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NASA Needs Private Partnerships For Future Exploration – On Science

November 14, 2013

The future of space exploration is sponsored in part by whom?

Is the ISS really contaminated?

Should Americans be playing it safer with their hearts?

And an epic look at the Mars of the past…today On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

This space exploration mission has been brought you via Luna Nutrition Bars offering all the nutrition of a balanced meal. Sounds cheesy I know but it may be the wave of the future. NASA may be taking on new and unusual sponsorships to fund the future. Bigelow Aerospace warns that without private backing, NASA will lose its trailblazer status within the next 10 years because the agency simply doesn’t have the resources. But what would potential investors want in return? What all financial investors want—property rights. Bigelow said that without property rights, any plan to engage the private sector will fail. But for now, no one’s staking claim on the moon. NASA will most likely be limited solely to its partnerships with companies like SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. How much would $5 get me, NASA?

The ISS is not infected. I repeat. The ISS is not infected! False reports said this week that the International Space Station is infected with the Stuxnet Virus. The virus was created by American and Israeli programmers to attack Iranian nuclear reactors to sabotage the country’s uranium program. This Trojan horse virus is manually uploaded via USB drives and spreads through Microsoft Windows networks. The release of it on Iran was sort of a start a “cyber war” between nations. But one expert warned that, while Stuxnet-free at the moment, the ISS isn’t fully immune to the deadly computer virus. Believe or not astronauts do sometimes bring their own USB’s which can carry cyber disease aboard the ISS. So astronauts make sure you are protected and practicing safe USB-ing.

And new reports warn that Americans should be playing it safer with their cholesterol! According to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, about 33 million more Americans should be prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs than currently are. The new guidelines recommend that those people who have a 7.5% higher risk for heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years would benefit from taking statins, a group of 7 cholesterol-lowering drugs. Previous guidelines only called for statin prescription if the risk level was above 20% and only covered heart disease. In addition to statins, they also recommended the usual: eating fewer calories, exercising more, and changing unhealthy habits.

What now is red and dry may have once been lush and green with sparkling water as depicted in this epic video from NASA of what Mars may have looked like 4 billion years ago. Scientists working on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission or MAVEN, hope to find out if the planet really ever looked like that. It’s hard to imagine Mars as such, but evidence found by recent orbiters hint at Mars’ potential lush past with water, wind, and rain. If the atmosphere had been much thinker millions of years ago, it could have been such a place similar to Earth. I have to say the music in that video is pretty epic.

But long lost lakes on Mars’ aren’t NASA’s only watery focus. NASA and NOAA have developed a new space-based technique for monitoring the ice cover of the Great Lakes. This novel new method is amazingly accurate and can identify a narrow channel of open water cut through the ice by an icebreaker even at night via satellites 500 miles out in space. It’s important to understand these ice and water patterns as the Great Lakes are vital to the U.S. and Canadian economies for shipping, fishing, and public safety. In the past, identification techniques had gotten it wrong sometimes—identifying ice as water or the other way around. But the new method corrects for that problem and it also tells more about the ice than before like if it’s dense or full of bubbles. That’s pretty chill NASA and NOAA!

And that’s all for today’s On Science!