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Weightlessness on the human body.
Dec 9, 2005 The Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft has moved approximately 580 km (340 miles) away from asteroid Itokawa, beginning the journey back to Earth. Unfortunately, it appears that the spacecraft probably failed to pick up a sample from the asteroid. JAXA officials now think that a metal bullet designed to blast material off of Itokawa's surface probably failed to fire. Hayabusa is severely damaged, and will attempt to make the return journey to Earth, but managers aren't optimistic about its chances.
Dec 9, 2005 Volunteers with the Women International Space Simulation for Exploration (WISE) campaign have wrapped up 60 days of bedrest, simulating the effects of weightlessness on the human body. The 24 women spent two months in medical beds which were slightly tilted head down. The data collected during the study will help prepare astronauts for long-duration spaceflight, but it'll also help researchers working on medical problems here on Earth too.
Dec 9, 2005 The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts has recently awarded a Phase II grant for a unique robot design that could hop across the surface of Mars. An array of these tiny robots could be deployed on Mars, coordinating with one another like a swarm of insects. Dr. Penelope Boston speaks to Astrobiology Magazine about the research and future potential for this direction of robotic exploration.
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