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Mars Lander ready to sprinkle soil

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Gizmorama - NASA: Mars Lander ready to sprinkle soil
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NASA: Mars Lander ready to sprinkle soil

The U.S. space agency says the Phoenix Mars Lander will use
its robotic arm to sprinkle Martian soil on a rotating wheel
so as to better view it. The National Aeronautics and Space
Administration says the spacecraft will sprinkle a spoonful
of Martian soil on the wheel so it will rotate the sample
into place for viewing by the spacecraft's optical microscope.
On Tuesday's schedule was a set of atmosphere observations in
coordination with overhead passes of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance
Orbiter. The experiments allow instruments on Phoenix and on
the orbiter to examine the same column of atmosphere
simultaneously from above and below. Phoenix Monday tested
delivering Martian soil by sprinkling it rather than dumping
it. NASA said the positive result prompted researchers not only
to proceed with plans for soil delivery to the microscope, but
also to plan on sprinkling a sample in the near future into
one of the eight ovens of an instrument that bakes and sniffs
samples, The Phoenix mission is led by Peter Smith at the
University of Arizona with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, Calif., providing overall project management.

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ASU boosts solar power on campus

Arizona State University said it plans to create the nation's
largest rooftop solar-power plant at its main campus in Tempe,
Ariz. Three companies will install the equipment on up to
330,000 square feet of rooftop space, The Arizona Republic
reported Tuesday. Jonathan Fink, director of ASU's Global
Institute of Sustainability, said 2 megawatts of generating
capacity will be installed on 135,000 square feet by the end
of the year -- enough to run 4,600 computers and reduce carbon
emissions by 2,825 tons per year, the newspaper said.

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Computer model may predict disease timing

U.S. and Canadian health scientists say they've created a
weather model that might help predict the timing and intensity
of infectious diseases. Tuffs University Associate Professor
Elena Naumova and Professor Ian MacNeill of the University of
Western Ontario said they have created a model that takes into
account weather conditions and other factors that affect the
number of people who will fall ill during an outbreak. With the
model they show the risk of weather-sensitive diseases might
increase with climate variability or even gradual climate change.
The scientists said their model takes into consideration outdoor
temperature, base level of a disease in a community before an
outbreak, the number of people infected throughout the course of
the outbreak and incubation time of a given disease. "It is this
last factor that affects what we call the lag time," said Naumova.
"Infected individuals go on to infect others, and current models
may be underestimating the number of cases in an outbreak by
failing to account for lag time." The research appeared in the
journal Environmetrics.


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