Mars 'terror,' future Moon missions and an epic journey to the Sun: 2018’s year in space
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NASA has released several stunning new images of Mars captured by the InSight lander's robotic arm as it snapped a photos of its new workspace.
2018 has been a busy year for space exploration. Here are some of the highlights:
Mars looms ever larger in America’s space future.
The molecules, which were found in rocks from an ancient lake bed, provide fresh insight into the Red Planet, according to scientists. The rocks are billions of years old, NASA said.
While NASA went to great lengths to explain that it has not discovered life on Mars, the organic molecules could provide vital clues.
“Organic compounds are fundamental to our search for life,” said Paul Mahaffy, director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Goddard, Md.
Described as the most technologically advanced rover ever built, Curiosity launched on Nov. 26, 2011. The rover landed on Mars' Gale Crater on Aug. 6, 2012, with the goal of determining whether Mars was ever able to support microbial life.
The asteroid may provide answers to the origin of our solar system, according to NASA.
OSIRIS-REx will spend almost a year surveying the space rock from orbit. The probe is scheduled to briefly touch the asteroid with a robotic arm in July 2020 and retrieve a sample that will be returned to Earth in September 2023.
The spacecraft was about 30 miles above Earth’s surface when the crew was forced to make a dangerous “ballistic re-entry” into Earth’s atmosphere. After the successful deployment of its parachute, the rescue capsule landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan about 30 minutes after the rocket failure.
The Soyuz spacecraft is currently the only vehicle that can ferry crews to the space station, but Russia stands to lose that monopoly in the coming years with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.
The leak was spotted on Aug. 30 in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft attached to the orbiting space lab. The crew quickly located and sealed the tiny hole that created a slight loss of pressure, and space officials said the station has remained safe to operate.
The capsule leak caused a flap between the U.S. and Russian space agencies. Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin observed that the hole could have been drilled during manufacturing — or in orbit. The space station's commander at the time flatly denied any wrongdoing by himself or his crew.
The Russian space chief has since backpedaled on his statement, saying that he never pointed the finger at U.S. astronauts and blaming the media for twisting his statement.
In addition to Lockheed, which built the Mars InSight lander, NASA's commercial partners include Astrobotic Technology, Deep Space System, Draper, Firefly, Intuitive Machines, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express and Orbit Beyond.
The contracts could be worth as much as $2.6 billion over a span of 10 years and flights could start as soon as next year, officials said. The original list included more than 30 companies vying for the bids, including Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.
President Donald Trump wants U.S. astronauts to return to the Moon as a foundation for future Mars missions.
The last time a human set foot on the Moon was during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Only 12 men, all Americans, have set foot on the Moon.
NASA’s goal is also to send to manned missions into space from U.S. soil during the coming years. Since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, the U.S. has been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets, launched from Kazakhstan, to get astronauts to the ISS.
To withstand the heat of nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, the probe is protected by a special 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield.
Parker will face “brutal” heat and radiation during the epic journey that will take it to within 3.83 million miles of the Sun’s surface, according to the space agency. This is seven times closer than the previous closest spacecraft, Helios 2, which came within 27 million miles of the Sun in 1976.
Harnessing Venus’ gravity, Parker will complete seven flybys over seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer and closer to the Sun. On its closest approach in 2024, the probe will be traveling at approximately 430,000 mph, setting a new speed record for a manmade object.
Scientists expect to shed new light on the Sun’s potential to disrupt satellites and spacecraft, as well as electronics and communications on Earth.
The planets are orbiting small, cool stars near our solar system, known as “Red Dwarfs.”
One of the brightest Red Dwarfs, K2-155, has three “super-Earths,” one of which, K2-155d, could be within the star’s habitable zone. K2-155d, which has a radius 1.6 times that of Earth, may harbor liquid water, according to three-dimensional global climate simulations.
K2-155 is about 200 light-years from Earth. A light-year, which measures distance in space, equals 6 trillion miles.
Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, a team of astrophysicists from the University of Oklahoma identified the extragalactic planets about 3.8 billion light-years away. The space observatory helped scientists find about 2,000 objects with comparable mass to the Moon and Jupiter.
The Oklahoma University team used a technique called microlensing, which identifies the gravitational signature of planets orbiting extremely distant stars.
