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NASA Is Set to Announce a Breaking Discovery From Beyond Our Solar System – Futurism

Posted: February 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

An Exo-Conference

NASA has served as a symbol of wonder and scientific enthusiasm. From landing on the moon to the exploration of our solar system, it has been the organizations ultimate goal to make the unknown, known. As of this moment, one of the most pressing unknowns is the existence of extraterrestrial life. Avoiding discussion without a fact base, NASA has already launched several evidence-based researchprojects on the matter. From establishing a martian colonyto diving into the seas of EuropaNASA is at work trying to find answers.

NASA will be holding a press conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, February 22nd to present new findings on exoplanets, which are planets that orbit stars other than our sun.

Participants of the briefing include Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Michael Gillon, astronomer at the University of Liege in Belgium, Sean Carey, manager of NASAs Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC,Nikole Lewis, astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, and Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During the conference, NASA will be taking questions from the public and the media on twitter through the hashtag#askNASA. At 3 p.m. EST, following the briefing, NASA will host a Reddit AMA(Ask Me Anything) session with the scientists available to answer questions in English and Spanish.

The event can be streamed live on NASA TVat the time of the conference.

The first exoplanet around a main-sequence star to be discovered was in October of 1995, and ever since, we have discovered 4,696 candidates, 3,449 confirmed exoplanets, and of these exoplanets, 348 have been terrestrial. Thanks to advanced technology, we continue to unravel more and more mysteries of the universe, and exoplanets are no exception.

Below you can find a commercially sponsored trailer for exoplanets created by NASA:

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NASA Is Set to Announce a Breaking Discovery From Beyond Our Solar System – Futurism

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Bill Gates Warns New Bioterrorism Threat Could Wipe out Over 30 Million People – Futurism

Posted: February 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Global Health Security

Whenbillionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference for the first time Saturday, he argued a very alarming possibility: the future of international security will be fought on the biological front. Specifically, Gates warned about the dangers of a bioterrorist attack that could wipe out 30 million people in less than a year and how were not prepared for it.

We ignore the link between health security and international security at our peril, warned Gates, who has been spending the better part of 20 years funding global health campaigns. He went on to share some alarming statistics:Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year. And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10-15 years.

What makes Gates warning even more alarming is that fact that bioterrorism can now be done from behind a computer. Its also true that the next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus . . . or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu, said Gates.

Gates warnings arent at all farfetched. According to The Guardian, US and UK intelligence agencies have said that Islamic State has been trying to develop biological weapons at its bases in Syria and Iraq.

In order to fight such a threat, Gates recommended using the very same technology that allows for the development of deadly pathogens: genetic engineering. First and most importantly, we have to build an arsenal of new weaponsvaccines, drugs, and diagnostics, he said.

Gates went on to explain in further detail what he thinks needs to be done:

Vaccines can be especially important in containing epidemics. But today, it typically takes up to 10 years to develop and license a new vaccine. To significantly curb deaths from a fast-moving airborne pathogen, we would have to get that down considerablyto 90 days or less. [] The really big breakthrough potential is in emerging technology platforms that leverage recent advances in genomics to dramatically reduce the time needed to develop vaccines.

Of course, these efforts have to be supported by a public health systems that can easily detect the emergence of a deadly pathogen. Because epidemics can quickly take root in the places least equipped to fight them, we also need to improve surveillance, Gates said. That starts with strengthening basic public health systems in the most vulnerable countries. We also have to ensure that every country is conducting routine surveillance to gather and verify disease outbreak intelligence.

Right now, there is still time for us to get ready to fight a bioterrorism pandemic or even avoid one altogether. The key is in how we prepare. As Gates told the conference, Getting ready for a global pandemic is every bit as important as nuclear deterrence and avoiding a climate catastrophe. Innovation, cooperation and careful planning can dramatically mitigate the risks presented by each of these threats.

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Bill Gates Warns New Bioterrorism Threat Could Wipe out Over 30 Million People – Futurism

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Watch This Amazing Drone Footage of Falcon 9 Landing – Futurism

Posted: February 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

In Brief

Evidently, SpaceX is getting a lot better at landing its reusable rockets. The Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket that was used to safely transport satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit, and we are now able to see the Falcon 9s third successful landing on solid ground from a drones unique vantage point.

This was SpaceXs first commercial rocket launch from NASAs Kennedy Space Center. The rocket was sent to deliver a payload into space. To capture the moment, a camera-equipped drone was sent to film the Falcon 9s downward journey through the clouds to touch safely down on SpaceXs Landing Zone 1.

