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Testing

NASA has begun a comprehensive series of tests for its Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander. Once on the Red Planet, the lander will operate as a stationary science platform, attempting to answer a plethora of questions regarding the interior structure of Mars, and hopefully granting us some of the information needed to make a manned mission to the Red Planet in the 2030s a reality.

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Blue Origin has taken a step closer to lifting into space by announcing that its BE‑3 rocket engine has completed acceptance testing, opening the door to its first flight. The first new hydrogen engine to be developed in the US in over a decade, the BE-3 is part of Blue Origin's program to develop a completely reusable launch system. Read More
Researchers from MIT claim to have developed an easy-to-use blood test that can be applied in the field, allowing for the screening of multiple diseases at once. The test is said to provide results in around 10 minutes, and could be instrumental in stopping the epidemic spread of fatal diseases such as Ebola. Read More
One of the problems with building the world's largest and most powerful gas turbine is that you need to build a test bed to match. Having invested US$1 billion in its 500,000 bhp 9HA Harriet gas turbine, GE had to fork over another US$185 million to build a full-load test bed at GE Power & Water in Greenville, South Carolina that can handle the grid-busting output of Harriet. Read More
ESA's IXV experimental spaceplane has successfully carried out its 100-minute mission to test technology re-entry and navigation technology for the next generation of European spacecraft. Whilst often described as a spaceplane, the IXV is in reality an atmospheric re-entry testing package wrapped in what appears to be a basic space shuttle fuselage. The resulting data accrued from the launch will inform a wide range of endeavors, spanning from re-supply trips to the ISS, to manned return missions to Mars. Read More
When a medication enters the bloodstream, it ends up being concentrated in the liver – after all, one of the organ's main functions is to cleanse the blood. This means that if a drug is going to have an adverse effect on any part of the body, chances are it will be the liver. It would seem to follow, therefore, that if a pharmaceutical company wanted to test the safety of its products, it would be nice to have some miniature human livers on which to experiment – which is just what San Diego-based biotech firm Organovo is about to start selling. Read More
A novel technique developed by the Microgravity Centre, Brazil, could allow astronauts aboard the ISS to measure the effect that prolonged exposure to microgravity can have on human lung capacity. Research like this is a vital stepping stone to understanding the safety measures needed to keep astronauts alive and healthy on a long journey, such as NASA's planned mission to Mars. Read More
When scientists want to find out how a new medication will affect the cardiovascular system, the traditional way of doing so is via animal or human trials. This takes time, can be potentially harmful to the test subjects, and doesn't always deliver conclusive results. Thanks to a device created at Coventry University in the UK, however, the testing process may soon be quicker, safer and more reliable. Read More
Wondering if it's safe to drink the water from your remote village's well? Typically, the only way of finding out involves sending a sample of that water off to a lab, or using testing agents that must be shipped in and kept on dry ice. Now, however, scientists from Canada's McMaster University have developed simple pills that can do the job – and they were inspired by breath-freshening strips. Read More
NASA has successfully completed the latest series of tests for its next-generation Orion Spacecraft, currently housed at the Kennedy Space Center. The latest trials focused on vibration-testing the spacecraft, simulating the stress that Orion will be subjected to during its maiden test flight scheduled to take place in December. Read More
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