воскресенье, 6 октября 2019 г.

Splitting Hairs Bad hair days can feel like disasters, but it…

Splitting Hairs

Bad hair days can feel like disasters, but it could be worse. As well as the hair on our heads, we have countless microscopic hair-like structures, called cilia, lining inner passageways of our body, and when they’re out of place a whole range of conditions, from kidney disease to deafness, can arise. Since they can’t be trimmed by a hairdresser, these tiny protrusions manage their own number and length, and scientists want to better understand this process. To investigate, researchers suppressed the activity of a particular protein thought to be involved, in Tetrahymena, a single-celled organism covered in cilia. Without the key protein, the cells grew fewer, longer cilia (right) than normal (left), revealing an important regulatory role. Understanding how length is controlled could be the first step in developing new treatments to intervene when growth goes wrong, and ensure there’s not a single cilium out of place.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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Carved Rock Slab from Nether Largie North Prehistoric Cairn (4000 to 1600BCE), Kilmartin...

Carved Rock Slab from Nether Largie North Prehistoric Cairn (4000 to 1600BCE), Kilmartin Museum, Argyll 28.9.19.

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Recreated Prehistoric Rock Art Examples from Kilmartin Glen, Kilmartin Museum, Argyll,...

Recreated Prehistoric Rock Art Examples from Kilmartin Glen, Kilmartin Museum, Argyll, 28.9.19.

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Bronze Adharc (Side Blow Horn) Reconstruction, Co. Antrim, Ireland, 800 to 700BCE,...

Bronze Adharc (Side Blow Horn) Reconstruction, Co. Antrim, Ireland, 800 to 700BCE, Kilmartin Glen, Argyll, 28.9.19.

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Space Station Science Highlights: Week of September 30, 2019

ISS — Expedition 61 Mission patch.

Oct. 6, 2019

Scientific studies conducted aboard the International Space Station the week of Sept. 30 included crystal growth, analyses of human immune function and more. The station population briefly totaled nine people; Expedition 61 crew members arrived Sept. 25 and on Oct. 3, ROSCOSMOS spaceflight participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin of ROSCOSMOS departed. Hague and Ovchinin each completed a mission of more than 200 days. The space station is a crucial stepping stone for Artemis, NASA’s plans to go forward to the Moon and on to Mars.

Image above: The JAXA HTV-8 transfer vehicle is seen attached to the space station as it flies 258 miles above the Sudan. CanadArm2 is poised to remove a pallet loaded with new lithium-ion batteries that astronauts plan to install and activate during a series of spacewalks this fall. Image Credit: NASA.

Here are details on some of the science conducted on the orbiting laboratory during the week:

Improving Upon Crystal Growth

The crew performed operations for Advanced Nano Step, a 35-day crystal growth experiment. More than 20 years of research have shown that microgravity enables growth of high quality protein crystals, but success rates have improved by 20 to 60 percent at most. This investigation monitors and records the effect of specific impurity molecules to determine how to improve on the quality and success rate of crystals grown in microgravity.

Secrets in Saliva

The space station provides a platform for long-duration research on the human body in microgravity, a critical part of planning for future exploration of the Moon and Mars. Two such investigations currently underway focus on changes in the immune system that occur during spaceflight and could increase the likelihood of crew health problems. Functional Immune analyzes blood and saliva samples to determine the changes taking place in the immune systems of crew members during flight. The Probiotics investigation studies whether beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, can improve the intestinal microbiota of crew members and perhaps help boost immune function on long space missions. The crew collected saliva samples for both investigations and completed a questionnaire for Probiotics.

Image above: The International Space Station briefly had a population of nine the week of Sept. 30. Shown here in the Zvezda service module are cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, astronauts Luca Parmitano and Nick Hague (bottom row, from left), Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates, astronaut Jessica Meir and cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka (middle), and astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov (top). Almansoori, Hague and Ovchinin departed Oct. 3 to return to Earth. Image Credit: NASA.

Getting a Grip

The crew performed sessions for the GRIP experiment, an investigation from the European Space Agency that tests how the nervous system takes into account forces due to gravity and inertia when an individual manipulates objects. Results may provide insight into potential hazards for astronauts working in environments with different levels of gravity. The investigation also supports design and control of haptic interfaces, or systems that allow humans to interact with a computer through bodily sensations and movements, as in virtual reality games. GRIP provides information about motor control that also could be useful in evaluation and rehabilitation of patients with neurological diseases on Earth.