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December 15, 2018
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>For freshly grown produce, space is truly the final frontier.</p><p>But even astronauts will soon be able to abide by their mothers' exhortations to eat more veggies.</p><p>Wolff recently wrapped up an experiment where lettuce grew in space in specialized planters that regulate all the water, nutrients, gas and air the plants need.</p><p>Though she used artificial soil derived from lava rock as a substrate, Wolff says the goal is for the plants to grow directly in water infused with life-sustaining nutrients. In space, she noted, all the water and food must be recovered, which means that plant fertilization needs to be "as precise as possible."</p><p>Nutritional benefits aside, raising living crops inside a sterile, white-walled environment like a space station can provide physiological comfort, too. Astronauts often struggle with their appetites, leading to weight loss, Wolff said.</p><p>"Addressing the psychological aspect of eating something fresh is one of our goals," she said. "Vacuum-packed food doesn't really remind you of food. Having something fresh that triggers the appetite and the right receptors in the brain is important."</p><p>"Astronauts like gardening and everything that reminds them of life on earth. They enjoy tending and watering the vegetables, and getting them to germinate," Wolff said.</p><p>NTNU and CIRiS are currently collaborating with Italian and French researchers to suss out the viability of cultivating plant-based food for long space journeys. While typical ISS missions run up to six months, people traveling to Mars will need to live and work — and eat — in space for at least a year, researchers said in the statement.</p><p>"The way space travel works today, it's almost impossible to take along all the resources you need," Wolff said. "That's why we have to develop a biological system so astronauts can produce their own food and recycle all of the resources."</p><p>Now that its earthbound experiments have concluded, CIRiS will be placing beans in a centrifuge to sprout and grow on the ISS, where researchers can compare how different gravitational levels affect plants in space. On Earth, gravity causes warm air to rise and cold air to sink. On a space station, air is more stationary, giving astronauts something akin to a low-grade fever. Plants are similarly affected, Wolff said.</p><p>"Stationary air affects a layer on the underside of the leaf where the stomatal pores are located," she said, referring to specialized cells that control gas exchange. "When gravity disappears, the boundary layer in the slit-shaped apertures thickens. This reduces evaporation and causes the leaf temperature to increase. Water vapor diffusion to the environment is an important part of plant regulation and can be compared with sweating to cool the body in humans and animals."</p><p>CIRiS' work could have more terrestrial implications, particularly for cities with little land for cultivation. Food production can be optimized in the tightest of spaces by planting crops directly in water in indoor closed systems, where all aspects of climate, fertilization and irrigation are regulated, Wolff said.</p><p>"The plants become less sensitive to nutritional deficiency because the roots are in direct contact with the nutrients," she said. " They're always able to access new nutrients through the water, and can use absolutely all the nutrients available — unlike with soil that binds the nutrients and affects their availability to the roots. And the roots don't rot when the water is mixed with a little oxygen."</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ternal Purdue Pharma documents suggesting the family was far more involved than the company has long contended.</p><p>Members of the Sackler family, which owns the company that makes OxyContin, directed years of efforts to mislead doctors and patients about the dangers of the powerful opioid painkiller, a court filing citing previously undisclosed documents contends.</p><p>When evidence of growing abuse of the drug became clear in the early 2000s, one of them, Richard Sackler, advised pushing blame onto people who had become addicted. </p><p>That email and other internal Purdue communications are cited by the attorney general of Massachusetts in a new court filing against the company, released on Tuesday. They represent the first evidence that appears to tie the Sacklers to specific decisions made by the company about the marketing of OxyContin. The aggressive promotion of the drug helped ignite the opioid epidemic. </p><p>The filing contends that Mr. Sackler, a son of a Purdue Pharma founder, urged that sales representatives advise doctors to prescribe the highest dosage of the powerful opioid painkiller because it was the most profitable.</p><p>For years, Purdue Pharma has sought to depict the Sackler family as removed from the day-to-day operations of the company. The Sacklers, whose name adorns museums and medical schools around the world, are one of the richest families in the United States, with much of their wealth derived from sales of OxyContin. Disclosure of the documents is likely to renew calls for institutions to decline their philanthropic gifts. </p><p>In a statement, Purdue Pharma, which is based in Stamford, Conn., rejected suggestions of wrongdoing by the company or members of the Sackler family, describing the court filing as “littered with biases and inaccurate characterizations.” The statement said the company was working to curtail the use and misuse of prescription painkillers.