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Boeing opens commercial spaceship plant in Florida
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Boeing Co took the wraps off an assembly plant on Friday for its first line of commercial spaceships, which NASA plans to use to fly crews to the International Space Station, officials said. "This is a point in history that reflects a new era in human spaceflight," Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said at a grand opening ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center. Boeing's newly named CST-100 Starliner spaceships will be prepared for flight in a processing hangar once used by NASA's space shuttles.
Three-man international crew safely reaches space station
A Russian Soyuz spaceship safely delivered a three-man international crew, including Denmark's first astronaut, to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, a day after having had to maneuver to avoid colliding with space debris. The Soyuz TMA-18M blasted off to the $100 billion space laboratory from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday to take Russian Commander Sergei Volkov, Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov and Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen into orbit.
Toyota partners with Stanford, MIT on self-driving car research
By Paul Lienert DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp is collaborating with two top U.S. universities on artificial intelligence and robotics research aimed at ramping up the Japanese automaker's efforts to develop self-driving cars. Toyota said on Friday that it would spend $50 million over the next five years to establish joint research centers at both universities, one in the heart of Silicon Valley and the other outside Boston. Toyota has lagged behind rivals in developing self-driving cars and implementing hands-free driver assistance systems.
Snot-filled whale research takes flight
By Ben Gruber Gloucester, Mass. (Reuters) - Snotbot is a drone whose name describes it perfectly, it's a robot that collects snot, specifically whale snot. Up until now, gathering samples for whale research involved shooting darts that penetrated the body. Instead of shooting darts at a whale for biopsy samples, a whale can unknowingly shoot snot at a drone. "We believe that whale snot or exhaled breath condensate is going to be the golden egg of data from a whale.
Key radar fails on $1 billion NASA environmental satellite
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A key instrument on a $1 billion NASA satellite has failed, reducing scientists' ability to capture data to measure the moisture in Earth's soil in order to improve flood forecasting and monitor climate change, officials said on Thursday. A second instrument remains operational aboard the 2,100-pound (950-kg) Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite, though its level of detail is far more limited. The satellite's high-powered radar system, capable of collecting data in swaths of land as small as about 2 miles (3 km) across, failed in July after less than three months in operation, NASA said.
Lab-Grown Bones? They Could Make Painful Grafts History (Op-Ed)
Nina Tandon is CEO and co-founder of EpiBone.com, a New York City based startup focus on engineering living bones made from patients' own cells. Tandon is a scientist, biomedical engineer, TED Senior Fellow and co-author of Super Cells: Building with Biology (TED Conferences, 2014). This op-ed is part of a series provided by the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers, class of 2015. If you've lost a healthy bone to an accident or illness, or if you were born with bones that aren't the right shape, what do you do?
Using Loopholes, Nature May Save Galápagos Penguins (Op-Ed)
A recent study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that wind-pattern changes in the tropical Pacific, together with the Galápagos Islands' location, has resulted in a shift in ocean currents. The prevailing trade winds from the southeast drive a westward surface current and bring up cold waters, ranging from 73 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 25 degrees Celsius), in the eastern equatorial Pacific from the Galápagos toward the international date line. The westward surface current piles up water from west of the date line all the way to New Guinea, resulting in a downhill flow of current below the surface back toward the Galápagos.
What If Doctors Could Heal Broken Genes? (Op-Ed)
Katrine Bosley is CEO, and Sandra Glucksmann COO, of Editas Medicine, a genome editing company targeting treatment of genetic diseases. The company was founded by pioneers in the field who have specific expertise in CRISPR/Cas9 and TALE technologies. World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers, class of 2015. The authors contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Boeing Opens Renovated Shuttle Facility for 'Starliner' Crewed Space Capsule
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Boeing rolled open the doors to its new commercial spacecraft processing facility on Friday (Sept. 4), celebrating the grand opening of the re-purposed space shuttle-era building and revealing the name of the crewed capsule that will be assembled for launch inside. The ceremony, held inside the facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, marked a milestone for the space agency's partnership with Boeing to develop and operate a new spacecraft capable of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station. As the building-size mural added to the hangar displays, Boeing's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, or C3PF, will be used to ready for launch the company's CST-100 — now named the "Starliner" — for flights into Earth orbit.
