Apollo 11 & Spinning Diagnostics | SciByte 54

Apollo 11 & Spinning Diagnostics | SciByte 54

We take a look at Medical diagnostics on a disk, navigating fish, Pluto, Lunar X Prize, spacecraft updates and as always take a peek back into history to Apollo 11 and up in the sky this week.

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Show Notes

Upcoming spinning medical diagnostic tool

Credit: SandiaLabs Channel | Credit: Randy Wong (Sandia National Laboratories)

  • The low down
  • Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a lab-on-a-disk platform that they believe will be faster, less expensive and more versatile than similar medical diagnostic tools
  • The unit can determine a patient’s white blood cell count, analyze important protein markers, and process up to 64 assays from a single sample, all in a matter of minutes.
  • Significance
  • The device uses a spinning disk, much like a CD player, to manipulate a sample. The disks contain commercially available reagents and antibodies specific to each protein marker.
  • The disks cost pennies to manufacture and results can be delivered to the physician’s computer in 15 minutes.
  • Sample take only a pin-prick sample of blood
  • Researchers envisions an approach where the physician could choose a “cardiac disk,” “immune disk” and similar options.
  • Of Note
  • Researchers recently led a National Institutes of Health grant to adapt the lab-on-a-disk platform for toxin diagnostics
  • That device could be the most accurate method available to detect the botulinum toxin
  • Laboratory mice remain the only reliable way to test for botulism, mouse bioassay is primitive, but remains the gold standard due to its sensitivity
  • SpinDx botulinum assay vastly outperformed the mouse bioassay in head-to-head tests, and requires absolutely no animal testing.
  • Although botulism is quite rare, only about 145 cases are reported in the United States each year, the lethality of the toxin brings concerns
  • Multimedia
  • SpinDx technology uses a spinning disk, much like a CD player, to manipulate samples. Image
  • YouTube | SpinDX medical diagnostic tool
  • Social Media
  • Sandia National Labs @SandiaLabs
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Faster, less expensive device gives lab test results in 15 minutes at point-of-care | Phys.org


Fish and magnetic fields

  • The low down
  • Previous research has shown that many species of fish, as well as migratory birds, have the ability to detect differences in magnetic field
  • A Rainbow trout can swim straight back to its original hatching ground, following freshwater streams inland even after spending 3 years at sea and traveling up to 186 mi [300 km] away
  • They likely rely partially on their excellent eyesight and smell, they also seem to rely on Earth’s magnetic fields
  • Significance
  • Now for the first time scientists have isolated magnetic cells in the fish that respond to these magnetic fields
  • This study may even help researchers get to the root of magnetic sensing in a variety of creatures, including birds.
  • In addition the magnetism in each cell was tens to hundreds of times stronger than researchers had hypothesized
  • The fish may be able to detect small differences in magnetic field strength that can give them more detailed information about their precise latitude and longitude
  • Of Note
  • When analyzed between one and four cells rotated in turn with the rotating magnetic field
  • The team has now transferred the rotating cells to individual glass slides to study them further under the microscope.
  • Multimedia
  • Magnetite cells (white) found in the noses of rainbow trout, clustered near the cell’s membrane and not near the cell’s nucleus (blue). Image Credit: H. Cadiou
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • A Big Magnet in a Small Fish | ScienceMag.org


Plutonian system grows

  • The low down
  • On July 11, almost almost exactly one year after Hubble spotted Pluto’s fourth moon, it discovered a fifth moon orbiting Pluto half as bright as the last moon discovered
  • Image sets were taken on 5 separate occasions in June and July
  • The Plutonian System
  • Pluto – 1433 mi [2,306 km] across : discovered in 1930 : orbiting 39 times farther than Earth
  • Charon – 648 mi [1,043 km] across : discovered in 1978
  • Nix – 20–70 mi [32–113 km] across : discovered in 2005
  • Hydra – 20–70 mi [32–113 km] across : discovered in 2005
  • P4 – 8–21 mi [13–34 km] across : discovered in 2011
  • P5 – 6–15 mi [10–24 km] across : discovered in 2012
  • Of Note
  • The New Horizons missions team is working closely with Hubble to try to find the safest route through the system
  • Multimedia
  • Image: Pluto’s fourth moon, temporarily dubbed P4 Credit: NASA/ESA/M.Showalter
  • Image : Newly discovered moon, designated P5, as photographed by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on July 7. Credit: NASA/ESA/M. Showalter
  • Social Media
  • NewHorizons2015 @NewHorizons2015
  • Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) twitter anouncement ‏@AlanStern
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Fifth Moon Found Around Pluto | UniverseToday
  • Pluto Has a Fifth Moon, Hubble Telescope Reveals | Space.com
  • Hubble Space Telescope detects fifth moon of Pluto (Update) | Phys.org

