Satellite Technology Helps Safeguard Sea Wildlife

Scientists all over the world are more and more using satellite technology to review existence on the planet. Small, affordable transponders mounted on creatures track their movement and interaction with humans, helping scientists and activists safeguard endangered species. Oceana, an worldwide organization focused on the security and restoration from the world’s oceans, teamed with shark researchers to review the fishing industry’s effect on one shark species. VOA’s George Putic reports.

First Black Astronaut Honored on 50th Anniversary of Dying

AP Photo NY560, NY561, NY562

America’s first black astronaut, Air Pressure Maj. Robert Lawrence Junior., finally got full honors Friday around the 50th anniversary of his dying.

Hundreds of people collected at Kennedy Space Center to commemorate Lawrence, who probably might have gone onto fly wide had he not died inside a plane crash on 12 ,. 8, 1967.

Everyone else incorporated NASA dignitaries, astronauts, fellow Omega Psi Phi fraternity people, schoolchildren, and relatives of Lawrence along with other astronauts who’ve died within the type of duty.

Lawrence was a part of a classified military space enter in the 1960s known as the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, designed to monitor the Ussr. He died when his F-104 Starfighter crashed at Edwards Air Pressure Base in California. He was 32.

Astronauts at Friday’s two-hour ceremony stated Lawrence might have gone onto fly NASA’s space shuttles which, after his dying, he inspired all of the African-American astronauts who adopted him.

Like Lawrence, Robert Crippen was area of the Air Force’s program. It had been canceled in 1969 with no single manned spaceflight, prompting Crippen along with other astronauts to proceed to NASA. Crippen was pilot from the first takes space shuttle flight almost 30 years ago.

Having a doctorate degree in physical chemistry — a rarity among test pilots — Lawrence was “definitely around the steps for success,Inches Crippen stated. He finished senior high school at 16 and college at 20.

“He were built with a great future in front of him if he was not lost half a century ago today,” Crippen stated.

Lawrence led the way for Guy Bluford, who grew to become the very first African-American wide in 1983, Dr. Mae Jemison, the very first African-American lady wide in 1992, and Charles Bolden Junior., an area shuttle commander who grew to become NASA’s first black administrator in ’09. The coming year, the Worldwide Space Station gets its first African-American resident: NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps.

Another former African-American astronaut, Winston Scott, stated their own shuttle rides into orbit will not have happened otherwise for any trailblazers like Lawrence. In tribute to Lawrence, a jazz lover, Scott and the jazz band serenaded everyone else with “Fly Me towards the Moon” along with other tunes.

Lawrence’s sister, Barbara, a upon the market educator, stated he considered themself the luckiest man on the planet for having the ability to combine the 2 things he loved most: chemistry and flying.

Lawrence’s name was etched in to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation’s Space Mirror at Kennedy for that 30th anniversary of his dying in 1997, carrying out a lengthy bureaucratic struggle. It required years for that Air Pressure to acknowledge Lawrence being an astronaut, given he’d never traveled up to the 1960s-needed altitude of fifty miles.

The Area Mirror Memorial bears what they are called of two other African-Americans: Ronald McNair, who died aboard takes space shuttle Challenger in 1986, and Michael Anderson, who died on shuttle Columbia in 2003.

Marsalis Walton, 11, who drove from Tampa together with his father, Mike, came away inspired. He hopes for just as one astronaut.

“It seamless comfort that everybody has an opportunity to do anything whatsoever,Inches the boy stated.

La Going to Attempt a good City Experiment

Because the U.S. Top Court views a situation about privacy and technology, La, California, has become a town that’s more and more connected. From mobile phones to televisions to refrigerators, more products are being attached to the Internet. L.A. really wants to make use of the prevalence of those “smart” devices to assist the town run more proficiently, making it a town for the future. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has got the information on the work and also the privacy and security implications of the more connected city.

Virtual Reality Enables Patients to Preview Their Very Own Surgery

It was not an average headache that bothered Felicia Luna, 41. It had been painful pressure “like someone was squeezing my mind really tight.” The discomfort am bad that Luna states she couldn’t lie lower together with her mind around the pillow.

Her primary physician along with a specialist informed her to prevent worrying. Then she visited Stanford Clinic. The mind of neurosurgery, Dr. Gary Steinberg, scheduled her for nuclear physics. Her aneurysm was at risk of rupturing.