'Citizen Mars' Web Series Features Would-Be Red-Planet Colonists
"There's a tremendous amount of interest in the Mars One project, and many are skeptical about the mission's feasibility, which is why we thought it an important story to tell, and why the subjects involved are so compelling," Engadget Editor-in-Chief Michael Gorman said in a statement. "Citizen Mars" is billed as the first docu-drama to focus on the personal lives of Mars One contestants. Mars One's ambitious plans have attracted scrutinty and criticism.
Scientists exploring wreck of sunken U-boat off Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Scientists are using submersibles to explore a German U-boat sunk 7 miles off the Rhode Island coast the day before Nazi Germany surrendered in World War II, and they're streaming the attempts online as they work to learn more about shipwrecks and how they affect the environment.
The Science of Adorable: What It Takes to Win #CuteOff
Science Twitter has gone full squee. "I don't generally think of fish as cute, but there were some alarmingly cute fish," said Anne Hilborn, a doctoral student and cheetah researcher at Virginia Tech who helped launch the hashtag. Based on the types of animals posted — and previous scientific research on adorableness — here are seven features that could help an animal win a cuteness contest.
Scientists turn to aspirin to turbo-charge cancer immunotherapy
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Giving cheap aspirin to cancer patients may turbo-charge the effectiveness of expensive new medicines that help their immune systems fight tumours, experiments on mice suggest. Immunotherapy promises to revolutionise cancer care by offering a better, longer-lasting response with fewer adverse side effects than conventional treatment, but the new drugs do not work well in all cases. One reason is that cancer cells often produce large amounts of the molecule prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which turns down the immune system's normal attack response to tumour cells, according to scientists at London's new Francis Crick Institute.
#JunkOff: Why Animal Genitals Are Important to Science
Did you know that male black widow spiders have corkscrew-shaped genitals? If you've been following scientists on Twitter in the past week or so, you probably do. "It all goes back to the basis of animal behavior and evolution," said Anne Hilborn, a doctoral student at Virginia Tech and cheetah researcher who launched #JunkOff and helped start the warmer-and-fuzzier follow-up hashtag, #CuteOff.
New NASA soil moisture satellite loses 1 science instrument
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A NASA satellite launched just seven months ago has lost the use of one of two science instruments, but the space agency said Wednesday that the mission to map global soil moisture will continue.
Regeneron scientists discover key to excess bone growth in rare disease
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists at U.S. biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals researching a rare genetic disease that traps sufferers in a second skeleton have discovered a treatment that shuts down excessive bone growth in mice engineered to develop the illness. Company scientists said on Wednesday the protein Activin-A, which normally blocks bone growth, triggers hyperactive bone growth in patients with a genetic mutation that causes the disease. The disease is known as Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, or FOP.
'Lego-Stacking' Technique Could Help Scientists Grow Human Organs
The advance may enable scientists to test customized medicines before injecting them into a patient and, ultimately, to grow whole human organs, the scientists say. The main difficulty scientists have faced in building organs is properly positioning the many cell types that constitute any given organ tissue. Gartner said scientists are still years away from growing whole organs to replace diseased ones.
Ouch! Volunteers Get Tick Bites for Science
We all know that some ticks bite, but just how eager certain species are to feed on humans, and how quickly people react to their bites, is less clear in some cases. Lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) are common in the Southern United States, although they are also found in the Eastern and South-Central U.S., and they are known to bite people. Ten ticks were placed on the inside of a bottle cap, and each participant had two bottle caps secured to his or her body (one on each arm), for a total of 20 ticks per participant.
New guidelines for cancer doctors aim to make sense of gene tests
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued guidelines on how cancer doctors should approach the use of new genetic tests that screen for multiple cancer genes at the same time, including counseling patients about genes whose contribution to cancer is still poorly understood. The guidelines aim to educate doctors about the risks and benefits of new genetic tests, argue for regulation to assure quality and call for more equitable reimbursement of the cost of the tests from private and public insurers. The falling price of genome sequencing has made it possible for cancer doctors to cheaply test for a wide variety of mutated genes that could guide treatment or predict a person's risk for cancer.
Kerry, Obama to raise global warming issues in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Scientists are "overwhelmingly unified" in concluding that humans are contributing to global climate change, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday night, and the public is slowly getting the full picture.