</p><p>Asked for a response from Richard Sackler and other members of the Sackler family, a Purdue Pharma spokesman, Robert Josephson, said that the company had no additional comment. </p><p> In 2007, the company and three of its top executives pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges that Purdue had misrepresented the dangers of OxyContin, and they paid $634.5 million in fines. The Sacklers were not accused of any wrongdoing and have not faced personal legal consequences over the drug.</p><p>But last June, Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, sued eight members of the Sackler family, along with the company and numerous executives and directors, alleging that they had misled doctors and patients about OxyContin’s risks. The suit also claimed that the company aggressively promoted the drug to doctors who were big prescribers of opioids, including physicians who later lost their licenses.</p><p>The court filing released on Tuesday also asserts that Sackler family members were aware that Purdue Pharma repeatedly failed to alert authorities to scores of reports the company had received that OxyContin was being abused and sold on the street. The company also used pharmacy discount cards to increase OxyContin’s sales and Richard Sackler, who served as Purdue Pharma’s president from 1999 to 2003, led a company strategy of blaming abuse of the drug on addicts, the suit claimed.</p><p>In 1995, when the Food and Drug Administration approved OxyContin, it allowed Purdue Pharma to claim that the opioid’s long-acting formulation was “believed to reduce” its appeal to drug abusers compared with traditional painkillers such as Percocet and Vicodin.</p><p>At a gathering shortly afterward to celebrate the drug’s launch, Mr. Sackler boasted that “the launch of OxyContin tablets will be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition. The prescription blizzard will be so deep, dense, and white,” according to a document cited in the legal complaint.</p><p>Company sales representatives told doctors that OxyContin couldn’t be abused and were trained to say that the drug had an addiction risk for patients of “less than one percent,” a claim that had no scientific backing. Within a few years, Purdue Pharma was selling more than $1 billion worth of OxyContin annually.</p><p>But abuse of the drug quickly grew as teenagers and others discovered that all they needed to do was to crush OxyContin to get access to large amounts of a pure narcotic, oxycodone, contained in the pills.</p><p>The court filing depicts Richard Sackler both as a principal force behind OxyContin’s promotion and the company’s efforts to dismiss growing reports about the drug’s abuse in the early 2000s.</p><p>For instance, when a federal prosecutor reported in 2001 that there had been 59 overdose deaths involving OxyContin in his state alone, Mr. Sackler appeared to make light of the problem, a document cited in the court filing suggests.</p><p>“This is not too bad,” he wrote to the company officials. “It could have been far worse.</p><p> As part of the 2007 settlement agreement, the board of Purdue Pharma, which included members of the Sackler family, signed a corporate integrity agreement with the federal government promising that the company would not violate the law in the future.</p><p>However, Ms. Healey asserted in her lawsuit filed last year that Purdue Pharma, with the knowledge of the Sacklers, continued to illegally market the drug, including promoting its use at levels that increased the drug’s dangers.</p><p>Also, while Richard Sackler and other members of the family had resigned their operating posts either before or after the 2007 settlement of the Justice Department lawsuit, they still continued to control the company and its decisions, the lawsuit claims.</p><p>In a 2012 email, one Purdue Pharma sales official complained about Richard Sackler’s micromanagement of the company’s sales and marketing activities.</p><p>“Anything you could do to reduce the direct contact of Richard into the organization is appreciated,” that official wrote.</p><p>In its statement, Purdue Pharma said that federal officials in 2013 had reviewed the company’s performance under the five-year corporate integrity agreement and found it in complete compliance.</p><p>Purdue Pharma, first known as Purdue Frederick, was founded in 1952 by three brothers, Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, all physicians who left medicine to pursue careers in the drug business.</p><p>When Arthur Sackler died in 1987, his two younger brothers, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler purchased his stake in the company. They both died more recently.</p><p>In 2016, Forbes magazine estimated the family’s wealth at about $13 billion. However, the precise figure is unknown because Purdue Pharma is privately held.</p><p>That document also cited internal Purdue Pharma documents and emails that indicated members of the Sackler family had received reports about the abuse of OxyContin and another long-acting narcotic painkiller, MS Contin, sold by Purdue Pharma. The memorandum, however did not suggest any wronging by members of the Sackler family.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>"It's awesome," UCF planetary research scientist Phil Metzger said of the demonstration. "WINE successfully mined the soil, made rocket propellant, and launched itself on a jet of steam extracted from the simulant. We could potentially use this technology to hop on the Moon, Ceres, Europa, Titan, Pluto, the poles of Mercury, asteroids — anywhere there is water and sufficiently low gravity."