Medical Tech & Martian Crater | SciByte 119

Medical Tech & Martian Crater | SciByte 119

We take a look at treating a gunshot wound in 15 sec, fatigue and light, a new Martian crater, the Olympic torch, Curiosity news, and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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Show Notes:

Sealing a Gunshot Wound in 15 sec

  • When a soldier is shot on the battlefield a medic must pack gauze directly into the wound cavity
  • A startup called RevMedx, a small group of veterans, scientists, and engineers are working on a better way to stop bleeding
  • XStat
  • XStat is a modified syringe that injects specially coated sponges into wound faster and more efficiently than gauze.
  • Early efforts were inspired by Fix-a-Flat foam for repairing tires
  • After seeing early prototypes, the U.S. Army gave the team $5 million to develop a finished product
  • The final material would need to be sterile, biocompatible, and fast-expanding
  • The team settled on a sponge made from wood pulp and coated with chitosan, a blood-clotting, antimicrobial substance that comes from shrimp shells
  • In just 15 seconds, they expand to fill the entire wound cavity, creating enough pressure to stop heavy bleeding
  • A tricky part was getting the sponges into a wound, they needed a lightweight, compact way to get the sponges deep into an injury
  • To ensure that no sponges would be left inside the body accidentally, they added X-shaped markers that make each sponge visible on an x-ray image.
  • Applicator
  • A 30 mm-diameter, [1.2 in] polycarbonate syringe that stores with the handle inside to save space
  • To use the applicator, a medic pulls out the handle, inserts the cylinder into the wound, and then pushes the plunger back down to inject the sponges as close to the artery as possible.
  • Three single-use XStat applicators would replace five bulky rolls of gauze in a medic’s kit
  • RevMedx also designed a smaller version of the applicator, with a diameter of 12 mm, for narrower injuries
  • Each XStat will likely cost about $100, Steinbaugh says, but the price may go down as RevMedx boosts manufacturing
  • The Future
  • When RevMedx submitted its application to the FDA, the U.S. Army attached a cover letter requesting expedited approval
  • In the future, RevMedx hopes to create biodegradable sponges that don’t have to be removed from the body
  • They are also working on an applicator that could cover large by using expanding gauze made of the same material as XStat sponges
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • How A Simple New Invention Seals A Gunshot Wound In 15 Seconds | Popular Science


Blue Light

  • According to researchers they\’ve found that exposure to short wavelength, or blue light, during the day can improve alertness and overall performance.
  • Previous research has shown that blue light is able to improve alertness during the night, but new data demonstrates that these effects also extend to daytime
  • The Study
  • Researchers measured wavelengths of light that were most effective in warding off fatigue via the development of specialized light equipment
  • They compared the effects of blue light exposure to an equal amount of green light on alertness and performance in 16 study participants for 6.5 hours over a day.
  • Participants were rated based on how they felt through reaction times that measured electrodes to assess changes going on in the brain due to light exposure.
  • Results
  • Results showed that participants exposed to blue light consistently rated themselves as less sleepy with quicker reaction times and fewer attention relapses.
  • They also showed changes in brain activity patterns that indicated a more alert state.
  • The Future
  • This opens up a new range of possibilities for using light to improve human alertness, productivity and safety by
    helping to improve alertness in day shift workers in addition to night workers
  • A better quality lighting that would not only help them see better but also make them more alert
  • The next big challenge is to determine how to deliver better lighting in many places such as schools, homes and workplaces that could provide a more productive and alert atmosphere.
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Could Blue Light Help Fight Fatigue? Study |