Image above: European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano participates in a hearing test for Acoustic Diagnostics, an investigation that tests the hearing of crew members before, during, and after flight. Image Credit: NASA.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:
— Veg-04B, part of a phased research project to address the need for a continuous fresh-food production system in space, focuses on the effects of light quality and fertilizer on a leafy crop, Mizuna mustard greens.

— Acoustic Diagnostics tests the hearing of crew members before, during, and after flight to assess possible adverse effects of noise and the microgravity environment of the space station.

— The Microgravity Crystals investigation crystallizes a membrane protein that is integral to tumor growth and cancer survival.

— Food Acceptability examines changes in the appeal of food aboard the space station during long-duration missions. “Menu fatigue” from repeatedly consuming a limited choice of foods may contribute to the loss of body mass often experienced by crew members, potentially affecting astronaut health, especially as mission length increases.

— Standard Measures captures a consistent set of measures from crew members to characterize how their bodies adapt to living in space.

— Actiwatch is a nonintrusive, wearable monitor that analyzes a crew member’s circadian rhythms, sleep-wake patterns, and activity.

— The ISS Experience creates virtual reality videos from footage covering different aspects of crew life, execution of science and the international partnerships involved on the space station.

— Sally Ride EarthKAM allows students to control a special digital camera to photograph geographic items of interest on Earth from the unique vantage point of space. The EarthKAM team posts these photographs for viewing by the public and participating classrooms around the world.

— BEST studies the use of DNA sequencing to identify unknown microbial organisms and improve understanding of how humans, plants and microbes adapt to living in space.

Related links:

Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html

Artemis: https://www.nasa.gov/artemis

Advanced Nano Step: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7468

Functional Immune: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2011

Probiotics: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2047

GRIP: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1188

Spot the Station: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Carrie Gilder/Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist Expedition 60.

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Dressing for the Job: Spacesuits Prepped for Upcoming Spacewalks

ISS — International Space Station logo.

Oct. 5, 2019

NASA astronauts have been busy getting their spacesuits ready to go in preparation for a suite of 10 spacewalks outside the International Space Station. The first of five spacewalks to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries on the space station’s truss with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries is set to begin Sunday, Oct. 6, with four more following before the end of the month.

Another five spacewalks to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer—a cosmic ray catcher searching for evidence of “dark matter” in the universe and mounted on the exterior of the station—will follow in coming weeks.

The spacesuit worn during these excursions is the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or EMU. This suit is essentially a personal spaceship that keeps astronauts safe and ensures they are able to perform complex, difficult work in the vacuum of space and the microgravity environment of low-Earth orbit. The spacesuit provides life support including breathing air and thermal controls, critical in space where temperatures range between plus or minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit, battery power, communication systems, and protection from radiation and tiny space debris—all of which are necessary for spacewalker safety and productivity.

Image above: Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques seen inside the Quest airlock replacing the Hard Upper Torso (HUT) on an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) aboard the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.

Once outside the safe haven of the orbital laboratory, astronauts typically spend about 6.5 hours spacewalking, not including the time it takes to prepare to float out of the hatch. Spacewalking is one of the most dangerous tasks performed during an astronaut’s mission, and to ensure top performance, safety and range of motion during the intense process that is a spacewalk, a properly fitting spacesuit is key.

Before ever launching to space, astronauts train for spacewalks at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. This underwater laboratory simulates the microgravity environment of space by using foam and weights to make astronauts neutrally buoyant–they neither float to the top nor sink to the bottom of the pool.

Here, crewmembers are sized and fitted for each component of the spacesuit. EMU’s are made up of a collection of parts put together to fit a particular astronaut. The parts include the hard upper torso (HUT) that encloses the upper torso of the body, legs, lower arms, waists, boots, sizing rings and gloves. Each of these spacesuit components is interchangeable. There are three HUT sizes (medium, large and extra-large), four leg sizes, seven lower arm sizes, two waist sizes and two boot sizes. Due to the nature of spacewalks being hand intensive, and to ensure best fit for crewmembers, the glove fit is much more complicated and occasionally custom gloves are built for specific astronauts.

During ground training, astronauts evaluate suits of multiple sizes to improve planning flexibility on orbit. Some crewmembers fit only one size HUT, while others are able to fit between two sizes and could perform a spacewalk in multiple sizes, if necessary. While training at the NBL, astronauts can choose a prime and an alternative suit size based upon performance, fit, safety and a number of other factors.