</p><p>The ability to run on steam could have an enormous impact on space exploration, given that current missions are reliant on propellant not made of steam.</p><p>"Each time we lose our tremendous investment in time and money that we spent building and sending the spacecraft to its target," Metzger added. "WINE was designed to never run out of propellant so exploration will be less expensive. It also allows us to explore in a shorter amount of time, since we don't have to wait for years as a new spacecraft travels from Earth each time."</p><p>Metzger said three years were spent developing the necessary technology to go from idea to reality and is now seeking partners to continue developing the craft.</p><p>While it's a significant achievement, there is more testing that needs to be done before WINE could ever go into space. However, Metzger is hopeful that something could happen soon, as is Kris Zacny, vice president of Honeybee Robotics.</p><p>"The project has been a collaborative effort between NASA, academia and industry; and it has been a tremendous success," Zacny said in the statement. "The WINE-like spacecrafts have the potential to change how we explore the universe."</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Researchers analyzed the skeletal remains of three medium–sized dogs unearthed in Illinois, which they could tell were pets from the way the dogs were buried.</p><p>Found at the archaeological sites Koster (located south of Eldrid, IL.) and Stillwell IL in the 1960s and 70's, the skeletons had been sitting in the state museum, collecting dust for years. That was until recently, when Dr. Angela Perri and her team decided to analyze the canine skeletons using modern techniques.</p><p>“The dogs from the Koster site have been iconic early American dogs in the archaeological record for a long time, but they had never been [direct carbon] dated,” study leader Perri, from the Department of Archaeology at the Durham University in the United Kingdom, told Fox News. “When we came across the dog from Stilwell, which had been in museum collections for decades unanalyzed, we decided to date that dog as well and look at them all together."</p><p>Direct carbon dating showed that the dogs were buried sometime between 9,630 and 10,190 years ago. To put this in perspective, the first North Americans are believed to have arrived here about 16,000 years ago.</p><p>“We had an idea that the dogs would be old, but we weren’t sure how old,” Perri added. “They turned out to be older than we expected.”</p><p>According to the study, the three skeletons are the oldest known individually–buried dogs known in the world’s archaeological record. The remains are also older than the previous oldest dog skeleton found in the Americas, which had been unearthed at a 9,300 year–old site in Texas.</p><p>“This research pushes back the date for the earliest dogs in the Americas,” Perri explained. “We think humans came into the Americas around 16,000 years ago, but the evidence for the earliest dogs is only around 10,000 years ago. It is still of question of whether dogs came with the first Native Americans or a later group.”</p><p>Researchers believe that domesticated dogs can be identified from the fashion in which they were buried. The Stilwell dog, for instance, was found buried beneath the floor of a human dwelling with its legs tucked beneath it. The Koster dogs were each buried in their own separate, shallow graves. There was also no evidence that the specimens had been carved up or skinned, indicating they weren’t an early Illinoisan’s dinner. The specimens also weren’t wolves, that had once been theorized as where the earliest dogs in America had been domesticated from.</p><p>“The dogs are significantly smaller than what we would expect to see in a wolf and have certain characteristics, like smaller teeth and shorter stature, that is typical of domesticated dogs,” Perri said. “We also analyzed one of the Koster dogs in a paper we published in Science earlier this year (‘The Evolutionary History of Dogs in the Americas’), which showed that it was, in fact, a domesticated dog of Eurasian origin, likely originating from animals in eastern Siberia.”</p><p>The research also yielded interesting results about the dogs’ diet– their masters fed them a lot of fish. The dogs were also different depending on their location, with the Stilwell folks preferring larger breeds.</p><p>“While the dogs from the Koster site are smaller with more [slender] features and potentially some coyote interbreeding, the dog from Stilwell is larger and more robust,” Perri said. “It is more variation than we expect to see in early dogs and it is exciting because it shows early dogs may have many more secrets to share than we expect.”</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
