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India's Mars mission a step closer to success with engine test
By Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian scientists successfully tested the main engine of a spacecraft bound for Mars on Monday and performed a course correction that puts the low-cost project on track to enter the red planet's orbit. The $74-million mission will attempt to enter orbit around Mars early on Wednesday. If successful, it will be the first time a mission has entered Mars' orbit on its first attempt, enhancing India's position in the global space race. "Main liquid engine test firing successful ... ...
Aireon to offer satellite tracking free to help search for missing planes
By Alwyn Scott and Jeffrey Dastin NEW YORK (Reuters) - Aireon LLC, a provider of satellite-based aircraft monitoring, said on Monday it will offer its tracking data for free to help authorities search for future missing planes. The system will go live in 2017, when its parent company Iridium Communications Inc finishes installing 66 next-generation satellites plus spares that will provide real-time data to air traffic control centers. ...
SpaceX Falcon rocket blasts off from Florida
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla (Reuters) - An unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday to deliver a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA. The 208-foot (63-meter) tall booster, built and launched by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, bolted off its seaside launch pad at 1:52 a.m. EDT/0552 GMT, slicing the night-time sky with a bright plume of light as it headed into orbit. ...
NASA robotic probe slips into orbit around Mars
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla (Reuters) - A NASA robotic spacecraft fired its braking rockets on Sunday, ending a 10-month journey to put itself into orbit around Mars and begin a hunt for the planet?s lost water. After traveling 442 million miles (71 million km), the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft fired its six rocket thrusters, trimming its speed from 12,800 mph (20,600 kph) to 10,000 mph (16,093 kph). ...
No quick fix in U.S. bid to end reliance on Russian rocket engines
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. drive to end its reliance on Russian rocket motors got a boost this week when Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos unveiled a new engine project, but officials and industry insiders say it will take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a locally built alternative. ...
Tiny Implants Could Give Humans Self-Healing Superpowers
A new military-sponsored program aims to develop a tiny device that can be implanted in the body, where it will use electrical impulses to monitor the body's organs, healing these crucial parts when they become infected or injured. Known as Electrical Prescriptions, or ElectRx, the program could reduce dependence on pharmaceutical drugs and offer a new way to treat illnesses, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the branch of the U.S. "The technology DARPA plans to develop through the ElectRx program could fundamentally change the manner in which doctors diagnose, monitor and treat injury and illness," Doug Weber, program manager for DARPA's biological technologies office, said in a statement. The implant that DARPA hopes to develop is something akin to a tiny, intelligent pacemaker, Weber said.
Scientists Lead Huge Climate Change March in NYC
NEW YORK ? Lab-coat-clad and picket-sign-wielding scientists were on the frontlines of the People's Climate Change march yesterday (Sept. 21) along with hordes of students and others concerned about the planet's changing climate.
Exercising May Bolster Your Brain Wires in Old Age
People who stay physically active into old age may be improving their brain health by preventing a decline in the brain's white matter, a new study suggests. The white matter is composed of fiberlike parts of brain cells that enable communication between brain regions. "We hope that this will encourage people to take better care of their brains by being more active," said study co-author Agnieszka Burzynska, a researcher at the University of Illinois. In the study, 88 people between ages 60 and 78 who had low cardiovascular fitness but were otherwise healthy wore accelerometers for a week to track their daily physical activity, as well as how much time they spent sitting.
NASA Hails Mars Probe's 'Flawless' Arrival at Red Planet
NASA's newest Mars spacecraft is safely in orbit around the Red Planet, and the probe's handlers couldn't be happier. The MAVEN spacecraft arrived at Mars late Sunday (Sept. 21) after a picture-perfect orbital insertion burn that slowed the probe down enough to be captured by the Red Planet's gravity in a feat that had mission team members cheering with excitement and relief. "Wow! What a night," MAVEN project manager David Mitchell, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said Sunday during a press briefing after the probe reached the Red Planet. "You get one shot with Mars orbit insertion, and MAVEN nailed it tonight." [See images from the MAVEN mission]
NASA Spacecraft Arrives at Mars to Probe Mysteries of Red Planet's Air
After a 10-month journey through deep space, NASA's MAVEN probe arrived in Mars orbit late Sunday (Sept. 21), on a mission to help scientists figure out why the Red Planet changed from a relatively warm and wet place in the ancient past to the cold, arid world it is today. MAVEN, whose name is short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, fired its engines in a crucial 30-minute braking burn Sunday night, slowing down enough to be captured by the planet's gravity around 10:24 p.m. EDT (0224 GMT Monday, Sept. 22). "Congratulations! MAVEN is now in Mars orbit," MAVEN navigation team member Dave Folta, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, announced to a round of cheers from mission control. MAVEN joins three other operational probes in Mars orbit ? NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the European Space Agency's Mars Express.
Hints of Mysterious Dark Matter Revealed by Cosmic Rays
A particle detector floating 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth has analyzed 41 billion cosmic-ray particles, and the data have revealed new insights into the mysterious and invisible dark matter that physicists believe makes up 27 percent of the universe. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) detector aboard the International Space Station already gathered evidence of dark matter last year, but the new results are the most precise measurements of cosmic-ray particles yet. They include 50 percent more data, and have revealed new insights into the origin of the particles found in cosmic rays, Samuel Ting, a professor of physics at MIT and an AMS spokesman, said during a live webcast at the CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) lab in Switzerland yesterday (Sept. 18). Physicists theorized the existence of invisible, and so far undetectable, dark matter as a way to explain why galaxies and celestial bodies don't just unravel and fly apart.
Experts: Science class can dazzle with less danger
DENVER (AP) ? A dazzling show of fire and color can make science come alive for young students, but it can also inflict serious and painful injuries, as flash fires in Nevada and Colorado showed this month.
Scientists see risk of mutant airborne Ebola as remote
By Kate Kelland LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The Ebola virus raging through West Africa is mutating rapidly as it tears a deadly path through cities, towns and villages, but the genetic changes are for now not giving it the ability to spread more easily. Concern that the virus could gain capability to transmit through the air - creating a nightmare scenario of the disease being able to spread like a flu pandemic, killing millions - was fueled by a top infectious disease expert in the United States. ...
Ig Nobel Prizes 2014: Jesus Toast, Dog Poop and Raucous Science
The brilliant minds behind research studies about how Earth's magnetic field affects pooping dogs and why people see Jesus in toast were honored tonight (Sept. 18) during one of the most purposefully ridiculous ceremonies in all of science: the Ig Nobel Prizes. Each year, the Ig Nobel Prizes (a parody of the somewhat more famous Nobel Prizes) are awarded to scientists whose research "makes people laugh and then think." Improbable Research, the organization that awards the prizes, runs the annual ceremony here at Harvard University's Sanders Theater. "The achievements speak for themselves all too eloquently," Master of Ceremonies Marc Abrahams said during tonight's Ig Nobel presentations. For example, this year's prize in Arctic science went to a group of researchers who dressed up like polar bears to see how reindeer in Norway would react compared with their reactions to humans.
Florida scientists urge state leaders to join climate summit
By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE (Reuters) - A group of 42 scientists from Florida universities submitted a joint letter on Thursday urging Governor Rick Scott and other state leaders to participate in a summit this fall to seek solutions for climate change. The group plans to host a conference of state and national policymakers and scientists Oct. 6 in Tampa, along with engineers and entrepreneurs who have "job-creating solutions." Scott, who is a Republican, has come under fire from environmentalists for not taking stronger action over sea level rise and climate change. ...
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