Though suit sizes are determined on the ground, once on orbit, size adjustments can be made to take into account how astronauts’ bodies change during spaceflight. These changes require anywhere from 15 minutes of crew time for a minor adjustment, to up to 12 hours for a complete HUT removal and replacement task. If a complete HUT replacement is required in space, water inside the suit must be cleaned and checked for contamination; hardware must be physically changed out; and the various suit systems must be verified with the ground crews to confirm the suit is safe and ready to wear.

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA keeps enough components on hand to make four complete spacewalking suits, of which two HUTs of the same size can be available at any given time. The spacewalking suit sizes that are ready to go are based on the needs and preferences of the astronauts expected to wear them.

Due to a number of factors, ranging from safety to fit and performance, a crewmember may decide in orbit that their size preferences have changed. This is not uncommon, as astronauts’ bodies change on orbit and ground-based training can be different than performing spacewalks in the microgravity environment outside the space station. When that occurs, the teams on the ground determine what course of action will best accommodate both the astronauts’ preferences and the demands of the space station’s schedule.

For the upcoming series of 10 spacewalks, all of the spacewalkers prefer to use a medium HUT, so two medium sizes have been readied for duty. Each crew member will be able to perfect their suit’s sizing using the many adjustments available in the various components that make up their suit.

Live NASA Television coverage of the first spacewalk in the series will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct, 6.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Learn more about International Space Station research, operations and its crew at: http://www.nasa.gov/station

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

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Station Focuses on Busy Spacewalk Period After Trio Returns Home

ISS — Expedition 61 Mission patch.

October 6, 2019

The six-member Expedition 61 crew officially began Thursday morning after the departure of two Expedition 60 crewmates and a visiting astronaut. The current residents aboard the International Space Station now turn their attention to a series of spacewalks that begins Sunday.

Image above: The official Expedition 61 crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, astronaut Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency), Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch. Image Credit: NASA.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague is returning to Houston after completing a 203-day mission aboard the orbiting lab with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The duo parachuted to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-12 crew ship and landed in Kazakhstan early Thursday with visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates. Ovchinin and Almansoori both returned to Star City, Russia.

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). Image Credit: NASA

Two NASA astronauts will exit the station’s Quest airlock in their U.S. spacesuits on Sunday at 7:50 a.m. EDT for a six-and-half hour spacewalk. Veteran spacewalkers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan will begin the work to install new lithium-ion batteries on the Port-6 truss structure. This will be the first of five spacewalks in October to upgrade station power systems. Televised spacewalk coverage begins Sunday at 6:30 a.m.

Watch the spacewalk preview briefing that was broadcast Friday on NASA TV.

Upcoming spacewalk assignments:

    Oct. 5: Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
    Oct. 11: Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch
    Oct. 16: Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir
    Oct. 21: Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
    Oct. 25: Jessica Meir and Luca Parmitano
    Oct. 31: Oleg Skripochka and Alexander Skvortsov

Five more spacewalks are planned in November and December aimed at repairing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

For NASA TV streaming video: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Related article:

Dressing for the Job: Spacesuits Prepped for Upcoming Spacewalks

Related links:

Expedition 60: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition60/index.html

Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html

Quest airlock: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/joint-quest-airlock

Truss structure: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/truss-structure

Spacewalks: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/spacewalks

Spacewalk preview briefing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o4XMOj2zzY

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/alpha-magnetic-spectrometer.html

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

New Resolution Microscopy is enjoying huge leaps in recent…

New Resolution

Microscopy is enjoying huge leaps in recent technology and technique, bringing tiny life into sharp focus and allowing its processes to be studied like never before. Yet for the best results, techniques like super-resolution microscopy require optimisation – juggling mechanical settings of lenses and lasers with software for capturing images. Even then, scientists struggle with a question – how do you know if the image you’ve taken is the best it can be? Maybe just one more tweak in the right direction would reveal even more detail. In this artificially-coloured human cell, we see the results of a new computer algorithm. Designed to estimate an image’s resolution, it helps to spot when microscope settings could be improved further (left), guiding scientists towards a clearer, optimised image (right). Released as open-source software, such approaches will help researchers squeeze more information from their experiments, and value from their expensive microscopes.

Written by John Ankers

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The Prehistoric ‘Cork Stone’, Stanton Moor, Derbyshire, 5.10.19.

