[FPSPACE] FW: Radiation levels on Mars resemble those in low-Earth orbit

LARRY KLAES ljk4 at msn.com
Fri Nov 16 13:36:11 EST 2012

 Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2012 10:23:35 -0600
From: sigmaxi at smartbrief.com
To: ljk4 at msn.com
Subject: Radiation levels on Mars resemble those in low-Earth orbit

Sigma Xi SmartBrief

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November 16, 2012

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Radiation levels on Mars resemble those in low-Earth orbit

NASA's Curiosity rover found that the levels of radiation on the surface of Mars are similar to those experienced by International Space Station astronauts in low-Earth orbit. The findings indicate that Mars has an essential amount of shielding from fast-moving and dangerous space particles, which could raise hopes for human exploration there since astronauts could function and survive for a limited time. "If we can find out more about the weather and climate on present-day Mars, then that really helps us to improve our understanding of Mars' atmospheric processes," said Ashima Research's Claire Newman in Pasadena, Calif. Space.com

  Science in the News 

Researchers say 16th-century astronomer wasn't poisoned

A team of Czech and Danish scientists working on the remains of Tycho Brahe, a 16th-century Danish astronomer who helped establish the foundations of early modern astronomy, ruled out poisoning as the cause of his death in 1601. He was initially thought to have died from an infection in his bladder, but after his body was exhumed, scientists found traces of mercury in his beard. Scientists said the level of mercury found was not sufficient to poison him. BBC

Astronomers spot the universe's most distant object

Astronomers have spotted galaxy MACS0647-JD, which they consider to be the farthest object ever seen in the universe -- around 13.3 billion light-years away. The galaxy was seen using NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes as well as with the help of a large group of galaxies called a cosmic zoom lens, which creates a gravitational lens and magnifies the light traveling from MACS0647-JD to Earth. "This object may be one of many building blocks of a galaxy," said study leader Dan Coe of the Space Telescope Science Institute. "Over the next 13 billion years, it may have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of merging events with other galaxies and galaxy fragments." Space.com

Archaeologists examine suspected skeleton of King Richard III

Archaeologists are examining a skeleton recovered from the medieval Grefriars church in Leicester, England to determine whether it belonged to King Richard III who died in a battle in 1485. The skeleton is undergoing a number of tests, such as a CT scan, that will enable researchers to create a three-dimensional image with skin and flesh. They say the skeleton is a good candidate for Richard III since it shows signs of scoliosis, which would be consistent with contemporary accounts of the king. LiveScience.com

Oldest stone-tipped spear made earlier than thought

Archaeologists discovered 500,000-year-old stone tips, each between 1.6- and 3.5-inches long, at Kathu Pan in South Africa, that possibly came from early spears. The unearthed stone points suggest that Homo heidelbergensis were the first human ancestors to use spears, not Homo sapiens or Neanderthals. "The spears are evidence for the deep accumulation of hunting behaviors in our lineage," University of Toronto's Jayne Wilkins said. New Scientist

Ecuador plans to eradicate rats in Galapagos with poison baits

Ecuador is set to drop poison bait on Pinzón island and a nearby islet in the Galapagos to eradicate rats, which seriously threaten biodiversity in the archipelago. The bait was tested and formulated to exclusively affect rats, conservationists say. The operation marks the second phase of an initiative to get rid of brown rats as well as blacks rats, which came to the Galapagos with whalers and pirates during the 17th or 18th centuries. National Geographic News

Researchers say carbon nanotube muscles beat nature

An international group of researchers led by Ray Baughman of the University of Texas at Dallas has successfully created small artificial muscles that are 200 times as strong as human muscle fibers of the same size. Scientists heated twisted ropes of carbon nanotubes that were filled with materials to get the muscles to contract. Researchers say their innovation could be used to endow robots with facial expressions that look more natural. TechNewsDaily.com

  Funding Watch 

Lawmaker champions funding for basic research

Most senators and representatives do not understand the link between publicly funded research and economic growth, says Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill. "It's especially important to focus on government support for fundamental research, because I don't see the private sector doing that," Hultgren said. Long-term budgets and reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act would help stabilize science funding in the U.S., he said. ScienceMag.org/ScienceInsider

Algorithms could allow ALS trials with fewer patients

A team from Stanford University and a team at marketing company Sentrana each won a $20,000 Prize4Life award for algorithms that predict the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The algorithms could allow clinical trials to run with fewer patients. American City Business Journals/San Francisco/Biotech SF blog

6 scientists receive funding from 2012 NBF grants program

The National Blood Foundation, or NBF, has awarded funding to six scientists from its 2012 scientific research grants program. The individuals have been awarded grants for one- or two-year research projects, with a maximum award of $75,000. Since 1985, the NBF has awarded approximately $7.5 million in grants to 177 scientific investigators to advance the field of transfusion medicine and cellular therapy. Read the news release.     


One thing I am convinced more and more is true and that is this: The only way to be truly happy is to make others happy. When you realize that and take advantage of the fact, everything is made perfect."

--William Carlos Williams,
American poet and physician




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