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ChannelYahoo News - Latest News & Headlines    
RSS File: http://rss.news.yahoo.com/rss/science
Description: The latest news and headlines from Yahoo! News. Get breaking news stories and in-depth coverage with videos and photos.
  • U.S. to make coronavirus strain for possible human challenge trials      Fri, 14 Aug 2020 08:23:33 -0400

    U.S. to make coronavirus strain for possible human challenge trialsBut many scientists consider human challenge trials with the coronavirus unethical because there are no "rescue therapies" for those who fall ill.


    U.S. to make coronavirus strain for possible human challenge trialsBut many scientists consider human challenge trials with the coronavirus unethical because there are no "rescue therapies" for those who fall ill.


     

  • Golden eagles breeding success at Scottish Highlands estate      Thu, 13 Aug 2020 09:22:53 -0400

    Golden eagles breeding success at Scottish Highlands estateThe raptors have bred on an estate in the Scottish Highlands for the first time in 40 years.


    Golden eagles breeding success at Scottish Highlands estateThe raptors have bred on an estate in the Scottish Highlands for the first time in 40 years.


     

  • Europe's earliest bone tools found in Britain      Wed, 12 Aug 2020 13:52:04 -0400

    Europe's earliest bone tools found in BritainArchaeologists say they've discovered the earliest known bone tools in Europe.


    Europe's earliest bone tools found in BritainArchaeologists say they've discovered the earliest known bone tools in Europe.


     

  • Milne Ice Shelf: Satellites capture Arctic ice split      Tue, 11 Aug 2020 10:22:47 -0400

    Milne Ice Shelf: Satellites capture Arctic ice splitThe Planet Earth-observation company releases new imagery of Canada's broken Milne Ice Shelf.


    Milne Ice Shelf: Satellites capture Arctic ice splitThe Planet Earth-observation company releases new imagery of Canada's broken Milne Ice Shelf.


     

  • Climate change: Warming world will be 'devastating' for frozen peatlands      Mon, 10 Aug 2020 15:10:03 -0400

    Climate change: Warming world will be 'devastating' for frozen peatlandsHuge stocks of greenhouse gases tied up in peatlands could be released as the world warms.


    Climate change: Warming world will be 'devastating' for frozen peatlandsHuge stocks of greenhouse gases tied up in peatlands could be released as the world warms.


     

  • Climate change: Satellites record history of Antarctic melting      Mon, 10 Aug 2020 11:37:15 -0400

    Climate change: Satellites record history of Antarctic meltingEuropean spacecraft track in fine detail the thinning that's occurred at the continent's edge.


    Climate change: Satellites record history of Antarctic meltingEuropean spacecraft track in fine detail the thinning that's occurred at the continent's edge.


     

  • Beaver families win legal 'right to remain'      Sat, 08 Aug 2020 02:23:40 -0400

    Beaver families win legal 'right to remain'Fifteen beaver families have been given a permanent home on the River Otter in East Devon.


    Beaver families win legal 'right to remain'Fifteen beaver families have been given a permanent home on the River Otter in East Devon.


     

  • ULA and SpaceX win shares of future national security launches; Blue Origin loses out      Fri, 07 Aug 2020 19:36:43 -0400

    ULA and SpaceX win shares of future national security launches; Blue Origin loses outThe U.S. Space Force designated United Launch Alliance and SpaceX as the winners of a multibillion-dollar competition for national security launches over a five-year period, passing up a proposal from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture in the process. Northrop Grumman and its OmegA rocket also lost out in the Phase II competition for the National Security Space Launch program. ULA will receive a 60% share of the launch manifest for contracts awarded in the 2020-2024 time frame, with the first missions launching in fiscal 2022, said William Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology… Read More


    ULA and SpaceX win shares of future national security launches; Blue Origin loses outThe U.S. Space Force designated United Launch Alliance and SpaceX as the winners of a multibillion-dollar competition for national security launches over a five-year period, passing up a proposal from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture in the process. Northrop Grumman and its OmegA rocket also lost out in the Phase II competition for the National Security Space Launch program. ULA will receive a 60% share of the launch manifest for contracts awarded in the 2020-2024 time frame, with the first missions launching in fiscal 2022, said William Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology… Read More


     

  • Climate change: UK peat emissions could cancel forest benefits      Fri, 07 Aug 2020 08:16:54 -0400

    Climate change: UK peat emissions could cancel forest benefitsUK peatland emissions could cancel out all carbon reductions from new and existing forests.


    Climate change: UK peat emissions could cancel forest benefitsUK peatland emissions could cancel out all carbon reductions from new and existing forests.


     

  • Climate change: Lockdown has 'negligible' effect on temperatures      Fri, 07 Aug 2020 05:00:35 -0400

    Climate change: Lockdown has 'negligible' effect on temperaturesNew research says that the lockdown, by itself, will make little difference to climate change.


    Climate change: Lockdown has 'negligible' effect on temperaturesNew research says that the lockdown, by itself, will make little difference to climate change.


     

  • SpaceX launches 57 stealth satellites for Starlink network, plus a pair for BlackSky      Fri, 07 Aug 2020 02:46:45 -0400

    SpaceX launches 57 stealth satellites for Starlink network, plus a pair for BlackSkyAfter weeks of delay, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sent up 57 more satellites for its Starlink broadband internet constellation, with two BlackSky planet-watching satellites hitching a ride. The launch was originally scheduled for June, but had to be put off several times due to technical concerns, weather delays and range schedule conflicts. This time around, the countdown proceeded smoothly to liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 1:12 a.m. ET Aug. 7 (10:12 p.m..PT Aug. 6). Minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9's second stage separated from the first-stage booster and headed onward to orbit. The… Read More


    SpaceX launches 57 stealth satellites for Starlink network, plus a pair for BlackSkyAfter weeks of delay, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sent up 57 more satellites for its Starlink broadband internet constellation, with two BlackSky planet-watching satellites hitching a ride. The launch was originally scheduled for June, but had to be put off several times due to technical concerns, weather delays and range schedule conflicts. This time around, the countdown proceeded smoothly to liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 1:12 a.m. ET Aug. 7 (10:12 p.m..PT Aug. 6). Minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9's second stage separated from the first-stage booster and headed onward to orbit. The… Read More


     

  • Climate change: Satellites find new colonies of Emperor penguins      Thu, 06 Aug 2020 08:27:42 -0400

    Climate change: Satellites find new colonies of Emperor penguinsA search from space discovers new colonies of the Antarctic bird that has an uncertain future.


    Climate change: Satellites find new colonies of Emperor penguinsA search from space discovers new colonies of the Antarctic bird that has an uncertain future.


     

  • City growth favours animals 'more likely to carry disease'      Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:25:53 -0400

    City growth favours animals 'more likely to carry disease'Turning wild spaces into farmland or cities creates opportunities for diseases to cross into humans.


    City growth favours animals 'more likely to carry disease'Turning wild spaces into farmland or cities creates opportunities for diseases to cross into humans.


