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Space

+ - Asteroid Apophis Just Got Supersized->

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "As the potentially hazardous asteroid makes closest approach to Earth today, astronomers using the European Herschel Space Observatory have announced something a little unsettling: asteroid 99942 Apophis is actually bigger than we thought. Herschel astronomers have deduced that Apophis is 1,066 feet (325 meters) wide. That's 20 percent larger than the previous estimate of 885 feet (270 meters). "The 20 percent increase in diameter, from 270 to 325 m, translates into a 75 percent increase in our estimates of the asteroid's volume or mass," said Thomas Müller of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, and lead scientist of the study. In addition, the space telescope has re-analyzed the albedo of the space rock, providing a valuable heat map of the object's surface — data that will improve orbital trajectory models."
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Medicine

+ - Public Health Nightmare as First Cases of 'Incurable Gonorrhea' Emerge 5

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Jason Koebler reports that the fears of major health organizations have come true with the detection of Gonorrhea that is immune to the last remaining effective oral antibiotic in at least nine North American patients, meaning the era of "incurable" gonorrhea could be close. Scientists have found that 6.7 percent of patients with gonorrhea at a Toronto clinic still had the disease after a round of cephalosporins, the last effective oral antibiotic used to treat the disease. This is the first time cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea has been found in humans in North America. "These are the clinical cases we've been waiting for," says Vanessa Allen of Public Health Ontario. "This is the translation of the lab information into what the clinical consequence is." Gonorrhea is estimated to infect close to 700,000 Americans each year with symptoms including painful urination, abdominal pain, genital discharge, itching, and infertility in women. Less than a year ago, Gail Bolan, director of the CDC's sexually transmitted disease prevention program, wrote that the "threat of untreatable gonorrhea is emerging rapidly." At the time, just 1.7 percent of gonorrhea isolated in the lab were considered resistant to cephalosporins. Allen says her study shows just how fast antibiotic resistance is evolving in the organisms. "Our results aren't generalizable to the overall population because they all came from one clinic," concludes Allen. "But basically, the problem appears worse than we originally thought.""

+ - Boeing Dreamliner catches fire in Boston->

Submitted by 19061969
19061969 (939279) writes "The BBC reports that a Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire in Boston. Carter Leake, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets in Virginia, said, "I don't want to be an alarmist, but onboard fires on airplanes are as bad as it gets." This represents bad news for Boeing especially after the FAA identified errors in the assembly of fuel line couplings in the Dreamliner."
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Mars

+ - Curiosity Scrubs a Mars Rock Clean->

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "NASA's newest rover on Mars has recently used its Dust Removal Tool for the first time, clearing away a patch of rust-colored dust coating its latest target: a slab of rock called "Ekwir_1." The Dust Removal Tool, or DRT (yes, the rover's cleaning instrument is called "dirt") is a motorized brush with stainless steel wire bristles located on Curiosity's multipurpose Robotic Arm turret — a veritable Swiss Army knife of planetary exploration tools."
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