High-tech technique

Due to the complexity from the approaching surgery and Luna’s curiosity, Steinberg made the decision to make use of virtual reality to master the surgical route. To get this done, contrast dye was injected during Luna’s CT scan and angiograms, two medical scans, to focus on the width and form of the vessels.

WATCH: Virtual Reality Enables Patients to Preview Their Very Own Surgery

Stanford’s Malie Collins, who works together with Steinberg, builds the reconstructions in 3-D and prepares the individual-specific VR cases for Steinberg. Collins formerly labored for Surgical Theater, an Ohio startup that designs the program to change the scans to become viewed in VR via Oculus Rift along with other headsets.

Flying with the brain with VR

Collins trained Stanford’s staff around the equipment after which became a member of they. She and Steinberg produced the Nerve Simulation and Virtual Reality Center, the very first VR clinic for spine and neurosurgery within the U . s . States. Now Collins is utilizing to school of medicine in June, to become neurosurgeon.

A part of Collins’ job is to produce a “fly though” virtual reality video for patients.

The night time before Luna’s surgery, Collins gives her a headset to put on and lets her traverse her very own brain. Luna admits being “a nervous wreck” before seeing the road Steinberg would decide to try locate the aneurysm. She sees where he’ll clip off its growth therefore the clot could be resorbed, eliminating her discomfort.

“Now I realize exactly what’s going to take place,Inches Luna states. Her husband also required a turn in the virtual reality flight.

“This makes me comprehend it 100 %,Inches Rene Luna states. “That extra understanding provides me with much more confidence.”

VR theater ‘rehearsal’

Later your evening, an organization gathers with what resembles a house theater, with darkened lighting, padded recliners and enormous monitors. All of them put on big black goggles. Their arms are outstretched, directing the empty air around all of them with controls wrapped around their knuckles. This can be a Stanford school of medicine class trained by Steinberg.

Collins has loaded the three-D renovation of Felicia Luna’s aneurysm along with a virtual craniotomy so students can follow in virtual reality as Steinberg explains his surgery strategy.

Steinberg uses his controls to show the virtual skull. He virtually “erases” a bone, glides along a vessel, and divulges his target.

“That’s wherever the aneurysm is, where that turn is,” he states.

He shows where he plans to put a clip, reducing the bloodstream that may thin the aneurysm’s walls, causing it to rupture. The virtual procedure, which Steinberg describes like a “kind of Gps navigation navigation with 1-2 millimeter precision,” is invaluable to him.

“In a feeling, it enables me to organize for surgery in advance and make use of it,” he states.

Within the operating room

The following day, the three-D images show up on monitors within the operating room.

Steinberg makes last-minute checks and “practices” his surgery the last time before he begins the 5-hour operation. At this time, the VR can there be for reference.

Collins sees the advantage all sides, from “the patient, then in to the operating room, then for education. The truth that it’s so versatile causes it to be unique and effective,” she states.

Future VR/high-tech medical surgeries

Technology may at some point put the 3-D virtual reality inside a head’s up display in surgical microscopes. Or even the physician may manipulate automatic surgical controls remotely, eliminating the necessity for your kids to stay in the operating room.

But technologies are not in a position to get rid of the lag time between your remote location and also the operating room, where vessels constantly change and move.

In the 30 years of neurosurgery, Steinberg states VR has “transformed the way you can get ready for and adjust surgery within the operating room.”

He states just seeing round the aneurysm in 360 levels is one thing which was impossible before VR. He states for patients this means “remarkably improved outcomes, when it comes to safety and effectiveness.”

Luna on the path to recovery

Felicia Luna were built with a good outcome, but her right eye continues to be recovering.

Due to her aneurysm’s irregular shape, Steinberg needed two clips, yet another than he planned. The human eye alone within this situation demonstrated better than virtual reality.

She left a healthcare facility 2 days later, to recoup together with her husband and 4 children.

Seeing Microscopic Creatures from Space

The oceans and ponds are filled with existence, and many of it’s not visible towards the human eye alone. In many physiques water, every cubic centimeter contains many microorganisms — bacteria, zooplankton in addition to single-cell plants known as phytoplankton — these important links within the natural food chain. Scientists are actually using satellites to look at and focus these small creatures. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Virtual Reality Like a Mental Health Tool

It’s a simple, but startling, statistic: 25 percent of people all over the world have a mental or nerve disorder at some stage in their lives. But coping with mental health problems is really much simpler if they’re caught early. VOA’s Kevin Enochs reports that’s the thinking behind a brand new method using virtual reality to gauge mental health.

