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Category Archives: Transhuman News

Why NASA sent a superbug to the space station – Four States Homepage

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 6:50 pm

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CNN – Before you start to worry, this isn’t a sign of an impending apocalypse. Working in conjunction with NASA, lead researcher Dr. Anita Goel hopes that by sending MRSA bacteria to a zero-gravity environment, we can better understand how superbugs mutate to become resistant to available antibiotics.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, sometimes called a staph, is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin and many others. It can cause a variety of health problems including sepsis, pneumonia and skin and bloodstream infections.

Goel is a medical doctor and a physicist. She’s also chairwoman and CEO of her lab and company, Nanobiosym which seeks out breakthroughs and technologies that span and combine physics, biomedicine and nanotechnology.

“We are excited to put MRSA on the International Space Station and investigate the effects of microgravity on the growth and mutation patterns of these bugs,” Goel said at a NASA news conference last week. “I have this hypothesis that microgravity will accelerate the mutation patterns. If we can use microgravity as an accelerator to fast-forward and get a sneak preview of what these mutations will look like, then we can essentially build smarter drugs on Earth.”

Goel is also interested to see the changes in the gene expression patterns of this bacteria.

The space station is essentially an orbiting lab where hundreds of experiments are carried out every day. The zero-gravity, or microgravity, environment has already been host to research on bacteria. The ISS itself has a “microbiome” of bacteria based on the comings and goings of astronauts. In 2016, DNA was sequenced for the first time aboard the station.

This all connects back to Goel’s initial interest in the effect of an environment on DNA and what can be retrieved from it.

“The DNA is like a piano. The info in the DNA sequence is only part of what makes the music of an organism,” she said. “The info embedded in the environment interplays with what is embedded in the DNA sequence, and together, they determine the music that the organism plays.”

Research has shown that the “stressful conditions” of the space station’s zero gravity cause fungi to grow faster. Goel hopes that the ISS will work in a similar way for the bacteria to give us a predictive edge on superbugs.

“If indeed we can use the ISS as an accelerator, an incubator, to know what future mutations of superbugs like MRSA will be, we use that info to develop better algorithms on Earth to inform drug discovery and faster ways to get to smarter drugs that are more personalized and more precisely targeted to a bug or strain at hand. We can have those drugs ready before the mutations even show up on Earth.”

For anyone concerned about delivering a superbug to astronauts within the cramped quarters of the space station, Goel offered reassurance that they will never come directly into contact with the bacteria. This isn’t NASA’s first rodeo with bacteria or superbugs on the station, she said.

The bacteria will be sealed with three levels of containment and tightly packaged, including a portable habitat that is protected from rapid depressurization and even the rigors of traveling on a rocket to the station.

Goel is curious to see the effects of not only microgravity on the bacteria but electromagnetic radiation and other unanticipated elements. Studying anything in space is going to afford new understanding across multiple fields, she said.

“I think the space station and microgravity is an excuse for us to relook at our accepted paradigms and ways of thinking from a fresh perspective, and once we do that, we learn new things and discover new ways of looking at old things and looking at old data in new ways.”

Report courtesy of CNN.

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ARISS Opens Window for Proposals to Host Contacts with Space Station Crew – ARRL

Posted: at 6:50 pm

02/20/2017

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program is seeking proposals from schools and formal or informal educational institutions and organizations individually or working in concert to host Amateur Radio contacts next year with ISS crew members. The window to submit a proposal is April 15. ARISS anticipates that contacts will take place between January 1 and June 30, 2018. Crew scheduling and ISS orbits will determine the exact contact dates. Proposal information and documents are on the ARRL website.

To maximize these radio contact opportunities, ARISS seeks proposals from schools and organizations that can draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan. Each FM-voice contact lasts about 10 minutes the length of a typical overhead ISS pass from horizon to horizon.

Scheduled ham radio contacts with ISS crew members allow students to interact with an astronaut or cosmonaut through a question-and-answer format. Participants and the audiences alike can learn firsthand from the astronaut or cosmonaut what its like to live and work in space and to learn about space research on the ISS. Students will be able to observe and learn about satellite communication, wireless technology, and radio science.

Because of the nature of human spaceflight and the complexity of scheduling activities aboard the ISS, organizations must demonstrate flexibility to accommodate changes in contact dates and times.

To help organizations prepare proposals, ARISS offers 1-hour online information sessions, designed to provide more information regarding US ARISS contacts and the proposal process, as well as provide an avenue for interested organizations to ask questions. Attending an online Information Session is not required but is strongly encouraged.

Information Sessions for the current application window will take place on Monday, March 6, at 7 PM EST (0000 UTC on March 7) and Tuesday, March 16, at 4 PM EDT (2000 UTC). Contact ARISS to sign up and take part.

