A three-person crew will blast off to the International Space Station today (March 27), and two of them won't be coming back to Earth for a full year. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka will fly to the station atop a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Central Asia. Kelly and Kornienko will participate in the yearlong mission aboard the orbiting outpost, while Padalka spends six months on the station before flying home. Watch the one-year space crew launch live on Space.com starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT) via NASA TV.
Posted on 27 March 2015 | 8:13 am
An American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut are set to make history as the first crewmembers to spend a year onboard the International Space Station, but the two are not the first to log 12 months off the planet. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will lift off to the space station on Friday (March 27) to begin the yearlong expedition. Joining them on Russia's Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft for the 6-hour trip to the orbiting outpost is cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who will stay on the station for the more usual six months. Twenty-two other cosmonauts and four NASA astronauts have to date accumulated 365 days or more over the course of two or more space missions.
Posted on 27 March 2015 | 8:12 am
Quantum mechanics is one of the best-tested theories in science, and it's one of the few where physicists get to do experiments proving that Einstein was wrong. That's what a team at Griffith University and the University of Tokyo in Japan did this week, showing that a weird phenomenon — in which the measurement of a particle actually affects its location — is real. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, Albert Einstein said he couldn't support this idea, which he called "spooky action at a distance," in which a particle can be in two places at once and it's not until one measures the state of that particle that it takes a definite position, seemingly with no signal transmitted to it and at a speed faster than light. When the particle takes its definite position, physicists refer to this as its wave function collapsing.
Posted on 27 March 2015 | 7:47 am
Unleashed by fracturing glaciers, they interfere with the Antarctic Ocean's sea-ice factories, called polynyas, according to the study. The scientists studied the recent history of one of the Antarctic Bottom Current's most important polynyas, near East Antarctica's Mertz Glacier. Mertz Glacier stretches far out into the sea, and helps protect the polynya against surface currents with a long, floating tongue of ice. In the past 250 years, similar-size icebergs have launched from Mertz Glacier about every 70 years, the researchers discovered.
Posted on 27 March 2015 | 7:44 am
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force overstepped its bounds as it worked to certify privately held SpaceX to launch military satellites, undermining the benefit of working with a commercial provider, an independent review showed on Thursday. The report cited a "stark disconnect" between the Air Force and SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies, about the purpose of the certification process and recommended changes. Air Force Secretary Deborah James ordered the review after the service missed a December deadline for certifying SpaceX to compete for some launches now carried out solely by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co. The Pentagon is eager to certify SpaceX as a second launch provider, given mounting concerns in Congress about ULA's use of a Russian-built engine to power its Atlas 5 rocket.
Posted on 26 March 2015 | 4:02 pm
The Ebola virus that is causing the current outbreak in West Africa is not mutating as quickly as earlier reports had suggested, a new study finds. In the study, published online today (March 26) in the journal Science, researchers compared virus samples from people in Africa who became infected with Ebola up to nine months apart. "We do not see any evidence that the virus is mutating any more rapidly than has been reported in previous outbreaks," said Thomas Hoenen, a postdoctoral fellow in virology at the National Institutes of Health and one of the researchers on the study. In a 2014 study published in the journal Science, researchers had suggested that the Ebola virus in the West African epidemic was mutating twice as fast as other Ebola virus strains.
Posted on 26 March 2015 | 2:23 pm
A World Health Organization group's controversial finding that the world's most popular herbicide "probably is carcinogenic to humans" was based on a thorough scientific review and is a key marker in ongoing evaluations of the product, the scientist who led the study said Thursday. There was sufficient evidence in animals, limited evidence in humans and strong supporting evidence showing DNA mutations ... and damaged chromosomes," Aaron Blair, a scientist emeritus at the National Cancer Institute, said in an interview. Blair chaired the 17-member working group of the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which rocked the agricultural industry on March 20 by classifying glyphosate as "probably" cancer-causing. Monsanto Co , which has built a $15 billion company on sales of glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide and crops genetically engineered to tolerate being sprayed with Roundup, has demanded a retraction and explanation from WHO.
Posted on 26 March 2015 | 2:11 pm
By Francesco Guarascio BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is set to send two navigation satellites into orbit on Friday aboard a Russian rocket, in its first launch since a botched deployment in August that cost several million euros to fix. The Galileo project to set up an EU alternative to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) is obliged to use the Russian Soyuz system until a development of Arianespace's European Ariane 5 rocket is ready around the end of the year, despite strained relations with Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine. An official at the European Commission, which oversees the program, said the EU executive was tendering for insurance cover for future satellites and had set up an insurance scheme for the launches. The two launched in August have since been nudged into viable orbits and are fit for use, a spokesman for the European Space Agency said.
Posted on 26 March 2015 | 2:08 pm
By Matthew Stock A research team from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is using motion tracking technology to try to establish the optimal riding position for jockeys, as well as enhance the performance of racehorses and reduce the risk of injury to both horse and jockey. The project, entitled "Apprentice to Journeyman: the influence of jockey technique on thoroughbred racehorse locomotion", is analyzing the riding style of more experienced jockeys compared with novice riders to try to determine if the technique differs significantly between the two skill levels. They wanted to see how more experienced jockeys' movement, stability and positioning differed from the novice. RVC researcher Dr Anna Walker explained that more experienced jockeys commented on how different the experience was on a simulator compared to a real horse.
Posted on 26 March 2015 | 12:44 pm
The remains of Richard III may be locked away in a coffin to be reburied this week, but the 15th-century king's genome is still offering scientists a chance to unravel royal mysteries. "Having worked in the world of genetic genealogy for years, this is not at all surprising to me," said Turi King, a geneticist at the University of Leicester. In the general population, false paternities occur in about 1 percent to 2 percent of births, King said. They found a match between Richard's mitochondrial DNA (which is passed down only through the mother) and the mitochondrial DNA from two living female-line descendants of Richard's sister Anne of York: Michael Ibsen and Wendy Duldig.
Posted on 25 March 2015 | 6:46 pm