave to amplify this incredibly surprising process.”
The xenobots are very early technology — think of a 1940s computer — and don’t yet have any practical applications. However, this combination of molecular biology and artificial intelligence could potentially be used in a host of tasks in the body and the environment, according to the researchers. This may include things like collecting microplastics in the oceans, inspecting root systems and regenerative medicine.

While the prospect of self-replicating biotechnology could spark concern, the researchers said that the living machines were entirely contained in a lab and easily extinguished, as they are biodegradable and regulated by ethics experts.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

The Top 5 Growing Career Fields In 2022
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A group of diverse engineers huddled around a project

By Ashley Stahl

When it comes to the future, uncertainty is the only certainty. Think about remote work. Way back in 2019, it was slowly gaining acceptance even as most managers resisted.

In 2020, companies and their employees were forced to adapt. Today many workers have traded long commutes for casual strolls to their home office. For companies hoping to attract top talent, remote work is now an enticing benefit, and non-negotiable for many.

Most of us experienced a bit of emotional whiplash when the summer of freedom petered out and offices delayed reopening. Predicting which careers will flourish in our post-COVID world isn’t easy. Still there are some definite trends. Of course if you’re already loving your career, I’m not suggesting a radical course correction.

However, if you are considering a change, here are the top five growing fields in the years ahead.

1. Healthcare

The COVID-19 pandemic had an outsized impact on health care workers. Some caught the virus, many became ill or even lost their lives. After enduring a months-long onslaught of patients, studies suggest over one-third are thinking about leaving the profession. Although there has been a shortage of skilled nurses for years, the pandemic made it even worse. That’s one reason healthcare is a top field of the future.

There will be a need for at least 500,000 more Registered Nurses by 2027. You’ll have to earn a bachelor’s of science or an associate’s degree in nursing along with a license. If you love travel, becoming a travel nurse can mean earning a six-figure income along with signing bonuses. In fact, there’s a range of healthcare jobs that offer travel opportunities. In the top five for fastest growing professions, nurse practitioners are R.N.s who have also earned a master’s degree. Able to do many of the things a doctor does like prescribe medication, nurse practitioners are less likely to be burdened by the average physician’s debt load –– which can easily exceed 200K. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 the median pay for a nurse practitioner was almost 112K.

2. Information Technology

Of course IT has been a growth field for years. What’s different is that an increased focus on remote work and smartphone development has increased demand for software and app developers. Although this field has traditionally required a bachelors of science degree, companies are now recruiting people who learned to code online. So if you’re thinking about a career change and are tech orientated, you may want to consider taking some coding classes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) predicts that by the end of the decade, the software development field will grow by 22% –– which means over 300,000 new jobs with a median salary over six figures. And if you tend to be introverted, software or app development is a great career choice.

3. Supply Chain Management

You probably aren’t surprised to find that this is a growth field. The panic buying that began before last year’s lockdowns upended the just-in-time delivery methods that so many retailers had long relied on. Jobs in this field include Purchasing Agent, Logistics Analyst, and Distribution Manager. Although many start out with a bachelor’s degree, top earners have graduate degrees as well. Industrial engineers are also plentiful in this supply chain management. So if you are skilled with math, statistics, and engineering principles and love making systems work more efficiently, this could be the right field for you.

4. Financial Management

Careers in this field are expected to grow by 15% over the next decade. Financial managers are hired to examine a company’s spending and income while looking for ways to maximize profitability. Fortune 500 companies often seek candidates with an MBA –– although smaller organizations hire financial managers with bachelor’s degrees. The median income approaches 120K. Management consultants enjoy similar high rates of growth and high median incomes.

5. Actuarial and Statistician

Actuaries enjoy an almost 20% growth rate by the end of the decade and a median income over six figures. If you enjoy data and statistics, this could be the perfect high-growth field. Most work for insurance companies, deciding whether or not to insure a potential customer. Being able to evaluate risk is an in-demand skill. Actuaries often have a degree in actuarial science and have passed a series of licensing exams. Statisticians fulfill a similar role for companies by analyzing data and projecting future sales, profits, and obstacles to growth. Data Scientists, who help companies better utilize information, enjoy a projected 30% growth in employment by 2030.

