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Nasa Osiris-Rex spacecraft lands on asteroid Bennu in mission to collect dust

nasa osiris-rex spacecraft lands on asteroid bennu in mission to collect dust

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Asteroids

Spacecraft ‘kissed the surface’ in brief landing on asteroid 200m miles away from Earth in US-first mission

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Celebrations as Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches down on asteroid Bennu – video

A Nasa spacecraft has successfully landed on an asteroid, dodging boulders the size of buildings, in order to collect a handful of cosmic rubble for analysis back on Earth.
The space agency team behind the Osiris-Rex project said preliminary data showed the sample collection went as planned and that the spacecraft had lifted off the surface of asteroid Bennu.
“I can’t believe we actually pulled this off,” said lead scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona. “The spacecraft did everything it was supposed to do.”

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx
(@OSIRISREx)
The back-away burn is complete 🛑✅ I’m now moving to a safe distance away from Bennu. pic.twitter.com/bXk2ufSneS

October 20, 2020

Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine offered his congratulations, saying: “We are on the way to returning the largest sample brought home from space since Apollo. If all goes well, this sample will be studied by scientists for generations to come.”
The Osiris-Rex spacecraft sent back confirmation of its brief contact with asteroid Bennu more than 200m miles (322m km) away, …

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The science and technology of sound sleep

the science and technology of sound sleep

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Pandemic worries have kept many of us awake this year. But David Rapoport ’70 has long known a thing or two about not getting a good night’s sleep. Rapoport is a leading expert in sleep medicine and the physiology of sleep-disordered breathing (sleep apnea and snoring). An estimated 10% to 15% of US adults have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, when soft tissues in the upper airways repeatedly collapse, blocking breathing; waking up is the only relief. The cause is unknown, but it can lead to excessive fatigue, neurocognitive impairment, and cardiovascular problems, among other issues. The most effective treatment is one co-developed by Rapoport: CPAP, short for “continuous positive airway pressure,” which delivers air pressure through a hose and mask to keep breathing passages open during sleep. After an Australian physician invented CPAP in 1980, Rapoport improved the circuitry and showed it worked for sleep apnea nearly 100% of the time. Yet patients who find CPAP cumbersome often opt for less effective treatments. Rapoport’s research now focuses on making the device more comfortable and effective, determining whom to treat, and improving patient training on how to wear it. “The balance between how well a therapy works and patients’ willingness to use …

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A Viral Theory Cited by Health Officials Draws Fire From Scientists

a viral theory cited by health officials draws fire from scientists

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As the coronavirus pandemic erupted this spring, two Stanford University professors — Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Scott W. Atlas — bonded over a shared concern that lockdowns were creating economic and societal devastation.Now Dr. Atlas is President Trump’s pandemic adviser, a powerful voice inside the White House. And Dr. Bhattacharya is one of three authors of the so-called Great Barrington Declaration, a scientific treatise that calls for allowing the coronavirus to spread naturally in order to achieve herd immunity — the point at which enough people have been infected to stall transmission of the pathogen in the community.While Dr. Atlas and administration officials have denied advocating this approach, they have praised the ideas in the declaration. The message is aligned with Mr. Trump’s vocal opposition on the campaign trail to lockdowns, even as the country grapples with renewed surges of the virus.The central proposition — which, according to the declaration’s website, is supported by thousands of signatories who identify as science or health professionals — is that to contain the coronavirus, people “who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal” while those at high risk are protected from infection. Younger Americans should return …

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Strict biodiversity laws prevent Indian scientists from sharing new microbes with the world

strict biodiversity laws prevent indian scientists from sharing new microbes with the world

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Klebsiella indica, isolated from the surface of a tomato, is one of the few microbial species reported by Indian researchers this year.

National Centre for Cell Science

By Pratik PawarOct. 20, 2020 , 4:50 PM

Praveen Rahi spent the better part of the past 3 years identifying and describing a new species of a nitrogen-fixing bacteria he discovered on peas cultivated in the mountains of northern India. But it could take years for Rahi, a microbial ecologist at India’s National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), to get the new species validated and officially named—if he doesn’t get scooped.