tion’s “advanced, underestimated and highly lethal” bioweapons program.</p><p>“North Korea is far more likely to use biological weapons than nuclear ones,” said Andrew C. Weber, a Pentagon official in charge of nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs under President Obama. “The program is advanced, underestimated and highly lethal.”</p><p>The North may want to threaten a devastating germ counterattack as a way of warding off aggressors. If so, its bioweapons would act as a potent deterrent. </p><p>But experts also worry about offensive strikes and agents of unusual lethality, especially the smallpox virus, which spreads person-to-person and kills a third of its victims. Experts have long suspected that the North harbors the germ, which in 1980 was declared eradicated from human populations.</p><p>Worse, analysts say, satellite images and internet scrutiny of the North suggest that Pyongyang is newly interested in biotechnology and germ advances. In 2015, state media showed Kim Jong-un, the nation’s leader, touring a biological plant, echoing his nuclear propaganda.</p><p>The North’s great secrecy makes it hard to assess the threat and the country’s degree of sophistication. Today, the North might well have no bioweapons at all — just research, prototypes, human testing, and the ability to rush into industrial production.</p><p>Last century, most nations that made biological arms gave them up as impractical. Capricious winds could carry deadly agents back on users, infecting troops and citizens. The United States renounced its arsenal in 1969.</p><p>United States intelligence officials have not publicly endorsed those findings. But many experts say the technological hurdles to such advances have collapsed. The North, for instance, has received advanced microbiology training from institutions in Asia and Europe.</p><p>Bruce Bennett, a defense researcher at the RAND Corporation, said defectors from the North have described witnessing the testing of biological agents on political prisoners.</p><p>“These are scientists, and scientists love to tinker,” he said.</p><p>Western concerns about the North’s program jumped in June 2015, after Mr. Kim posed in a white lab coat alongside military officers and scientists in a modern-looking pesticide facility called the Bio-Technical Institute, his arms outspread toward shiny lab equipment.</p><p>The plant allegedly produced pesticides. The photos showed enormous fermenters for growing microbes, as well as spray dryers that can turn bacterial spores into a powder fine enough to be inhaled. Mr. Kim was beaming.</p><p>Arms-control analysts say intrusive inspections are needed to see whether a facility is intended for peaceful aims or something else.</p><p>“A nuclear weapons facility has very visible signals to the outside world,” Mr. Bermudez said. “We can look at it and immediately say, ‘Ugh, that’s a nuclear reactor.’ But the technology for conducting biological weapons research is essentially the same as what keeps a population healthy.”</p><p>Americans felt the sting of bioweapons in 2001 when a teaspoon of anthrax powder, dispatched in a handful of envelopes, killed five people, sickened 17 more and set off a nationwide panic. The spores shut down Congressional offices, the Supreme Court and much of the postal system, and cost about $320 million to clean up.</p><p>Federal budgets for biodefense soared after the attacks but have declined in recent years.</p><p>“The level of resources going against this is pitiful,” said Mr. Weber, the former Pentagon official. “We are back into complacency.”</p><p>Dr. Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, said, “We don’t spend half of an aircraft carrier on our preparedness for deliberate or natural events.”</p><p>Still, on the Korean Peninsula, troops gird for a North Korean attack. According to the Belfer report, American forces in Korea since 2004 have been vaccinated against smallpox and anthrax.</p><p>Recently, Army engineers sped up the detection of biological agents from days to hours through Project Jupitr, or the Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition, a Department of Defense spokeswoman said.</p><p>The comptroller general of the United States, after a request from the House Armed Services Committee, is currently conducting an evaluation of military preparedness for germ attacks.</p><p>“If you’re a country that feels generally outclassed in conventional weapons,” Ms. Hanham said, a lethal microbe such as anthrax might seem like a good way “to create an outsized amount of damage.”</p><p>Such an attack would maximize casualties, she said, while terrorizing the uninfected population. For North Korea, Ms. Hanham added, “That would be the twofold goal.”</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>The rare critter, named for its mottled orange and black shell, was named Eve and was placed inside a separate area intended to "keep her safe."</p><p>Despite a barrier, other lobsters in the tank apparently "broke down the divider and have been huddled around Eve, protecting her, ever since."</p><p>When the shop's owner learned just how rare "Eve" is, they reached out to the Baltimore Aquarium, which plans to be homing her temporarily, before she's relocated permanently to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
k — have been halted since the federal government shut down and about 40 percent of the F.D.A.’s work force was furloughed.</p><p>But Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, said that he was asking employees to return from furlough to conduct some of the inspections and other agency functions involving surveillance of certain drugs, devices and potential outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.</p><p>About one-third of all food safety inspections are for high-risk foods, he said. It was unclear when more routine inspections would resume.</p><p>In an interview, Dr. Gottlieb said he hoped several hundred workers — not just food inspectors but also other employees — would return despite being unpaid. “I can’t tell you that they are not feeling personal hardship, but they are dedicated and want to come back,” he said.</p><p>The Agriculture Department oversees meat and poultry, and its workers have continued inspections without pay. The F.D.A. oversees about 80 percent of the nation’s food supply, as well as imports of foods shipped to the United States.