Of course the best job for you may not be the highest paying, nor one with the fastest growth. The key is leveraging your skill set and achieving the best possible outcome. Besides, how many would have guessed the number one fastest growing occupation? According to the BLS, it’s motion picture projectionists.

Read the complete article posted on Forbes.

NASA’s DART Kinetic Impactor Spacecraft Launches in World’s First Planetary Defense Test Mission
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NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft sets off to collide with an asteroid in the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test mission. Riding atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, DART took off Wednesday, November 24, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

By John’s Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Scitech Daily

Lighting up the California coastline early in the morning of November 24, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft off the planet to begin its one-way trip to crash into an asteroid.

DART — a mission designed, developed, and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office — is the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending the planet against potential asteroid or comet hazards. The spacecraft launched Wednesday morning at 1:21 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

As just one part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy, DART will send a spacecraft to impact a known asteroid that is not a threat to Earth, to slightly change its motion in a way that can be accurately measured via ground-based telescopic observations. DART will show that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it. It’s a method called kinetic impact, and the test will provide important data to help humankind better prepare for an asteroid that might post an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.

“The Double Asteroid Redirection Test represents the best of APL’s approach to space science and engineering: identify the challenge, devise an innovative and cost-effective technical solution to address it, and work relentlessly to solve it,” said APL Director Ralph Semmel. “We are honored that NASA has entrusted APL with this critical mission, where the fate of the world really could rest on our success.”

At 2:17 a.m. EST, DART separated from the second stage of its launch vehicle. Minutes later, mission operators at APL received the first spacecraft telemetry data and started the process of orienting the spacecraft to a safe position for deploying its solar arrays. Almost two hours later, the spacecraft successfully unfurled its two 28-foot-long roll-out solar arrays. They will power both the spacecraft and NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial (NEXT-C) ion engine, one of several technologies being tested on DART for future application on space missions.

“The DART team overcame the technical, logistical and personal challenges of a global pandemic to deliver this spacecraft to the launch pad, and I’m confident that its next step — actually deflecting an asteroid — will be just as successful,” said Mike Ryschkewitsch, head of APL’s Space Exploration Sector. “It gives me a lot of assurance that if we ever have to embark on an urgent planetary defense mission, we have the people and the playbook to make it happen.”

DART’s one-way trip is to the Didymos asteroid system, which comprises a pair of asteroids — one small, the other large — that orbit a common center of gravity. DART’s target is the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, which is approximately 530 feet (160 meters) in diameter and orbits Didymos, which is approximately 2,560 feet (780 meters) in diameter. Since Dimorphos orbits the larger asteroid Didymos at a much slower relative speed than the pair orbits the Sun, the slight orbit change resulting from DART’s kinetic impact within the binary system can be measured much more easily than a change in the orbit of a single asteroid around the Sun.

The spacecraft will intercept the Didymos system in late September of 2022, intentionally slamming into Dimorphos at roughly 4 miles per second (6 kilometers per second) so that the spacecraft alters the asteroid’s path around Didymos. Scientists estimate the kinetic impact will shorten Dimorphos’ orbit by several minutes, and they will precisely measure that change using telescopes on Earth. The results will be used to both validate and improve scientific computer models that are critical to predicting the effectiveness of kinetic impact as a reliable method for asteroid deflection.

Click here to read the full article on Sctitech Daily.

Climate activists with disabilities fight for inclusion
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Climate activists with disabilities decry a lack of representation and burnout.

, ABC News

Despite 15% of the world’s population living with some form of a disability, research into the effects of climate change on the disabled community is still emerging.

Natural disasters resulting from climate change, like heatwaves and wildfires, disproportionately affect people with disabilities, according to advocates and activists. The harmful effects of climate change faced by disabled people are diverse and include — but aren’t limited to — reduced mobility, inability to regulate body temperature and respiratory problems.

Moreover, those with disabilities face further barriers in becoming advocates for environmental action and voicing their concerns, several experts who spoke with ABC News said.

While advocates claim the digital age has given climate change activists with disabilities more of a voice, they say the pandemic, which has forced society to live life even more online, has created more opportunities for those with disabilities; not just with work-from-home, but also to participate in activism.

