NASA Selects Two Missions to Explore the Early Solar System; JPL is “Delighted” by News About Psyche Program

first_img Business News Artist’s concept of the Psyche spacecraft, which will conduct a direct exploration of an asteroid thought to be a stripped planetary core. Image credit: SSL/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-CaltechNASA has selected two missions that have the potential to open new windows on one of the earliest eras in the history of our solar system – a time less than 10 million years after the birth of our sun. The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from five finalists and will proceed to mission formulation, with the goal of launching in 2021 and 2023, respectively.“JPL is delighted with the news that Psyche will be moving forward and for the additional support for the development of NEOCam. These two exciting and important missions will provide far greater understanding of the role asteroids play in our solar system,” said JPL Director Mike Watkins.“Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids, while Psyche will study a unique metal asteroid that’s never been visited before,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is what Discovery Program missions are all about – boldly going to places we’ve never been to enable groundbreaking science.”Lucy, a robotic spacecraft, is scheduled to launch in October 2021. It’s slated to arrive at its first destination, a main belt asteroid, in 2025. From 2027 to 2033, Lucy will explore six Jupiter Trojan asteroids. These asteroids are trapped by Jupiter’s gravity in two swarms that share the planet’s orbit, one leading and one trailing Jupiter in its 12-year circuit around the sun. The Trojans are thought to be relics of a much earlier era in the history of the solar system, and may have formed far beyond Jupiter’s current orbit.“This is a unique opportunity,” said Harold F. Levison, principal investigator of the Lucy mission from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Because the Trojans are remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets, they hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system. Lucy, like the human fossil for which it is named, will revolutionize the understanding of our origins.”Lucy will build on the success of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, using newer versions of the RALPH and LORRI science instruments that helped enable the mission’s achievements. Several members of the Lucy mission team also are veterans of the New Horizons mission. Lucy also will build on the success of the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu, with the OTES instrument and several members of the OSIRIS-REx team.The Psyche mission will explore one of the most intriguing targets in the main asteroid belt – a giant metal asteroid, known as 16 Psyche, about three times farther away from the sun than is the Earth. This asteroid measures about 130 miles (210 kilometers) in diameter and, unlike most other asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies, is thought to be comprised mostly of metallic iron and nickel, similar to Earth’s core. Scientists wonder whether Psyche could be an exposed core of an early planet that could have been as large as Mars, but which lost its rocky outer layers due to a number of violent collisions billions of years ago.The mission will help scientists understand how planets and other bodies separated into their layers – including cores, mantles and crusts – early in their histories.“This is an opportunity to explore a new type of world – not one of rock or ice, but of metal,” said Psyche Principal Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University in Tempe. “16 Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system, and this is the only way humans will ever visit a core. We learn about inner space by visiting outer space.”Psyche, also a robotic mission, is targeted to launch in October of 2023, arriving at the asteroid in 2030, following an Earth gravity assist spacecraft maneuver in 2024 and a Mars flyby in 2025.In addition to selecting the Lucy and Psyche missions for formulation, the agency will extend funding for the Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) project for an additional year. The NEOCam space telescope is designed to survey regions of space closest to Earth’s orbit, where potentially hazardous asteroids may be found.“These are true missions of discovery that integrate into NASA’s larger strategy of investigating how the solar system formed and evolved,” said NASA’s Planetary Science Director Jim Green. “We’ve explored terrestrial planets, gas giants, and a range of other bodies orbiting the sun. Lucy will observe primitive remnants from farther out in the solar system, while Psyche will directly observe the interior of a planetary body. These additional pieces of the puzzle will help us understand how the sun and its family of planets formed, changed over time, and became places where life could develop and be sustained – and what the future may hold.”Discovery Program class missions like these are relatively low-cost, their development capped at about $450 million. They are managed for NASA’s Planetary Science Division by the Planetary Missions Program Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The missions are designed and led by a principal investigator, who assembles a team of scientists and engineers, to address key science questions about the solar system.The Discovery Program portfolio includes 12 prior selections such as the MESSENGER mission to study Mercury, the Dawn mission to explore asteroids Vesta and Ceres, and the InSight Mars lander, scheduled to launch in May 2018.NASA’s other missions to asteroids began with the NEAR orbiter of asteroid Eros, which arrived in 2000, and continues with Dawn, which orbited Vesta and now is in an extended mission phase at Ceres. The OSIRIS-REx mission, which launched on Sept. 8, 2016, is speeding toward a 2018 rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu, and will deliver a sample back to Earth in 2023. Each mission focuses on a different aspect of asteroid science to give scientists the broader picture of solar system formation and evolution.Read more about NASA’s Discovery Program and missions at:https://discovery.nasa.gov/missions.cfmlJet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Psyche mission, as well as NEOCAM, Dawn and InSight for the agency. More Cool Stuff Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Subscribe Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Community News Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Community Newscenter_img 0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Science and Technology NASA Selects Two Missions to Explore the Early Solar System; JPL is “Delighted” by News About Psyche Program From NASA/JPL Published on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 | 5:37 pm Herbeauty8 Easy Exotic Meals Anyone Can MakeHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyCostume That Makes Actresses Beneath Practically UnrecognizableHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty9 Of The Best Family Friendly Dog BreedsHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyHere Are Indian Women’s Best Formulas For Eternal BeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWant To Seriously Cut On Sugar? 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Sustainable Gardening