     

  • 'Paradise island' hosts untold botanical treasures      Thu, 06 Aug 2020 02:43:51 -0400

    'Paradise island' hosts untold botanical treasuresThe first checklist of plants found on the tropical island of New Guinea reveals incredible plant diversity.


    'Paradise island' hosts untold botanical treasuresThe first checklist of plants found on the tropical island of New Guinea reveals incredible plant diversity.


     

  • SpaceX: Musk's 'Mars ship' prototype aces 150m test flight      Wed, 05 Aug 2020 09:41:29 -0400

    SpaceX: Musk's 'Mars ship' prototype aces 150m test flightA prototype of the engine for SpaceX's next-generation Starship vehicle has made a 150m test "hop".


    SpaceX: Musk's 'Mars ship' prototype aces 150m test flightA prototype of the engine for SpaceX's next-generation Starship vehicle has made a 150m test "hop".


     

  • SpaceX: Nasa crew describe rumbles and jolts of return to Earth      Tue, 04 Aug 2020 19:28:23 -0400

    SpaceX: Nasa crew describe rumbles and jolts of return to EarthBob Behnken and Doug Hurley describe returning to Earth from the ISS in SpaceX's vehicle.


    SpaceX: Nasa crew describe rumbles and jolts of return to EarthBob Behnken and Doug Hurley describe returning to Earth from the ISS in SpaceX's vehicle.


     

  • Scientists Uncover Biological Signatures of the Worst COVID-19 Cases      Tue, 04 Aug 2020 14:49:30 -0400

    Scientists Uncover Biological Signatures of the Worst COVID-19 CasesScientists are beginning to untangle one of the most complex biological mysteries of the coronavirus pandemic: Why do some people get severely sick, whereas others quickly recover?In certain patients, according to a flurry of recent studies, the virus appears to make the immune system go haywire.Unable to marshal the right cells and molecules to fight off the invader, the bodies of the infected instead launch an entire arsenal of weapons -- a misguided barrage that can wreak havoc on healthy tissues, experts said."We are seeing some crazy things coming up at various stages of infection," said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University who led one of the new studies.Researchers studying these unusual responses are finding patterns that distinguish patients on the path to recovery from those who fare far worse. Insights gleaned from the data might help tailor treatments to individuals, easing symptoms or perhaps even vanquishing the virus before it has a chance to push the immune system too far."A lot of these data are telling us that we need to be acting pretty early in this process," said John Wherry, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania who recently published a study of these telltale immune signatures. As more findings come out, researchers may be able to begin testing the idea that "we can change the trajectory of disease," he said.When a more familiar respiratory infection, like a flu virus, tries to gain a foothold in the body, the immune response launches a defense in two orchestrated acts. First, a cavalry of fast-acting fighters flocks to the site of infection and tries to corral the invader, buying the rest of the immune system time to mount a more tailored attack.Much of the early response depends on signaling molecules called cytokines that are produced in response to a virus. Like microscopic alarms, cytokines can mobilize reinforcements from elsewhere in the body, triggering a round of inflammation.Eventually, these cells and molecules leading the initial charge will stand down, making way for antibodies and T cells -- specialized assassins built to home in on the virus and the cells it has infected.But this coordinated handoff seems to break down in people with severe COVID-19.Rather than bowing out gracefully, the cytokines that drive the first surge never stop sounding the alarm, even after antibodies and T cells arrive on the scene. That means the wildfire response of inflammation may never get snuffed out, even when it's no longer needed."It's normal to develop inflammation during a viral infection," said Catherine Blish, a viral immunologist at Stanford University. "The problem comes when you can't resolve it."This sustained signaling may result in part from the body's inability to keep the virus in check, Iwasaki said. Many who struggle to recover from their illness seem to harbor the pathogen long after other patients have purged it, perhaps goading the immune system into prolonging its frantic inflammatory siege.Plenty of other viruses, including those that cause AIDS and herpes, have evolved tricks to elude the immune system. Recent evidence hints that the new coronavirus might have a way of delaying or muffling interferon, one of the earliest cytokine defenses the body mounts.The failure of this first line of defense may dupe the immune system into sounding its alarm bells even louder, dragging out the response into something destructive. "It's an enigma," said Avery August, an immunologist at Cornell University. "You have this raging immune response, but the virus continues to replicate."And the quality of these cytokines may matter as much as the quantity. In a paper published last week in Nature Medicine, Iwasaki and her colleagues showed that patients with severe COVID-19 appear to be churning out signals that are better suited to subduing pathogens that aren't viruses.Although the delineations aren't always clear-cut, the immune system's responses to pathogens can be roughly grouped into three categories: type 1, which is directed against viruses and certain bacteria that infiltrate our cells; type 2, which fights parasites like worms that don't invade cells; and type 3, which goes after fungi and bacteria that can survive outside cells. Each branch uses different cytokines to rouse different subsets of molecular fighters.People with moderate cases of COVID-19 take what seems like the most sensible approach, concentrating on type 1 responses, Iwasaki's team found. Patients struggling to recover, on the other hand, seem to be pouring an unusual number of resources into type 2 and type 3 responses, which is kind of "wacky," Iwasaki said. "As far as we know, there is no parasite involved."It's almost as if the immune system is struggling to "pick a lane," Wherry said.This disorientation also seems to extend into the realm of B cells and T cells -- two types of immune fighters that usually need to stay in conversation to coordinate their attacks. Certain types of T cells, for instance, are crucial for coaxing B cells into manufacturing disease-fighting antibodies.Last month, Wherry and his colleagues published a paper in Science finding that, in many patients with severe COVID-19, the virus had somehow driven a wedge between these two close-knit cellular communities. It's too soon to tell for sure, but perhaps something about the coronavirus is preventing B and T cells from "talking to each other," he said.These studies suggest that treating bad cases of COVID-19 might require an immunological reset -- drugs that could, in theory, restore the balance in the body and resurrect lines of communication between bamboozled cells. Such therapies could even be focused on specific subsets of patients whose bodies are responding bizarrely to the virus, Blish said: "the ones who have deranged cytokines from the beginning."But that's easier said than done. "The challenge here is trying to blunt the response, without completely suppressing it, and getting the right types of responses," August said. "It's hard to fine-tune that."Timing is also crucial. Dose a patient too early with a drug that tempers immune signaling, and they may not respond strongly enough; give it too late, and the worst of the damage may have already been done. The same goes for treatments intended to shore up the initial immune response against the coronavirus, like interferon-based therapies, Blish said. These could stamp out the pathogen if given shortly after infection -- or run roughshod over the body if administered after too long of a delay.So far, treatments that block the effects of one cytokine at a time have yielded mixed or lackluster results -- perhaps because researchers haven't yet identified the right combinations of signals that drive disease, said Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University.Steroids like dexamethasone, on the other hand, are like "big hammers" that can curb the activity of multiple cytokines at once, Farber said. Early clinical trials have hinted at dexamethasone's benefits against severe cases of the coronavirus, and more are underway. Such broad-acting treatments have their downsides. But, she added, "it seems that's a good strategy, until we know more."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