New Mars Crater

  • Researchers used HiRISE to examine a site after the orbiter\’s Context Camera had revealed a change in appearance here between observations in July 2010 and May 2012
  • Before-and-after imaging that brackets appearance dates of fresh craters on Mars has indicated that impacts producing craters at least 12.8 feet (3.9 meters) in diameter occur at a rate exceeding 200 per year globally
  • The impact crater dominates the image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA\’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013.
  • It shows a 30-meter-wide crater with a rayed blast zone and far-flung surrounding secondary material and debris as far as 15 kilometers [9.3 miles] in distance.
  • In examining ejecta distribution, scientists can learn more about the impact event
  • Also Seen By
  • Michael Thalleen ‏@ThalleenM
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Space Images: A Spectacular New Martian Impact Crater – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory |
  • Brand New Impact Crater Shows Up on Mars |

— Updates —

Olympic Torch

  • Last Time On SciByte …
  • SciByte 109 | ‘Earth-Like’ Planets & Sharks | November 12, 2013
  • Olympic Torch in Space
  • Ever since the first relay for the 1936 summer Olympic games in Berlin, Olympic torches have traditionally been used to carry a burning flame from Greece to the host country’s stadium
  • On Nov. 6, 2013 (Nov. 7 UT) a Soyuz TMA-11M rocket launched with the Expedition 38/39 crew on the ISS and an Olympic torch
  • The Olympic Torch was taken on a space walk for the first time on Nov 9, 2013 handed off from one cosmonaut to the other in a symbolic relay in orbit [the torch was not lit during its time aboard the ISS or, obviously, while in space]
  • The real reason for the spacewalk is to do some routine Russian maintenance outside the station
  • The ISS travels around the Earth 16 times each day, and the torch spent nearly four days in space [~64 orbits]
  • That particular torch
  • The torch was given back to Olympic officials and was the one used to light the 2014 Olympic cauldron during the Opening Ceremony in Sochi on Feb. 7.
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube | Raw: Spacewalkers Hand Off Olympic Torch | AssociatedPress
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • The Olympic Torch That Went Around the World… Literally |


  • Traversing Sand Dunes
  • Image of Wheel
  • Up close view of hole in one of rover Curiosity\’s six wheels caused by recent driving over rough Martian rocks.
  • Mosaic assembled from Mastcam raw images taken on Dec. 22, 2013 (Sol 490).
  • Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/Ken Kremer – Di Lorenzo
  • Sand Dune
  • Curiosity reached the eastern side of a dune on Jan. 30 and returned images that the rover team is using to guide decisions about upcoming drives
  • Before giving the go ahead to move forward, engineers took a few days to carefully assess the dune’s integrity and physical characteristics
  • Curiosity was able to pass over the dune in Dingo Gap without difficulty
  • The rovers science instruments and cameras to insure there wasn’t the potential to get irretrievably stuck in a deep sand trap.
  • The team even commanded Curiosity to carry out a toe dip by gently rolling the 20 inch (50 cm) diameter wheels back and forth over the crest on Tuesday, Feb. 4 to insure it was safe to mount
  • Previous Images of Earth
  • NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit imaged Earth from the surface in March 2004, soon after landing
  • Mars Global Surveyor in 2003 and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2007
  • NASA’s Cassini orbiter at Saturn captured the Earth and Moon in 2013
  • Earth Images
  • New images from NASA\’s Curiosity Mars rover show Earth shining brighter than any star in the Martian night sky and it even includes our moon, just below Earth
  • The images, taken on Jan. 31, 2014 about 80 minutes after sunset, used both of her high resolution color mast mounted cameras to collect the series of Earth/Moon images
  • The distance between Earth and Mars when Curiosity took the photo was about 99 million miles (160 million kilometers).
  • “A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright “evening stars,” said NASA
  • Multimedia
  • Image Galleries at JPL and Curiosity Mulimedia
  • Social Media
  • Curiosity Rover @MarsCuriosity
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Curiosity Crosses Dingo Gap Dune – Gateway to Valley and Mountain Destinations Beyond |
  • Mars Science Laboratory: NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Sees \’Evening Star\’ Earth |
  • Mars Science Laboratory: NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Sees \’Evening Star\’ Earth |


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