Now, climate change activists with disabilities are increasingly demanding their place at the forefront of the climate change fight.

Yet, there remains an overall lack of visibility and literacy about the experiences of individuals with disabilities, Gregor Wolbring, a professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and an ability and disability studies scholar, told ABC News.

“You have to find a way that people are exposed more to disabled people in general,” Wolbring said.

In a recently published study looking at more than 5,500 abstracts of the academic climate change and environmental action literature, Wolbring and his colleague Chiara Salvatore found that none of these studies focused on youth with disabilities as environmental activists, and none dealt with the impact of environmental activism on youth with disabilities.

The 14 studies they identified that did address disability and environmental action did so in the capacity of impairments due to environmental issues such as toxins.

Recently, there were also claims that COP26, considered the largest and most significant climate change conference, was inaccessible to many with disabilities, even though COP President Alok Sharma in May 2021, promised the event would be the most inclusive COP ever.

Reports from the first week highlighted the inaccessibility of the conference venue as Israeli energy minister Karine Elharrar-Hartstein, a wheelchair user, was unable to enter.

The minister was eventually able to enter the venue after her concerns reached Israel and UK Prime Ministers Naftali Bennett and Boris Johnson, who issued her a public apology.

COP26 organizers also addressed the incident in a tweet and said, “#COP26 must be inclusive and accessible to all and the venue is designed to facilitate that.”

“I think people are definitely horrified at the lack of accessibility, but because it was solved for the Israeli minister, they don’t think it’s a problem anymore,” 17-year-old climate activist Scarlett Westbrook, who uses crutches, told ABC News.

From reports of having to walk over 10 minutes to enter the venue to the misuse of accessible elevators by camera crews, Westbrook said every part of the conference was “as inaccessible as it possibly could be.”

Click here to read the full article on ABC News.

Jessica Watkins will be the first Black woman to live and work on the space station
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NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins waves at the audience during the astronaut graduation ceremony at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in January 2020. In April 2022, she will become the first Black woman to live and work on the International Space Station.

By NPR

For the first time, a Black woman will live and work on the International Space Station, starting in April of next year. Jessica Watkins, who was born in Maryland but now considers Colorado home, is slated to spend six months on the ISS as a mission specialist. It will be her first mission in space. The crew for this mission — known as Crew-4 — will be the fourth rotation of astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to the ISS.

Watkins joined the ranks of NASA astronauts in 2017 and has worked in the space agency’s research centers, particularly on the Mars rover, Curiosity.

Watkins says she grew up admiring astronauts like Mae Jemison, the first Black woman in space, and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. And she hopes her work aboard the ISS will inspire more kids of color to aspire to space travel.

“I do hope that all young girls, especially young girls of color that are interested in STEM and interested in exploring space, feel empowered to do so,” Watkins told Colorado Public Radio last year. “I just hope young girls across the country feel that way now.”

Click here to read the full article on Make It.

In a first test of its planetary defense efforts, NASA’s going to shove an asteroid
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An illustration of the DART spacecraft approaching two asteroid; it will crash into the smaller one to try to change how this space rock orbits its larger companion.

By , NPR

NASA is about to launch an unprecedented mission to knock an asteroid slightly off course.

In the first real-world test of a technique that could someday be used to protect Earth from a threatening space rock, a spacecraft is scheduled to blast off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Tuesday at 10:20 p.m. PST.

The golf-cart-size spacecraft will travel to an asteroid that’s more than 6 million miles away — and poses no danger to Earth — and ram into it. Scientists will then watch to see how the asteroid’s trajectory changes.

NASA has identified and tracked almost all of the nearby asteroids of a size that would cause world-altering damage if they ever struck Earth. For the foreseeable future, none that big are headed our way. But there are plenty of smaller asteroids, the size that could take out a city, that still haven’t been found and tracked.

It’s a space rock of that smaller size that the DART mission — short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test — will take head-on.

It might sound like a movie plot, but it’s not
“A lot of times when I tell people that NASA is actually doing this mission, they kind of don’t believe it at first, maybe because it has been the thing of movies,” says Nancy Chabot, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Movies like Armageddon or Meteor typically feature a surprise, imminent killer asteroid, and saving humanity invariably requires blowing it to pieces with a nuclear bomb.

