Are Asteroids the Future of Planetary Science?

The asteroid Vesta as seen by the Dawn spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA

The asteroid Vesta as seen by the Dawn spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA

I don’t think I ever learned one of those little rhymes – My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas – to memorize the order of the planets, but if I had, it would’ve painted for me a minimalist picture of the solar system. (Side question: what is my Very Educated Mother serving now that we only have Dwarf Pizzas?) After all, much of the most exciting work in planetary science today happens not at the planets, but around them.

Ask an astronomer where in the solar system she’d like to visit next and you’re just as likely to hear Europa, Enceladus, Titan, or Triton as you are Venus, Mars, or Neptune. Our solar system hosts eight planets but nearly 200 known moons. And moons, it turns out, are just the start. We’ve detected more than a million asteroids; surely that’s just a fraction of what’s lurking beyond our limits of observation. Let’s not even think about the billions, perhaps even trillions, of Kuiper belt and Oort cloud objects – we could be here all day! So, while the planets may dominate the solar system gravitationally, they are pitiful numerically.(…)
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Beating the clock: researchers develop new treatment for rabies

Successfully treating rabies can be a race against the clock. Those who suffer a bite from a rabid animal have a brief window of time to seek medical help before the virus takes root in the central nervous system, at which point the disease is almost invariably fatal. Now, researchers have successfully tested a treatment on mice that cures the disease even after the virus has spread to the brain. —> Read More Here

Hospitals helping violence victims could save millions

In the first systematic look at the economic outcomes of hospital-based violence intervention, researchers demonstrate that, in addition to transforming victims’ lives, these programs may indeed save a significant amount of money compared to non-intervention, in various sectors including health care and criminal justice, up to about $4 million to serve 90 clients in a 5-year period. —> Read More Here

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