The Last Manned Mission to the Moon

On this day in 1972 Apollo 17, the last of the Apollo missions, was launched. The crew spent three days on the lunar surface and collected scientific data from the surface as well as from orbit. One of the experiments of the mission involved five pocket mice that were brought along to test whether they would suffer any damage from cosmic rays.
The crew gave the mice the unofficial names “Fe”, “Fi”, “Fo”, “Fum” and “Phooey”.
This was the last time that humans visited the moon or traveled beyond low earth orbit.

Apollo 17 astronaut

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Anniversary of the First Return of Live Animals from Orbit!

On this day in 1960 the Soviet Korabl-Sputnik 2 spacecraft became the first to take animals into orbit and bring them back alive. On board were two stray dogs, Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, and two rats.

Sputnik 5 Dogs

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New John Oliver Video on Science!

“Science is by its nature imperfect, but it is hugely important and it deserves better than to be twisted out of proportion and turned into morning show gossip.” A hilarious but informative new talk by John Oliver on how science is misrepresented and sensationalized. Check it out –> https://youtu.be/0Rnq1NpHdmw

john oliver science

Science News – January 30th, 2016

Science News! Let’s take a look at some of the important developments in science this week…

First, scientists have discovered that Antarctic fungi can survive conditions similar to those on Mars. Fungi gathered from Antarctic rocks were taken aboard the International Space Station and after 18 months of being exposed to atmospheric conditions, pressure, and UV radiation similar to that of Mars, more than 60% of the fungal cells had survived with high DNA stability. Read more from Phys.org here.

Second, scientists have found a planet that is orbiting 600 Billion miles from its host star, 175 times farther than Pluto is from our sun. This makes the solar system in which the planet orbits the largest yet found. The planet is a gas giant, about 12 to 15 times the size of Jupiter, and was previously thought to be a rogue planet orbiting freely through space. Read more from Scientific American here.

Third, scientists have experimented with mice and found that a mouse can be male without having a Y chromosome. By manipulating genes on the X chromosome and another chromosome the scientists were able to create mice without a Y chromosome that produced immature sperm. When this immature sperm was artificially placed into a female mouse, offspring were successfully produced. This seems to show that the Y chromosome is not an absolutely necessary aspect of maleness. Read more from Science News.org here.

Those are just a few of the exciting things going on in the world of science this week. Have you heard about any other interesting science news lately? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Science News – January 2nd, 2016

Science News! Let’s take a look at some of the important developments in science this week…

First, researchers at Princeton University have produced 3D footage of the brain activity of a nematode. This is the first time that such a detailed view of brain wide neural activity with single neuron resolution in a free moving animal has been captured, and could help in understanding how neurons coordinate motion and behavior. Read more from Princeton here.

Second, scientists have found that they can change the social behavior of ants using epigenetic drugs. By changing gene expression, but not the DNA sequence itself, the researchers were able to alter the behavior of individual ants that would usually act in accordance to the ant caste to which they belonged. Read more from Phys.org here.

Third, researchers have successfully used gene editing to treat mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A system was used that deleted DNA preventing cells from producing a protein that is essential for muscle function, and a virus was used to deliver the alteration into the cells of the mice. Read more from the BBC here.

Those are just a few of the exciting things going on in the world of science this week. Have you heard about any other interesting science news lately? Leave a comment and let us know!

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