In reality, messy and unpredictable nuclear weapons aren’t the preferred choice of planetary defense experts, who would much rather identify dangerous space rocks way in advance of any possible collision and use more controlled methods to alter its path.

“The right time to deflect an asteroid is as far away from the Earth as we can,” says Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer. “The strategy is to find these objects not only years but decades before they are any kind of an impact hazard to the Earth.”

With enough advance warning, NASA could send out a spacecraft that would simply give an asteroid a little push, changing its course so that it no longer posed a problem. That’s the approach that NASA is testing out with DART.

“DART is demonstrating asteroid deflection. It is absolutely not asteroid disruption, which is how it goes a lot of times in the movies,” says Chabot, who serves as DART’s coordination lead.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

First human trial of Alzheimer disease nasal vaccine to begin at Boston hospital
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First human trial of Alzheimer's disease nasal vaccine to begin at Boston hospital

By Sophie Reardon, CBS News

Brigham and Women’s Hospital will test the safety and efficacy of a nasal vaccine aimed at preventing and slowing Alzheimer’s disease, the Boston hospital announced Tuesday. The start of the small, Phase I clinical trial comes after nearly 20 years of research led by Howard L. Weiner, MD, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at the hospital.

The trial will include 16 participants between the ages of 60 and 85, all with early symptomatic Alzheimer’s but otherwise generally healthy. They will receive two doses of the vaccine one week apart, the hospital said in a press release. The participants will enroll from the Ann Romney Center.

A Phase I clinical trial is designed to establish the safety and dosage for a potential new medication. If it goes well, a much larger trial would be needed to test its effectiveness.

The vaccine uses a substance called Protollin, which stimulates the immune system. “Protollin is designed to activate white blood cells found in the lymph nodes on the sides and back of the neck to migrate to the brain and trigger clearance of beta amyloid plaques — one of the hallmarks of AD [Alzheimer’s disease],” the hospital explains. It notes that Protollin has been found to be safe in other vaccines.

“The launch of the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s is a remarkable milestone,” said Weiner in the hospital’s press release. “Over the last two decades, we’ve amassed preclinical evidence suggesting the potential of this nasal vaccine for AD. If clinical trials in humans show that the vaccine is safe and effective, this could represent a nontoxic treatment for people with Alzheimer’s, and it could also be given early to help prevent Alzheimer’s in people at risk.”

The researchers say they aim to “determine the safety and tolerability of the nasal vaccine” in the trial and observe how Protollin affects participants’ immune response, including how it affects their white blood cells.

Click here to read the full article on CBS News.

A Second HIV Patient Has Cleared the Virus Without Antiviral Drugs
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Computer animated HIV virus

According to a report published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a now 31-year-old woman who was diagnosed with HIV in 2013 only took antiretroviral therapy for six months during pregnancy to prevent transmitting the infection to her baby. Yet multiple sophisticated tests looking for genetic evidence of HIV in the patient’s blood showed no intact virus in her cells, says Dr. Xu Yu, who led the research team reporting on the case. She’s a principal investigator at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard, as well as an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The findings suggest that the patient’s immune system was even able to clear the reservoirs of HIV that allow the virus to continue replicating for decades. Current anti-HIV drugs can lower virus levels to undetectable levels but can’t completely rid the body of these lingering reservoirs of the virus.

“There is no way to ever say we have proof that there is not a single virus in this patient,” says Yu. “The only thing we can say is that after analyzing a large number of cells from the patient, with the technology in our lab we cannot reject the hypothesis that the patient probably reached a sterilizing cure by natural immunity.”

There have been previous reports of patients who stopped taking anti-HIV medications and achieved undetectable virus levels for years, including Timothy Ray Brown, who’s also known as “the Berlin patient,” and Adam Castillejo, “the London patient.” Both, however, had been diagnosed with cancer and benefited from having a stem cell transplant to treat it, which replaced their immune cells with ones from donors that included cells that could block HIV infection. They also likely continued to harbor latent reservoirs of HIV, which have been eliminated in the patient Yu is describing.