Syed Dastager, a microbiologist at the country’s National Chemical Laboratory, faces a similar problem. He says he has discovered 30 new microbial species over the past several years, but they all sit in his laboratory freezer, unknown to the world, because he can’t publish about them.

These scientists, like many others, are caught in a strange bureaucratic limbo between India’s stringent biodiversity protection laws and the rules of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP), which validates newly discovered microbes. “As a country, we now face the prospect of losing the claim to document bacterial diversity from India,” Yogesh Shouche, a …

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Akilah Johnson joins The Post’s Health and Science team to cover health disparities

akilah johnson joins the post’s health and science team to cover health disparities

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Akilah comes to The Post from the Washington newsroom of ProPublica, where for the past year she has written memorably about the intersection of health, politics and race. She and a colleague were among the first to chronicle the effects of the pandemic in African American communities, showing how the crisis compounded longstanding disparities borne of economic dislocation and systemic racism. Akilah and a team of reporters then examined the first 100 coronavirus deaths in Chicago, revealing that 70 of those who died were Black. Earlier, she illustrated the heartbreaking consequences when recipients of Medicare and Medicaid are erroneously excised from the rolls.Before ProPublica, Akilah spent eight years at the Boston Globe covering politics and immigration; she was part of a Spotlight team that was a Pulitzer finalist for its examination of race in Boston . Akilah spent the better part of 2012 living in a Boston neighborhood riven by gun violence for a series about the people living in those 68 blocks. And she covered the protests that swept Ferguson, Mo., and the aftermath of the racist massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Akilah also spent seven years at the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where she helped …

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Dust Bowl 2.0? Rising Great Plains dust levels stir concerns

dust bowl 2.0? rising great plains dust levels stir concerns

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A dust storm in the Texas panhandle. Fueled by drought and agriculture, dust levels in parts of the Great Plains have doubled in 20 years, researchers say.

KEITH LADZINSKI/National Geographic

By Roland PeaseOct. 20, 2020 , 10:50 AM

Earlier this month, a storm front swept across the Great Plains of the United States, plowing up a wall of dust that could be seen from space, stretching from eastern Colorado into Nebraska and Kansas. It was a scene straight from the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, when farmers regularly saw soil stripped from their fields and whipped up into choking blizzards of dust.

Better get used to it. According to a new study, dust storms on the Great Plains have become more common and more intense in the past 20 years, because of more frequent droughts in the region and an expansion of croplands. “Our results suggest a tipping point is approaching, where the conditions of the 1930s could return,” says Gannet Haller, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Utah who led the study.

The dust storms not only threaten to remove soil nutrients and decrease agricultural productivity, but also present a health hazard, says Andy Lambert, a co-author on the study and a meteorologist …

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Stem cell research, clinical use of ‘magic mushrooms’ among issues on state ballots this year

stem cell research, clinical use of ‘magic mushrooms’ among issues on state ballots this year

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Voters lined up last month in Fairfax, Virginia, to cast their ballots in this year’s elections.

SARAH SILBIGER/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

By Rebekah Tuchscherer, Rasha AridiOct. 20, 2020 , 9:00 AM

Election Day is 3 November, but U.S. voters have already started to mail in or drop off their ballots. In addition to selecting candidates for local, state, and federal positions, voters in many states will be weighing in on more than 100 initiatives and referenda.

The measures often deal with mundane financial matters. But voters will also get to vote on a number of hot-button issues, including marijuana legalization, abortion, and health care.

There are also a few science-related initiatives that the research community is watching. Here are examples from four states: California, Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada.

Related

Renewing stem cell research funding in California

In 2004, Californians voted in favor of Proposition 71, which established the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to conduct work with human embryonic stem cells, and authorized the state to sell $3 billion in bonds to fund the institute. Now, CIRM’s bond funding has nearly expired, and Proposition 14 aims to renew the flow. It asks voters to approve issuing an additional $5.5 billion in bonds. The proposition is led …

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