    Scientists Uncover Biological Signatures of the Worst COVID-19 CasesScientists are beginning to untangle one of the most complex biological mysteries of the coronavirus pandemic: Why do some people get severely sick, whereas others quickly recover?In certain patients, according to a flurry of recent studies, the virus appears to make the immune system go haywire.Unable to marshal the right cells and molecules to fight off the invader, the bodies of the infected instead launch an entire arsenal of weapons -- a misguided barrage that can wreak havoc on healthy tissues, experts said."We are seeing some crazy things coming up at various stages of infection," said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University who led one of the new studies.Researchers studying these unusual responses are finding patterns that distinguish patients on the path to recovery from those who fare far worse. Insights gleaned from the data might help tailor treatments to individuals, easing symptoms or perhaps even vanquishing the virus before it has a chance to push the immune system too far."A lot of these data are telling us that we need to be acting pretty early in this process," said John Wherry, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania who recently published a study of these telltale immune signatures. As more findings come out, researchers may be able to begin testing the idea that "we can change the trajectory of disease," he said.When a more familiar respiratory infection, like a flu virus, tries to gain a foothold in the body, the immune response launches a defense in two orchestrated acts. First, a cavalry of fast-acting fighters flocks to the site of infection and tries to corral the invader, buying the rest of the immune system time to mount a more tailored attack.Much of the early response depends on signaling molecules called cytokines that are produced in response to a virus. Like microscopic alarms, cytokines can mobilize reinforcements from elsewhere in the body, triggering a round of inflammation.Eventually, these cells and molecules leading the initial charge will stand down, making way for antibodies and T cells -- specialized assassins built to home in on the virus and the cells it has infected.But this coordinated handoff seems to break down in people with severe COVID-19.Rather than bowing out gracefully, the cytokines that drive the first surge never stop sounding the alarm, even after antibodies and T cells arrive on the scene. That means the wildfire response of inflammation may never get snuffed out, even when it's no longer needed."It's normal to develop inflammation during a viral infection," said Catherine Blish, a viral immunologist at Stanford University. "The problem comes when you can't resolve it."This sustained signaling may result in part from the body's inability to keep the virus in check, Iwasaki said. Many who struggle to recover from their illness seem to harbor the pathogen long after other patients have purged it, perhaps goading the immune system into prolonging its frantic inflammatory siege.Plenty of other viruses, including those that cause AIDS and herpes, have evolved tricks to elude the immune system. Recent evidence hints that the new coronavirus might have a way of delaying or muffling interferon, one of the earliest cytokine defenses the body mounts.The failure of this first line of defense may dupe the immune system into sounding its alarm bells even louder, dragging out the response into something destructive. "It's an enigma," said Avery August, an immunologist at Cornell University. "You have this raging immune response, but the virus continues to replicate."And the quality of these cytokines may matter as much as the quantity. In a paper published last week in Nature Medicine, Iwasaki and her colleagues showed that patients with severe COVID-19 appear to be churning out signals that are better suited to subduing pathogens that aren't viruses.Although the delineations aren't always clear-cut, the immune system's responses to pathogens can be roughly grouped into three categories: type 1, which is directed against viruses and certain bacteria that infiltrate our cells; type 2, which fights parasites like worms that don't invade cells; and type 3, which goes after fungi and bacteria that can survive outside cells. Each branch uses different cytokines to rouse different subsets of molecular fighters.People with moderate cases of COVID-19 take what seems like the most sensible approach, concentrating on type 1 responses, Iwasaki's team found. Patients struggling to recover, on the other hand, seem to be pouring an unusual number of resources into type 2 and type 3 responses, which is kind of "wacky," Iwasaki said. "As far as we know, there is no parasite involved."It's almost as if the immune system is struggling to "pick a lane," Wherry said.This disorientation also seems to extend into the realm of B cells and T cells -- two types of immune fighters that usually need to stay in conversation to coordinate their attacks. Certain types of T cells, for instance, are crucial for coaxing B cells into manufacturing disease-fighting antibodies.Last month, Wherry and his colleagues published a paper in Science finding that, in many patients with severe COVID-19, the virus had somehow driven a wedge between these two close-knit cellular communities. It's too soon to tell for sure, but perhaps something about the coronavirus is preventing B and T cells from "talking to each other," he said.These studies suggest that treating bad cases of COVID-19 might require an immunological reset -- drugs that could, in theory, restore the balance in the body and resurrect lines of communication between bamboozled cells. Such therapies could even be focused on specific subsets of patients whose bodies are responding bizarrely to the virus, Blish said: "the ones who have deranged cytokines from the beginning."But that's easier said than done. "The challenge here is trying to blunt the response, without completely suppressing it, and getting the right types of responses," August said. "It's hard to fine-tune that."Timing is also crucial. Dose a patient too early with a drug that tempers immune signaling, and they may not respond strongly enough; give it too late, and the worst of the damage may have already been done. The same goes for treatments intended to shore up the initial immune response against the coronavirus, like interferon-based therapies, Blish said. These could stamp out the pathogen if given shortly after infection -- or run roughshod over the body if administered after too long of a delay.So far, treatments that block the effects of one cytokine at a time have yielded mixed or lackluster results -- perhaps because researchers haven't yet identified the right combinations of signals that drive disease, said Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University.Steroids like dexamethasone, on the other hand, are like "big hammers" that can curb the activity of multiple cytokines at once, Farber said. Early clinical trials have hinted at dexamethasone's benefits against severe cases of the coronavirus, and more are underway. Such broad-acting treatments have their downsides. But, she added, "it seems that's a good strategy, until we know more."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


     

  • Other mammals lose out in panda conservation drive      Mon, 03 Aug 2020 12:54:59 -0400

    Other mammals lose out in panda conservation driveSeveral carnivorous animals have almost disappeared from areas set up to protect giant pandas.


    Other mammals lose out in panda conservation driveSeveral carnivorous animals have almost disappeared from areas set up to protect giant pandas.


     

  • Virgin Galactic unveils supersonic airplane concept with Boeing and Rolls-Royce as supporters      Mon, 03 Aug 2020 10:45:14 -0400

    Virgin Galactic unveils supersonic airplane concept with Boeing and Rolls-Royce as supportersVirgin Galactic has taken the wraps off a concept for an airplane capable of flying three times the speed of sound, to be developed with support from Boeing and Rolls-Royce. The project would be distinct from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo suborbital space plane program, which is closing in on the start of commercial operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Today's announcement follows through on the company's heightened focus on high-speed aircraft development, which is backed by a $20 million investment from Boeing HorizonX and supported by a deal with NASA to collaborate on supersonic projects. Such an initiative seems likely… Read More


    Virgin Galactic unveils supersonic airplane concept with Boeing and Rolls-Royce as supportersVirgin Galactic has taken the wraps off a concept for an airplane capable of flying three times the speed of sound, to be developed with support from Boeing and Rolls-Royce. The project would be distinct from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo suborbital space plane program, which is closing in on the start of commercial operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Today's announcement follows through on the company's heightened focus on high-speed aircraft development, which is backed by a $20 million investment from Boeing HorizonX and supported by a deal with NASA to collaborate on supersonic projects. Such an initiative seems likely… Read More


     

  • Nasa SpaceX crew return: Dragon capsule splashes down      Mon, 03 Aug 2020 03:27:57 -0400

    Nasa SpaceX crew return: Dragon capsule splashes downThe SpaceX capsule touches down off Florida, in the first crewed US water landing in 45 years.


