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2009


Hydrophobic Coatings Inspired by Lotus

Biotechnology breakthroughs are occurring as engineers find inspiration from the lotus plant to develop materials that can overcome the challenging space environment. Studies of lotus plants and their ability to shed water and dirt are inspiring a NASA team to develop a similar capability for use on spacesuits, scientific instruments, robotic rovers, and other devices used for exploring the solar system.

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Witnessing Salmonella Migration Into the Bloodstream

The space environment can also be useful for developing medical vaccines. Aboard the Space Shuttle, NASA astronauts conducted research on the effects of spaceflight on salmonella cells. The weightless environment of spaceflight causes the salmonella cells to function as though they are crossing from the intestine into the bloodstream to start an infection.

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Rad to the Bone: Exploring Radiation Effects on Human Bones

Research conducted to support astronauts living and working in space may lead to medical treatments to stop bone loss in cancer treatment patients. Microgravity is well known to cause bone loss in astronauts, but recent research shows that elevated radiation levels typical in the space environment also contribute to this effect.

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Fighting Ticks and Disease One Image at a Time

College students participating in a NASA internship program are learning to use data from spacecraft to identify habitats of ticks carrying Lyme disease within Alabama and to raise public awareness of the disease. Initially the students determined that Lyme disease bacteria were present in ticks in central Alabama.

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Wild 2 Amino Acid Discovery

Since the 2006 return of NASA’s Stardust spacecraft, scientists have been analyzing captured samples of the comet Wild 2. NASA researchers found that the samples contained a fundamental building block of life—the amino acid glycine—marking the first time an amino acid was found in a comet.

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Tactical Communication Advantage with Low Earth Orbiting Satellites

Tactical communications supported by satellites are becoming increasingly important to mobile military units during operations. In June 2009, the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center awarded Iridium a contract to develop a next-generation communications system for a joint U.S. military network technologies program.

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Poppies Just Look Different from Space

Since 1999, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime has made extensive use of satellite imagery in its Illicit Crop Monitoring Programme (ICPM), helping national governments and the international community monitor and track the production of illicit crops.

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