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For their Future Projects, NASA tests Underwater tools made by students

The U.S. space agency invited college students from around the country to design, build and test devices and tools that could be useful on future missions

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NASA
NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory Astronaut Training Image source: Wikipedia

Scuba divers worked a crank on a metal box that soon sent up a cloud of dust from the pallet of gravel where the device was anchored. Watching them closely on control room monitors, Mathew, an engineering student from West Virginia University, provided instructions.

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“The only reference is the driver’s non-dominant hand should be grasping the handle on the side of the case,” he said, who is also the project manager for a team of West Virginia University.

T NASA selected 25 teams and invited them to Houston to test their creations.

Asteroid material sampling

The main mission for which these tools would be needed is NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, said NASA’s Microgravity Next Program Manager Trinesha Dixon.

“The Asteroid Redirect Mission is looking for solutions as to how the crew members might collect samples on an asteroid,” she said.

NASA plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to an asteroid in September to extract small samples for analysis. A mission with astronauts on board is planned for sometime after 2020, utilizing the Orion spacecraft, a model of which is in the Johnson Space Center training facility.

Aerial View of NASA. Image source: Wikipedia
Aerial View of NASA. Image source: Wikipedia

Dixon said part of the difficulty in designing tools for such a mission is that no one knows what kind of material will be found on an asteroid, how hard it will be to penetrate, and what kind of effect might be produced by drilling or chopping into it.

After divers returned their device at pool’s edge, the West Virginia University students took it back to the large hall where each team had a separate table. There, they took it apart and carefully cleaned all the parts, including the two augurs that would be utilized to drill into the surface of an asteroid and extract material. Coming from a state known for mining, the team initially modeled its device on mechanisms used in mines that clamp to a surface and hold the drill steady.

Mathew Morrow explained, “When astronauts visit an asteroid, they need a tool out on the asteroid that can anchor, to hook their tools to, so we chose that design challenge.”

NASA supplied criteria for five separate types of tools or devices and let the students use their creativity and knowledge of engineering to come up with designs. Once the designs were accepted, they then had to build a prototype for testing.

“This is all student driven,” said West Virginia University College of Engineering and Mineral Resources professor Thomas Evans, who accompanied the three-student team to Houston. “I was just the faculty adviser and mentored them and drove them to deliver a product on time so they could be down here.”

Their device worked even better than expected, according to Evans.

“It was exceptional! I think this team did a fantastic job,” he said.

Evans said the West Virginia University team benefited from frequent visits to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the neighboring state of Maryland, where Mathew Morrow had an internship.

Ideas NASA can use for space tool development

The experience was exciting for the students involved, but they may also one day see some of the elements in their designs used in devices that astronauts employ in space.

NASA’s Dixon said, “We can take components from different tools, concepts that the student teams might come up with, and put them together in our conceptualization of that tool.”

In addition to that, she said, having such a program encourages students interested in space flight to continue their studies and possibly become part of NASA’s future workforce.

Mathew Morrow is one who has such hopes.

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“I am really hoping that there might be an opportunity there (NASA) or somewhere else in the space industry, whether it be in a private company or with the government,” he said.

Opportunities in the private sector for space engineers have diversified from being mainly contractors building rockets and other equipment for NASA to service companies with their own spacecraft that can ferry supplies to the International Space Station, and may one day take passengers into space and become involved in efforts to extract minerals and other resources from the moon, asteroids or other planets. (VOA)

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Discrimination and Impunity Cannot be Tolerated: Angelina Jolie

The hollywood star also donated $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

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Angelina Jolie
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie feels discrimination and impunity cannot be justified in any way. WIkimedia Commons

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie feels discrimination and impunity cannot be justified in any way, and says she hopes people in the US can come together to “address the deep structural wrongs in our society”, according to entertainment news.

The Oscar-winning star, who turned 45 on Thursday, also donated $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, reports a website named People.

“Rights don’t belong to any one group to give to another. Discrimination and impunity cannot be tolerated, explained away or justified. I hope we can come together as Americans to address the deep structural wrongs in our society,” Jolie said.

