I have a conflicting relationship with cows. I love them. I love to look at them, touch them and hang out with them. I’ve had the opportunity to feed a cow, see cows mate and give birth, and even once tried my hand at milking a cow (I sucked). I dream of having a pet […]
Category Archives: Science Commentary
They say the pen is mightier than the sword … and I do agree that it packs a powerful punch. “With great power comes great responsibility,” and this is so true of writers. Our words are powerful — especially when they appear in headlines. They inspire, inform and change opinions. And, when a writer is […]
One of the causes of a human’s “shortened” life span is the increased risk of infections and certain cancers caused the the reduced effectiveness of the immune system. You see, as we age, the thymus, which produces new T cells (a type of white blood cell that is key to the effectiveness of the immune […]
This morning, I opened my email and found a press release about how insects and plant co-evolved, each one changing to adapt to life with the other. Here’s a video that explains the concept: As I was listening to the video and reading the press release, it struck me how the same process could […]
I really miss writing about science. And, of course, you probably have figured out I’m into science fiction. I once had an idea to create a website called “Sci for Sci Fi” that would cover current science research and propose ways that research could inform readers’ SF writing. Although that project never got off the ground, I’ve decided to go ahead write about research with an eye for how it can inspire fiction on this blog. This post is my first stab in that direction.
When you travel to Mars using current technology, you are exposed to quite a bit of cosmic radiation. A recent study by Charles Limoli and his colleagues found that this exposure causes significant damage to the central nervous system, leading to dementia-like mental impairments.
“Performance decrements, memory deficits, and loss of awareness and focus during spaceflight may affect mission-critical activities,” said Limoli, a professor of radiation oncology in University of California Irivine’s School of Medicine, “and exposure to these particles may have long-term adverse consequences to cognition throughout life.”
Well, I say, that doesn’t bode well. Can you imagine the implications for Mars colonization if once you get there you start forgetting things … little things, large things, important things? Why send our best and brightest to the Red Planet if they’re only going to be less than that by the time they get there?
Now, you might be saying, we’ve had people working up in the International Space Station (ISS), for years. They’ve been exposed to cosmic rays. Why haven’t we noticed this in our astronauts before?