Tag Archives | NASA

Twin Study to Explore Genetic Aspects of Space Health

Twin studies are the Holy Grail of medical research, but in some fields its very rare to find qualifying sets of siblings. Two astronaut twins (imagine the odds!) are giving scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine the opportunity to study the genetic aspects of human health outcomes in outer space.

dn23999-2_300New Scientist:

“We have the best ground control you could dream of,” says Graham Scott of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who is helping NASA with the experiment. The question of space health is especially timely as several human trips to Mars are currently being discussed.

Last year, Scott Kelly was chosen to take part in the first one-year mission aboard the ISS, double the usual stay, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Then last week NASA announced a twist: his brother Mark will be monitored on Earth throughout.

John Charles, chief scientist of NASA’s human research programme, says the brothers came up with the idea: “I was discussing plans with Scott and he said, ‘how about the twins angle?’ ”

Researchers will have access to blood and saliva samples from both twins taken before, during and after Scott’s trip to the ISS, along with assessments of their vision, sleep patterns and cardiovascular activity.

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Curiousity Rover Spots A Lizard On Mars?

lizard on marsYou may be skeptical, but I want to believe in the adorableness of Mars lizards. UFO Sightings Daily weighs in on an image taken recently by the Mars Curiousity Rover:

This odd creature was discovered on Mars by a person in Japan in March. This animal was not the first to be discovered in NASA photos but is in a long line of strange creatures. This one seems to resemble a rodent but also may be a lizard.

With water existing on Mars in small amounts, its possible to find such desert animals wandering around…although very rare mind you. Then again, is NASA placing animals from tiny cyogenic chambers inside the rover onto the surface of Mars to conduct tests?

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Former NASA Official Found Dead in Thailand with Rope Around Neck and Genitals

Paul Milford MullerFormer NASA official Paul Milford Muller was found dead in his Thailand home with rope tied around his neck and genitals and surrounded by sex toys and meth. He was also the author of an “erotic thriller”…

Via Daily Mail:

Muller worked for ten years at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, and served on the Apollo Navigation Team.

He wrote three books, including one called Suicide Inc., which he described as a ‘romantic and erotic thriller’. On the cover of the novel is a picture of a noose.

He grew up in Los Angeles and had a PhD in Physics/Astronomy.

Muller had recently joined Twitter and last posted on April 19.

On his bio on his website he states: ‘I write for personal enjoyment and work diligently to share with others. I respect readers and accept that you are the true judges of what we do.

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The Mars Rover Penis

The latest sensation from Mars? A penis drawing by NASA’s Mars Rover…

mars rover penis

Silly, yes, but a certain population of the Interwebs is loving it, so much so that a surge in traffic crashed NASA’s site where the image is hosted.

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NASA Wants $100 Million To Catch An Asteroid

2007wd5And just what do you think they’ll do with the damn thing if they actually catch it? From Aviation Week:

NASA’s fiscal 2014 budget request will include $100 million for a new mission to find a small asteroid, capture it with a robotic spacecraft and bring it into range of human explorers somewhere in the vicinity of the Moon.

Suggested last year by the Keck Institute for Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology, the idea has attracted favor at NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. President Obama’s goal of sending astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025 can’t be done with foreseeable civil-space spending, the thinking goes. But by moving an asteroid to cislunar space — a high lunar orbit or the second Earth-Moon Lagrangian Point (EML2), above the Moon’s far side — it is conceivable that technically the deadline could be met.

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NASA’s Strangest UFO Anomalies Caught On Film

From LunaCognita, a handy overview of extraterrestrial strangeness:
This compilation includes many of my favorite NASA UFO encounters/sightings that I have archived over the years. All of these examples (with the exception of the second-to-last one) were captured on film by NASA astronauts or Russian Cosmonauts over the past half-century - showing many amazing examples from different eras - Gemini, Apollo, Apollo/Soyuz Test Project, Skylab, STS, the ISS, plus a couple Russian-source additions from their unmanned Zond and Mir Space Station programs as well thrown in to round things out.
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Can We Stop The Next Meteor Strike?

Given the history of planetary destruction from meteor strikes in the past, trying to stop them from impacting our now vastly more populated planet seems like a good idea, but one wonders if it’s realistic. NASA is working on it, regardless, reports The Christian Science Monitor:

This month’s meteor detonation above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and Earth’s close shave with asteroid 2012 DA14 have kick-started conversations on lessons learned and what steps can be taken to prevent space rock impacts in the future.

One positive action item was actually in place prior to the dual asteroid events of Feb. 15: a new Memorandum of Agreement between the Air, Space, and Cyberspace Operations Directorate of the Air Force Space Command and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

That document, which was signed on Jan. 18 of this year, spells out specifics for the public release of meteor data from sources such as high-flying, hush-hush U.S.

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NASA Planning Mission To Search For Life On Jupiter’s Moon Europa

Mars gets the attention, but apparently a moon in the far reaches of our solar system is the spot with the greatest chance of harboring extraterrestrial beings. Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

US astronomers looking for life in the solar system believe that Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, which has an ocean, is much more promising than desert-covered Mars, which is currently the focus of the US government’s attention.

“Europa is the most likely place in our solar system beyond Earth to possess …. life,” said Robert Pappalardo, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “Europa is the most promising in terms of habitability because of its relatively thin ice shelf and an ocean … And we know there are oxidants on the surface of Europa.”

The JPL and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland developed a new exploration project named Clipper with a total coast of two billion US dollars minus the launch.

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Why Aren’t You Working On An Asteroid Shield?

An excellent and timely question, asked by Emi Kolawole at the Washington Post:
Seriously, why aren’t all of America’s best and brightest working feverishly to keep us from being struck by an asteroid that could wipe a city (or more) from the face of the Earth? A cure for cancer, balancing the nation’s federal budget, and eliminating world hunger would all be rendered moot if an asteroid pulverized the planet. Granted, as the Post’s Brian Vastag reports, neither a city-destroying nor Earth-ending space rock is on anywhere near an immediate collision course with the planet — for now. (Seriously, don’t panic.) But the anticipated near-miss of asteroid 2012 DA14 by 17,000 miles on Feb. 15 should inspire every innovator to want to figure out how to make Earth asteroid-proof, right? Now, of course, there are a number of people working on how to keep Earth safe from asteroids and other potentially Earth-threatening debris. There are so many, in fact, that there is an internationalPlanetary Defense Conference in Flagstaff, Ariz., in April. And, as NASA Spokesman David Agle wrote...
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