first_imgProfessional and home gardeners alike can grow landscapes sustainably with the help of biodegradable plant containers, but gardeners may wonder whether these containers decompose quickly enough to avoid hindering plant growth. A study conducted by University of Georgia researchers determined that, under standard cultivation practices, certain types of biodegradable containers will decompose within a single growing season. In a recently published article in the Water, Air and Soil Pollution, UGA scientists determined how industry-standard growing practices affected the decomposition of widely available biodegradable — or alternative — growing containers. This study was led by Bethany Harris while she earned her doctorate in horticulture under the guidance of Professor Bodie Pennisi and soil microbiologist Mussie Habteselassie in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the UGA Griffin campus.“Under standard cultural and environmental conditions (fertilization, organic soil amendment, irrigation), alternative containers made of recycled paper, coconut fiber and wood pulp fiber will degrade in the soil within a single season,” said Pennisi.Pennisi, a horticulture specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension, said that although alternative containers made of animal- and plant-based byproducts have been available for more than 10 years, consumers and industry professionals have been slow to adopt these environmentally friendly options.“One of the reasons is the perception that, when annual bedding flowers are installed in plantable containers in the landscape, the container does not degrade rapidly enough by the end of the growing season and thus necessitates manual removal of remnants,” Pennisi said.Evaluating paper, wood pulp and coconut fiber containersThe study focused on three factors involved in decomposition — moisture, fertilization and organic soil amendment — and their effects on alternative containers. Researchers examined three container types and measured the response of each to these factors.“In our study, we chose three types of biodegradable containers — recycled paper, wood pulp fiber and coconut coir containers — due to their market availability and their varying levels of cellulose and lignin content,” said Harris, who also earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental resource science and a master’s degree in entomology from CAES. Harris reviewed the literature of previous studies on biodegradable containers and how they were used in the horticulture and nursery industry. Then she worked with Pennisi and Habteselassie to determine the best way to conduct laboratory trials for results that could educate that industry. Over the course of the project, the team examined soil samples with specific combinations of water content, organic soil amendments and fertilizer. They conducted three separate studies to evaluate the decomposition of each type of alternative container. Each study took 182 days, representing the length of a typical growing season for annual bedding flowers.Researchers used control groups for each study in which soil samples without a biodegradable container received the same treatment of water content, organic amendment and fertilizer.  They distinguished this study from past research by conducting the trials in a controlled lab setting rather than in the field, where other environmental factors could influence the findings. Harris said multiple factors like soil pH, container thickness and density of soil microorganisms can also contribute to container decomposition.At set intervals throughout each experiment, researchers measured each sample’s decomposition rate using carbon dioxide traps. The more carbon dioxide released in the soil, the higher the rate of decomposition. This method offered precision and a novel approach from past studies, which assessed remaining container weight rather than amount of carbon dioxide released.Looking forwardPennisi said that her lab will expand on this research to examine container decomposition over longer periods of time. Further study of this subject in the field will enable researchers to develop best practice recommendations. Pennisi’s team plans to extend outreach about the benefits of alternative containers to increase their overall use among the public, green industry producers and landscapers.Harris and Pennisi conducted a study in 2017 that found that both consumers and industry professionals may be unaware of the benefits of plants grown in alternative containers. They hope this new knowledge will inspire consumers to request plants grown in sustainably produced containers rather than plastic.“Product development and research have spoken. It falls on us as consumers to actively seek plant material that has been produced in alternative containers, thereby creating the demand that will encourage the green industry to widen its use of environmentally friendly pots,” Pennisi said.Now the director of education at Callaway Resort and Gardens, Harris directly interacts with the public and industry on a daily basis and educates them about topics of sustainability through strategic programming. She says her research and time working with Extension prepared her well for this role.“I really learned the importance of the land-grant mission, which encompasses research, teaching and extending research-based knowledge to those in the community in which you serve,” Harris said. “At Callaway Gardens, I have had the opportunity to extend this research-based knowledge and educate the public, including visiting guests, about the use and adoption of biodegradable containers as well as other research-based topics.”For more information on the UGA Department of Horticulture, visit hort.uga.edu.last_img read more

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Love on the Rocks

first_imgPhone abuse is real; let’s stop it already.   Choose the Right Route One of the delights of living in the Appalachian mountains is the natural beauty all around, and with so much scenery to explore a hike in the Blue Ridge is the perfect way to discover if a new relationship has a chance to gain any long-term traction.   A romantic walk in the woods shouldn’t be a test of athletic prowess where you challenge each other to full-tilt it up a mountain. Don’t make your date play keep-up. It’s not fun nor impressive that you walk fast. Also, if you’re not happy with the pace, doing the “pause and sigh” is not a good look, and it is antithetical to the whole “date” part of the “hike.” A Hiking Couple Shares Do’s and Don’ts of Trail Romance Gain Perspective from the Summit Be present. Having your phone on your person is perfectly fine, especially for safety reasons. But stopping every half-mile to take an unimportant call implies that the person you’ve invited is even more unimportant. Also, selfies are the heroin of narcissists. They are a nice memento, nothing more, nothing less. Documentation of each step demeans the experience.  Put Away the Phone It is not the destination but the journey. John Muir wrote: “I don’t like the word hike. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not ‘hike!” Be Mindful of Pace So you’ve reached the summit or a cascading waterfall, or the vista overlooking the majesty of a forest of swaying trees. Those are best-case scenarios. But, if the view you’ve ultimately found is not what you expected, it is all okay. A bad date looks for what is wrong, and a good date sees what is right. If your date at this point is unimpressed then that means something, because the view is secondary to the company you are sharing it with. Be Reasonable with Chatter On a similar note, the degree of difficulty is also something to consider. Trying to knock out a 15-mile circuit or tackle a 3,000-foot ascent might be a little much for a first-date hike. Choose a moderate yet enjoyable trail that’s conducive to getting acquainted.  The sign of a start to a good relationship is having the ability not to talk. On a hike, you are surrounded by the sounds of nature. Don’t talk over the chattering of birds, the water gurgling under frozen brooks, the sounds of your footsteps crunching through the frost together. It’s a hike: Not the dissertation of why you and Brenda at work no longer get along.   To really put someone off, read every single trail sign out loud. Nothing says “I respect you,” like assuming they can’t read it for themselves. Morgan Freeman, you are not.  During trail time together, we’ve often laughed about bad hiking dates from our pasts, and we’ve realized that an afternoon in the woods can tell you a lot about the chemistry you could have with a prospective partner. With that in mind and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we’ve compiled tips on what to do and what not to do on a first hike with a potential love interest. This advice, though trivial for some, is actually general trail etiquette that applies to all who want to cultivate a romance in the great outdoors.     It’s best to let your date set the pace even if you want to be the one leading the way. Leaving the other person in the dust screams, “I’m rude and I don’t care,” and combined with the “pause and sigh” lets them know what they are in store for later on. The bottom line is a hike is a chance to learn about each other through some mild exertion which can lead to taking the relationship to the next level. Even if the rain pours down on the two of you it is still okay. Reaching the summit means you achieved a goal together. Walking home wet can be the most memorable of unplanned things that could ever happen on a date-hike. We once found walking in the rain down a mountain supplied an impression of each other’s character, and we still joke about it to this day. Admittedly we’re amateur hikers who didn’t meet on the trail. But regular hikes by the New and Roanoke Rivers and trips to the Cascades in Giles County, Va., allowed us time to really get to know each other, free from distraction, and we’re celebrating two years this coming spring. last_img read more

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Chinese report results for whole-virus H5N1 vaccine

first_imgSept 7, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – In a human trial in China, a whole-virus H5N1 avian influenza vaccine generated an immune response with a relatively low dose of antigen, suggesting that it could be used to immunize more people than may be possible with some other vaccines under development.The study, published online today in The Lancet, showed an adequate immune response in 78% of volunteers after two 10-microgram (mcg) doses of the vaccine plus an aluminum hydroxide (alum) adjuvant. That exceeds the European Union’s requirement of an acceptable response (a hemagglutinin-inhibition titer of 40 or more) in 70% of volunteers.The vaccine is made by Sinovac Biotech in Beijing, China, from an inactivated strain of H5N1 known as Vietnam/1194/2004. The report says that Sinovac was involved in designing and monitoring the study but played no role in collecting the data or writing the report.The randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study involved 120 adults (aged 18 to 60). They were divided into five groups of 24, with each group receiving either a placebo or 1.25, 2.5, 5, or 10 mcg of the vaccine.Each volunteer received the vaccine on the first day of the study and 28 days later. Serum samples were assessed for evidence of an immune response on days 0, 14, 28, 42, and 56.An antibody response was seen after the first injection at all dose levels. The highest response (78% seropositivity) was seen in the 10-mcg group after two doses.The investigators reported that all four doses were well tolerated, even though whole-virion vaccines are generally thought to cause more reactions than split-virion vaccines. No serious reactions were reported, and most local and systemic reactions were mild and brief. Three people dropped out of the study, and one person was excluded from the final analysis.The authors concluded that the dose required to reach an acceptable immune response was much lower than for vaccines reported in previous studies. Two reports published earlier this year described trials of a split-virus H5N1 vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur. The reports said two 90-mcg doses of nonadjuvanted vaccine or two 30-mcg doses of adjuvanted vaccine were required to produce the desired immune response.(In July, GlaxoSmithKline reported a good immune response in 80% of volunteers who received a dose of only 3.8 mcg of the company’s adjuvanted H5N1 vaccine. However, a full report of those findings has not yet been published.)”The manufacturing capacity for an H5N1 vaccine would increase if a whole-virion vaccine is used, because 20% to 30% of vaccine antigen is expected to be lost during the disruption process in the preparation of split-virion vaccines, according to our experience with seasonal influenza vaccine,” the Chinese researchers write.In an accompanying commentary, Iain Stephenson, MD, of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary in Leicester, England, writes that the findings point up of “a potential dose-sparing approach that could be crucial for a global supply of pandemic vaccine.”He says that trial results for split-virion H5N1 vaccines have been disappointing, because within current manufacturing constraints, the two such vaccines under development would yield only enough to vaccinate 75 million to 225 million people.Though whole-virion vaccines generally produce a better immune response than split or subunit vaccines, development of whole-virion H5N1 vaccines has been delayed, Stephenson writes. He says it is difficult for manufacturers that produce split seasonal vaccines to switch production approaches and processing methods.Stephenson cautions that whole-virion vaccines have been associated with febrile reactions in children and emphasizes that careful investigation is needed before such vaccines can be widely used.It remains to be seen whether whole-virion vaccines can induce the broad cross-reactive response that would be needed to treat a variety of H5N1 viruses, Stephenson writes.Lin J, Zhang J, Dong X, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated adjuvanted whole-virion influenza A (H5N1) vaccine: a phase 1 randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2006 (early online publication, Sep 7) [Abstract (registration required)]Stephenson I. H5N1 vaccines: how prepared are we for a pandemic? (Commentary). Lancet 2006 (early online publication, Sep 7)See also:May 12 CIDRAP News story “Sanofi reports results for H5N1 vaccine with adjuvant”Jul 26 CIDRAP News story “Glaxo says its H5N1 vaccine works at low dose”last_img read more

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