By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) – NASA is considering relocating a small asteroid that buzzed Earth three years ago into a high orbit around the moon when it returns in 2024, officials said on Thursday. The asteroid, known as 2011 MD, is among nine candidates on NASA’s potential relocation list. Once an asteroid is robotically repositioned about 46,600 miles (75,000 km) above the lunar surface, NASA wants to send astronauts to visit it and collect samples. Newly completed surveys with NASA’s infrared Spitzer space telescope show 2011 MD is about 20 feet (6 meters) in diameter, roughly the size of a delivery truck. …read more
This week, Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” sat down to explain to senators why he, as a surgeon and popular doctor, promotes what some experts have called unscientific claims about “magical” weight-loss products on his show. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. — chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance — led a panel on Tuesday (June 17) that targeted weight-loss diet products that their manufacturers claim will help consumers burn fat but have little or no reputable scientific data to support such claims.
By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Nobu Okada wants to save the planet from orbiting junk, which he says is in danger of cutting us off from the satellites we depend on and the outer space beyond. “Our daily lives are totally dependent on satellite technology.” Okada, 41, says his Singapore-based start-up Astroscale is just part of a dramatic shift in the “NewSpace” industry – the growth of private companies and new technologies challenging old, expensive government-driven programs. While small start-ups to giants like Google send ever more objects into space, Okada is tackling what Lux Research analyst Mark Bunger calls THE problem of NewSpace: clearing up what’s already there. And because they’re hurtling around at thousands of kilometres per hour, even small flecks of paint can be lethal when they collide – hitting the space shuttle, for example, smashing through a glass visor or tearing solar panels off satellites.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A crop scientist credited with developing hundreds of varieties of disease-resistant wheat adaptable to many climates has been awarded the 2014 World Food Prize. …read more
Two people who traveled to the United States after contracting Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) do not appear to have spread the virus to their family members or the health care workers who treated them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last month, the CDC reported two cases of MERS in the United States — one in Indiana and one in Florida. Both patients had recently traveled from Saudi Arabia, taking multiple flights, before they were hospitalized for MERS shortly after arriving in the United States. The CDC tested all family members and health care workers who had close contact with the patients, and found that none of these close contacts had an active MERS infection, and none had been infected with MERS in the past. …read more
Among teens who’d ever used drugs, a brain region known as the nucleus accumbens — which is thought to play a role in the rewarding feeling that can come with taking drugs — was more in sync with areas of the brain in the prefrontal cortex, compared to in teens who’d never used drugs. The prefrontal cortex is involved in decision making, planning and other behaviors that require complex thinking. But the nucleus accumbens was less in sync with an area near the hippocampus, which is important for memory formation, in teens who had used drugs, compared with those who had never used. Because the study was conducted at just one point in time, the researchers cannot determine the reason for these brain differences, said study researcher David G. Weissman, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis Center for Mind and Brain.
In the run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament, which kicked off Thursday (June 12), Brazil spent billions to build and spruce up soccer stadiums in 12 cities across the South American country. The French Space Agency (CNES) released images of Brazil’s World Cup stadiums from its two high-resolution Pléiades satellites, which launched in 2011 and 2012 and are tasked with taking pictures of Earth. One image from April 2013 shows the flagship Corinthians Arena in São Paulo — where Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 on Thursday — still in a skeletal state. A year later, in April 2014, with the games just weeks away, the satellite images show that there were still construction cranes around the stadium as work on the roof continued.
The sun has unleashed three powerful solar flares over the past two days, and the effects of these eruptions could hit Earth this Friday the 13th — but don’t worry, space weather reports show there’s no cause for alarm. The three solar bursts were all X-class flares — the most intense type of solar flare that is 10,000 times as powerful as normal background flares from the sun. Two other solar bursts — one X2.2 flare (twice as powerful as yesterday’s) and an X1.5 flare (1.5 times as powerful as yesterday’s) — occurred Tuesday. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation that are unleashed from the sun and speed out into space.
A quarter-scale prototype of SpacePlane, a vehicle being developed by the France-based company Airbus, took to the skies last month, giving engineers their first look at how the craft performs in the air. “Held on 1-4 May, the tests of Airbus Defence and Space’s SpacePlane demonstrator validated the dynamic flight conditions encountered in the end-of-flight phase following a return from space,” Airbus representatives wrote in a June 4 statement. The chopper carried the unmanned SpacePlane mockup to an altitude of about 10,000 feet (3,000 m), at which point the craft was released to glide back down to Earth. “It was then piloted from the barge as it made its return to the ground, ending its flight at sea before being picked up as planned a few hours later,” Airbus representatives wrote.
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