    Nasa SpaceX crew return: Dragon capsule splashes downThe SpaceX capsule touches down off Florida, in the first crewed US water landing in 45 years.


     

  • NASA astronauts splash down in SpaceX Dragon capsule, capping historic mission      Sun, 02 Aug 2020 20:13:13 -0400

    NASA astronauts splash down in SpaceX Dragon capsule, capping historic missionThe first mission to send NASA astronauts into orbit on a commercially owned spaceship came back down to Earth today with the splashdown of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in the Gulf of Mexico. "On behalf of the SpaceX and NASA teams, welcome back to planet Earth, and thanks for flying SpaceX,” Mike Heiman, a lead member of SpaceX's operations team, told astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The splashdown closed out a 64-day mission to the International Space Station, aimed at testing the first SpaceX Dragon to carry crew. The reusable spacecraft, which put 27.1 million miles on its… Read More


    NASA astronauts splash down in SpaceX Dragon capsule, capping historic missionThe first mission to send NASA astronauts into orbit on a commercially owned spaceship came back down to Earth today with the splashdown of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in the Gulf of Mexico. "On behalf of the SpaceX and NASA teams, welcome back to planet Earth, and thanks for flying SpaceX,” Mike Heiman, a lead member of SpaceX's operations team, told astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The splashdown closed out a 64-day mission to the International Space Station, aimed at testing the first SpaceX Dragon to carry crew. The reusable spacecraft, which put 27.1 million miles on its… Read More


     

  • Nasa SpaceX mission: How we got to this point      Sun, 02 Aug 2020 08:59:41 -0400

    Nasa SpaceX mission: How we got to this pointWhy is SpaceX carrying astronauts to space and back for Nasa?


    Nasa SpaceX mission: How we got to this pointWhy is SpaceX carrying astronauts to space and back for Nasa?


     

  • What is the SpaceX Crew Dragon?      Sun, 02 Aug 2020 05:56:23 -0400

    What is the SpaceX Crew Dragon?A guide to SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle, which carries astronauts to the space station.


    What is the SpaceX Crew Dragon?A guide to SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle, which carries astronauts to the space station.


     

  • Astronauts dodge hurricane as they head for homecoming in SpaceX Dragon capsule      Sat, 01 Aug 2020 20:20:09 -0400

    Astronauts dodge hurricane as they head for homecoming in SpaceX Dragon capsuleSpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule pulled away from the International Space Station today to begin the homeward flight for NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, even as Hurricane Isaias headed for Florida's Atlantic coast. Fortunately, SpaceX's Dragon capsule is heading for waters off Florida's other coast. Dragon Endeavour undocked from the station at 7:35 p.m. ET (4:35 p.m. PT), on track for a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, Fla., at 2:48 p.m. ET (11:48 a.m. PT) Sunday. The alternate landing site is closer to Panama City, Fla. Both sites should be far away from Isaias' expected track… Read More


    Astronauts dodge hurricane as they head for homecoming in SpaceX Dragon capsuleSpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule pulled away from the International Space Station today to begin the homeward flight for NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, even as Hurricane Isaias headed for Florida's Atlantic coast. Fortunately, SpaceX's Dragon capsule is heading for waters off Florida's other coast. Dragon Endeavour undocked from the station at 7:35 p.m. ET (4:35 p.m. PT), on track for a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, Fla., at 2:48 p.m. ET (11:48 a.m. PT) Sunday. The alternate landing site is closer to Panama City, Fla. Both sites should be far away from Isaias' expected track… Read More


     

  • European Sentinel satellites to map global CO2 emissions      Fri, 31 Jul 2020 11:07:50 -0400

    European Sentinel satellites to map global CO2 emissionsGerman manufacturer OHB-System signs a €445m contract to build a greenhouse gas monitoring system.


    European Sentinel satellites to map global CO2 emissionsGerman manufacturer OHB-System signs a €445m contract to build a greenhouse gas monitoring system.


     

  • Covid-19: Infectious coronaviruses 'circulating in bats for decades'      Fri, 31 Jul 2020 07:52:57 -0400

    Covid-19: Infectious coronaviruses 'circulating in bats for decades'Research suggests a close ancestor of the coronavirus emerged in bats more than 40 years ago.


    Covid-19: Infectious coronaviruses 'circulating in bats for decades'Research suggests a close ancestor of the coronavirus emerged in bats more than 40 years ago.


     

  • Extinction: Quarter of UK mammals 'under threat'      Thu, 30 Jul 2020 14:39:56 -0400

    Extinction: Quarter of UK mammals 'under threat'Review of UK mammals finds that a quarter of native species are at "imminent threat of extinction".


    Extinction: Quarter of UK mammals 'under threat'Review of UK mammals finds that a quarter of native species are at "imminent threat of extinction".


     

  • Nasa Mars rover: Perseverance robot launches to detect life on Red Planet      Thu, 30 Jul 2020 12:50:08 -0400

    Nasa Mars rover: Perseverance robot launches to detect life on Red PlanetThe Perseverance robot launches from Florida on a seven-month flight to the Red Planet.


    Nasa Mars rover: Perseverance robot launches to detect life on Red PlanetThe Perseverance robot launches from Florida on a seven-month flight to the Red Planet.


     

  • Liftoff! NASA’s Perseverance rover begins odyssey to seek out traces of life on Mars      Thu, 30 Jul 2020 12:15:25 -0400

    Liftoff! NASA’s Perseverance rover begins odyssey to seek out traces of life on MarsWith the fiery flash of a rocket launch, NASA's Perseverance rover headed out today for what's expected to be a decade-long campaign to store up and bring back Martian samples that may hold evidence of alien life. United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 7:50 a.m. ET (4:50 a.m. PT), sending the rover into space for a seven-month cruise to Mars. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the area surrounding the launch pad was restricted, but hundreds of thousands of people watched the liftoff via streaming video. And as… Read More


    Liftoff! NASA’s Perseverance rover begins odyssey to seek out traces of life on MarsWith the fiery flash of a rocket launch, NASA's Perseverance rover headed out today for what's expected to be a decade-long campaign to store up and bring back Martian samples that may hold evidence of alien life. United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 7:50 a.m. ET (4:50 a.m. PT), sending the rover into space for a seven-month cruise to Mars. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the area surrounding the launch pad was restricted, but hundreds of thousands of people watched the liftoff via streaming video. And as… Read More


     

  • How many Mars missions have been successful?      Thu, 30 Jul 2020 12:04:59 -0400

    How many Mars missions have been successful?Getting to the Red Planet is challenging, and so it working out how many have failed.


