The dossier on cancer researcher Xifeng Wu was thick with intrigue, if hardly the stuff of a spy thriller. It contained findings that she’d improperly shared confidential information and accepted a half-dozen advisory roles at medical institutions in China. She might have weathered those allegations, but for a larger aspersion that was far more problematic: She was branded an oncological double agent.
Scientific literacy - the understanding of scientific concepts and processes - is a major goal of K-12 schooling. The National Science Education Standards, established to guide science education in primary and secondary schools, say the knowledge is necessary “for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.”
If you ever clean out the gutters on your roof, take note: The dirt you’re tossing may have come from outer space. “In an average day, about 100 tons of meteor dust falls on the planet,” May writes. “One of the best places to find it is on non-porous surfaces like city rooftops and gutters . . . The sludge in your gutter almost certainly contains a few particles that came from outer space.”
Scientists studying the moon have made an unexpected discovery. While we have good data on the surface topography, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what lies beneath the craggy craters and dunes. A large crater in the southern polar region appears to contain a large deposit of dense material, possibly the remains of an ancient metallic asteroid.
The effective diameter of the Terahertz Space Telescope, Walker says, would be about 25 meters. To put this in perspective, the James Webb Space Telescope--which is slated to launch in 2021, and will be the most sensitive telescope ever sent to space--has an aperture of about 6.5 meters. The price difference is even more dramatic: Walker estimates the inflatable telescope would cost around $200 million to send to orbit, whereas the James Webb telescope is expected to cost about $10 billion by the time it’s launched.
NASA is just over a year away from the launch of the Mars 2020 rover, and all systems are go for the rover’s flying passenger. After completing its flight test early this year, the Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) is undergoing final preparation and could join the rover this summer. If it works as planned, the MHS will be the first flying machine on another planet.
An almost unlimited supply of electricity could be generated on the moon’s surface by huge arrays of solar cells and beamed to Earth by laser. Sunlight falling on a crater … could produce from 10,000 to 100,000 megawatts of power.
Many of the pioneers of quantum mechanics assumed they were instantaneous. A new experiment shows that they aren’t. By making a kind of high-speed movie of a quantum leap, the work reveals that the process is as gradual as the melting of a snowman in the sun. “If we can measure a quantum jump fast and efficiently enough,” said Michel Devoret of Yale University, “it is actually a continuous process.”
NASA unveiled an ambitious program Friday to commercialize low-Earth orbit, making way for visits by private-sector astronauts to the International Space Station as early as next year. It would also allow product development and even advertising aboard the space station, along with use of a station docking port for privately financed research and development modules.
All of humanity save for a handful of astronauts have the advantage of living inside the protective bubble of Earth’s magnetic field. As space agencies and private companies look toward a future of people living on the moon and Mars, we have to contend with an unpleasant reality: the radiation out there is lethal. Any attempt to send humans to Mars right now would undoubtedly result in severe health problems, but scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) are studying the issue in hopes of making space safe for humanity.