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Apr 3, 2018

Press Room

Posted by in category: space

NASA has selected 24 new Fellows for its prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP). The program enables outstanding postdoctoral scientists to pursue independent research in any area of NASA Astrophysics, using theory, observation, experimentation, or instrument development. Each fellowship provides the awardee up to three years of support.

The new NHFP preserves the legacy of NASA’s previous postdoctoral fellowship programs, the Hubble, Einstein and Sagan Fellowships. Once selected, fellows are named to one of three sub-categories corresponding to three broad scientific questions NASA has sought to answer about the universe:

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Apr 3, 2018

Water purification breakthrough uses sunlight and ‘hydrogels’

Posted by in categories: climatology, engineering

According to the United Nations, 30,000 people die each week from the consumption and use of unsanitary water. Although the vast majority of these fatalities occur in developing nations, the U.S. is no stranger to unanticipated water shortages, especially after hurricanes, tropical storms and other natural disasters that can disrupt supplies without warning.

Led by Guihua Yu, associate professor of materials science and mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, a research team in UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering has developed a cost-effective and compact technology using combined gel-polymer hybrid materials. Possessing both hydrophilic (attraction to ) qualities and semiconducting (solar-adsorbing) properties, these “hydrogels” (networks of polymer chains known for their high water absorbency) enable the production of clean, safe drinking water from any source, whether it’s from the oceans or contaminated supplies.

The findings were published in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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Apr 3, 2018

What if Apollo 11 had failed? Nixon’s undelivered speech

Posted by in categories: astronomy, government, science, space travel

In 1969, William Safire was President Nixon’s speech writer. He wrote the short speech shown below, and delivered it to Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman. The speech was to be read by Nixon in the event that the Apollo 11 lunar lander failed to launch or that some other problem caused the lander or mothership to crash back onto the surface of the moon.

In 1969, the space race was at full throttle. Russians were first to launch a satellite, send a dog and a man into space,* and perform an extravehicular space walk. America was under great pressure to fulfill John F. Kennedy’s promise and beat the Russians in landing a man on the moon. Today, former engineers at NASA acknowledge that they believed the chances of such a catastrophe were more than 50%.

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Apr 3, 2018

These tiny robots could be disease-fighting machines inside the body

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

Nanobots could provide cancer treatment free from side effects.

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Apr 3, 2018

A close galactic pair

Posted by in category: space

This image displays the galaxies NGC 4302 — seen edge-on — and NGC 4298, both located 55 million light-years away. They were observed by Hubble to celebrate its 27th year in orbit.

The galaxy NGC 4298 is seen almost face-on, allowing us to see its spiral arms and the blue patches of ongoing star formation and young stars. In the edge-on disc of NGC 4302 huge swathes of dust are responsible for the mottled brown patterns, but a burst of blue to the left side of the galaxy indicates a region of extremely vigorous star formation.

The image is a mosaic of four separate captures from Hubble, taken between 2 and 22 January 2017, that have been stitched together to give this amazing field of view. Two different types of light emitted by the galaxies — visible and near-infrared — have been combined to give a rich and colourful image. This light was captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, one of the telescope’s most advanced imaging instruments.

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Apr 3, 2018

Reaping the wind with the biggest turbines ever made

Posted by in category: energy

Wind power capacity is growing thanks to giant offshore turbines, but can they get much bigger?

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Apr 3, 2018

Ethereum Community Considers Hard Fork To Fight ASIC Miners

Posted by in category: cryptocurrencies

Top Ethereum devs cause online stir with talk of a hard fork in protocol to combat mining centralization.

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Apr 3, 2018

Mini Brains Just Got Creepier—They’re Growing Their Own Veins

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

The first human brain balls—aka cortical spheroids, aka neural organoids—agglomerated into existence just a few short years ago. In the beginning, they were almost comically crude: just stem cells, chemically coerced into proto-neurons and then swirled into blobs in a salty-sweet bath. But still, they were useful for studying some of the most dramatic brain disorders, like the microcephaly caused by the Zika virus.

Then they started growing up. The simple spheres matured into 3D structures, fusing with other types of brain balls and sparking with electricity. The more like real brains they became, the more useful they were for studying complex behaviors and neurological diseases beyond the reach of animal models. And now, in their most human act yet, they’re starting to bleed.

Neural organoids don’t yet, even remotely, resemble adult brains; developmentally, they’re just pushing second trimester tissue organization. But the way Ben Waldau sees it, brain balls might be the best chance his stroke patients have at making a full recovery—and a homegrown blood supply is a big step toward that far-off goal. A blood supply carries oxygen and nutrients, allowing brain balls to grow bigger, complex networks of tissues, those that a doctor could someday use to shore up malfunctioning neurons.

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Apr 3, 2018

Activating Natural Killer T cells to Combat Cancer

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

New research has identified the mechanisms responsible for enhancing immune system activity, offering new approaches for more effective cancer treatments and vaccines.

Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are part of the immune system’s arsenal for fighting infection and defeating diseases like cancer. Finding ways to activate these potent cells more quickly could lead to more effective solutions to cancer and other diseases.

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Apr 3, 2018

Vicon Siren first look

Posted by in category: futurism

With ‘Siren,’ Unreal Engine blurs the line between CGI and reality:

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