    How many Mars missions have been successful?Getting to the Red Planet is challenging, and so it working out how many have failed.


     

  • What the heroin industry can teach us about solar power      Wed, 29 Jul 2020 15:15:15 -0400

    What the heroin industry can teach us about solar powerAfghan poppy farmers have embraced solar power to irrigate their crops, leading to a heroin boom.


    What the heroin industry can teach us about solar powerAfghan poppy farmers have embraced solar power to irrigate their crops, leading to a heroin boom.


     

  • NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover mission serves as ultimate test for working from home (planet)      Wed, 29 Jul 2020 09:00:06 -0400

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  • Virgin Galactic set for last key rocket test flights      Wed, 29 Jul 2020 07:26:30 -0400

    Virgin Galactic set for last key rocket test flightsSir Richard Branson's tourist spaceplane company updates on progress, unveiling a cabin design.


    Virgin Galactic set for last key rocket test flightsSir Richard Branson's tourist spaceplane company updates on progress, unveiling a cabin design.


     

  • Airbus to build 'first interplanetary cargo ship'      Wed, 29 Jul 2020 04:38:07 -0400

    Airbus to build 'first interplanetary cargo ship'The European aerospace company will make a huge satellite to bring Mars rocks back to Earth.


    Airbus to build 'first interplanetary cargo ship'The European aerospace company will make a huge satellite to bring Mars rocks back to Earth.


     

  • Bringing Mars back to Earth      Wed, 29 Jul 2020 03:08:14 -0400

    Bringing Mars back to EarthAn audacious mission to bring rock samples from Mars back to Earth is about to begin - find our more with our illustrated guide


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  • 'Once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity for more sustainable food      Tue, 28 Jul 2020 20:10:10 -0400

    'Once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity for more sustainable foodAn independent review of the UK's food policy calls for a new green revolution.


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  • Scientists revive 100 million-year-old microbes from the sea      Tue, 28 Jul 2020 16:02:16 -0400

    Scientists revive 100 million-year-old microbes from the seaThe organisms had been in a dormant state in the seabed in the South Pacific since the age of dinosaurs.


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  • Iter: World's largest nuclear fusion project begins assembly      Tue, 28 Jul 2020 13:35:20 -0400

    Iter: World's largest nuclear fusion project begins assemblyThe world's biggest nuclear fusion project has entered its five-year assembly phase.


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  • Virgin Galactic offers a peek inside SpaceShipTwo in VR, making its case in the space tourism race      Tue, 28 Jul 2020 13:00:14 -0400

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  • Plastic pollution to weigh 1.3 billion tonnes by 2040      Mon, 27 Jul 2020 11:25:31 -0400

    Plastic pollution to weigh 1.3 billion tonnes by 2040An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic is destined for the environment by 2040 unless global action is taken, scientists say.


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  • 'You Do the Right Things, and Still You Get It'      Mon, 27 Jul 2020 07:48:19 -0400