Amateur Radio organizations around the world, NASA, and space agencies in Russia, Canada, Japan, and Europe sponsor these educational opportunities by providing the equipment and operational support to enable direct communication between crew on the ISS and students around the world via Amateur Radio. In the US, ARISS is a collaborative effort between ARRL and AMSAT, in partnership with NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).

Contact ARISS for more information.

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India has capability to set up space station, says ISRO chief – Hindustan Times

Posted: at 6:50 pm

ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar on Monday said the country has the capability to set up a space station, but it needed a long-term approach and an ambitious planning.

His comment follows Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) display of technological prowess last week by launching 104 satellites in a single mission.

We have all the capabilities to set up a space station. The day the country takes the decision, we will ok the project. Just draw a policy and provide us necessary funds and time, Kumar said here.

He was in the city to attend the foundation day ceremony of Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology (RRCAT).

We still talk about what would be the immediate benefits of a manned space mission. That is why the country hasnt made up its mind about when to invest in a space station, he said.

A long-term thinking was needed for setting up a space station, he said, adding the sooner the better.

Kumar said ISRO was also mulling tying up with the industry to enhance the countrys satellite launching capability.

Many more satellites were needed to keep a tab on the land and weather conditions and to enhance the communication network, he said.

This would be possible with increase in the number of satellite launches, for which the country needed to enhance the basic infrastructure and reduce the cost of equipment, he added.

The number of companies manufacturing small satellites has gone up across the world, but these companies could not launch them, therefore this area had immense commercial potential and India could tap it by enhancing the launch facilities, the ISRO chief said.

Read| Want to work at ISRO? Heres your chance

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UFO fans spot six ‘iceberg-sized’ spacecraft near Space Station then NASA feed cuts out – Metro

Posted: at 6:50 pm

Credit: YouTube/secureteam10

This is it, UFO fans believe absolute proof that NASA is in league with aliens, and us poor sheeple on Earth are being kept in the dark.

A YouTube video has captured what conspiracy nuts believe is not one but SIX gigantic alien spacecraft flying past the Space Station.

As usual, NASAs feed cuts out at the crucial moment making conspiracy fans even more certain that something fishy is up.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

The highly excitable alien hunter Tyler Glockner of Secure Team 10 says, He has discovered what some are calling a fleet of unidentified flying objects moving in the distance behind the International Space Station.

We have about six UFOs passing behind, and judging from the distance, I would guess that the size of these objects, whatever they are, would be fairly large.

Much larger than Nasas typical excuse of ice particles, we must be looking at icebergs.

Others are a little more sceptical.

Such sightings actually happen with surprising regularity and NASA has repeatedly said theyre just distortions in the lens, not alien craft parking at the ISS.

Nigel Watson, author of the UFO Investigations Manual says, The constant sightings of UFOs near the ISS are mainly due to reflections and space junk, and it is down to wishful thinking that images sent back from the space station are of alien craft.

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See Cincinnati from the International Space Station – Cincinnati.com

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There are so many incredible views of the Queen City’s majesty thatchoosing just one risks not conveyingtheTristate’s true resplendency.

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The Cincinnati view from the front doors of the Wiedemann Mansion, a 1894 Samuel Hannaford & Sons designed mansion was the home of Charles Wiedemann, whose father George founded what was once the largest brewery in Kentucky. T(Photo: Amanda Rossmann/The Enquirer)Buy Photo

There are so many incredible views of the Queen City’s majesty thatchoosing just one risks not conveyingtheTristate’s true resplendency.

Ault Park, Mount Adams, Mount Echo, Bellevue Park and even the Cut in the Hill offer the best vistas. Which one is best? Hard to say, but there is a new contestant: The view of Cincinnati from the International Space Station.

On Saturday,NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough, who is currently on his space-age perch 250 miles above the world, tweeted the view of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky: “Hello Cincinnati! Nice view of the Great American Ball Park from @space_station.”

We can see all your houses from here!

Check out all the other views Kimbrough has shared on Twitter.

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Craft Academy experiment on its way to space station – The Independent

Posted: at 6:50 pm

MOREHEAD A biology experiment spearheaded by two Craft Academy students at Morehead State University is en route to the International Space Station.

From the same launch pad that propelled the first moonwalkers in 1969, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off for orbit Sunday morning inside, 5,500 pounds of resupply cargo and an experiment that began in a biology classroom at MSU.

The International Space Station introduces a really new and exciting platform for us to use for biology research in microgravity, said Danielle Gibson, a student enrolled in the universitys Craft Academy.

She and Will Casto are seniors in the program, which allows select high school students to take college courses full-time. Their undertaking, involving the effect of microgravity conditions on smooth muscle cells, could give health researchers a better understanding of issues that have a big impact on Kentucky and the Appalachian region.

Smooth muscle lines are arteries and veins, so it plays an important role in conditions such as hypertension and, as we all know here in Eastern Kentucky, hypertension is a very prevalent issue facing Appalachia and its people, Gibson explained.