The Prehistoric ‘Cork Stone’, Stanton Moor, Derbyshire, 5.10.19.

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2019 October 6 The Horsehead Nebula Image Credit &…

2019 October 6

The Horsehead Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: José Jiménez Priego

Explanation: The Horsehead Nebula is one of the most famous nebulae on the sky. It is visible as the dark indentation to the red emission nebula in the center of the above photograph. The horse-head feature is dark because it is really an opaque dust cloud that lies in front of the bright red emission nebula. Like clouds in Earth’s atmosphere, this cosmic cloud has assumed a recognizable shape by chance. After many thousands of years, the internal motions of the cloud will surely alter its appearance. The emission nebula’s red color is caused by electrons recombining with protons to form hydrogen atoms. On the image left is the Flame Nebula, an orange-tinged nebula that also contains filaments of dark dust. Just to the lower left of the Horsehead nebula featured picture is a blueish reflection nebulae that preferentially reflects the blue light from nearby stars.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191006.html

Neuron Generator These red-stained neurons, located in the…

Neuron Generator

These red-stained neurons, located in the brain of a stroke-injured mouse, started life as glial cells – the non-conductive cells of the brain that generally function to surround and support the neurons. A newly devised gene-therapy approach that drives glial expression of Neurod1 – a critical protein for specifying neuronal fate – was responsible for the cell type conversion and, importantly, has been shown to restore both cognitive and motor functions in stroke-injured animals. A stroke, which is defined as an interruption in the blood supply to a part of the brain caused by either a blockage (ischaemic stroke) or a bleed (haemorrhagic stroke), can lead to significant neuronal death in the affected area and with it permanent neurological disability. Thus, if this cell-conversion therapy can be developed for use in humans, it may one day provide a restoration of brain functions otherwise lost for good.

Written by Ruth Williams

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Gigantic Chinese telescope opens to astronomers worldwide

Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) logo.

26 September 2019

FAST has superior sensitivity to detect cosmic phenomena, including fast radio bursts and pulsars. 

Image above: FAST will enable highly sensitive measurements of astronomical phenomenon. Image Credits: Ou Dongqu/Xinhua/ZUMA.

The world’s largest single-dish radio observatory is preparing to open to astronomers around the world, ushering in an era of exquisitely sensitive observations that could help in the hunt for gravitational waves and probe the mysterious fleeting blasts of radiation known as fast radio bursts.

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in southern China has just passed a series of technical and performance assessments, and the Chinese government is expected to give the observatory the final green light to begin full operations at a review meeting scheduled for next month. “We do not see any roadblocks for the remaining transition,” says Di Li, the chief scientist of FAST. “I feel both excited and relieved.”

The complex project has not been without challenges — it has a radical design and initially struggled to attract staff, in part because of its remote location. But the pay-off for science will be immense. FAST will collect radio waves from an area twice the size of the next-largest single-dish telescope, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

The Chinese observatory’s massive size means that it can detect extremely faint radio-wave whispers from an array of sources across the Universe, such as the spinning cores of dead stars, known as pulsars, and hydrogen in distant galaxies. It will also explore a frontier in radioastronomy — using radio waves to locate exoplanets, which may harbour extraterrestrial life.

Since testing began in 2016, only Chinese scientists have been able to lead projects studying the telescope’s preliminary data. But now, observation time will be accessible to researchers from around the world, says Zhiqiang Shen, director of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory and co-chair of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ FAST supervisory committee.

“I’m super excited to be able to use the telescope,” says Maura McLaughlin, a radioastronomer at West Virginia University in Morgantown, who wants to use FAST to study pulsars, including hunting for them in galaxies outside the Milky Way, that are too faint to see with current telescopes.

During the testing phase, the telescope discovered more than 100 pulsars.
Eye in the sky

The 1.2-billion-yuan (US$171-million) telescope, also known as Tianyan or ‘Eye of Heaven’, took half a decade to build in the remote Dawodang depression in the Guizhou province of southwest China. Its 500-metre-wide dish is made up of around 4,400 individual aluminium panels that more than 2,000 mechanical winches tilt and manoeuvre to focus on different areas of the sky. Although it sees less of the sky than some other cutting-edge radio telescopes, and has lower resolution than multidish arrays, FAST’s size makes it uniquely sensitive, says Li.

