Mars Test Rover Joins Runners at Finish Line

Pasadena CA (JPL) Apr 19, 2015

A test rover used during preparations for rover missions on Mars stood in for the NASA Mars rover Opportunity by breaking through the finish-line tape after runners completed a relay marathon at JPL to celebrate Opportunity’s Martian marathon. Eight teams of Earthlings took part, with such appropriate names as “Endeavor Crater” and “Eagle Crater”, in keeping with milestones and locations in the —> Read More

GOCE helps tap into sustainable energy resources

Paris (ESA) Apr 17, 2015

Going far above and beyond its original mission objectives, results from the GOCE gravity satellite are now being used to produce maps for geothermal energy development.

Geothermal energy is heat from under Earth’s surface. From hot springs to magma, this energy provides a clean, sustainable resource that can be used to generate electricity, heat buildings, grow plants in greenhouses and m —> Read More

Artificial photosynthesis poses win/win for the environment

Berkeley CA (SPX) Apr 17, 2015

A potentially game-changing breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis has been achieved with the development of a system that can capture carbon dioxide emissions before they are vented into the atmosphere and then, powered by solar energy, convert that carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products, including biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even liquid fuels.

Scientists w —> Read More

Woman Indirectly Struck By Lightning Sustains Rare Injury

macula injury

By: Tanya Lewis
Published: April 15, 2015 11:22am ET on LiveScience.

Being struck by lightning is a rare event, and it can have some equally unusual medical effects.

For one 77-year-old woman who survived being hit by an indirect lightning strike while sitting in her car, those effects included losing her vision in one eye, according to a new report of her case.

This photograph reveals the swelling (black arrow) near the macular hole in the woman’s right eye caused by a lightning strike.

An exam revealed that the strike tore a tiny hole in the woman’s macula, which is the part of the eye that is critical for high-acuity vision.

The woman’s case reveals the importance of checking the vision of anyone who is struck by a bolt, researchers said in their report, published March 31 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. [16 Oddest Medical Cases]

“In the future, if patients are struck by lightning, it should be a routine process to refer them to an ophthalmologist to have an eye assessment,” said study co-author Dr. Permesh Dhillon, an ophthalmologist at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, England.

The woman’s injury wasn’t diagnosed right away. When the lightning bolt struck the woman’s car, she suffered some back pain, and her hairdresser later noticed minor burns on the woman’s scalp. Later that day, the woman reported, the vision in her right eye was blurred, and she could barely see with that eye, though it was not painful, Dhillon said.

A few days later, when the woman visited her optician, she was referred to Dhillon and his colleagues, who scanned the patient’s retina using a relatively new technique known as optimal coherence tomography (OCT). They found the hole in the woman’s macula, a part of the retina that is responsible for about 90 percent of vision, —> Read More

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