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Science

— Medical

Malaria vaccine for pregnant women reveals promising target for cancer therapy

The apparent parallels between aggressive tumor development and the way a placenta grows inside a pregnant woman have intrigued cancer researchers for years. Evolving from only a small number of cells into several-pound organ in the space of a few months, scientists have long suspected that the placenta could hold clues to understanding and ultimately beating cancer. Now the ongoing search for a malaria vaccine has inadvertently uncovered one of its more promising secrets that holds potential for the development of a treatment for the deadly disease.

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— Medical

"Lab in a needle" could streamline medical diagnoses

What if it were possible to squeeze the diagnostic ability of a lab into a single needle? Scientists have come up with a self-contained lab in a needle-like device which is claimed capable of delivering results to common lab tests instantly. The device could potentially allow doctors to diagnose and treat conditions faster and make it easier to conduct diagnostic tests anywhere.


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— Space

NASA reveals roadmap to Mars

That NASA has aspirations for a manned mission to the Red Planet is already well known, but the space agency has now revealed in greater detail how it plans to make such a mission reality. In a document titled "NASA's Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration," the expedition is broken down into three separate phases, painting a picture of the incremental scientific advances needed to land humans on the Martian surface.

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— Environment

New sensor detects water contamination in real time

Currently, if you want to check water supplies for the presence of toxic bacteria, you have to take a water sample and then culture it in a lab over several days. In the meantime, it's impossible to say if the water source is safe to use. A group of students from the Technical University of Denmark, however, have created a sensor that they say can detect bacteria in water instantly, on the spot.

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— Space

Universal space docking system gets an upgrade

Not being able to charge your phone because you have the wrong USB cable is one thing, but imagine showing up at a space station with the wrong docking system. To prevent that from happening in the future, NASA has unveiled its new universal docking ports for the International Space Station and other spacecraft. Built by a consortium of international partners, a pair of the International Docking Adapters (IDA) are undergoing tests before delivery to the station. With the designation of IDA-2, they are an upgrade of two previous adaptors that were lost when the CRS-7 mission exploded shortly after liftoff.

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— Space

NASA crowdsources spacesuit durability testing

We know from our experiences on the Moon that EVA suits undergo significant abrasion and wear over the course of a mission, and with NASA's eyes fixed firmly on a mission to Mars, the next generation of spacesuits will be thrown into the unknown. In an effort to establish how they will perform, NASA has announced a competition soliciting ideas on how to test the durability of fabrics with the potential to be used in its next-gen space suits.

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— Space

SpaceIL buys "ticket to the moon" for Google XPrize

An Israeli team has become the first to produce a "verified launch contract" as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. To win the competition, privately funded teams must land an exploratory robot on the moon by Dec. 31, 2017. SpaceIL's lunar effort would become the first private mission to the moon, as well the first from Israel.

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