    'You Do the Right Things, and Still You Get It'HOUSTON -- Elaine Roberts, a longtime bagger at a supermarket, tried to be so careful. She put on gloves and stopped riding the bus to work, instead relying on her father to drive her to keep their family safe. She wore masks -- in space-themed fabrics stitched by her sister -- as she stacked products on shelves, helped people to their cars and retrieved carts from the parking lot.But many of the customers at the Randalls store in a Houston suburb did not wear them, she noticed, even as coronavirus cases in the state began rising in early June. Gov. Greg Abbott, who had pushed to reopen businesses in Texas, was refusing to make masks mandatory and for weeks had blocked local officials from enforcing any mask requirements. The grocery store only posted signs asking shoppers to wear them.Roberts, 35, who has autism and lives with her parents, got sick first, sneezing and coughing. Then her father, Paul, and mother, Sheryl, who had been so cautious after the pandemic struck that their rare ventures out were mostly for bird-watching in a nearly empty park, were hospitalized with breathing problems.Their cases were unusual: Sheryl Roberts, a sunny retired nurse, experienced severe psychiatric symptoms that made doctors fear she was suicidal, possibly an effect of the disease and medicines to treat it. She is recovering, but her husband is critically ill, on a ventilator, with failing kidneys and a mysterious paralysis that has afflicted about a dozen others at Houston Methodist Hospital.While no one can be certain how Elaine Roberts was infected, her older sister, Sidra Roman, blamed grocery customers who she felt had put her family in danger."Wearing a piece of cloth, it's a little uncomfortable," she said. "It's a lot less uncomfortable than ventilators, dialysis lines, all of those things that have had to happen to my father. And it's not necessarily you that's going to get sick and get hurt."Whoever came to the grocery store and didn't wear a mask," she added, "doesn't know this is going on."What happened to the Robertses is in many ways the story of Texas, one of the nation's hot spots as coronavirus cases mount and deaths climb. For weeks, politicians were divided over keeping the economy open, citizens were polarized about wearing masks, doctors were warning that careless behavior could imperil others, and families were put at risk by their young.Paul Roberts, 67, is among the patients now packing intensive care units across Texas and other parts of the Sun Belt. The surge in virus cases here that took off in June first appeared to involve mostly younger adults, causing milder illnesses doctors believed would respond to new treatments. But the chain of infections that began with people younger than 40 -- many who socialized at bars or parties without masks or distancing -- moved to essential workers like Elaine Roberts and then to their relatives."We thought this might be different, maybe with some of the things we've learned," Dr. Pat Herlihy, chief of critical care at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, said last week. But, he went on, "We're right there now with super, supersick people."The same is likely to befall hospitals in other areas where cases are rising; Houston was among the cities at the leading edge of the summer wave, and critical illnesses often lag new infections by weeks.Nearly 11,000 confirmed coronavirus patients were in Texas hospitals as of Wednesday, the last day for which complete data were available. It was a record high, according to the state health department, five times as many as the peak in the spring.At Houston Methodist, the city's largest hospital, beds were filled disproportionately with Hispanic patients and with multiple members of families. There were people who believed they were invulnerable to the virus, and others like the Robertses who knew that they were not. Coronavirus deaths across Methodist's hospital system have multiplied, as they have elsewhere: 31 in May, 47 in June and 144 in the first three weeks of July.Administrators have created ICU after ICU to tend to the growing number of severely ill patients who often require weeks of resource-intensive treatment. In recent days, doctors were told to stop offering a remedy used as a last resort -- treatment with a heart-lung machine -- to any more patients because staffing was too stretched.With patients on ventilators awaiting beds in ICUs, physicians have been pressed to move patients through as quickly as possible, including urging families to make decisions about removing life support when there is little chance of recovery.Herlihy and Dr. Faisal Masud, head of critical care at the Methodist hospital system, said that because so many patients were so severely sick, they had been forced to turn away some transfers from other institutions."I get desperate calls, desperate emails," Masud said. "I have to make the call as to who can come and not come in. That's a huge burden because in my heart, with my saying no, they will more than likely end up dying."Masks Were 'Kind of 50-50'Elaine Roberts began working at the Randalls grocery store in Bellaire, part of a larger chain, when she was 16. Nearly two decades later, she is one of its longest-tenured employees.Diagnosed in childhood with a form of autism that she said has made learning difficult, she didn't speak until she was 8, when the words came in a burst during a Disney World trip. But her parents have raised her to be as independent as possible.She completed a four-year vocational program after high school and applied to countless other jobs over the years, to no avail. Outgoing and chatty, she has a boyfriend whom she's known since elementary school and a circle of good friends. She loves old television comedies and the color pink."She's so sweet and very caring and will do anything you ask of her," said her manager, Cindy Fletcher.To protect against the virus, Fletcher said, the store devotes many hours a week to cleaning, and employees are asked to stay home if they have viral symptoms.Until late June, the company did not require patrons to wear face masks. Postings asked customers to put them on, but "it wasn't anything we had to enforce," Fletcher said. "It was kind of 50-50," she added, with "younger customers not as much."Roberts had no choice about coming into close contact with shoppers, whether they wore masks or not."I ended up sacking their groceries," she said. "I couldn't say anything to them about it. I didn't want to be bossy."Public health officials acknowledge that masks and social distancing are not complete defenses against the virus, but studies suggest they can have a significant impact in protecting others. In Harris County, which includes Houston, a local order directing businesses to require people to wear masks went into effect June 22 after the governor relented. A sign went up at the Randalls entrance saying that masks were mandatory. Compliance, Fletcher said, has been good.But it was too late for the Roberts family.Paul Roberts, a former musician and carpenter turned computer programmer for NASA, now works at a software company. He and his wife, a retired Methodist Hospital nurse who calls herself a "glass half-full person," ran an online fanzine and attended Comic Con events years ago. For years, they gathered weekly with their two daughters, son-in-law and now-7-year-old grandson for jigsaw puzzles and fierce games of Uno."They are amazing nerds," Roman, 38, said of her parents.Sheryl Roberts, 65, understood the perils of the pandemic; she had diabetes, asthma and heart disease, which could put her at higher risk. Her husband had chronic lung disease and a stent to open a blocked coronary artery."We have been so careful, so very careful, and stayed away from people," she said.Her husband began working from home in the spring when Washington state, New York and then other areas around the country were hit hard. Paul Roberts occasionally made a supermarket run during "senior" hour; the couple's only "big, hot date" in recent months, Sheryl Roberts said, was to view wildflowers from their car.Their younger daughter was diligent as well. But then she came back from work sneezing one day in mid-June and thought it was allergies. Soon she had a cough, fever, headaches and diarrhea, and lost her senses of taste and smell, telltale symptoms of the coronavirus."She told me, 'I don't know what's going on, Mom, but I wore a mask, I wore gloves, I washed my hands,'" Sheryl Roberts said. "You do the right things, and still you get it."Elaine Roberts, who tested positive for the coronavirus, did not become seriously ill. But for her parents, it would be much worse.Daughter, Sister, CaretakerPaul Roberts and his wife started sneezing, then coughing, just like their daughter, and developed fevers and severe body aches. Then he got "awfully sick awfully quickly," Sheryl Roberts recalled. He became confused June 22. Alarmed, she tested his oxygen level. It was low, and she called her older daughter to take him to an emergency care center, the second visit in two days.Before he left, his wife asked him to make a promise."He and I made a deal," she recalled. "He was going to get well, and I was going to do the same. We were going to live through this."But a few days later, his lungs ravaged by the virus, Roberts was put on a ventilator."He cratered," his wife said.Within a week, Sheryl Roberts, too, was admitted to Methodist after becoming short of breath.Neither daughter could see their parents: Methodist, like many other hospitals around the country, blocked visitors to contain the virus's spread. The couple were isolated in separate buildings and could not communicate with each other. Paul Roberts was gravely ill, and his wife's condition was deteriorating. Roman, an oil industry engineer, tried to fill the gap."I've known for a very long time that when the time comes, I get to step up," said Roman, 38. "I have to take care of my parents. I have to take care of my sister. I just didn't expect it all to converge at once."After about a week in the hospital, there was a crisis: Sheryl Roberts became delirious and repeatedly pulled the tubing that supplied oxygen out from under her nose. Doctors put restraints on her, stationed a sitter outside her room and called Roman to say they thought her mother's turmoil might be a result of medication side effects combined with her illness.Roman called her sister in tears. "I said, 'I'm scared, Lainie, I'm scared.' She said, 'I am, too.'"After Sheryl Roberts' steroid dose was cut, the symptoms resolved over a couple of days."They said that I had said that I was going to kill myself," she recalled the doctors telling her. "This is not me."Her breathing gradually improved, and she did not need a ventilator. A few days later, she said she was keeping herself going by imagining a trip on her bucket list: taking her husband to see macaws in the Amazon.Doctors called Roman with updates on her father and requests to give consent for procedures, including a catheter for emergency kidney dialysis. He received steroids, which work against inflammation, and experimental medications. Paul Roberts was put under deep sedation and given drugs to paralyze him so the ventilator could work more effectively.There were some glimmers of hope -- his lungs seemed to be healing -- but whenever the medical team reduced the sedation over the next few days, his blood pressure rose and his heart raced, signs of agitation. On July 9, Dr. Mukhtar Al-Saadi called Roman with an update."It was very difficult for us to wake him up meaningfully to see if he can breathe on his own," the doctor said.'Believe Me, It's Real'Last week, after she was discharged and just about to be wheeled out of the hospital, Sheryl Roberts received a terrifying call. Her husband was still not waking up or moving, and doctors believed a massive stroke or another neurological problem was the likely reason. She and her daughters gathered that night, discussing the difficult decisions they might have to make."Do we just let him go if he's brain-dead?" Sheryl Roberts said they wondered. As they considered what the "very bright, very proud man" would want, Roman said, the three women wept.A brain scan the next day showed that he had not had a stroke, but additional studies were delayed to avoid exposing the few available technicians to the virus. On Friday, Dr. R. Glenn Smith, a neurology attending physician, performed neuromuscular testing that indicated severe damage to Paul Roberts' nerve coverings.About a dozen other patients at the hospital have developed a paralysis or profound weakness that doctors believe may be a complication of the virus, according to Smith. Doctors had already begun treating Roberts with a medication used for Guillain-Barre syndrome, a similar paralyzing disorder that occurs rarely after some viral infections.They don't know how much function he will be able to regain; he has begun showing some limited progress. On Tuesday a staff member brought a tablet into his room and made a video connection."He nodded; I chatted," his wife said. "He blew me a kiss."While her husband waits for a bed in a long-term acute care unit to begin rehabilitation, he remains on a ventilator. Even if there are no more challenges, his recovery will take months, Smith said."It's going to be slow," Roman said. "It's not going to be easy." But, she added, "it seems like he's still Dad upstairs, so I'll take it."The family's ordeal has made her mother more outspoken about the toll of the pandemic. The misinformation and confusion about the virus that she sees on social media scares her, she said. "The ignorance kills me: 'It's really not that bad. It's not really fatal.'"She said she now responds to such statements. "I'm always happy to show right up and say, 'You know, I just lived through it; believe me, it's real.'"She still requires oxygen, and Elaine Roberts is taking care of her, cooking meals, helping her shower and maintaining her breathing device. When her parents were both gone, she assumed new household tasks."My youngest has proved to me she's far more capable of things than I ever dreamed," her mother said. "I'm so proud of her."On Monday, Elaine Roberts has a coronavirus test scheduled. If it is negative, she hopes to go back to work at Randalls.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