Both students attended Sundays launch in Florida.

The Space X Falcon rocket launches Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, from the Kennedy Space Centers Launch Complex 39A. (Handout Photo/Space X)

According to a 2015 report from the United Health Foundation, hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, plagues 40.3 percent of males and 37.9 percent of females in Kentucky.

The better we understand the contraction and the contractile mechanisms, the better we can manipulate it and control it hopefully for the benefit of not only Kentuckians, but for people across the globe, Casto said.

ORLANDO, Fla. The payload Will Casto travel to Florida to see blasted into space is about ha

The students started the project about a year ago with Dr. Michael Fultz, biology professor and health researcher at MSU.

This is truly original research that may pave the way for potential drug development later down the road, Fultz said.

WATCH THE ROCKET LAUNCH!

Jennifer Carter, assistant director of academic services for Craft Academy, connected the trio with Space Tango, a Lexington-based research institute that designed and engineered the containment vessel for the experiment.

[It was] a couple of students taking the initiative with a professor and then coming to me and asking how they could make their research work, and I said lets put it in space, Carter said.

The rocket launched at 9:39 a.m. from Launch Complex 39A at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was scheduled for a 10:01 a.m. takeoff on Saturday, but was delayed due to launch concerns. It is expected to reach the ISS Wednesday.

Jacob Lindberg is a Morehead State convergent media student and staff reporter for the Trail Blazer

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First black crew member to join international space station | Local … – St. Louis American

Posted: at 6:50 pm

(NNPA) – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected astronaut Jeanette Epps to join the crew of the International Space Station in 2018. Epps will become the first Black crewmember to represent the U.S. on the station.

The journey will mark the first time Epps has traveled to orbit, allowing her to follow in the footsteps of the women who, she said, inspired her to become an astronaut.

While other Black astronauts have flown to the Space Station for brief stays during the outposts construction, Epps will be the first Black crewmember to live and work on the station for an extended period of time. Her journey aboard the Soyuz spacecraft and stay at the station places her as the only American and female among a crew made up of mostly Russians and men.

Im a person just like they are. I do the same work as they do, Epps told a group of STEM students at her Syracuse alma mater, Danforth Middle School. If something breaks, anyone of us will have to be able to go out the door. We have to be jacks of all trades. Its not a job thats like any other.

While working on her doctorate, Epps was a NASA graduate student Researchers Project fellow, authoring several journal and conference articles about her research. After completing her graduate studies, Epps worked in a research lab for more than two years, co-authoring multiple patents, before being recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She was a CIA technical intelligence officer for about seven years before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class.

Anything you dont know is going to be hard at first, Epps said in a video statement about the launch. But if you stay the course, put the time and effort in, it will become seamless eventually.

Epps, in the NASA video interview, shared when she was first introduced to the idea that she could be an astronaut. It was about 1980, I was nine years old. My brother came home and he looked at my grades and my twin sisters grades and he said, You know, you guys can probably become aerospace engineers or even astronauts, Epps said. And this was at the time that Sally Ride [the first American woman to fly in space] and a group of women were selected to become astronauts the first time in history. So, he made that comment and I said, Wow, that would be so cool.

Epps will join veteran NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel at the Space Station. On Feustels first long-duration mission, he served as a flight engineer on Expedition 55, and later as commander of Expedition 56.

Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew and Jeanette both have a lot to offer, said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASAs Johnson Space Center in Houston, in a statement. The space station will benefit from having them on board.

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SC 10th-Graders Have Experiment on Space Station – WSAV-TV

Posted: at 6:50 pm

COLUMBIA, S.C. When the SpaceX rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Sunday, one of the things it was carrying was a science experiment designed by three South Carolina high school students. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will perform the experiment.

Cedric McQueen, Parker Matthews, and Tevin Glover are all 10th-graders at Keenan High School in Columbia. Last year, they had to come up with an experiment idea in science class. They did some research and took bits and pieces of different ideas they found and put them together. Cedric McQueen explains that what they came up with was, How does microgravity affect the turbidity of a non-Newtonian fluid.

The non-Newtonian fluid is cornstarch mixed with water, which can act as both a solid and a liquid depending on the force applied to it. Turbidity is a measure of how much water loses its transparency because of suspended particulates that are floating in it.

We were going to measure the turbidity of it after it came back from being in space, which is microgravity, and see if the results that we get back from it being in microgravity are different from it having gravity. So if its different, then, in space, what were hoping it will do is well be able to grow plants beyond earth, says Parker Matthews.

Their teacher entered their idea in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. It was one of 21 chosen for this SpaceX flight. When the results came back that we had won, I didnt know how to contain myself, cause it was so, it was a very proud moment in my life, says Tevin Glover.

Theyll get the results back on March 20th and will compare them to what they found doing the same experiment here on earth.

