Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 24, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 9


Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 24, 2013 




How to use less 
toilet water per 
flush? Placing a 
1 to 2 liter bottle 
filled with either 
dirt or water in 
your toilet tank 
will help you use 
less water. 

New Rechargeable 
Flow Battery 
Could Enable 
More Efficient 
Energy Storage: 
MIT researchers 
have engineered 
a new rechargeable flow battery that doesn't rely 
on expensive membranes to generate and store 
electricity. The device, they say, may one day 
enable cheaper, large scale energy storage. It’s a 
quantum leap in battery technology.

Mediterranean diet may counteract genetic risk 
of stroke: The Mediterranean diet has often been 
promoted for its heart healthy benefits, and now, 
new research has revealed that the diet may also 
counteract a person’s genetic risk for stroke. The 
Mediterranean diet consists of previously established 
healthy food items , such as fruits, vegetables 
and fish and also adding extra virgin olive oil 
and nuts (primarily walnuts).The author is Jose 
Ordovas at the USDA Human Nutrition Research 
Center on Aging at Tufts University. More than 
7,000 men and women from Spain were assigned 
to either a Mediterranean diet or a low fat diet 
for five years. While Ordovas does not suggest 
that everyone must adhere to the Mediterranean 
diet, he does advise people with a history of cardiovascular 
illness to try to incorporate some of 
the cuisine’s food items into their daily routine.“It 
may not be necessary to change their entire diet, 
but they should at least include in their diets elements 
of the Mediterranean diet we had mentioned 
– primarily the olive oil and nuts. Just remove 
some of the more negative aspects you have 
in your diet to include some of these components, 
and you can compensate for your risk.”

New DNA tests can reveal your true hair color, 
and other physical attributes: New tools are on 
the way that could make crime pay even less. 
A group of European researchers has laid the 
foundation for a test that can identify hair color 
from DNA in a tiny drop of saliva, blood or body 
fluid left at a crime scene. . "Tools that allow us 
to know what an unknown person looks like 
can be incredibly useful," said Manfred Kayser, a 
professor of forensic molecular biology at Erasmus 
University Medical Center Rotterdam in the 
Netherlands. The same research group laid the 
foundation to estimate a person's age and eye color 
from DNA. Investigators hope one day have a 
complete physical picture of a suspect thru DNA.

Obesity's death toll could be higher than believed: 
Researchers find that 18.2% of premature deaths 
in the U.S. are associated with excessive body 
mass. The study found that weight related early 
mortality had struck American women harder 
than men, and that African American women 
had suffered the most. The death toll of the nation's 
obesity epidemic may be close to four times 
higher than has been widely believed, and all that 
excess weight could reverse the steady trend of 
lengthening life spans for a generation of younger 


Voyager 1 appears to have at long last left our 
solar system and entered interstellar space, says 
a University of Maryland (UMD)-led team of 

Carrying Earthly greetings on a gold plated 
phonograph record and still-operational 
scientific instruments, NASA’s Voyager 
1 has traveled farther from Earth than 
any other human-made object. And now, 
these researchers say, it has begun the first 
exploration of our galaxy beyond the Sun’s 

“It’s a somewhat controversial view, but we 
think Voyager has finally left the solar system, 
and is truly beginning its travels through the 
Milky Way,” says UMD research scientist Marc 
Swisdak, lead author of a new paper published 
online this week in The Astrophysical Journal 
Letters [
8205/774/1/L8]. Swisdak and fellow plasma 
physicists James F. Drake, also of UMD, and 
Merav Opher of Boston University have 
constructed a model of the outer edge of the 
solar system that fits recent observations, both 
expected and unexpected.

Their model indicates Voyager 1 actually 
entered interstellar space a little more than a 
year ago, a finding directly counter to recent 
papers by NASA and other scientists suggesting 
the spacecraft was still in a fuzzily-defined 
transition zone between the Sun’s sphere of 
influence and the rest of the galaxy.

At issue is what the boundary-crossing should 
look like to Earth-bound observers 11 billion 
miles away. The Sun’s envelope, known as the 
heliosphere, is relatively well-understood as 
the region of space dominated by the magnetic 
field and charged particles emanating from our 
star. The heliopause transition zone is both of 
unknown structure and location. According to 
conventional wisdom, we’ll know we’ve passed 
through this mysterious boundary when we 
stop seeing solar particles and start seeing galactic particles, and we also detect a change in the prevailing direction of the local magnetic field.

NASA scientists recently reported that last summer, after eight years of travel through the outermost layer of the heliosphere, Voyager 1 recorded 
“multiple crossings of a boundary unlike anything previously observed.” Successive dips in, and subsequent recovery of, solar particle counts caught 
researchers’ attention. The dips in solar particle counts corresponded with abrupt increases in galactic electrons and protons. Within a month, solar 
particle counts disappeared, and only galactic particle counts remained. Yet Voyager 1 observed no change in the direction of the magnetic field.

To explain this unexpected observation, many scientists theorize that Voyager 1 has entered a “heliosheath depletion region,” but that the probe is still 
within the confines of the heliosphere. Swisdak and colleagues, who are not part of the Voyager 1 mission science teams, say there is another explanation.

Now in the 36th year after their 1977 launches, the twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft continue exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. 
Their primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there—such as active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon 
Io and intricacies of Saturn’s rings—the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have 
visited those outer planets. The current mission for both spacecraft is to explore the outermost edge of the Sun’s domain and beyond. Both Voyagers are 
capable of returning scientific data from a full range of instruments, with adequate electrical power and attitude control propellant to keep operating 
until 2020. Voyager 2 is expected to enter interstellar space a few years after its twin.

Where to next? Voyager 1 is headed in the general direction of the bright star Aldebaran, 68 light years (about 400 trillion miles) away in the constellation 
Taurus the Bull. At its present speed—39,600 mph relative to the Sun—this interstellar trip might take a few years. Bon voyage, Voyager!

You can contact Bob Eklund at:

This artist's concept shows NASA's Voyager spacecraft against a field of stars in the darkness 
of space. The two Voyager spacecraft are traveling farther and farther away from Earth, 
on a journey to interstellar space, and will eventually circle around the center of the Milky 
Way galaxy.

 NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., built and operates the Voyager 
spacecraft. California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager 
missions are a part of NASA's Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics 
Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 

 For more information about the Voyager mission, visit: and Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech