NASA is Going Green, in Space

By NASA  – Re-Blogged From WUWT

19-03528_-_gpim_final_day1

A small spacecraft the size of a mini-refrigerator is packed with cutting-edge “green” technology. NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission, or GPIM, will prove a sustainable and efficient approach to spaceflight. The mission will test a low toxicity propellant and compatible systems in space for the first time.  This technology could improve the performance of future missions by providing for longer mission durations using less propellant.

In this photo, a Ball Aerospace engineer performs final checks before the spacecraft shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch processing. GPIM is one of four unique NASA technology missions aboard the June 2019 SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2).

Credits: Ball Aerospace

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NASA Testing Method to Grow Bigger Plants in Space

By Danielle Sempsrott of NASA – Re-Blogged From WUWT

In an effort to increase the ability to provide astronauts nutrients on long-duration missions as the agency plans to sustainably return to the Moon and move forward to Mars, the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment is currently underway aboard the International Space Station.

The present method of growing plants in space uses seed bags, referred to as pillows, that astronauts push water into with a syringe. Using this method makes it difficult to grow certain types of “pick and eat” crops beyond lettuce varieties. Crops like tomatoes use a large amount of water, and pillows don’t have enough holding capacity to support them.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch initiates the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment on the International Space Station within Veggie by filling the upper reservoir on April 25, 2019. Credits: NASA/David Saint-Jacques

NASA astronaut Christina Koch initiates the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment on the International Space Station within Veggie by filling the upper reservoir on April 25, 2019. Credits: NASA/David Saint-Jacques

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Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

By Elizabeth Kolbert – Re-Blogged From The New Yorker

In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.

Some students discovered that they had a genius for the task. Out of twenty-five pairs of notes, they correctly identified the real one twenty-four times. Others discovered that they were hopeless. They identified the real note in only ten instances.

As is often the case with psychological studies, the whole setup was a put-on. Though half the notes were indeed genuine—they’d been obtained from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office—the scores were fictitious. The students who’d been told they were almost always right were, on average, no more discerning than those who had been told they were mostly wrong.

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Scientists Print World’s First 3D Heart

By HealthDay – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

The world’s first complete 3D printer-generated heart, made using the patient’s own cells and materials, has been created in a lab.

Until now, success has been limited to printing only simple tissues without blood vessels.

“This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said team leader Tal Dvir.

The printer-generated heart is only about a third the size of an actual human heart — and it doesn’t actually work. But it’s a groundbreaking step toward engineering customized organs that can be transplanted with less risk of rejection.

Scientists Print World's First 3D Heart

A 3D printer prints a heart with human tissue during a presentation at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel. (Oded Balilty/AP)

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Space Weather Probes Shatter GPS Record

By Dr Tony Phillips – Re-Blogged From Space Weather

NASA’s MMS probes, which use GPS signals to orbit Earth in tight formation, have just shattered the record for long-distance GPS navigation. The four probes recently located themselves 116,300 miles above Earth’s surface, surprising experts who once thought that GPS could function no higher than about 22,000 miles.

“When we began the mission, we had no idea high-altitude GPS would be such a robust capability,” says Trevor Williams, the MMS flight dynamics lead at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.


Above: an artist’s concept of the 4 MMS spacecraft

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Can Humans Sense Magnetic Storms?

By Dr Tony Phillips -Re-Blogged From Space Weather

Close your eyes and relax. Daydream about something pleasant. In this state your brain is filled with “alpha waves,” a type of electrical brainwave associated with wakeful relaxation.

Now try it during a geomagnetic storm. It may not be so easy. A new study just published in the journal eNeuro by researchers at Caltech offers convincing evidence that changes in Earth’s magnetic field can suppress alpha waves in the human brain.

testsetup

Schematic drawing of human magnetoreception test chamber at Caltech. This diagram was modified from the figure “Center of attraction” by C. Bickel (Hand, 2016) with permission.

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Does Government R&D Policy Mainly Benefit Scientists and Engineers?

By Larry Kummar – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Does this apply to Climate Science?

Paper By Austan Goolsbee

NBER Working Paper No. 6532, Issued in April 1998

Conventional wisdom holds that the social rate of return to R&D significantly exceeds the private rate of return and, therefore, R&D should be subsidized. In the U.S., the government has directly funded a large fraction of total R&D spending.

This paper shows that there is a serious problem with such government efforts to increase inventive activity. The majority of R&D spending is actually just salary payments for R&D workers. Their labor supply, however, is quite inelastic so when the government funds R&D, a significant fraction of the increased spending goes directly into higher wages. Using CPS data on wages of scientific personnel, this paper shows that government R&D spending raises wages significantly, particularly for scientists related to defense such as physicists and aeronautical engineers. Because of the higher wages, conventional estimates of the effectiveness of R&D policy may be 30 to 50% too high.

The results also imply that by altering the wages of scientists and engineers even for firms not receiving federal support, government funding directly crowds out private inventive activity.

Full paper here.

H/T Larry K of the FabiusMaximus website.

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