Woman's Low Birth Weight May Lead to Fertility Woes Later
Girls born with a low birth weight may be at increased risk for fertility problems as adults, a new study from Sweden suggests. Researchers looked at women who were seeking fertility treatment— whether it was because they were infertile or their partner was — and found women who were infertile themselves were about twice as likely to have been born with a low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds) compared with those who were seeking fertility treatment because their husband/partner was infertile, or because the couple's infertility was unexplained. An earlier study found that women who weighed less than 3.3 pounds at birth were less likely to give birth in their mid-20s than those with a higher birth weight, but that study did not look at whether the women had been diagnosed with fertility problems. The new study analyzed information from more than 1,200 heterosexual women (most in their 20s and 30s) who sought fertility treatment along with their partners between 2005 and 2010.
SpaceX's 3rd Space Station Resupply Flight Gets 3-Sided Mission Patch
Preparations are now underway for the launch of Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) third cargo flight to the International Space Station — including the release of the mission's official patch. During SpaceX's Commercial Resupply Services 3 (CRS-3 or SpX-3) mission, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company's Dragon capsule will carry almost 5,000 pounds (2,300 kilograms) of supplies to the space station and return home to Earth with more than 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg) of science results and spent equipment. The third of 12 cargo missions contracted by NASA, the CRS-3 Dragon is scheduled to lift off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40 in Florida on Sunday (March 16) at 4:41 a.m. EDT (0841 GMT). The flight will mark the fourth trip by an uncrewed Dragon capsule to the orbital outpost, including SpaceX's first demo flight in 2012.
Elephants can gauge threat from human voices, study finds
Researchers from the University of Sussex and the Amboseli Trust for Elephants played recordings of human voices to wild elephants in Kenya and watched how they reacted. "Our results demonstrate that elephants can reliably discriminate between two different ethnic groups that differ in the level of threat they represent," the authors said in an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers said the findings provided the first proof elephants can distinguish between human voices, and suggested that other animals seeking to avoid hunters may also have developed this skill.
Doing the Math on Polar Sea Ice Melt
"We're using pretty sophisticated mathematics to better understand the role of sea ice in the climate system, and, ultimately, to improve our projections of climate change," Golden said in a talk Wednesday (March 6) at the Museum of Math in New York City. In high school and college, he studied the physics of sea ice, but his main interest was mathematics. "I loved sea ice, but I had no intention of building my career around it," Golden told Live Science. Later, he realized that sea ice could be modeled using the same math as composite materials, whose components contain different physical or chemical properties.
Project 'Red Dragon': Mars Sample-Return Mission Could Launch in 2022 with SpaceX Capsule
Scientists have blueprinted a low-cost Mars sample-return mission that would use a souped-up Dragon capsule from the private spacefligth company SpaceX and the firm's planned Falcon Heavy rocket to get to the Red Planet by the early 2020s. The new study demonstrates the viability of the entry, descent and landing of the unmanned Dragon space capsule at Mars. Moreover, the spacecraft's descent technique would help set the stage for future human missions to the Red Planet, researchers said. Most scientists regard a sample-return trip as a "Holy Grail" mission — the best way to look for signs of past or present life on the Red Planet.
President Obama Hopes 'Cosmos' TV Reboot Inspires Next Generation of Scientists (Video)
Even the president of the United States is into the new "Cosmos." President Barack Obama introduced the new TV series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" last night (March 9) during the FOX premiere of the new show, a reboot of Carl Sagan's original "Cosmos" series. "America has always been a nation of fearless explorers who dream bigger and reach farther than others imagine," Obama said during his introduction. "That's the spirit of discovery that Carl Sagan captured in the original 'Cosmos.' Today, we're doing everything we can to bring that same sense of possibility to a new generation because there are new frontiers to explore and we need Americans eager to explore them.
FEMA's New NYC Flood Maps Will Soon Be Out-of-Date (Op-Ed)
FEMA maps guide people out of harm's way, helping homeowners make informed choices about where they live; But FEMA's flood maps have never accounted for the future impacts of climate change on flood risk. Hurricane Sandy served as a wake-up call for New York and New Jersey — and the nation — to become better prepared for flooding and the other impacts of climate change. Given that it can take two decades or longer for FEMA to update flood maps for an area, it's important that those maps start providing a more realistic look at both present and future risk.
Weather delays return from space of Russian torchbearers, U.S. astronaut
An American astronaut and two Russians who carried a Sochi Olympic torch into open space will have to stay in orbit one day longer than planned because of bad weather on the steppes of Kazakhstan, officials said on Monday. Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky had been scheduled to leave the International Space Station (ISS) along with NASA's Mike Hopkins early on Tuesday and touch down in Kazakhstan at 0924 local time (2324 EDT Monday). Heavy fog and low visibility prevented airborne rescue and recovery teams from getting close to the remote landing site on the windswept flatlands near the Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan on Monday, a Russian space industry source said. Kotov and Ryazansky took an unlit Olympic torch on a spacewalk in November and posed with it outside the ISS.
Scientist urges withdrawal of his own 'breakthrough' stem cell research
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Kate Kelland TOKYO/LONDON (Reuters) - A Japanese scientist called on Monday for his own headline-grabbing study on stem cells to be withdrawn from publication, saying its findings had now been thrown into too much doubt. The research - hailed when it came out in January as a breakthrough that could herald a new era of medical biology - was covered widely in Japan and across the world after it was published in the highly reputable science journal Nature. ...
Zap! Australian scientists look at lasers to cull space junk
By Pauline Askin SYDNEY (Reuters) - It may sound like science fiction but an Australian team is working on a project to zap orbital debris with lasers from Earth to reduce the growing amount of space junk that threatens to knock out satellites with a "cascade of collisions". The project is very realistic and likely to be working in the next 10 years, Matthew Colless, director of Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, told Reuters. "It's important that it's possible on that scale because there's so much space junk up there," he said. Australia now has a contract with NASA, the U.S. space agency, to track and map space junk with a telescope equipped with an infra-red laser at Mount Stromlo Observatory.