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First Japanese astronaut takes command of space station
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata assumed command of the International Space Station on Sunday, the first Japanese national to oversee a manned space mission. Wakata, 50, had been a space station flight engineer since he and two crewmates arrived on November 7. "I am humbled to assume the command of the space station," Wakata said during a change-of-command ceremony broadcast on NASA Television. Outgoing station commander Oleg Kotov, flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, both from Russia, and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins are due to depart the orbital outpost on Monday.
Scientist urges withdrawal of his own 'breakthrough' stem cell research
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Kate Kelland TOKYO/LONDON (Reuters) - A Japanese scientist called on Monday for his own headline-grabbing study on stem cells to be withdrawn from publication, saying its findings had now been thrown into too much doubt. The research - hailed when it came out in January as a breakthrough that could herald a new era of medical biology - was covered widely in Japan and across the world after it was published in the highly reputable science journal Nature. ...Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:03:05 -0400
Four new gases that harm ozone layer found, despite bans: study
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists have detected four new man-made gases that damage the Earth's protective ozone layer, despite bans on almost all production of similar gases under a 1987 treaty, a study showed on Sunday. The experts were trying to pinpoint industrial sources of tiny traces of the new gases, perhaps used in making pesticides or refrigerants, that were found in Greenland's ice and in air samples in Tasmania, Australia. The ozone layer shields the planet from damaging ultra-violet rays, which can cause skin cancer and eye cataracts, and has been recovering after a phase-out of damaging chemicals under the U.N.'s 1987 Montreal Protocol. "The concentrations are not yet a threat to the ozone layer," lead author Johannes Laube of the University of East Anglia in England told Reuters of the three types of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon) and one HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon).Sun, 09 Mar 2014 14:29:20 -0400
Zap! Australian scientists look at lasers to cull space junk
By Pauline Askin SYDNEY (Reuters) - It may sound like science fiction but an Australian team is working on a project to zap orbital debris with lasers from Earth to reduce the growing amount of space junk that threatens to knock out satellites with a "cascade of collisions". The project is very realistic and likely to be working in the next 10 years, Matthew Colless, director of Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, told Reuters. "It's important that it's possible on that scale because there's so much space junk up there," he said. Australia now has a contract with NASA, the U.S. space agency, to track and map space junk with a telescope equipped with an infra-red laser at Mount Stromlo Observatory.
Car coolant rejected by Daimler is safe, say EU scientists
EU scientists have found that the new car coolant at the centre of a dispute that has pitched regulators against Germany and its luxury carmaker Daimler does not pose any serious safety risks, the European Commission said on Friday. The Commission, the EU executive, has launched legal proceedings against Germany over Daimler's refusal to stop using an old-style coolant that has global warming potential more than 1,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. The suggested substitute, which has roughly the same impact as carbon dioxide, is the R1234yf coolant developed by U.S. conglomerate Honeywell in partnership with Dupont.
Doing the Math on Polar Sea Ice Melt
"We're using pretty sophisticated mathematics to better understand the role of sea ice in the climate system, and, ultimately, to improve our projections of climate change," Golden said in a talk Wednesday (March 6) at the Museum of Math in New York City. In high school and college, he studied the physics of sea ice, but his main interest was mathematics. "I loved sea ice, but I had no intention of building my career around it," Golden told Live Science. Later, he realized that sea ice could be modeled using the same math as composite materials, whose components contain different physical or chemical properties.
FEMA's New NYC Flood Maps Will Soon Be Out-of-Date (Op-Ed)
FEMA maps guide people out of harm's way, helping homeowners make informed choices about where they live; But FEMA's flood maps have never accounted for the future impacts of climate change on flood risk. Hurricane Sandy served as a wake-up call for New York and New Jersey and the nation to become better prepared for flooding and the other impacts of climate change. Given that it can take two decades or longer for FEMA to update flood maps for an area, it's important that those maps start providing a more realistic look at both present and future risk.
For 25 Years, Another's Heart has Beat in His Chest
A few weeks ago, Thomas Cook celebrated an unexpected milestone, having lived as long with a donor heart as he had with his own. "His body and his heart have become one," says Steven Boyce, surgical director of the heart failure and heart transplantation program at MedStar Heart Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where Cook's transplant took place on Feb. 1, 1989. Even more remarkable, Cook has never experienced any significant rejection episodes or other major medical complications that can occur after heart transplantation.Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:10:43 -0400
Project 'Red Dragon': Mars Sample-Return Mission Could Launch in 2022 with SpaceX Capsule
Scientists have blueprinted a low-cost Mars sample-return mission that would use a souped-up Dragon capsule from the private spacefligth company SpaceX and the firm's planned Falcon Heavy rocket to get to the Red Planet by the early 2020s. The new study demonstrates the viability of the entry, descent and landing of the unmanned Dragon space capsule at Mars. Moreover, the spacecraft's descent technique would help set the stage for future human missions to the Red Planet, researchers said. Most scientists regard a sample-return trip as a "Holy Grail" mission the best way to look for signs of past or present life on the Red Planet.
Astronauts Celebrate 'Cosmos' with Weightless Experiment in Space (Video)
The new "Cosmos" science TV series on Fox has received an out-of-this-world from astronauts on the International Space Station in a new video showing how weightlessness works. In the newvideo beamed from space, NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio shows how Isaac Newton's third law of motion works in microgravity, 260 miles (418 kilometers) above Earth. To demonstrate this, Mastracchio pushes his colleague Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, commander of the International Space Station, along with a model of NASA's now-retired space shuttle.