June 23, 2017

Scientists Fear Mars Trip Could Be a Suicide Mission (Source: Business Insider)
Going to Mars may be more dangerous than we thought. The major problem is high-energy space radiation. Scientists know that cosmic rays can damage DNA. They had just overlooked how bad it could get. A team re-examined how damaged DNA can cause cancer. They then estimated levels of radiation exposure in space and on Mars. Their results are devastating. The risk of cancer on Mars is twice as high as previously thought.

It comes down to how damaged DNA spreads throughout the body. A detailed study in mice reveals a sinister side to radiation. Damaged DNA doesn't just keep to itself. It sends signals to nearby healthy cells, which triggers the healthy cells to mutate, which could cause more cancer. Previous models hadn't accounted for this domino effect. Even radiation shielding only moderately reduces the risk. Luckily on Earth, we're protected from this danger. (6/20)

Slowdown in Satellite Orders Triggers Layoffs at Space Systems Loral (Source: Space News)
Citing a long-term drought in satellite orders, Space Systems Loral has laid off a number of employees at its California satellite manufacturing facility. SSL President John Celli said an “extended slowdown” in orders for geostationary orbit communications satellites led the company to this round of layoffs. “With fewer satellites coming into the factory we have to make reductions to remain competitive.” (6/23)

SpaceX Wants to Lease More Land at Port Canaveral for Falcon 9 First Stages (Source: Florida Today)
SpaceX wants to lease more land at Port Canaveral for rocket-related storage needs, according to documents previewing a future Canaveral Port Authority Board meeting. Commissioners on June 28 will consider a four-year, nine-month lease with SpaceX for nearly 2.2 acres of vacant land which sits next to the company's already operational facility for previously flown Falcon 9 first stages. (6/22)

Growing Up With an Astronaut Dad (Source: WMFE)
Buzz Aldrin is obsessed with Mars. The second human to walk on the moon is now developing a plan to send humans to live permanently on the red planet. The Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech is hoping to fine-tune that vision with research and workshops with experts. Buzz Aldrin’s son, Andy Aldrin, is the Director of the Institute. He spoke with 90.7’s space reporter Brendan Byrne about the sociological challenges of living on Mars. Click here. (6/2)

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