Short Science, April 7, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 1:43am


3-D printer produces 'living tissue' substitute

British scientists have used a custom-made 3-D printer to make living tissue-like material that could one day serve medical purposes, according to findings published in US journal Science. The material is made up of thousands of connected water droplets, encapsulated within lipid films, that can carry out some of the functions of human cells. These "droplet networks" could be the building blocks of a new technology used to pass on drugs and could even replace damaged tissue, said Oxford University. AFP


Space weather centre launched in Brussels

Europe has launched its first space weather co-ordination centre in Brussels to raise the alarm for satellite-sizzling solar storms that threaten astronauts in orbit, plane passengers and electricity grids on Earth. Space weather is caused mainly by storms and eruptions in our volatile sun sending potentially dangerous radiation towards Earth. The sun suddenly ejects bursts of its component plasma or magnetic matter in events called coronal mass ejections and is subject to bursts of radiation called solar flares. Internet, phones, television, electricity and air and rail transport may be disrupted in a worst-case scenario. AFP


Spring break for Mars rovers in orbit

It is the Martian version of spring break: Curiosity, Opportunity and with their spacecraft friends circling overhead, will take it easy this month due to the sun's interference, Nasa says. For most of April, the sun blocks the line of sight between Earth and Mars. This makes it difficult for engineers to send instructions or hear from the flotilla in orbit and on the surface. Such blackouts occur every two years. AP


Sicily revokes approval for satellite station

The Sicilian regional government in Italy has revoked permission for the US to build a military satellite station on the island, its governor said after protests by residents who said it could pose a health risk. The ground station is part of the Mobile User Objective System, an ultra-high-frequency satellite network aimed at boosting communications for the US military and its allies. Reuters