The woman is the second patient to apparently clear the virus in this way. Yu’s team described the first person, known as “the San Francisco patient,” in 2020. This second patient, who’s from Esperanza, Argentina, is working with Yu’s team and continues to provide blood samples for ongoing research studies. She is currently pregnant with her second child, and Yu and the patient’s doctors are discussing whether her remarkable, apparently virus-free condition means she won’t need to take anti-HIV drugs before and during delivery (which guidelines currently recommend for pregnant women who are HIV positive). The Esperanza patient will also provide the team with samples of her breast milk so the scientists can determine if it contains any virus.

Yu’s team has analyzed 1.5 billion blood and tissue cells from the Esperanza patient since 2017, searching for any hints of whole genetic virus material that would indicate a virus that could potentially still be active and replicate again. But they failed to find such evidence. They did, however, find fragments of viral genes that indicated this patient was infected with HIV at one point. They found similar clues in the San Francisco patient.

Yu cautions that the findings may not be generalizable to most HIV patients. Both of her patients belong to a group known as elite controllers, or people who are able to suppress HIV at very low, often undetectable levels with their immune systems, without the help of anti-HIV drugs. Researchers around the world are studying these people intensively; it’s not clear what percentage of those infected with the virus are able to naturally contain it with their immune systems, but Yu believes that the two patients she described suggest that there may be more. She’s hoping that hearing about the first two will encourage others to get tested and studied, so scientists can better understand what aspect of their immune systems are providing such an effective way to block HIV.

“Many immune factors could be playing a role,” she says. “Now that we have a second case, there are probably many cases out there that may not know they have a sterilizing cure. Some may not even be aware they are infected. We are hoping to attract more patients; if we have a cohort of these extremely rare cases, then that will allow us to really analyze their immune responses in more depth and breadth and hopefully give us a hint about what immune factors contribute most to this status. Then we can apply what we learn to the general population.”

Click here to read the full article on Time.

Astronauts Forced to Take Shelter as Debris Cloud Threatens Space Station
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The International Space Station

By George Dvorsky, Gizmodo.

All seven astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station are having to take shelter inside their respective spacecraft owing to the sudden appearance of a debris cloud in orbit, the source of which remains unclear.

Information is slowly trickling in, but we do know that the ISS is currently functioning normally and that all seven crew members are healthy and safe. The crew had to take shelter earlier this morning due to the sudden appearance of an orbiting debris field. The unexplained breakup of the defunct Russian satellite Kosmos-1408 is currently the leading candidate for the source of the orbiting debris cloud.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer are sheltering inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon docked to the ISS, while Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Pyotr Dubrov, and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei are inside a Soyuz capsule, reports Russian state-owned news agency TASS. The astronauts could use these spacecraft to safely return to Earth in the event the ISS is damaged by the debris.

A live feed of NASA mission control is available, allowing you to follow the events as they’re happening.

In a tweet, Roscosmos said the crew is “routinely performing operations according to the flight program,” and that the threatening “object” has “moved away from the ISS orbit.” By “object,” the Russian space agency is referring to the debris field. The “station is in the green zone,” Roscosmos added.

“Friends, everything is regular with us!,” tweeted Shkaplerov. “We continue to work on the program.”

Despite these words of reassurance, operations aboard the ISS are most certainly not back to normal. Mission controllers are continually providing countdowns of each debris field transit (i.e. the closest approach of the debris field to the ISS). At 10:32 a.m. ET, controllers provided instructions for the NASA crew to temporarily enter into the Columbus module to perform some quick tasks and to collect personal items should they have to remain inside Dragon overnight (a possible indication that this could take a while).

The debris field transits were happening about once every 93 minutes at first, but now they’re happening about once every 30 to 40 minutes. In an email, Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said that, assuming it’s a debris field caused by a broken-up satellite, “there will be a big error bar on whether there is risk to ISS, hence the caution.”

Click here to read the full article on Gizmodo.

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    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
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    February 6, 2022 - February 8, 2022
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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. AEC Next Technology Expo & Conference, International Lidar Mapping Forum, and SPAR 3D Expo & Conference
    February 6, 2022 - February 8, 2022
  3. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  4. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022
  5. WiCyS 2022 Annual Conference
    March 17, 2022 - March 19, 2022