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Science


— Space

Earth-sized virtual telescope to study supermassive black hole at center of Milky Way

In astronomy, much like many other other aspects of life, bigger is better. Taking this adage to heart, astronomers at the University of Arizona are helping to build a virtual radio telescope the size of the Earth itself. With a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope, the new Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will be used to study in fine detail the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way. Read More
— Medical

Functioning synthetic blood vessels become the real thing

When a vein or artery gets seriously blocked, a common course of action involves replacing it with part of another blood vessel harvested from elsewhere in the patient's body. While 3D-printed and lab-grown blood vessels show promise as alternatives, scientists from the Vienna University of Technology and Vienna Medical University have developed another option – polymer fabric vessels that transform into biological ones, once implanted. Read More
— Space

ESA to collaborate with Japan in daring asteroid mission

ESA has announced its intent to aid the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA) with its ambitious Hayabusa-2 mission to retrieve material samples from an asteroid, and return said samples to Earth by the year 2020. Following a successful launch last December atop a H-IIA rocket, the probe will now benefit from 400 hours of tracking and telemetry from ESA's 35 m (115 ft) diameter dish at Malargüe, Argentina. Read More
— Biology

The Hunger Pains: Mice genetically engineered to not feel them

Hunger pains are the bane of any dieter's existence, kicking in even when skipping a single meal and goading the sufferer to indulge their desire for food. Controlling hunger is now better understood as neuroscientists tease apart why we (well, our model mouse cousins) feel hunger. Mind-bendingly, the same researchers have used genetic therapies to create feelings of satiety where none would otherwise exist. Read More
— Medical

Smartphone app promises cheap, easy and accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea

And so the emerging value of smartphones as a tool for diagnosing various medical conditions continues to grow. Recent advances have raised the possibility of using phones to detect ailments like ear infections, cervical cancer, HIV and syphilis. Now, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have created an app they claim can detect sleep apnea with similar accuracy to available methods, potentially removing the need for expensive equipment and overnight hospital stays. Read More
— Space

Hall ion thrusters to fly on X-37B spaceplane

The US Air Force's most public secret, the X-37B unmanned spaceplane, is now a little less top secret. The Air Force has revealed that when the Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) 4 mission lifts off from Cape Canaveral AFB on May 20, it will be carrying a Hall thruster as part of an experiment to improve the design for use on Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications spacecraft. Read More
— Environment

ReFlow reuses grey water, saves fresh water

"Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink." The famous line from the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge rings increasingly true, as all over the world water shortages threaten the way of life people have grown used to. Climate change and overpopulation have compromised water sources, a threat that calls for ingenious solutions to reduce demand. One of these is the ReFlow G2RSystem (or Re-Flow for short), a system that recycles grey water from the shower or bath to the toilet tank to flush waste. Read More
— Space

NASA application grants general public the opportunity to explore the surface of Vesta

NASA has released a browser-based application that allows citizen scientists to explore the surface of the asteroid Vesta. The 3D model was created from data harvested by the agency's Dawn spacecraft over the course of its year-long stay in orbit around the asteroid between July 2011 and September 2012. The application allows users a rare opportunity to make detailed observations of one of the lesser-known bodies in our solar system in an engaging, easy-to-use format. Read More
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