Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NEW SPACE STATION MODULE NAME HONORS APOLLO 11 ANNIVERSARY


WASHINGTON -- The International Space Station module formerly known as Node 3 has a new name. After more than a million online responses, the node will be called "Tranquility."

The name Tranquility was chosen from thousands of suggestions submitted by participants on NASA's Web site, www.nasa.gov. The "Help Name Node 3" poll asked people to vote for the module's name either by choosing one of four options listed by NASA or offering their own suggestion. Tranquility was one of the top ten suggestions submitted by respondents to the poll, which ended March 20.

"The public did a fantastic job and surprised us with the quality and volume of the suggestions," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations.
"Apollo 11 landed on the moon at the Sea of Tranquility 40 years ago this July. We selected 'Tranquility' because it ties it to exploration and the moon, and symbolizes the spirit of international cooperation embodied by the space station."We don't typically name U.S. space station hardware after living people and this is no exception," Gerstenmaier joked. "However, NASA is naming its new space station treadmill the 'Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,' or COLBERT. We have invited Stephen to Florida for the launch of COLBERT and to Houston to try out a version of the treadmill that astronauts train on."

The treadmill is targeted to launch to the station in August. It will be installed in Tranquility after the node arrives at the station next year. A newly-created patch will depict the acronym and an illustration of the treadmill.

Tranquility is scheduled to arrive at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in May. There, it will be prepared for space shuttle Endeavour's flight, designated STS-130, which is targeted for launch in February 2010. Tranquility will join four other named U.S. modules on the station: the Destiny laboratory, the Quest airlock, the Unity node and the Harmony node.

Tranquility is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station's life support systems. Attached to the node is a cupola, which is a unique work station with six windows on the sides and one on top. Tranquility is targeted for launch in late 2009.source:http://www.nasa.gov/station

Exercise Your Mind, Stave Off Alzheimer's Disease


The more you work your brain, the more likely you will stave off Alzheimer’s disease

Just a modest amount of mental stimulation can go a long way towards warding off Alzheimer’s disease. This is the opinion of researchers who created mice genetically modified to get a condition similar to it.

Researchers at the University of California-Irvine studied hundreds of mice altered to make them develop abnormalities known as plaques and tangles in brain tissue that are considered hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease in people.

Writing on Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, they said periodic learning sessions-swimming in a tub of water until finding a submerged platform to stand on-slowed the development of those two abnormalities in the mice.

“The remarkable thing was that just by learning infrequently, they still had a very dramatic effect on the Alzheimer’s disease pathology, “ said Kim Green, one of the researchers.

“So it suggests that in humans, if you learn more and more and more, it’s going to have a huge, beneficial effect,” Green added.

The findings highlight an idea that also has emerged in other research-that exercising one’s mind is important to staving off Alzheimer’s disease, the degenerative brain malady that is the most common form of dementia among the elderly.

Green noted that other studies have found that highly educated people are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than people with less education.

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s , which gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability t o learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities.

“What we have shown is that by learning by stimulating your mind, you’re able to protect against the development of the pathologies associated with the disease,” Green said.

“Crossword puzzles reading books, learning a new language-anything you can do to stimulate the brain is going to be beneficial, we think.”

The mice were given “a very mild learning experience”-essentially figuring out a maze but in the water-for a week at a time every three months. The sessions were four times daily for a week at two, six, nine, 12, 15 and 18 months of age.

The mice that performed the task experienced slower development of the protein beta amyloid clumping in the brain and forming plaques, gooey build-up that accumulates outside nerve cells, the study found.

These mice also experienced a slower build-up of another protein in the brain. Hyperphosphorylated-tau, that can lead to the formation of neurofibrillary tangles-twisted fibers in brain cells.

Green said the researchers are looking into whether more frequent and intensive learning sessions might provide bigger and longer-lasting benefits.

Alzheimer’s disease first affects parts of the brain controlling memory and thinking. As it advances, it kills cells elsewhere in the brain. Eventually, if the patient has no other serious illness, the loss of brain function will prove fatal.
source:www.MightyMemory.com