In August and September, the instrument detected hundreds of bursts from a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) source known as 121102. Many of these bursts were too faint to be perceived by other telescopes, says Li. “This is very exciting news,” says Yunfan Gerry Zhang, who studies FRBs at the University of California, Berkeley. No one knows what causes the mysterious bursts, but “the more pulses we have, the more we can learn about them”, he says.

FAST examines only a tiny fraction of the sky at any one time, making it unlikely to discover many new FRBs, which are fleeting and occur in seemingly random locations. But the telescope’s

It’s “impressive sensitivity” will be useful for following up on sources in detail, says Laura Spitler, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. Repeat observations could allow scientists to learn about the environment from which an FRB emerged, and to determine whether the blasts vary in energy or recur with any set pattern.

FAST will also boost the efforts of an international collaboration that is trying to spot ripples in space-time as they sweep through the Galaxy, says McLaughlin. The International Pulsar Timing Array is using radio telescopes around the world to monitor the regular emissions from pulsars, looking for distortions that would reveal the passing of these low-frequency gravitational waves. By the 2030s, FAST should have racked up enough sensitive measurements to study individual sources of such waves, such as collisions of supermassive black holes, says McLaughlin. “That’s where FAST is really going to shine,” she says.

Li says that he is particularly excited about the study of planets outside the Solar System. No exoplanets have yet been conclusively detected by their radio emissions, but FAST’s ability to spot faint, polarized waves might allow it to find the first examples, says Li. Polarized radio signals might come from planets with magnetic fields that, if similar to the one on Earth, could protect potential sources of life against radiation and keep the planets’ atmospheres attached.

Identifying a planet in FAST’s wide beam is a challenge, because they are so faint and small. But Li’s team wants to boost the telescope’s performance by adding 36 dishes, each 5 metres wide. Although the dishes are relatively cheap, off-the-shelf products, together they will improve FAST’s spatial resolution by 100 times, he says.

Li hopes that FAST’s telescope operations will soon move from near the remote site to a $23-million data-processing centre being built in the city of Guiyang. He expects that the move to a major city will help attract more technical and engineering staff.

Now the team’s biggest hurdle is working out how to store and process the enormous amount of data that the telescope will churn out. The team are negotiating with the Chinese government to get additional funding for more data storage. “A successful review will definitely help,” he says.

Related articles:

FAST — The World largest radiotelescope in service

China FAST hunt for alien life with giant telescope

Related link:

For more information about Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), visit: http://fast.bao.ac.cn/en/

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NATURE/Elizabeth Gibney.

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Fly your experiment to the Space Station with Bioreactor Express Service

ISS — International Space Station logo.

26 September 2019

ESA is partnering with Kayser Italia to offer the Kubik facility on the International Space Station to commercial customers. The new Bioreactor Express Service allows users to conduct experiments in weightlessness.

Kubik on Space Station

Customers can use existing experiment containers, customise them, or develop an entirely new container to match their requirements. The starting price is €160 000 and covers the flight using an existing experiment container – from conception to launch and returning scientific data within a year.

Kubik has been running experiments for ESA’s SciSpace programme since 2004 in the European Columbus module that is part of the International Space Station. The miniature laboratory offers room for 24 experiment containers and is equipped with features such as temperature control and a centrifuge that simulates a range of gravity levels by spinning the containers. These features allow for comparison between different environments, for example how samples of bacteria, human cells or plant seeds react to gravity levels on Earth, the Moon and Mars.

ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli with Kubik

David Zolesi from Kayser Italia says “with Bioreactor Express Service, we want to make Kubik accessible to everyone, providing an end-to-end service from concept to implementation, for a reasonable price and within an acceptable time-frame.”

Bioreactor Express Service was developed within ESA’s commercial partnership initiative for European industry to propose joint development of new commercial services and applications using the unique conditions that space provides.

First Contract: BioAsteroid


The announcement of Bioreactor Express Service comes with the first experiment to fly. The BioAsteroid project from the University of Edinburgh will investigate how gravity affects the interaction between microbes and rock in reduced gravity. Two bio-mining reactors will allow researchers to see how the microbes develop a biofilm on the surface of a rock sample. Biofilms are collections of microbes that grow on a surface, a form of biofilms are dental plaques. The experiment is scheduled to fly in October next year.