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“I stand with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in their fight for racial equality, social justice, and their call for urgent legislative reform,” she added.

Meanwhile, the actress celebrated her birthday amid lockdown with her six children — Maddox, 18, Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 14, and 11-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.

The actress and activist has been active since the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world and has donated to different organisations.

Jolie
“Rights don’t belong to any one group to give to another. Discrimination and impunity cannot be tolerated, explained away or justified.”, Jolie was quoted saying. Pixabay

Jolie previously donated $1 million to No Kid Hungry, the organisation working to feed children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also Read: A Healthy Conversation With Kids About Pandemic Induced Job Loss Maybe a Good Idea

“I knew that there were problems in America, that there was poverty, but I could not believe when I realised how many school children in America were dependent on a meal to not go hungry. I was so disgusted that we have gotten to this point as a country and that we would let the most vulnerable be in such a state. I can’t imagine what it feels like for those parents,” she said while opening up about her reason to get associated with the organisation. (IANS)

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Critically-ill Corona Patients Have Less Mortality Rate in US: Researchers

The previous report suggested 50 per cent mortality rate in US

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mortality rate
Researchers claim that the mortality rate of US adults with critical illness from Covid-19 is less than what was released in the previous report. Pixabay

Researchers have claimed that the actual mortality rate of adults with critical illness from Covid-19 in the US is less than what was previously reported according to COVID-19 Information & Resources.

The study, published in the journal Critical Care Medicine, also indicated that the mortality rate of critically ill Covid-19 patients who required mechanical ventilation is also lower than previously thought.

For the results, the research team from the Emory University in the US, observed 217 critically ill patients 18 years and older from six Covid-19 designated intensive care units in three hospitals in Atlanta from March to April 2020.

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Compared to earlier reports of a 50 per cent mortality rate, the study revealed that the mortality rate of critically ill patients who required mechanical ventilation was only 35.7 per cent.

According to the study authors, about 60 per cent of patients observed in the study survived to hospital discharge.

mortality rate
In this study, it was revealed that the mortality rate of critically ill patients was only 35.7% in the US. Pixabay

The findings showed that 4.8 per cent of patients still on the ventilator at the time of the report.

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Mortality was significantly associated with older age, lower body mass index, chronic renal disease, and receipt of mechanical ventilation, vasopressors, renal replacement therapy, or vasodilator therapy.

The authors noted that several considerations may have influenced the outcomes of the study including that all critically ill patients with Covid-19 in the hospital network were admitted to pre-existing ICUs that had adequate staffing ratios and equipment.

“Our early experience indicates that many patients survive their critical illness,” the authors concluded. (IANS)

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UP Govt Sets Record of Testing 4.85 Crore People for Covid

Over 1 lakh medical teams have been involved in the process of screening by UP government

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Uttar Pradesh government sets record of testing 4.85 crore persons for covid -19. Pixabay

The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has created a record of sorts by ensuring medical screening of 4.85 crore persons in the state for COVID-19 as per Latest news on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

‘Our medical teams have reached out to 4.85 crore people in more than 78 lakh households for medical testing for corona. Over one lakh medical teams are actively involved in screening people,” said an official spokesman.

The spokesman said that ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers have also been included in the medical teams.

‘Nigrani’ Samitis have been set up at village levels to keep an eye on the corona suspects and monitor those in quarantine centres. The Samitis keep the concerned officials informed of the developments at the village level and help in medical screening.

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“Our medical teams have reached out to 4.85 crore people in more than 78 lakh households for medical testing for corona.”, said an official spokesman of Yogi government. Wikimedia Commons

Also Read: Nearly Half Urban Indians to Shop Online After Lockdown: Survey

The Chief Minister, while addressing the meeting of Team 11 on Wednesday, said that over one lakh beds were available in COVID hospitals in level one, two and three in the state. Of these 2,000 beds are fitted with ventilators.

The medical screening of migrant workers was continuing in all the quarantine centres and all workers who were returning home, were being provided ration kits. (IANS)