    'You Do the Right Things, and Still You Get It'HOUSTON -- Elaine Roberts, a longtime bagger at a supermarket, tried to be so careful. She put on gloves and stopped riding the bus to work, instead relying on her father to drive her to keep their family safe. She wore masks -- in space-themed fabrics stitched by her sister -- as she stacked products on shelves, helped people to their cars and retrieved carts from the parking lot.But many of the customers at the Randalls store in a Houston suburb did not wear them, she noticed, even as coronavirus cases in the state began rising in early June. Gov. Greg Abbott, who had pushed to reopen businesses in Texas, was refusing to make masks mandatory and for weeks had blocked local officials from enforcing any mask requirements. The grocery store only posted signs asking shoppers to wear them.Roberts, 35, who has autism and lives with her parents, got sick first, sneezing and coughing. Then her father, Paul, and mother, Sheryl, who had been so cautious after the pandemic struck that their rare ventures out were mostly for bird-watching in a nearly empty park, were hospitalized with breathing problems.Their cases were unusual: Sheryl Roberts, a sunny retired nurse, experienced severe psychiatric symptoms that made doctors fear she was suicidal, possibly an effect of the disease and medicines to treat it. She is recovering, but her husband is critically ill, on a ventilator, with failing kidneys and a mysterious paralysis that has afflicted about a dozen others at Houston Methodist Hospital.While no one can be certain how Elaine Roberts was infected, her older sister, Sidra Roman, blamed grocery customers who she felt had put her family in danger."Wearing a piece of cloth, it's a little uncomfortable," she said. "It's a lot less uncomfortable than ventilators, dialysis lines, all of those things that have had to happen to my father. And it's not necessarily you that's going to get sick and get hurt."Whoever came to the grocery store and didn't wear a mask," she added, "doesn't know this is going on."What happened to the Robertses is in many ways the story of Texas, one of the nation's hot spots as coronavirus cases mount and deaths climb. For weeks, politicians were divided over keeping the economy open, citizens were polarized about wearing masks, doctors were warning that careless behavior could imperil others, and families were put at risk by their young.Paul Roberts, 67, is among the patients now packing intensive care units across Texas and other parts of the Sun Belt. The surge in virus cases here that took off in June first appeared to involve mostly younger adults, causing milder illnesses doctors believed would respond to new treatments. But the chain of infections that began with people younger than 40 -- many who socialized at bars or parties without masks or distancing -- moved to essential workers like Elaine Roberts and then to their relatives."We thought this might be different, maybe with some of the things we've learned," Dr. Pat Herlihy, chief of critical care at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, said last week. But, he went on, "We're right there now with super, supersick people."The same is likely to befall hospitals in other areas where cases are rising; Houston was among the cities at the leading edge of the summer wave, and critical illnesses often lag new infections by weeks.Nearly 11,000 confirmed coronavirus patients were in Texas hospitals as of Wednesday, the last day for which complete data were available. It was a record high, according to the state health department, five times as many as the peak in the spring.At Houston Methodist, the city's largest hospital, beds were filled disproportionately with Hispanic patients and with multiple members of families. There were people who believed they were invulnerable to the virus, and others like the Robertses who knew that they were not. Coronavirus deaths across Methodist's hospital system have multiplied, as they have elsewhere: 31 in May, 47 in June and 144 in the first three weeks of July.Administrators have created ICU after ICU to tend to the growing number of severely ill patients who often require weeks of resource-intensive treatment. In recent days, doctors were told to stop offering a remedy used as a last resort -- treatment with a heart-lung machine -- to any more patients because staffing was too stretched.With patients on ventilators awaiting beds in ICUs, physicians have been pressed to move patients through as quickly as possible, including urging families to make decisions about removing life support when there is little chance of recovery.Herlihy and Dr. Faisal Masud, head of critical care at the Methodist hospital system, said that because so many patients were so severely sick, they had been forced to turn away some transfers from other institutions."I get desperate calls, desperate emails," Masud said. "I have to make the call as to who can come and not come in. That's a huge burden because in my heart, with my saying no, they will more than likely end up dying."Masks Were 'Kind of 50-50'Elaine Roberts began working at the Randalls grocery store in Bellaire, part of a larger chain, when she was 16. Nearly two decades later, she is one of its longest-tenured employees.Diagnosed in childhood with a form of autism that she said has made learning difficult, she didn't speak until she was 8, when the words came in a burst during a Disney World trip. But her parents have raised her to be as independent as possible.She completed a four-year vocational program after high school and applied to countless other jobs over the years, to no avail. Outgoing and chatty, she has a boyfriend whom she's known since elementary school and a circle of good friends. She loves old television comedies and the color pink."She's so sweet and very caring and will do anything you ask of her," said her manager, Cindy Fletcher.To protect against the virus, Fletcher said, the store devotes many hours a week to cleaning, and employees are asked to stay home if they have viral symptoms.Until late June, the company did not require patrons to wear face masks. Postings asked customers to put them on, but "it wasn't anything we had to enforce," Fletcher said. "It was kind of 50-50," she added, with "younger customers not as much."Roberts had no choice about coming into close contact with shoppers, whether they wore masks or not."I ended up sacking their groceries," she said. "I couldn't say anything to them about it. I didn't want to be bossy."Public health officials acknowledge that masks and social distancing are not complete defenses against the virus, but studies suggest they can have a significant impact in protecting others. In Harris County, which includes Houston, a local order directing businesses to require people to wear masks went into effect June 22 after the governor relented. A sign went up at the Randalls entrance saying that masks were mandatory. Compliance, Fletcher said, has been good.But it was too late for the Roberts family.Paul Roberts, a former musician and carpenter turned computer programmer for NASA, now works at a software company. He and his wife, a retired Methodist Hospital nurse who calls herself a "glass half-full person," ran an online fanzine and attended Comic Con events years ago. For years, they gathered weekly with their two daughters, son-in-law and now-7-year-old grandson for jigsaw puzzles and fierce games of Uno."They are amazing nerds," Roman, 38, said of her parents.Sheryl Roberts, 65, understood the perils of the pandemic; she had diabetes, asthma and heart disease, which could put her at higher risk. Her husband had chronic lung disease and a stent to open a blocked coronary artery."We have been so careful, so very careful, and stayed away from people," she said.Her husband began working from home in the spring when Washington state, New York and then other areas around the country were hit hard. Paul Roberts occasionally made a supermarket run during "senior" hour; the couple's only "big, hot date" in recent months, Sheryl Roberts said, was to view wildflowers from their car.Their younger daughter was diligent as well. But then she came back from work sneezing one day in mid-June and thought it was allergies. Soon she had a cough, fever, headaches and diarrhea, and lost her senses of taste and smell, telltale symptoms of the coronavirus."She told me, 'I don't know what's going on, Mom, but I wore a mask, I wore gloves, I washed my hands,'" Sheryl Roberts said. "You do the right things, and still you get it."Elaine Roberts, who tested positive for the coronavirus, did not become seriously ill. But for her parents, it would be much worse.Daughter, Sister, CaretakerPaul Roberts and his wife started sneezing, then coughing, just like their daughter, and developed fevers and severe body aches. Then he got "awfully sick awfully quickly," Sheryl Roberts recalled. He became confused June 22. Alarmed, she tested his oxygen level. It was low, and she called her older daughter to take him to an emergency care center, the second visit in two days.Before he left, his wife asked him to make a promise."He and I made a deal," she recalled. "He was going to get well, and I was going to do the same. We were going to live through this."But a few days later, his lungs ravaged by the virus, Roberts was put on a ventilator."He cratered," his wife said.Within a week, Sheryl Roberts, too, was admitted to Methodist after becoming short of breath.Neither daughter could see their parents: Methodist, like many other hospitals around the country, blocked visitors to contain the virus's spread. The couple were isolated in separate buildings and could not communicate with each other. Paul Roberts was gravely ill, and his wife's condition was deteriorating. Roman, an oil industry engineer, tried to fill the gap."I've known for a very long time that when the time comes, I get to step up," said Roman, 38. "I have to take care of my parents. I have to take care of my sister. I just didn't expect it all to converge at once."After about a week in the hospital, there was a crisis: Sheryl Roberts became delirious and repeatedly pulled the tubing that supplied oxygen out from under her nose. Doctors put restraints on her, stationed a sitter outside her room and called Roman to say they thought her mother's turmoil might be a result of medication side effects combined with her illness.Roman called her sister in tears. "I said, 'I'm scared, Lainie, I'm scared.' She said, 'I am, too.'"After Sheryl Roberts' steroid dose was cut, the symptoms resolved over a couple of days."They said that I had said that I was going to kill myself," she recalled the doctors telling her. "This is not me."Her breathing gradually improved, and she did not need a ventilator. A few days later, she said she was keeping herself going by imagining a trip on her bucket list: taking her husband to see macaws in the Amazon.Doctors called Roman with updates on her father and requests to give consent for procedures, including a catheter for emergency kidney dialysis. He received steroids, which work against inflammation, and experimental medications. Paul Roberts was put under deep sedation and given drugs to paralyze him so the ventilator could work more effectively.There were some glimmers of hope -- his lungs seemed to be healing -- but whenever the medical team reduced the sedation over the next few days, his blood pressure rose and his heart raced, signs of agitation. On July 9, Dr. Mukhtar Al-Saadi called Roman with an update."It was very difficult for us to wake him up meaningfully to see if he can breathe on his own," the doctor said.'Believe Me, It's Real'Last week, after she was discharged and just about to be wheeled out of the hospital, Sheryl Roberts received a terrifying call. Her husband was still not waking up or moving, and doctors believed a massive stroke or another neurological problem was the likely reason. She and her daughters gathered that night, discussing the difficult decisions they might have to make."Do we just let him go if he's brain-dead?" Sheryl Roberts said they wondered. As they considered what the "very bright, very proud man" would want, Roman said, the three women wept.A brain scan the next day showed that he had not had a stroke, but additional studies were delayed to avoid exposing the few available technicians to the virus. On Friday, Dr. R. Glenn Smith, a neurology attending physician, performed neuromuscular testing that indicated severe damage to Paul Roberts' nerve coverings.About a dozen other patients at the hospital have developed a paralysis or profound weakness that doctors believe may be a complication of the virus, according to Smith. Doctors had already begun treating Roberts with a medication used for Guillain-Barre syndrome, a similar paralyzing disorder that occurs rarely after some viral infections.They don't know how much function he will be able to regain; he has begun showing some limited progress. On Tuesday a staff member brought a tablet into his room and made a video connection."He nodded; I chatted," his wife said. "He blew me a kiss."While her husband waits for a bed in a long-term acute care unit to begin rehabilitation, he remains on a ventilator. Even if there are no more challenges, his recovery will take months, Smith said."It's going to be slow," Roman said. "It's not going to be easy." But, she added, "it seems like he's still Dad upstairs, so I'll take it."The family's ordeal has made her mother more outspoken about the toll of the pandemic. The misinformation and confusion about the virus that she sees on social media scares her, she said. "The ignorance kills me: 'It's really not that bad. It's not really fatal.'"She said she now responds to such statements. "I'm always happy to show right up and say, 'You know, I just lived through it; believe me, it's real.'"She still requires oxygen, and Elaine Roberts is taking care of her, cooking meals, helping her shower and maintaining her breathing device. When her parents were both gone, she assumed new household tasks."My youngest has proved to me she's far more capable of things than I ever dreamed," her mother said. "I'm so proud of her."On Monday, Elaine Roberts has a coronavirus test scheduled. If it is negative, she hopes to go back to work at Randalls.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


