Science 2013: Year In Review

Science

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(Artistic rendering of water geysers on Jupiter’s Jovian moon Europa)

Have you ever wondered if your water came from another planet? Probably not? But there is water coming from Jupiter’s Jovian moon Europa. Water geysers have been sprouting from the Europa surface 20 times higher than Mount Everest.

It was all thanks to the Hubble Space telescope discovery of water vapor coming from the Europa surface. The planet is immersed in ice. These water plumes or geysers, as some NASA scientists call them, are erupting from the surface of the planet.  With these plumes in existence scientists can conduct some research without having to go to the planet to collect ice core samples.

Where there is life, there is water, right?

It has been a long held belief that with water it can support life. We are a long way from this discovery on Europa, according to some NASA scientists, and scientific experts, but it does offer a view point that some planets might be more inhabitable than others.

Teen Prodigy

High school sophomore Jack Andraka, 15, from Crownsville, Maryland, has joined the fight against pancreatic cancer. Well Andraka is pretty close.

Andraka won the award for youth achievement Smithsonian American Ingenuity, for inventing a new method in detecting pancreatic cancer. Andraka won a $75,000 grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his achievement.

Andraka stated in an interview on CBS 2 Morning with Charlie Rose and Gayle King, that all of the research, technology and information is there, you just have to learn how to use it. The research and the steps that Andraka took was a lot more challenging than simply having access to information. Andraka sent over 200 emails to researchers about his experimental protocol; only one person responded.

Andraka’s test simply put, is using a small dipstick probe that uses a sixth of a drop of blood, it takes five minutes to complete. Andraka’s test is only in the preliminary stage. But drug companies and Facebook users are interested and asking questions.

The one researcher who responded was curious because they had never had one of their graduate fellows send such an email, much less a High school student. The person was Anirban Maitra, a Johns Hopkins pathologist and pancreatic cancer researcher who is now Andraka’s mentor. Andraka spent seven months, after school and on weekends learning the scientific process.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the lethal cancers. It has a five-year survival rate of six percent. It affects 40, 000 people a year.

Andraka is called the “Edison of our times.” At least he will be old enough to continue the research.

(Sources: NASA; Smithsonian.com; CBS 2 This Morning)

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