For more information and how to get on board visit the Bioreactor Express Service website: http://www.bioreactorexpress.com/

Related links:

ESA’s commercial partnership initiative: https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Business_with_ESA/Business_Opportunities/Partners_for_Space_Exploration

ESA’s SciSpace programme: https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Research/Drop_fly_irradiate_ESA_s_SciSpace_research_programme

Kubik: https://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/02/Kubik_on_Space_Station

International Space Station Benefits for Humanity: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/International_Space_Station_Benefits_for_Humanity

European space laboratory Columbus: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Columbus

International Space Station (ISS): http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/International_Space_Station

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/NASA/University of Edinburgh.

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ALMA Sheds Light on the Mystery of Missing Galaxies

A visualization of cold carbon monoxide gas in the Sculptor Galaxy


“We are star stuff,” famous astronomer Carl Sagan once said. The atoms of our bodies were forged in the hearts of long dead stars, and so when we look upon the universe we see ourselves. It’s a poetic notion, but when it comes to how we imagine both the universe and ourselves, there is some truth to it.

Radio astronomy gives us a unique view of the cosmos. Astronomers capture faint radio light and through computer software assemble their data into images we can understand. Likewise, the human body is studied in part through medical images. Techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) capture data about the inside of our bodies without invasive surgery, and this data is used to create images useful to doctors and scientists. Although medical and astronomical imaging are quite different in many ways, their methods of gathering and analyzing data are quite similar. Experts in both fields face similar challenges, so it would be useful if they could learn from each other.

This is the goal of the Cells to Galaxies project: finding a way to build a bridge between the two fields. As a method is developed in one field, it might be applied to challenges in the other. Collaboration could also provide a way for the two disciplines to work together on some of the largest problems in both fields.

The idea holds a lot of promise, but it’s not without challenges. As Daniel Weller, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Virginia, points out, one of the biggest challenges is the differences between terminology and culture. Each field has an established way of gathering and analyzing data, with its own lingo and style. For collaboration to be fruitful, each group will need to become familiar with the other. As the researchers in these fields become aware of cultural differences, they can better see the similarities in their work.

The similarities are there. After all, both rely upon the same physics. But there are also significant differences. Beatriz Paniagua, Technical Leader in medical computing at Kitware, points out one of the big ones. In bioimaging you can “touch the source.” If there is a question about an image of a patient, it is possible to confirm the data physically. This isn’t possible in radio astronomy, where the “patient” is light years away. But Sanjay Bhatnagar, a Scientist with NRAO, sees opportunity in this. Modern radio telescopes and medical imaging devices gather enormous amounts of data. The great challenge in indirect imaging techniques like radio imaging and MRI is accurate image reconstruction. On the other hand, scientific inference relies on advanced image analysis techniques such as the ones used in medical tomographic imaging, where data is used to create layers of images, virtually slicing through the human body. Collaboration between radio astronomy, MRI and tomographic imaging communities therefore offer great potentials.

In April of 2019, a small group of experts in radio astronomy and medical imaging met at NRAO in Charlottesville VA to discuss their research, and whether the two fields have some common ground. The meeting generated a lot of excitement. “I really enjoyed this meeting,” said Sanjay Bhatnagar, “Almost everyone I spoke to shares the feeling that it was a rather interesting meeting already.” There are tentative plans to have a more formal collaborative meeting in the Spring of 2020.

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Twinned Pentagonite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Minerals Locality:…

Twinned Pentagonite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Minerals

Locality: Wagholi Quarry, Poonah, Maharashtra, India

Size : 7,0 x 1,4 x 1,4 cm

Photo Copyright © Le Comptoir Géologique

Geology Page

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Amethyst | #Geology #GeologyPage #Minerals Locality: Goboboseb…

Amethyst | #Geology #GeologyPage #Minerals

Locality: Goboboseb Mountains, Brandberg, Namibia

Size : 5,5 x 2,2 x 1,9 cm

Photo Copyright © Le Comptoir Géologique

Geology Page

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Pathways to Cancer Cancer has proved difficult to defeat in…

Pathways to Cancer

Cancer has proved difficult to defeat in part because there are many different types of tumours, each behaving and reacting to treatments in different ways. For example, lung cancer is an umbrella term for many types of tumours caused by mutations that cause different lung cells to multiply abnormally. One thing, however, that unites several types of lung cancers is their link to mutations in two molecular pathways involved in cell division – MAP kinase and PI3’-kinase. Scientists have now shown that mice with genetic mutations that activate one of these pathways individually either had no tumours or small benign ones. But if both were activated together the mice developed aggressive cancerous lung tumours, shown here with lung cancer cells illuminated in red. These genetically engineered mice could help us understand how lung tumours develop and how future treatments could target these two important molecular pathways.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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Expanded Station Crew Relaxes Before Cargo Delivery, Crew Departure

ISS — Expedition 60 Mission patch.

