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Phoenix spacecraft: On course for Mars

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Gizmorama - Phoenix spacecraft: On course for Mars
"The Cutting Edge of Science Fact and Science Possibilities"
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Good Morning,
Microsoft is launching a site today that lets you virtual
explore the universe. It is a downloadable application and
you can get it by visiting www.WorldWideTelescope.org. Here
is a link to one article about the project...
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/13/science/13astr.html?ref=science
If you download the program, send me an email and let me know
how you liked it.

Until Tomorrow,
Erin

Questions? Comments? Email me at: mailto:gizmo@gophercentral.com 
Email your comments 

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P.S. You can discuss this issue or any other topic in the new 
Gizmorama forum. Check it out here...
http://archives.gophercentral.com/forum/forums/forum-view.asp?fid=23

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	 Phoenix spacecraft: On course for Mars

The U.S. space agency says its Phoenix Mars Lander is on course 
for a May 25 landing on Mars. National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration scientists targeted the spacecraft's certified 
landing site with a trajectory correction maneuver April 10. 
But, since then, officials say the spacecraft's performance 
has been stable enough to allow Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
controllers to skip a scheduled opportunity for an additional 
trajectory correction maneuver May 10 and focus on the next 
such opportunity Saturday. Phoenix has performed three flight 
path corrections since its Aug. 4, 2007, launch. The final 
opportunity for adjusting course will be during the final 24 
hours before landing. NASA said the first possible confirmation 
time for the spacecraft's May 25 landing will be at 4:53 p.m. 
PDT. The event would have occurred 15 minutes and 20 seconds 
earlier on Mars -- the time it takes radio signals traveling 
at the speed of light to travel from Mars to Earth.

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	  New finding may explain some hearing loss

U.S. scientists said their findings about how sounds are 
amplified in the inner ear might explain how genetic mutation 
or drug-overdose hearing loss occurs. St. Jude Children's 
Research Hospital investigators found an electrically powered 
amplification mechanism in the cochlea of the ear is critical 
to the acute hearing of humans and other mammals. Sound entering 
the cochlea is detected by the vibration of tiny, hair-like 
cilia that extend from cochlear hair cells, the scientists 
said. While the cochlea's "inner hair cells" are only passive 
detectors, the so-called outer hair cells amplify the sound 
signal as it transforms into an electrical signal that travels 
to the brain's auditory center, they said. Without such 
amplification, hearing would be far less sensitive since 
sound waves entering the cochlea are severely diminished as 
they pass through the inner ear fluid. The research, which 
included Jian Zuo, Xudong Wu, Jiangang Gao and Wendy Cheng 
at St. Jude; Peter Dallos, Mary Ann Cheatham, Jing Zheng, 
Charles Anderson and Soma Sengupta at Northwestern University; 
and Shuping Jia, Xiang Wang and David He at Creighton 
University, appears in the May 8 issue of the journal Neuron.

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	 Silicon can have good effect on sunflowers

U.S. horticulturists say they have determined silicon might 
have a beneficial effect on ornamental sunflowers if delivered 
in the correct concentration. Although silicon, a predominant 
element in mineral soil, isn't considered an essential nutrient 
for most plants, there has been limited evidence it might 
affect the aesthetic qualities of ornamental flowers. Oklahoma 
State University researchers Sophia Kamenidou and Todd Cavins 
examined the effects of silicon supplements on sunflowers grown 
in greenhouse environments. Cavins said the goal of the study 
was to determine the effects of silicon supplementation on 
the greenhouse-produced ornamental sunflower called "Ring of 
Fire" (Helianthus annuus L.). The researchers found, depending 
on the source and concentration of silicon used, several 
horticultural traits improved as a result of silicon 
supplementation. Kamenidou and Cavins said they observed thick, 
straight stems, increased flower and stem diameters and increased 
height in some of the treatments. "However, growth abnormalities 
were observed when concentrations of silicon at 100 mg and 200 
mg per liter were supplied as potassium silicate substrate 
drenches," said Cavins. The research appeared in the February 
issue of the journal HortScience and is available at 
http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/43/1/236.

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