The other landings on this same landing zone took place back in December of 2015 and July of 2016. SpaceX was also able to successfully land Falcon 9 on the companys first spaceport drone ship Just Read the Instructions.

Successfully reusing boosters is a critical part of bringing down the cost of these launches because they wont have to build a completely new rocket for every mission. According to SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, achieving this level of reusability can bring down launches by as much as 30 percent. This could, over time, allow for more frequent launches and faster progress.

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Watch This Amazing Drone Footage of Falcon 9 Landing – Futurism

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Elon Musk Has a New Timeline for Humans Living on Mars – Futurism

Posted: February 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Reaching the Red Planet

Do we really need to explore Mars? According to tech innovatorElon Musk, its not just a choice we have to make, its a necessity. We will stay on Earth forever, and eventually there will be an extinction eventand the alternative is to become a spacefaring and multiplanetary speciesThats what we want.

But when exactly are we getting there? Originally, SpaceXs first foray to Mars, via a lander called Red Dragon, was expected to happen by 2022which was considered a fairly feasible timeline. However, bolstered by numerous successful launches and Musks powerful vision, SpaceX moved their target date up to 2018. Now, a new announcement from SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell confirms that they are changing the timeline yet again. A mission, named Red Dragon, to Mars is now set to launch in 2020 so that SpaceX can focus on other equally ambitious projects like their commercial crew program and Falcon Heavyprograms.

We were focused on 2018, but we felt like we needed to put more resources and focus more heavily on our crew program and our Falcon Heavy program. So were looking more for the 2020 timeframe for that, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said at a recent pre-launch conference.

Earlier this year, Musk stated that SpaceXs manned missions to Mars could begin as soon as 2022, which is a full three years sooner than his previous estimateof 2025. However, given this latest development, it seems that humans will have to wait a little bit longer to walk on the Red Planet.

However, if Musks previous accomplishments are any indication, it will only be a little bit longer.

Missions to Mars would ideally belaunched every 26 months when the planet is aligned with Earth. The 2020 planned lander will be critical for future possible manned missions as it will test technology required to land heavy equipment on the Martian surfacea task that, given Mars unfamiliar terrain and thin atmosphere, could be difficult to execute. Heavy payloads entering Mars wont have the planets atmosphere to cushion their landing and so there is the risk of very abrupt and hard landings.

What sets Red Dragon apart from other Mars landers is its use of a supersonic retro-propulsionwhich means it will use rockets embedded in the hull to allow for larger spacecraft to land safely. Should the technique prove to be successful, this lander will be the biggest vehicle to land on the planet thus far.

Moving the launch to 2020 also means that SpaceX will be able to join several other Mars-bound expeditions stemming from government agencies and private outfits. NASA is expected to launch its next Mars rover within the same year. The ExoMars mission, a joint initiative from the Roscosmos and European Space Agency (ESA) who originally planned its second phase to take place in 2018, has also been moved to the end of the decade. Theres also talk of the United Arab Emirates sending an orbiter to the red planet by then, along with China who has expressed its intent to reach Mars by 2020.

If all these missions make their targets, it will indeed be a busy 2020 for the red planet.

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Elon Musk Has a New Timeline for Humans Living on Mars – Futurism

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50 Years Frozen: Cryonics Today – Paste Magazine

Posted: February 21, 2017 at 7:50 pm

On January 12, 1967, psychology professor James Bedford died due to cancer-related natural causes. Within hours, a team of scientists filled his veins with antifreeze. They packed his body in a container full of dry ice, and in so doing made Bedford the first man ever frozen alive in the name ofwell, if not science, something that aspired to be science one day: cryonics.

On December 23rd, 2009, at 4 a.m., I listened to my neighbors play Forever Young for the fortieth time in a row. Either the partygoers had either left or the DJ had died, and any attendees were either passed out or too blitzed to notice. The song played on repeat:

Forever young, I want to be Forever young.

I aged 10 years that night, while Bedfordtucked away in a fresh liquid nitrogen bath that came complementary with his 1991 inspectionremained immortal.

What is Cryonics, for Crying out Loud? Fifty years have passed since Bedford volunteered to become the first cryogenically frozen man. And while cultural depictions sporadically crop upthink Austin Powers, Futurama and yes, Mel Gibsonin Forever Youngcryonics is often thought to belong more to the realm of science fiction than science, and to put an even finer point on it, an escapist fiction that eludes actionable reality.

Yet cryonics offers grounds just as fertile for ethics as they do the imagination. Just think: people wage fierce wars about when life begins. Cryonics twists, turns and flips that argument around to become a deeper meditation on the moment that life ends.

So when does it?