Old Tech More and more Causing Health, Ecological Troubles

An increasing quantity of the waste on the planet has gone out-of-date electronics. And inside our devices are lots of valuable metals, and some dangerously toxic ones. Everything stuff must be handled carefully, and Indonesia is trying to make certain it does not finish in landfills. VOA’s Kevin Enochs reports.

Radio Pollution Creates Space Shield for Satellites

Individuals are big polluters, around the land, within the ocean as well as space, that may include everything from a hammer that floats from the space station, to radiation from the nuclear weapons test within the atmosphere.

“This could vary from little chips of paint completely as much as spent rocket physiques and such things as that,” stated Dan Baker, director from the Laboratory of Atmosphere and Space Physics in the College of Colorado, Boulder. “We’ve been trying to puzzle out exactly how should we most effectively eliminate this debris without causing much more of an issue.Inch

Space debris travels so quick, even an orbiting nick of paint can poke an opening inside a satellite. But Baker states something tinier, and natural, is really a bigger hazard: It’s the highly billed “killer electrons” from the magnetized zone over the earth known as The Van Allen Belts.

“We have observed these to cause very significant trouble for spacecraft,” Baker stated.

Electro-magnetic planetary blanket

The doughnut-formed Van Allen Belts around our world safeguard existence on the planet from solar winds and cosmic sun rays. However their highly energetic billed particles can harm the circuitry wide stations, weather satellites along with other machines that traverse that region of space.

Baker notes that “killer electrons” may also originate from some human activities, such as the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

“During the 1950s and mainly in the 1960s, there have been nuclear explosions that put immeasureable radiation into space that caused many satellites to ‘die’ due to radiation damage,” he stated. “And when which were to occur today, we all know there are over 1,400 satellites operating wide round the earth and every one of individuals might be susceptible to severely effects.”

Most nations stick to agreements that stop atmospheric weapon testing. But Baker states that’s no guarantee.

“What’s worrisome to all of us from the political perspective today is there are nations, for instance, North Korea yet others, which may be thinking once more, and who might not be adherent to such agreements, that this can be a fascinating method to wreck havoc on today’s technology,Inch Baker stated.

Mysterious space shield

Radiation particles within the Van Allen Belts already “mess” with today’s technology. Then when satellites must spend some time for the reason that region, they’re constructed with thicker materials. That armor means they are heavier, and much more costly. Fortunately, spacecraft and satellites that orbit just below the Van Allen Belts do not need this heavy shielding. Baker states that’s because, in the lower fringe of the Van Allen Belts, the killer electrons abruptly stop.

He compares it towards the shields that protected Captain Kirk’s ship, the Enterprise, from phasers and asteroids on Star Wars.

Scientists have noted for years that something here on earth creates a hidden bubble that clears killer electrons in the lower fringe of the Van Allen Belts. Precisely what makes that shield is a mystery.

But lately, Baker’s teams determined its source. The “bubble maker” is extremely low frequency radio transmissions, also referred to as VLF. Militaries use VLF to talk with submarines underwater. As it happens individuals radio waves also travel up, with the atmosphere, towards the Van Allen Belts.

“Therefore the VLF bubble consists of these intense waves. These waves act to kind of scatter and scrub the interior area of the Van Allen Belts,” Baker stated, acknowledging, “I’d prefer that people ‘t be messing with nature. However, during this situation I’d state that there’s some evidence this is advantageous.”

John Bonnell, a investigator in the College of California Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab, concurs that VLF “pollution” is most likely benign, and that he suggests our prime-energy radiation released by lightning bolts as evidence.

“We’ve had natural clearing from the radiation Belts with lightning, as lengthy as we’ve had lightning. So essentially, you’ve were built with a lengthy-running experiment that you can try and say, ‘Well, if we are likely to do things on kind of a sporadic basis, whereas lightning’s been doing the work daily for vast sums of years, the probability of there as being a bad side-effect is fairly minimal,'” he stated.

