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NASA puts out call for satellite communication services on Mars

Handout of NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft passing above Mars' south pole in this artist's concept illustration released by NASABy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - In what may be the ultimate in long-distance telephone service, NASA on Wednesday put out a call for a commercially owned and operated satellite network on Mars. The robotic probes, however, are useless if they cannot relay their results, and the two communication satellites currently in orbit are getting old. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter followed in 2005. The aging of NASAs Mars communications system comes as the United States, Europe, Russia and India mount a fresh wave of science campaigns, including two atmospheric probes slated to arrive at Mars in September and two life-hunting rovers due to launch in 2018 and 2020.

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:49:31 -0400
Researchers practice living on Mars - without leaving Earth

For the most part, expedition leader Casey Stedman and his five crewmates have stayed inside their 1,000-square foot (93-square meter) solar-powered dome, venturing out only for simulated spacewalks and doing so only when fully attired in mock spacesuits. "I havent seen a tree, smelled the rain, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months, Stedman wrote in a blog on Instagram. Stedman is a U.S. Air Force Reserve officer, graduatestudent at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide. We are simulating a long-duration mission on Mars, with a focus on crew psychology in isolation, the crew said during an online interview with Reddit on Sunday.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:45:50 -0400
Keryx drug improves phosphorus, iron in kidney patients: trial

(Reuters) - A pivotal trial of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc's experimental drug Zerenex showed that it improved levels of serum phosphorus and iron in patients on kidney dialysis, according to results published on Thursday. The trial involved 441 patients, according to the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, which published the results. Over the four-week efficacy assessment period, mean serum phosphorus for Zerenex patients dropped by 2.2 milligrams per deciliter compared with placebo patients, the trial showed. Most patients with kidney disease that requires dialysis need chronic treatment with phosphate-binding agents to lower and maintain serum phosphorus at acceptable levels.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:48:18 -0400
U.S. scientists to map interior of Mount St. Helens volcano

Aerial view of Mt St Helens as it spews steam and ash.By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - A series of explosions set off by a team of scientists were expected to rattle Washington state's Mount St. Helens on Wednesday as researchers map the interior of the volcano, whose 1980 eruption was the deadliest in U.S. history. Mount St. Helens, about 95 miles (150 km) south of Seattle and 50 miles (80 km) north of Portland, erupted in an explosion of hot ash in May 1980, spewing debris over a wide area, killing 57 people and causing more than a billion dollars in damage. Scientists from across the United States are trying to get a better handle on the magma stores and internal workings of the 8,300-foot (2,530-meter) volcano to improve warning systems prior to eruption. "Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range threaten urban centers from Vancouver to Portland," lead scientist Alan Levander of Rice University in Houston said in a statement.

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:23:57 -0400
Paracetamol no better than placebo for low back pain, study finds

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Paracetamol, a painkiller universally recommended to treat people with acute low back pain, does not speed recovery or reduce pain from the condition, according to the results of a large trial published on Thursday. A study published in The Lancet medical journal found that the popular pain medicine was no better than placebo, or dummy, pills for hastening recovery from acute bouts of low back pain or easing pain levels, function, sleep or quality of life. Researchers said the findings challenge the universal endorsement of paracetamol as the first choice painkiller for lower back pain. "We need to reconsider the universal recommendation to provide paracetamol as a first-line treatment," said Christopher Williams, who led the study at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:49:03 -0400
One Parent May Have Bigger Role in a Girl's Puberty Age

The age at which girls reach puberty is influenced by a set of genes that were previously only known to be involved in the development of a fetus before birth, according to a new study. Scientists are interested in understanding the factors that influence when people enter puberty, because this timing has been linked with the risk of developing health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer later in life. To find the genes that influence puberty in girls, researchers analyzed the genomes of more than 180,000 women of European descent, and found more than 100 genetic variations that were associated with the age at which girls experienced their first menstrual period. Six of these genetic differences were found within a set of genes known as "imprinted" genes, according to the study, published today (July 23) in the journal Nature.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:02:21 -0400
The Pill May Affect Your Perception of Other Women

The amount of estrogen in women's birth control pills may affect how they perceive other women, a small new study suggests. The study included 42 women who were using birth control that contained both estrogen and progesterone. Most of the women were taking birth control pills, but four of them were using a vaginal ring such as NuvaRing. Half of the women were taking ultra-low dose contraceptives (that contain between 0.015 mg and 0.020 mg of estrogen), and the other half were taking low-dose contraceptives (containing 0.030 mg to 0.035 mg of estrogen).

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:01:16 -0400
Chasing Alligators, Dodging Parrots: A Zookeeper's Life (Op-Ed)

Chasing Alligators, Dodging Parrots: A Zookeeper's Life (Op-Ed)Christopher Scoufaras is a zookeeper at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)'s Queens Zoo. Growing up, I regularly visited the WCS's Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium and knew from a young age that I was interested in working with animals. I studied animal biotechnology and conservation at Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania, but I was on track to being a zookeeper even before that as a student at John Bowne High School in Queens.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:22:02 -0400
Apollo 11's Vintage Tech: The Most Amazing Moon Landing Innovations

Apollo 11's Vintage Tech: The Most Amazing Moon Landing InnovationsThe computing technology of the average cell phone far exceeds the combined computing power of the two spacecraft that got humans to the moon and home safely. The lunar module, for example, flew only twice with astronauts inside before Apollo 11. There were several modes of transportation that NASA could have chosen to take to the moon. For example, engineers could have launched two big rockets and then docked the various spacecraft and components in Earth orbit.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:46:13 -0400
Satellites Track Malaysian Airlines MH17 Crash Site from Space (Images)

Satellites Track Malaysian Airlines MH17 Crash Site from Space (Images)Satellite images captured the smoldering wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 that was shot down by a missile on July 17 in eastern Ukraine. The bird's-eye view of the site was imaged byDigitalGlobe, a company based in Colorado that programmed three of its five satellites to track the area after reports of the plane crash came flooding in.[See the top images from the DigitalGlobe contest in 2013] The plane was shot down amid the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict by a surface-to-air missile fired from an area in Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. The attack on the plane has brought global attention to the war in Ukraine.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:46:05 -0400
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