September 26, 2019

The Expedition 60 crew is relaxing today after welcoming three new space residents to the International Space Station on Wednesday. They will receive a cargo shipment on Saturday before turning their attention to a crew departure next week.

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir took a five-hour and 45-minute ride to the orbiting lab on Wednesday with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and spaceflight participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates. They blasted off from Kazakhstan inside the Soyuz MS-15 crew ship and docked to the rear port of the Zvezda service module. Family and mission officials on the ground congratulated the trio shortly after the new crew boarded the station expanding the population of the space lab to nine.

Image above: The International Space Station is pictured orbiting Earth in October of 2018. Image Credit: NASA.

All nine crewmembers are sleeping in today and will soon be getting ready for more space traffic. The new crew was briefed on station safety procedures and will be getting up to speed with life in microgravity over the next several days.

Japan’s HTV-8 space freighter has been orbiting Earth since Tuesday after launching to the station from the Tanegashima Space Center. It will arrive Saturday carrying over four tons of crew supplies, station hardware and new science experiments.

Soyuz MS-15 hatch opening

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan will capture the HTV-8 on Saturday with the Canadarm2 robotic arm around 7:15 a.m. EDT. Ground controllers will then take over and remotely install the Japanese resupply ship to the Harmony module about three hours later. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the capture and installation activities starting at 5:45 a.m.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineer Nick Hague are getting ready for their return to Earth on Oct. 3. They will take Almansoori home with them aboard their Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan.

Related article:

Soyuz Spacecraft With Three Crewmates Docks to Orbiting Lab

Related links:

NASA TV: http://www.nasa.gov/live

Expedition 60: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition60/index.html

Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html

Canadarm2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/mobile-servicing-system.html

Harmony module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/harmony

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Image (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/NASA TV/SciNews.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

ROSCOSMOS — Soyuz-2.1b launches Kosmos-2541


September 26, 2019

Soyuz-2.1b launches Kosmos-2541

Today, on September 26, 2019, at 10:46 Moscow time, from the Plesetsk State Testing Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region, the combat crew of the VKS Space Forces successfully launched the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with a spacecraft in the interests of the Russian Ministry of  Defense.

The launch of the launch vehicle and the launch of the spacecraft into the calculated orbit took place as usual. Two minutes after the launch, the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle was accepted for escort by means of the ground-based automated control complex of the German Titov Main Test Space Center.

Soyuz-2.1b launches Kosmos-2541

At the estimated time, the spacecraft was launched into the target orbit and taken into control by the ground-based means of the aerospace forces. A stable telemetric communication has been established and maintained with the satellite, its on-board systems are functioning normally.


Kosmos-2541 (Tundra) satellite

This is the fourth launch of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in 2019. Flight tests of the Soyuz-2 space rocket complex began at the Plesetsk cosmodrome on November 8, 2004. Over the past fifteen years, 40 launches of Soyuz-2 launch vehicles of modernization stages 1a, 1b and 1c were carried out from the northern spaceport.

ROSCOSMOS Press Release: https://www.roscosmos.ru/26863/

Image (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: Russian Ministry of  Defense/ROSCOSMOS/SciNews.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Death of Cosmonaut Mikhailovich Manakov


September 26, 2019

On September 26, 2019 in the 70th year of life, the hero of the Soviet Union, an astronaut pilot of the USSR, Colonel Heinrich Mikhailovich Manakov died.

G.M. was born June 1, 1950 in the family of teachers in the s. Efimovka is a rural settlement in Orenburg Oblast, Russia. In 1967, he graduated from Efimovskuû high school 1967-1969. He studied at the Kuibyshev Aviation Institute (Samara) and received aviation training at the kuybyshev dosaaf school. In 1973, he moved into the air defense aviation army of air defense pilots, in 1973 he graduated with distinction and a gold medal in the field of «Command Fighter Aviation» with the qualification of a pilot-engineer. In 1985, he graduated from the evening department of the Faculty of Aeronautical Engineering of the Moscow Aviation Institute named after c. Ordzhonikidze «takeoff».

