NASA probes set to smash into Moon
NASA probes set to smash into Moon
“We’re not expecting a big smash, a big explosion,” said project manager David Lehman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Their fuel tank will be empty and they are the size of a washing machine.”
The probes dubbed Ebb and Flow are set to end their controlled descent on a mountain near the Moon’s north pole at about 22:28 GMT.
They will hit the surface at a whopping 3,760 miles per hour (1.7 kilometers per second).
Unfortunately, NASA will not be able to gather pictures of the impact because the region will be in shadow at the time of impact.
The probes are being destroyed after running too low on fuel and sinking too low in orbit to conduct any more missions.
The probes managed to generate the highest resolution gravity map ever gathered from a celestial body. That will help provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved, NASA said.
“I couldn’t have imagined even in my dreams that the mission would be so successful,” said principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“It is going to be difficult to say goodbye.”
The probes have been flying in formation around the moon since January 1 starting with an average altitude of 34 miles (55 kilometers) above the surface, and then sinking to around 14 miles (23 kilometers) for a closer look.
At some points they were flying just a few miles above the moon’s tallest mountains.
“Our lunar twins may be in the twilight of their operational lives, but one thing is for sure. They are going down swinging,” Lehman added.
“Even during the last half of their last orbit, we are going to do an engineering experiment that could help future missions operate more efficiently.”
Ebb and Flow will fire their main engines until the tanks are empty, which will allow NASA to determine precisely how much fuel is left. That will help them improve predictions of fuel needs for future missions.
Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer
- Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
- The research starts in April and will run until September
TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.