Fifty years since Apollo 11 first brought humankind to the Moon?
No, it doesn't seem like yesterday. It's been way too long since
we've left the comfort and safety of Earth orbit. Let's go back to
the Moon and beyond!
On This Week’s Show
- A recent visit to an asteroid
- Why catching a cold may not be such a bad thing after all
- And a not-so-recent visit to the moon
Science News with Chris MacAlister and JD
Hayabusa-2: Japanese spacecraft makes final touchdown
Science News, The
New York Times, Science
- It was only a few years ago that we were getting so excited by
NASA’s Rosetta mission which orbited a comet, and its Philae lander
which (kind of) successfully landed on it.
- As if this isn’t impressive enough, Haybusba-2 is basically
showboating now because it’s not just gone down to the asteroid
once, it’s now done it twice!
- On its first landing (in February) it collected some surface
material; and this was pretty much the best that could be hoped for
since the asteroid turned out to be much rockier than anyone had
thought back when they were planning the mission.
- The people at JAXA know how to deal with stubborn space rock.
In April, the spacecraft dropped a two-kilogram copper cylinder
from about 500 meters above the surface to blast an artificial
crater about 10 meters wide and 2 meters deep into its
- This operation released material from deep within the asteroid.
The team back on Earth watched where this debris settled and then
sent Hayabusa down to pick some up.
- Hayabusa-2 will leave Ryugu in November (which I daresay will
be a significant relief to Ryugu) and is due to return to Earth in
2020. At this point the coverage of this story in Science News says
“That’s when the team will confirm that the spacecraft successfully
collected the dust.”
A Common Cold Virus Wiped Away Bladder Cancer in One
- A group of researchers have just published a paper in the
journal Clinical Cancer Research which reports that cancer is
vulnerable when exposed to a cold virus.
- Whilst there are many, many forms of cancer there are even more
pathogens that cause common colds. This is precisely why you never
build immunity to colds, because you’re not just dealing with one
- This study falls firmly into the small but promising category.
It only involves 15 patients who were all suffering from bowel
cancer. It this won’t sound pretty but these patients were
delivered a sizeable dose of common cold, in the form of
- This hour long viral jacuzzi was delivered and repeated for
each patient before they were taken into surgery to have and
remaining tumour removed.
- Why did they find? There was evidence that the tumours had been
damaged by the virus in all the patients, but in one lucky patient
the tumour had been completely destroyed!
- So what’s going on? One of the problems with cancer is its
ability to sidestep the immune system (since it is made up of your
body's own cells). The Coxsackievirus damages cells which then
coaxes the immune system into action, removing any compromised
cells, cancer or otherwise.
- The biomechanics of this leave the cancer cells more vulnerable
to this virus than healthy cells, which turns Coxsachievirus into a
type of magic bullet.
- What is exciting about this study is that it’s not just an
idea, this is evidence of the treatment working in practice. What’s
more, it’s not using some sophisticated bespoke designer virus,
this is a wild strain common cold virus that is already kicking
around and could theoretically work on any human with no tweaking
Moon Landing Footage Would Have Been Impossible to
Fake. Here's Why
The Conversation, The
In Other Science News this Week
- Earliest modern human found outside Africa
- An ancient bird found encased in amber had a bizarrely
- Southern right whale moms and calves may whisper to
- Cats in Australia Kill Over 2 Billion Wild Animals Each
- French healthcare will stop paying for homeopathic
treatment in 2021
That concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science
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This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and
edited by Pro
Our hosts today were Chris MacAlister and me.
I’m JD Goodwin.
Thank you for joining us.
And remember…follow the science!