     

  • Nasa Mars rover: Meteorite to head home to Red Planet      Sun, 26 Jul 2020 04:56:39 -0400

    Nasa Mars rover: Meteorite to head home to Red PlanetThe Perseverance robot will take Martian rock with it when it launches from Earth on Thursday.


    Nasa Mars rover: Meteorite to head home to Red PlanetThe Perseverance robot will take Martian rock with it when it launches from Earth on Thursday.


     

  • Genetic impact of African slave trade revealed in DNA study      Fri, 24 Jul 2020 16:20:11 -0400

    Genetic impact of African slave trade revealed in DNA studyThe consequences of rape, maltreatment, disease and racism are revealed by the findings.


    Genetic impact of African slave trade revealed in DNA studyThe consequences of rape, maltreatment, disease and racism are revealed by the findings.


     

  • Nasa Mars rover: How Perseverance will hunt for signs of past life      Fri, 24 Jul 2020 11:19:11 -0400

    Nasa Mars rover: How Perseverance will hunt for signs of past lifeIf there was life on Mars, how will the US space agency's next robot rover recognise it?


    Nasa Mars rover: How Perseverance will hunt for signs of past lifeIf there was life on Mars, how will the US space agency's next robot rover recognise it?


     

  • Earliest evidence for humans in the Americas      Fri, 24 Jul 2020 08:15:36 -0400

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