Science briefs – Dec. 7, 2010
Sun Star Reporter
NASA discovers arsenic-based life form
The discovery of arsenic-based life forms “will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life” according to NASA. Ironically, while far from being an extraterrestrial life form, the microbe was found on earth. While the microbe is not made of arsenic, it feeds on it. The study that made the discovery was funded by NASA and was released at the end of the past week in a much-hyped press conference.
Military space shuttle lands in California
The X-37B, an unmanned robotic space shuttle, returned from its record-setting 224-day stay in earth’s orbit. The shuttle landed early last Friday morning at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. The military has refused to comment on the objectives of the shuttles mission, other then to state that they are “very pleased that the program completed all the on-orbit objectives for the first mission.”
An experiment currently aboard a United Nations (U.N.) educational satellite will discover if human waste can be used as an alternative power source in space. A team of Florida researchers is curious whether or not human feces (which can be turned into hydrogen and used to power a fuel cell) can survive in space. The experiment is set to launch aboard the U.N.’s UNESCOSat sometime next year.
Skin-tight space suit: sexy, athletic
Astronauts have long faced a major hurdle to inhabiting space: bone degeneration in the legs. Despite a rigorous exercise regimen, astronauts typically lose about 1 to 2 percent of their bone mass per month while in orbit. In comparison, a post-menopausal woman on Earth loses the same amount of bone in a year. Scientists feel that the lack of gravity is the cause. The suit was developed by MIT and is called the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit (GLCS). The suit counteracts bone loss by placing pressure on the bones much like gravity does on earth.