Bonnell states that finding a guy-made method to obvious killer electrons in the Van Allen Belt does not necessarily mean we’ll soon create “shields up” devices which use magnetics or radio transmissions. A minimum of, he states, we’re not which makes them yet.

“It is a fascinating possibility and it is an amazing technology that may enable us later on, to understand more about a lot of solar system with individuals, with robots. And thus it’s certainly something which people pick away at gradually with time,Inch he stated.

Bonnell states scientists, engineers and astronomers have partnered to create amazing breakthroughs on how to study, and traverse, space. Even though the long run form of space exploration is really a mystery, our new understanding concerning the man-made “pollution” that shields satellites might be a fundamental part of it.

Ancient Origami Art Becomes Engineers’ Dream wide

Robert Salazar continues to be having fun with origami, japan art of paper folding, since he was 8 years of age. As he sees a piece of paper, his imagination gets control and complex creatures take shape.

“Seeing the only uncut sheet, it’s all you need to create all the origami which have have you been folded. It’s all within the single sheet so there’s endless potential,” Salazar stated.

The endless potential of origami, folding just one piece of paper into a complicated sculpture, reaches completely to space.

Salazar’s 17-year knowledge about origami is appreciated at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Like a contractor and intern, Salazar helps create objects that could eventually be utilized wide exploration.

“Origami provides the possibility to have a large structure, a vast structure, and you may have it to suit inside the rocket, increase, then deploy then back out again. Therefore it greatly magnifies what we should can handle building wide,Inch Salazar stated.

Folding a sizable object right into a relatively small space isn’t a simple task.

“A large challenge in origami design generally is the fact that because many of these folds share just one resource, that is a single sheet … things are highly interdependent, if you change only one feature we have an effect on anything else,” Salazar stated.

“Our guide stars is really ensure that it stays as easy as could be,Inch stated Manan Arya, a technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Don’t add unnecessary complexity because each piece of complexity, each piece of hardware you set, that winds up being another potential reason for failure.”

Starshade

Folding an item how big a baseball gemstone in order that it could squeeze into a rocket is the aim of a NASA project known as Starshade.

Once it opens wide, Starshade allows an area telescope to higher begin to see the planets around vibrant stars.

“Seeing an exoplanet alongside its parent star is much like attempting to image a firefly alongside searching light, the searchlight to be the star,” stated Arya, who’s focusing on the Starshade project. “Starshade seeks to bar out that starlight so that you can image a very faint exoplanet right alongside it.”

Origami robot

Origami can also be utilized in designing a robotic known as the Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot, or PUFFER. It features a body that may fold itself flat and roll under small spaces. PUFFER continues to be tested on desert terrains and snowy slopes. It might eventually finish on a pursuit to another planet.

“It [PUFFER] would be to explore environments otherwise inaccessible to some robot that may not fold itself to suit inside these cracks, [to] explore cave systems, might be other planets, even by ourselves,Inch Salazar stated.

Origami antenna

Another application for space origami design would be to pack an antenna into satellites how big a briefcase, known as CubeSats.

“The larger the antenna you’ve, the greater gain your antenna has, so it’s helpful to possess a big antenna that will get packaged into this small space that unfolds out to become a large antenna. The greatest CubeSat antennas at this time have to do with half a meter,” Arya stated.

Untouched territory

There’s also largely untouched surfaces that may utilize origami concepts in designing technology.

“So frequently, origami design continues to be tailored toward materials which are already laying flat,” Salazar stated. “But there’s really a vastly, a significantly bigger field of application that the surfaces aren’t flat, so they may be parabolic. They may be spherical. They may be many mixtures of doubly curved surfaces uniting. Many of these things may also be folded.”

In the present origami-inspired technologies being developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, there’s a elegant beauty towards the folding and unfolding of designs like the Starshade, which unfurls into what appears like a sunflower. In origami, Salazar stated, art, science and engineering are just superficially different.

“Really, as it pertains lower into it, you are searching in the world,” he stated. “You are making observations. You are finding patterns during these observations. [You are] developing an awareness of a specific item, then by using their understanding to produce. So when you are creating, [it] may either be creating using the aim of solving an actual problem or it may be nonphysical. It may be aesthetic. You are looking for a particular effect on people once they visit your work. So really, the practice is identical.Inch

In origami, Salazar stated art, science and engineering are very similar. They use making observations and creating something which produces an effect.