Having an experiment get so much attention has been exciting, but it hasnt changed any of their plans for the future. Cedric says he wants to go into something thats math-based, Parker wants to go into sports journalism, and Tevin says hes thinking about becoming a lawyer or judge. But they all say the notoriety should help them, regardless of what they try to do.

Itll get some eyes open from some colleges, Parker says.

This would look great as an accomplishment, because if I can accomplish this then I could probably accomplish many other things, Tevin says.

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Astronauts have grown cabbage on the International Space Station – Agriland

Posted: at 6:50 pm

Astronauts have successfully grown cabbage on the International Space Station, having previously grown lettuce and flowers.

NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson planted and grewTokyo Bekana cabbage seeds as part of the Veg-03 investigation.

Understanding how plants respond to microgravity is an important step for future long-duration space missions, which will require crew members to grow their own food, according to NASA.

It is hoped that data from this investigation could benefit agricultural practices on Earth by designing systems that use valuable resources, such as water, more efficiently.

Whitson harvested some of the cabbage recently, while the remainder of the cropis being saved for a scientific study back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Having previously grown lettuce and flowers in the Veggie facility on the International Space Station, NASA believes thisnew series of the study expands on previous validation tests.

TheVeggie facility provides lighting and necessary nutrients for plants in the form of a low-cost growth chamber and planting pillows, which deliver nutrients to the root system.

The Veggie pillow concept is a low-maintenance, modular system that requires no additional energy beyond a special light to help the plants grow, according to NASA.

It supports a variety of plant species that can be cultivated for fresh food as well as for experiments for educational purposes.

Whitson, who has a doctorate in Biochemistry, has said that she enjoys gardening in space.

Investigators believe growing plants could provide a psychological benefit to crew members on long-duration missions, just as gardening is often an enjoyable hobby for people on Earth.

Later this spring, NASA plan to send a second Veggie system to the International Space Station to be positioned next to the current one.

It is hoped this will allow for side-by-side comparisons for future plant experiments.

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This Oil Nation Aims To Colonize Mars – OilPrice.com

Posted: at 6:49 pm

The UAE may not be the first country that comes to mind when one thinks of space exploration, but it has big plans to colonize mars, and its got the oil money to do it. The plan is already in the works, complete with a concept design for a mini city, to be built by robots.

Though space exploration usually conjures up visions of Russia and the U.S., the UAE has a long history of high-profile, futuristic technological developments, for everything from artificial islands to the worlds first rotating skyscraper and 3D printing.

This time, however, the Emiratis are in no rush: their project is called Mars 2117 and media have praised them for not being overambitious, unlike, some say, Elon Musk and NASA, with their plans to start sending people to Mars some time over the next few decades. As one author points out, neither SpaceX, nor NASA have the money needed to advance space transportation technology quickly enough.

The Emiratis, however, are starting slow, from square one. According to a press release from the government of Dubai, the initial stage of the project will focus on developing the skills and expertise necessary to move forward. This stage will in effect involve a change in the educational system of the emirate, to enable future generations to sprout the engineers who will take the project further. Related:How Long Can The Permian Craze Continue?

In a poetic summary, the emirates ruler, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, said that The new project is a seed that we plant today, and we expect future generations to reap the benefits, driven by its passion to learn to unveil a new knowledge.

One cannot help but appreciate the sober, rational approach, devoid of the urge for quick results. It is this approach that has the biggest chance of success, after all, and we or rather our descendents may see the Emirati-international team in a nose-to-nose race with SpaceX because, to be fair, Elon Musk has not set a tight deadline for SpaceXs manned mission to Mars. It could take place in 40 to 100 years.

So, the interesting question is: will the Emiratis team up with Musk to take people to Mars? Its not unlikely, to say the least.

The UAEs space agency was set up just three years ago and has yet to build sufficient expertise and experience to enable the education of those future engineers we mentioned. SpaceX, on the other hand, has been around for 13 years and is already sending rockets to space and getting them back, too. The company has scheduled its 10th commercial launch for tomorrow, to take supplies and science reports to the International Space Station. Related:Is The Bakken A Bust?

Its a perfect fit, really. SpaceX and Elon Musk have the expertise, the experience, and the skills, and Dubai has the money. Of course, just because they look like a perfect fit this doesnt mean they will team up. And yet, on a speculative note, lets recall that Musk last week opened a Tesla showroom in Dubai. Thats the first Tesla presence in the Middle East and many considered it an exceptionally bold move, given the Emirates oil focus.

The Emiratis, despite the oil price crash, still have a respectable stash in their sovereign wealth fund, the Investment Corporation of Dubai. The fund was worth US$175 billion three years ago, when it launched its international expansion strategy, and now, according to one author, it has reached US$500 billion. With that kind of moneyand technological prowessMars seems feasible.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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