When a Body Becomes a Patient The Alcor Life Extension Foundation which preserved Bedford describes cryonics as an effort to save lives by using temperatures so cold that a person beyond help by todays medicine can be preserved for decades or centuries until a future medical technology can restore that person to full health. The Foundation tellingly describes its members as patientsnot bodies. The dewars are not coffins, they are the temporary resting place for people who will one day wake up.

Michael Hendrix, neuroscientist and assistant professor of biology at McGill University, describes how the future of cryonics rests upon the promise of new technologies in neuroscience, particularly recent work in connectomicsa field that maps the connections between neurons a detailed map of neural connections could be enough to restore a persons mind, memories and personality by uploading it into a computer simulation.

In other words, cryonics claims that a cryogenically frozen person is not dead. He or she is merely on pause, similar to the way a video game character wont age while the player fiddles through the menu screen. The cycle of life rests upon the ability of scientistsand technologyto catch up to an idea born centuries before its time.

And as far as the science of resuscitation, cryonics does not actually rely upon the preservation of the entire body (as the choice of some people to have just their heads frozen, notably MLB player Ted Williams, testifies to), but upon the ability to map out the neurological connections between the brain, lift that map and recreate it in another bodypossibly a robot, possibly something scientists and dreamers havent yet conceived.

The Grounds for Debate Arguments against cryonics often hinge upon two main points. The first is that at best, the ethical implications of the procedure show a Labradors level of devotion to the promise of science. At worst, they play upon the emotions (and pocketbooks) of the bereaved survivors, who hold out false hope for the resuscitation of their loved one, possibly derailing and even deranging the cycles of the grieving process. The second rawand undeniablefact is that the technology for making a frozen person reenter society as a whole, living human being simply does not exist.

As for arguments for it? The most simple, powerful argument of all: immortality.

In 2014, the total count of cyropreserved bodies reached 250. An estimated 1,500 people total had made arrangements for cryopreservation after their legal death. The New York Times cites nonreligious white males as the main partakers, outdoing females by a ratio of three to one. As the worlds first volunteer, Bedford received a freebie, but most cyropreservation costs at least $80,000. A Russian company, KioRus, boasts the steal at $12,000 a headliterally speaking. But costs all but disappear in the face of a successful experiment. Say someone pays $80,000 now to rejoin the living 200 years later? Forget about calculating inflation differences.

No matter what side of cryonics one comes down uponand science offers arguments for botha central idea remains, both chilling and mesmerizing, depending upon the way its turned. A successful cyropreservation would entail rebirthbut into a world wholly different than the one left behind. If James Bedford came back tomorrow, could he handle the emotionalnot to mention mentaltribulations of adjusting to a world that moved on without him? Would the forever young experience drone on like the song on that December night, an individual sentenced to the eternal return of the same song, Existence?

After my own encounter with Forever YoungI certainly hope not.

Elisia Guerena is a Brooklyn based writer, who writes about tech, travel, feminism, and anything related to inner or outer space.

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50 Years Frozen: Cryonics Today – Paste Magazine

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Cryonics This Scottish author pays 50 pounds a month to preserve his brain after death – Zee News

Posted: February 21, 2017 at 7:50 pm

New Delhi: Of late, the science of cryonics seems to have captivated the hearts of scientists and the public alike with some people now opting for cryopreservation after their deaths.

Cryonics is the practice or technique of deep-freezing the bodies of those who have died of a disease, in the hope of a future cure.

In a latest, an author from Scotland has started paying a research institute to preserve his brain cryogenically after his death.

As per reports, DJ MacLennan has been paying 50 pounds ( appriximately Rs 4,000) a month for the past decade to Alcor Institute in Arizona, USA, to preserve his brain in the hope that he can one day be brought back to life.

MacLennan, who lives on the Isle of Skye, has told the institute that when he dies he wants the team of volunteers to fill his body with anti-freezing liquid before plunging it into ice water. His body will then be wrapped in a polyethylene, submerged in alcohol and lowered into ice before being shipped to Arizona. The head will then be removed and frozen in liquid nitrogen before being stored.

According to MacLennan, if organs can be donated and aren’t wasted anymore, brains should definitely not be wasted, instead it’s the important part to store.

While the full-body procedure costs 75,000 pounds, the author from Skye, has opted for the 40,000 pounds brain freeze.

In November last year, a 14-year old girl who died of cancer became the first child to be cryogenically frozen after death in the UK.

The procedure was carried out after winning a landmark court case shortly before her death. She had written a heartbreaking letter to a judge explaining that she wanted a chance to live longer after suffering from a rare form of deadly cancer.

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Cryonics This Scottish author pays 50 pounds a month to preserve his brain after death – Zee News

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