Journey from Heartbreak Scar tissue that forms after a heart…

Journey from Heartbreak

Scar tissue that forms after a heart attack can be transformed back into healthy heart muscle when stimulated in the laboratory. Shown here are rejuvenated muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes (yellow-green). But turning this lab-based finding into a treatment for patients isn’t straightforward, partly because not all cells transform at the same time. Researchers have recently found out how to overcome this hurdle by analysing mouse heart cells one at a time. They identified the step-by-step molecular changes that occur when a scar cell, called a fibroblast, gradually reverts to become a cardiomyocyte. By combining analyses of cellular gene activity (expression) with chemical approaches and mathematical modelling, the team created a high-resolution road-map of cell conversion and also identified the key molecules that regulate this process. These findings could help to inform the development of new regenerative medicines for heart disease.

Written by Deborah Oakley

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Rocket Lab successfully launches NASA CubeSats to orbit on first ever Venture Class Launch Services mission

Rocket Lab – Electron Flight Test 2 Mission patch.

Dec. 16, 2018

The mission follows just five weeks after the successful ‘It’s Business Time’ launch in November, and marks Rocket Lab’s third orbital launch for 2018

 Rocket Lab successfully launches NASA CubeSats to orbit

Huntington Beach, California – December 16, 2018 – US small satellite launch company Rocket Lab has launched its third orbital mission of 2018, successfully deploying satellites to orbit for NASA. The mission, designated Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa)-19 , took place just over a month after Rocket Lab’s last successful orbital launch, ‘It’s Business Time.’ Rocket Lab has launched a total of 24 satellites to orbit in 2018.

On Sunday, December 16, 2018 UTC, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle successfully lifted off at 06:33 UTC (19:33 NZDT) from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. After being launched to an elliptical orbit, Electron’s Curie engine-powered kick stage separated from the vehicle’s second stage before circularizing to a 500×500 km orbit at an 85 degree inclination. By 56 minutes into the mission, the 13 satellites on board were  individually deployed to their precise, designated orbits.

Rocket Lab Electron launches NASA ELaNa XIX

Until now, launch opportunities for small satellites have mostly been limited to rideshare-type arrangements, flying only when space is available on large launch vehicles. This mission, awarded under a Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) Agreement, marks the first time NASA CubeSats received a dedicated ride to orbit on a commercial launch vehicle. VCLS is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program headquartered at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck says the ELaNa-19 mission represents a forward-thinking approach from NASA to acquiring launch services and recognizes the increasingly significant role small satellites are playing in exploration, technology demonstration, research and education.

Rocket Lab historic CubeSat mission for NASA

“The ELaNa-19 mission was a significant one for NASA, the Rocket Lab team and the small satellite industry overall. To launch two missions just five weeks apart, and in the first year of orbital flights, is unprecedented. It’s exactly what the small satellite industry desperately needs, and Rocket Lab is proud to be delivering it. Regular and reliable launch is now a reality for small satellites. The wait is over,” says Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck. “We’re providing small satellite customers with more control than they’ve ever had, enabling them to launch on their own schedule, to precise orbits, as frequently as they need to.”

NASA ELaNa-19 Mission Manager Justin Treptow adds, “The CubeSats of ELaNa-19 represent a large variety of scientific objectives and technology demonstrations. With this the first launch of a Venture Class Launch Service on the Rocket Lab Electron, NASA now has an option to match our small satellite missions with a dedicated small launch vehicle to place these satellites in an optimal orbit to achieve big results.”

Rocket Lab Electron ELaNa XIX satellites deployment

The ELaNa-19 launch webcast can be viewed in full at and images from the mission are available in the media library at

The next Rocket Lab Electron vehicle will be on the pad at Launch Complex 1 in January 2019. For real-time updates and mission announcements, follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab.

Fro more information about Rocket Lab, visit:

Images, Text, Videos, Credits: Rocket Lab/Trevor Mahlmann/SciNews.

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2018 December 16 Comet Wirtanen Passes by the Earth Image…

2018 December 16

Comet Wirtanen Passes by the Earth
Image Credit & Copyright: Ruslan Merzlyakov (RMS Photography)

Explanation: Today Comet Wirtanen passes by the Earth. The kilometer-sized dirty snowball orbits the Sun every 5.4 years, ranging as far out as Jupiter and as close in as the Earth. Today Comet 46P/Wirtanen passes within only 31 lunar distances to the Earth, the closest approach in 70 years. If you know where to look (Taurus), you can see the comet through binoculars as an unusual blue smudge. Pictured a week ago, Comet Wirtanen was photographed in the sky beyond an old abandoned church in Skagen, Denmark. The image composite also captures the astrophotographer. After today, the comet will begin to fade as it recedes from the Earth and the Sun.

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