After his success, he was a pilot, a senior pilot in the Air Defense Division. The 19 th division of the Russian division of air defense,, the senior pilot, deputy commander of the aviation squadron in the Far East District Defense (G. In the same position he served in the Moscow district of Moscow, Morchansk, Tambov Oblast.

Cosmonaut Mikhailovich Manakov

In 1979, he was sent to the 267th Aviation Test Center and training of test pilots. From 1980 to 1985-pilot test, chief engineer and senior test pilot of the 1st department of the Red-Famous State Scientific and Test Institute (Gknii) of the Russian Federation Defense of the Russian Federation.

In 1985, the decision of the State Inter-Agency Commission (Gmvk) was selected as a candidate for air force astronauts and sent to the space training center for space training. In 1988, by order of the Minister of Defense of the USSR was assigned to the 2nd group of astronauts for the post of test cosmonaut (9th recruitment).

He made his first space flight from 1 August to 1990 December 10 as the crew commander of the transport ship «Soyuz TM -10» under the program of the 7th main expedition (EO-7) on the orbital complex «Mir» and the Soviet-Japanese spaceflight program with Soviet-Japanese spaceflight. On board the station, he worked with one. Straw, huh. Balandinym, the. Afanasieff, m. Manarovym and t. Akiyama (Japan). During the flight, he made an exit to the open space (2 hours 45 minutes), during which he received information on the number of works needed to repair the exit hatch of the «Quantum-2» module. «. During the flight, the astronaut has conducted extensive scientific research. Research program. The results of the experiments conducted by g. It has been used in various fields of the national economy. In space, the crew of the cc «Soyuz TM -10» spent more than 130 days.

For the first time in the history of the domestic inhabited space, the cargo ship «Progress M-16» at the station «Progress M-16» at the station «Mir» was realized as part of the experiment.

For courage and heroism shown in flight, the country’s seventy-ninth cosmonaut received the title of hero of the Soviet Union with the Gold Medal Award and the Order of Lenin.

The Peoples Friendship Order was awarded for the second spaceflight, from January 22 to July 24, 1993, as the Commander of the TM-16 Union Vessel under the program of the 13th Main Expedition. In flight, he made two exits from the open space with a total length of 9 hours 58 minutes. The 1993 July 22, a crew of Russian cosmonauts in the Russian city. Manakova, a. Poleŝuka and French astronaut F.-P. Angela returned to earth safely. The duration of the flight was 179 days.

Gennady Mikhailovich received the qualification «1st class military pilot» (1977), «1st pilot class» (1987), «2nd class cosmonaut» (1990), «2nd class cosmonaut» (1990), «L Parachute Training Instructor (PDP) of the Air Force «. the total flight — more than 1620 hours, mastered 42 types and modifications of planes, realized 248 jumps.

In 1996, he retired from cosmonauts. His experience and knowledge remained in demand at the Astronaut Training Center: he was appointed Chief of the 32nd Division (for providing life for cosmonauts in special conditions) from the 3rd Bureau, from 1997 to 2000 he been head of 2 the department of state department of the Rgniicpk. In July 2000, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation was rejected.

He belonged to the generation of Soviet and Russian cosmonauts who wrote brilliant pages in the glorious history of the Russian inhabited space. He has dedicated his entire life to the cause of space and aviation, giving his rich experience to the younger generation.

He received the orders and medals of our country, he was an officer of the order of the Legion of Honor (France), and was an honorable citizen of the cities of arkalyk and dzhezkazgan.

Leadership, pilots of the USSR and Russian Federation, team and veterans of the center for training astronauts named after y.a. Gagarin are sorry for the family and loved ones of Genaddy Mikhailovich.

ROSCOSMOS Press Release (In Russian): https://www.roscosmos.ru/26865/

Image, Text, Credit: ROSCOSMOS.

R.I.P.; Orbiter.chArchive link

Prehistoric Musical Instruments: Recreated Lithophone and a ‘Ringing Rock’...

Prehistoric Musical Instruments: Recreated Lithophone and a ‘Ringing Rock’ from Kentallen near Glen Coe, Kilmartin Museum, Argyll, 28.9.19.

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Prehistoric Fishing Reconstructions, Kilmartin Museum, Argyll, 28.9.19.

Prehistoric Fishing Reconstructions, Kilmartin Museum, Argyll, 28.9.19.

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https://t.co/hvL60wwELQ — XissUFOtoday Space (@xufospace) August 3, 2021 Жаждущий ежик наслаждается пресной водой после нескольких дней в о...