NASA launched the first planetary defensive rocket. The rocket aims to test the ability to strike asteroids and deflect them off course before they cause any damage to Earth. Successful results from these tests could lead to reliable protection of the world in the future.
The rocket has a DART the size of a vending machine. It is released into space while the lower section safely returns to Earth. The DART is being tested using smaller asteroids that are far from Earth. The team aims to knock asteroids off course at 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 kph). They expect to shorten the orbital track by 10 minutes but will accept 73 seconds, given it is millions of miles away.
"It's going to deflect its path around the larger asteroid, so we're demonstrating asteroid deflection in this double asteroid system," says Nancy Chabot, the mission coordination lead.
It is rare for asteroids to impact Earth. However, developing this system will keep the world protected against potential catastrophic events.
Scientists developed a gel that assists in nerve regeneration to help mice walk again. Other remedies for paralysis use stem cells, genes, or proteins and have controversial views for safety and effectiveness. This gel could be used to speed up the recovery times of people with similar impairments.
The gel has proteins that come together to form long chains called supramolecular fibrils in a water solution. Once injected, the solution creates a gel that improves blood vessel growth and produces nutrients at the injury site. The gel successfully repaired spinal injuries in about 40 mice that allowed them to walk within four weeks.
“The extent of functional recovery and solid biological evidence of repair we observed using a model that emulates severe human injury makes the therapy superior to other approaches,” says creator Samuel Stupp of Northwestern University.
Advancements in alternative medical solutions give the public a chance to overcome impairments with a greater chance of success and safety.
NASA's new Poseidon mission is launching a swarm of hydro drones to investigate the lakes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Information from these lakes could give insight into whether or not life could sustain itself in this atmosphere.
Poseidon will use two spacecraft, an orbiter and a lander, to complete this mission. The orbiter observes and reports information to help the team to execute an ideal landing. Hydrodrones will land in a lake made of liquid ethane and methane to collect samples. The drones will then head back to an analysis base to recharge and drop off samples.
"The science questions we have for Titan are very broad because we don't know much about what is going on at the surface yet," says Alex Hayes, who works with NASA and Cornell University.
Space exploration with drones allows scientists to rapidly gather information about celestial bodies to learn history, search for signs of life, and discover the potential for future inhabitation.