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Radiation

3D Printing

3D-printed tumor replicas to better measure doses of cancer-fighting drugs

Administering the correct dosages to fight cancerous tumors can be a difficult balancing act. Too much of the radioactive drugs can cause harm to healthy tissue, but not enough will see the cancer cells survive and continue to spread. But a new technique developed at The Institute of Cancer Research in London may afford doctors an unprecedented level of accuracy in performing radiotherapy, using 3D-printed replicas of a patient’s organs and tumors to better determine how much radiation a tumor has received. Read More

Space

NASA study examines the effects of microgravity on the immune system

A new study by NASA intends to examine the detrimental effects of microgravity on the immune system, by studying the blood of rats and blue mussels over the course of a prolonged stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The experiments, TripleLux A & TripleLux B, will be transported to the station by consecutive SpaceX commercial resupply missions. It is hoped that the results of the study could potentially inform future treatment options for immune system deficiencies both in space and on Earth. Read More

Space

Plastic phantom shows space travel may be safer than thought

A European Space Agency experiment aboard the International Space Station suggests that space travelers may have less to worry about when it comes to radiation ... thanks to a phantom. Called the Matroshka, the "phantom" is a plastic mannequin that is the key component of the first comprehensive study of the effects of radiation on astronauts on long-term space missions that indicates that the hazard may not be as severe as previously thought. Read More

Space

Raise shields: Protective invisible barrier found surrounding Earth

The idea of putting a Star Trek-like force field around the entire Earth seems like the fodder for a fairly silly science fiction epic out of the 1930s, but according to space scientists, such a barrier already exists. Discovered by a pair of NASA space probes, the natural shield protects the Earth and near-Earth satellites from so-called "killer electrons" with a precision that cuts it off like a wall of glass.Read More

Environment

Mirror coating to cool buildings by pumping interior heat into space

Keeping buildings cool isn't easy. In fact, conventional air conditioning methods are very energy intensive and account for up to 15 percent of the energy used in buildings in the United States alone. However, engineers at Stanford University have come up with a new ultrathin, multilayered, nanophotonic material that not only reflects heat away from buildings, but also directs heat from inside out into space, cooling both the building and the planet as well.Read More

Military

Nuclear weapons write their own security codes

Nuclear weapons are a paradox. No one in their right mind wants to use one, but if they're to act as a deterrent, they need to be accessible. The trick is to make sure that access is only available to those with the proper authority. To prevent a real life General Jack D Ripper from starting World War III, Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Defense Technologies Division is developing a system that uses a nuclear weapon's own radiation to protect itself from tampering.Read More

Science

MINER may help locate hidden nuclear devices in minutes

It’s been a common trope in films since the 1950s; a madman with an atomic bomb holds a city for ransom while the authorities race to find it in time. If such a thing ever does come about, Sandia National Laboratories is working on taking the suspense out of the situation with its Mobile Imager of Neutrons for Emergency Responders (MINER) – a nuclear device detector capable of narrowing a search to within a city block without door-to-door sweeps.Read More

Robotics

Xenex updates protocols for germ-zapping robots in response to Ebola threat

Dealing with highly infectious diseases like Ebola is often like a logic problem. Disinfecting rooms is hard enough, but what about protective suits? True, they greatly reduce the chances of infection, but getting them off can bring the risk straight back again if the suit isn't decontaminated first. Xenex has created protocols that conform to those of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its a line of robots that use UV lamps that to decontaminate hospital rooms and protective clothing exposed to the Ebola virus.Read More

Science

Earth's magnetic field could reverse in just one lifetime

A new study by a team of scientists from Italy, France, Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrates that the Earth's magnetic field could change polarity in less than 100 years. The last magnetic reversal occurred some 786,000 years ago and was previously thought to have taken several thousand years but, if the researchers are right, the real time it may take for the flip to occur could actually be closer to the span of a human life.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Small, portable and cheap radiation detector is being designed for the public

Ever since the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, there has understandably been an upsurge in the sale of consumer radiation-detecting devices. Most of these gadgets are variations on the Geiger counter, in that they alert the user to the presence and level of radiation, but not the type of radiation – which is very important to know. Researchers at Oregon State University are hoping to address that situation by developing a handheld device that will additionally tell its users what type of radionuclide is creating the radiation, and whether it poses a risk.Read More

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