Mars Rover begins long journey to new crater
NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity has a new destination: a 13.7 mile wide crater named Endeavor.
Scientists anticipate Opportunity would be able to see deeper layers of rock in the crater, cluing into more information on Mars‘ geological past.
But getting to Endeavor will be just that – the rover must drive seven miles southeast, an amount that would match the total distance it has traveled since its January 2004 Mars landing.
Opportunity has already greatly surpassed its original three-month mission, and NASA scientists warn that the rover may not make it to its final destination, a trip that may take two years.
However, Opportunity’s principal investigator said that the journey to Endeavor has its own scientific rewards. For example, within the Martian plains known as Meridiani Planum, top layers of exposed bedrock are younger to the south, so the rover will be able to view rocks it has never seen before.
On Mars since 2004, Opportunity has already explored three other craters. It left the Victoria crater, where it has been for two years, in September.
San Francisco’s Academy of Sciences re-opens, unveils state-of-the-art facility
Northern California science enthusiasts can once again roam the halls of Golden Gate Park’s Academy of Sciences, and the museum’s new look is anything but ordinary.
This weekend the academy celebrated its grand reopening, unveiling its new building designed by Pritzker Prize winner Renzo Piano.
Highlights of the academy’s new additions include glass walls surrounded by a central atrium, two new sustainable restaurants and a living roof echoing San Francisco’s topography, including its seven major hills.
A staple of Golden Gate Park for decades, the academy features an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and educational programs.
Visit www.calacademy.org for more information.
Changes in flu shot recommendations
After last year’s bad influenza season, officials are making changes on their approach to better battle the virus.
For the first time, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention urges healthy kids ages six months to 18 years to get the flu vaccine in order to reduce the number of school-age kids who miss school. This would also reduce the antibiotic prescriptions to treat influenza.
Officials with the CDC say that influenza is highly transmissible in schools, and that inoculating children will improve both their health.
The recommendations are supported by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and increases the number of children targeted for vaccinations by about 30 million.
The Food and Drug Administration has also reformulated the vaccine in hopes of better preventing the flu. Last year, the vaccine was ineffective compared to previous years, blocking only 40 percent of influenza strains compared to the usual 70 to 90 strains typically blocked.
(Sources: The San Jose Mercury News and sciencedaily.com)
ANNA OPALKA compiled SCIENCE SCENE. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org