Lunar X Prize

  • The low down
  • The Google Lunar X Prize, is a $30 million international challenge to land a robot on the lunar surface, have it travel at least 1,650 feet (500 meters) and send data and images back to Earth.
  • First prize will receive the $20 million grand prize
  • An additional $10 million is set aside for second place and various special accomplishments, such as detecting water, bringing the prizes total purse to $30 million.
  • Significance
  • The engineering director for the Google Books project, Jimi Crawford, has now signed on with Moon Express
  • He will serve as chief technology officer and software architect for a company competing in the Google Lunar X Prize, private race to the moon.
  • Of Note
  • The competition will end whenever all prizes are claimed or the end of 2015, whichever comes first
  • Multimedia
  • How Moon Express envisions its lunar lander can be used on future missions. Image CREDIT: Moon Express
  • YouTube Moon 2.0: Join the Revolution – HD High Definition | GoogleLunarXPRIZE
  • YouTube Channel Google Lunar X PRIZE
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Google Lunar X Prize
  • Ex-Google VIP Joins Private Moon Race Team | Space.com


Expedition 32

Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov | YouTube channel : NASATelevision

  • The low down
  • On July 14, three veteran space travelers from three different countries went to the International Space Station as part of the space station’s Expedition 32
  • Significance
  • NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency spaceflyer Akihiko Hoshide are due to stay for about four months.
  • They will be joining space station: commander Gennady Padalka of Russia, his cosmonaut colleague Sergei Revin, and NASA astronaut Joe Acaba, who have all been in space since May.
  • Of Note
  • Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, is a colonel in the Russian Air Force and will command the Soyuz spacecraft for Russia’s Federal Space Agency. He is making his third trip, his first long-duration spaceflight was aboard Russia’s Mir space station.
  • NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, is a U.S. Navy captain making her second long-duration spaceflight. She also currently holds the world record for most spacewalks by a woman (four) and the most time in space by a female astronaut (195 days)
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide is making his second spaceflight. His first mission involved the delivery of Japan’s huge Kibo laboratory module to the International Space Station.
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube Warm Greetings for New ISS Residents | NASAtelevision
  • Photos: Space Station’s Expedition 32 Mission | Space.com
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Veteran Space Station Crew to Launch Into Orbit Tonight | Space.com

The next chapter in the Dragon spacecraft


Looking back

  • July 21, 1969 | 43 years ago | That’s one small step … | In 1969, Apollo XI astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin blasted off from the moon after 21 1/2 hours on the surface and returned to the command module piloted by Michael Collins. The Lunar module was comprised of two stages. The descent stage had the landing gear, and was used as a launch pad for the ascent stage. The ascent stage was mainly the cabin, and had a fixed thrust engine (15,500-Newton-thrust) to propel it to 2000 m/s in Lunar orbit for docking. The lunar module’s lower section, left behind, has a plaque mounted upon it, reading, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
  • YouTube “One small step for man, …”
  • TimeLine
  • Launched from Earth | July 16, 1969 [9:32am EST / 13:32:00 UTC]
  • Landing on the Moon | July 20, 1969 [ 4:17pm EST/ 20:17:40 UTC]
  • First Step on the Moon | July 20, 1969 [ 10:56pm EST / 02:56 UTC]
  • EVA Time | 2 h 36 m 40 s
  • Total time on Surface | 21 h 36 m 21 s
  • Launched from Moon | July 21 [ 13:54 pm EST / 17:54 UTC]
  • Landing on Earth | July 24, 1969, [ 12:50 pm EST / 16:50:35 UTC]
  • Left on the Moon
  • Patch from Apollo 1 [Virgil “Gus” Ivan Grissom, Edward Higgins White, Roger Bruce Chaffee]
  • Medals commemorating pioneering Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin, who had died in flight
  • Goodwill messages from 73 world leaders
  • A small gold pin shaped like an olive branch, a symbol of peace.
  • Further Reading and Resources
  • Nixon Greets Astronauts in Quarantine
  • Interactive of Dec 1969 Vinyl supplement of National Geographic magazine
  • Apollo 11 Image Gallery | history.nasa.gov
  • Apollo 11 | nasa.gov
  • The Moon Is Toxic | UniverseToday.com

Looking up this week

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