</p><p>In a series of tweets, Dr. Gottlieb said the agency began sampling some high-risk imported produce in the Northeast on Monday. He said workers would begin inspections as early as Tuesday at sites with food considered “high risk” soft cheeses, seafood, custard-filled bakery products, some fruits and vegetables or baby formula.</p><p>While there are an estimated 80,000 food plants in the United States, the F.D.A. inspects about one-tenth of those in a year, according to various reports.</p><p>Dr. Gottlieb said that few inspections had been conducted since the shutdown began Dec. 22 because of the holidays, and only a handful had been scheduled for last week so the shutdown had not affected that many visits by inspectors.</p><p>But as the shutdown wore on, he sought and received permission late last week from the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House to call the furloughed workers back.</p><p>Other monitoring — including of high-risk medical products like compound drugs and problem devices — may resume next week, Dr. Gottlieb said.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Thousands of federal food inspectors and public health workers are furloughed and a wide range of scientific projects and tasks are now on hold.</p><p>Meanwhile, the National Weather Service, which is considered critical due to its role in protecting public safety, is still open during the partial shutdown — but the forecasts may not be as good. One NWS manager told The Washington Post that the lack of empathy from the government was like a slap in the face.</p><p>"Federal employees care about what they do,” the manager told the Post. “As much as we can repeat in our minds, ‘It will be okay, eventually,’ you can’t tell your body to stop worrying. One employee got two hours of sleep last night after going through all his bills, trying to figure out where to start."</p><p>Instead of working to make sure that Superfund sites, such as Gowanus Canal in New York, are cleaned up, EPA employees are on leave.</p><p>More than 10 percent of planned participants at the American Astronomical Society meeting that just wrapped up on January 10 in Seattle had to cancel presentations, AAS spokesman Rick Fienberg told Science News. Astrophysicist Jane Rigby at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was one of them.</p><p>Rigby had to abandon her planned talks about the James Webb Space Telescope because nobody outside of the U.S. space agency had the expertise to cover for her.</p><p>“This is the Super Bowl of astronomy, and we’re not allowed to play,” she said. “It’s not even like we’re benched. We’re not even allowed in the stadium.”</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
e replaced with the best evidence available. </p><p>America is in the midst of a sea change in policies on pot, and we should all be a bit nervous about unintended consequences. </p><p>Vigilance is required. But it should be reasoned and thoughtful. To tackle recent claims, we should use the best methods and evidence as a starting point. </p><p>Crime has gone up in Colorado and Washington since those states legalized marijuana. It’s reasonable to wonder about the connection, but it’s also reasonable to be skeptical about causation.</p><p>“I picked those years because they were after the tremendous crime drop in the early ’90s and most predictive of crime today,” he said. “I ended in 2012 because that’s when Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana.” </p><p>She says some have misinterpreted the report to state that the report’s committee concluded that cannabis causes schizophrenia. It did not.</p><p> “This was stated as an association, not causation,” she said. “We do not yet have the supporting evidence to state the direction of this association.”</p><p>Dr. Cooper, research director of the U.C.L.A. Cannabis Research Initiative, went further: “We as a committee also concluded that a history of cannabis use is associated with better cognitive outcomes in people diagnosed with psychotic disorders. The blatant omission of this conclusion exemplifies the one-sided nature of some articles. Nonetheless, the strong association between cannabis use and schizophrenia means that people with predisposing risk factors for schizophrenia should most certainly abstain from using cannabis.”</p><p>We should be honest about what we do and don’t know. We need more research. It’s true that much of the literature around marijuana focuses on the negative, but that’s “largely due to funding priorities over the last several decades,” Dr. Cooper said. </p><p>In the report she worked on, only 40 of the 450 pages were about the therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids, she said, while the other sections were related largely to the negative health outcomes.</p><p>She added, “With increased awareness of the clinical potential of cannabinoids, research priorities have shifted to include studying this area” in the last few years. </p><p>It’s perfectly natural to be concerned that as cannabis products become legal in more states, they will affect more people.</p><p>Many of the experts who have done the work highlighted here are still nervous about how we might proceed. No one thinks that children or adolescents should use marijuana. There’s little regulation right now, and there’s potential for the drug to be mixed with other substances to increase its addictive properties. Advertising will probably make claims that will be out of line with reality.</p><p>Anecdotes can make compelling cases, but they don’t necessarily lead to thoughtful outcomes.</p>
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