NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly within 645 miles of Jupiter's moon Ganymede on Monday - Godz
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NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly within 645 miles of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede on Monday



NASA‘s Juno spacecraft will fly within 645 miles (1,038 kilometres) of Ganymede – Jupiter’s largest moon – on Monday (June 7).  

Juno’s instruments will begin collecting data about three hours before the spacecraft’s closest approach, which will happen at 6:35pm BST (1:35pm EDT). 

Juno, which launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in August 2011 to study Jupiter from orbit, will provide insights into the moon’s composition and temperature. 

The celestial event will be the closest a spacecraft has come to Ganymede since Galileo in May 2000. 

With a diameter of 3,280 miles (5,262 kilometers), Ganymede is larger than both Mercury and dwarf planet Pluto. 

Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and the only moon with its own magnetic field.   

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With a diameter of 3,280 miles, Ganymede (pictured) is larger than both planet Mercury and dwarf planet Pluto. This image shows mosaic and geologic maps of Ganymede, assembled incorporating the best available imagery from NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft and NASA’s Galileo spacecraft


Since its discovery in January 1610, Ganymede has been the focus of repeated observation, first by Earth-based telescopes, and later by flyby missions and spacecraft orbiting Jupiter.

These studies depict a complex icy world whose surface is characterised by the striking contrast between its two major terrain types – the dark, very old, highly cratered regions and the lighter, somewhat younger (but still ancient) regions marked with an extensive array of grooves and ridges.

With a diameter of 3,280 miles (5,262 kilometers), Ganymede is larger than both planet Mercury and dwarf planet Pluto.

It’s also the only satellite in the solar system known to have its own magnetosphere. 


An interactive NASA tool is providing real-time updates of Juno’s location as it approaches the natural satellite. 

Juno will fly past Ganymede at almost 12 miles per second (19 kilometres per second), which means it will go from being a point of light to a viewable disk then back to a point of light in about 25 minutes.

This will give the craft’s on-board JunoCam imager just enough time to capture five images on the moon. 

‘By flying so close, we will bring the exploration of Ganymede into the 21st century,’ said Juno’s principal investigator Scott Bolton at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

‘Juno carries a suite of sensitive instruments capable of seeing Ganymede in ways never before possible.’ 

A rotating, solar-powered spacecraft, Juno arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after making a five-year journey.

It has three giant blades stretching out some 66 feet (20 meters) from its cylindrical, six-sided body. 

Juno’s flyby will provide scientists with some stunning imagery and yield insights into Ganymede’s composition, ionosphere, magnetosphere and icy shell. 

Ganymede has three main layers – a sphere of metallic iron at the centre (the core, which generates a magnetic field), a spherical shell of rock (mantle) surrounding the core, and an outer shell of mostly ice, about 497 miles thick, surrounding both the rock shell and the core. 

Along with the Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) and Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instruments, Juno’s Microwave Radiometer’s (MWR) will peer into Ganymede’s water-ice crust, obtaining data on its composition and temperature.

On its surface, the mysterious ice moon has large, bright regions of ridges and grooves that slice across older, darker terrains. 

These grooved regions are a clue that the moon experienced dramatic upheavals in the distant past, according to NASA.   

‘Ganymede’s ice shell has some light and dark regions, suggesting that some areas may be pure ice while other areas contain dirty ice,’ said Bolton. 

‘MWR will provide the first in-depth investigation of how the composition and structure of the ice varies with depth, leading to a better understanding of how the ice shell forms and the ongoing processes that resurface the ice over time.’ 

A rotating, solar-powered spacecraft, Juno arrived at Jupiter in 2016 after making a five-year journey (depicted here in artist’s impression) 

Juno’s measurements of the radiation environment near the moon will also benefit future missions to the ‘Jovian System’ (i.e. Jupiter, its rings and its moons).    

Monday’s flyby will be the closest a spacecraft has come to Ganymede since NASA’s Galileo spacecraft made its penultimate close approach back on May 20, 2000.

On this day, Galileo – which became the became first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter in 1995 – reached 600 miles (1,000 km) from Ganymede.

Juno will continue its investigation of the solar system’s largest planet through September 2025, or until the spacecraft’s end of life.  

How NASA’s Juno probe to Jupiter will reveal the secrets of the solar system’s biggest planet

The Juno probe reached Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile journey from Earth

The Juno probe reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile (2.8bn km) journey from Earth.

Following a successful braking manoeuvre, it entered into a long polar orbit flying to within 3,100 miles (5,000 km) of the planet’s swirling cloud tops.

The probe skimmed to within just 2,600 miles (4,200 km) of the planet’s clouds once a fortnight – too close to provide global coverage in a single image.

No previous spacecraft has orbited so close to Jupiter, although two others have been sent plunging to their destruction through its atmosphere.

To complete its risky mission Juno survived a circuit-frying radiation storm generated by Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field.

The maelstrom of high energy particles travelling at nearly the speed of light is the harshest radiation environment in the Solar System.

To cope with the conditions, the spacecraft was protected with special radiation-hardened wiring and sensor shielding.

Its all-important ‘brain’ – the spacecraft’s flight computer – was housed in an armoured vault made of titanium and weighing almost 400 pounds (172kg).

The craft is expected to study the composition of the planet’s atmosphere until 2021. 


This post first appeared on The Sun

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‘Ice’ flavoured e-cigarettes may be a gateway to nicotine dependence




E-cigarettes are often touted as a good alternative for people trying to wean themselves from tobacco.

But a new study from researchers at the University of Southern California reveals a certain kind of e-cigarettes may do the complete opposite.  

The researchers found the use of ‘ice’ flavoured e-cigarettes is positively associated with smoking conventional cigarettes among young adults.  

‘Ice’ e-cigarettes are marketed with both sweet and cooling properties, in combination with fruit or desserts (such as ‘blueberry ice’ and ‘melon ice’). 

The researchers also noted that the use of ice e-cigarettes is linked with nicotine vaping frequency and dependence.  

While e-cigarettes contain fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes, they usually contain nicotine, an addictive chemical.

It’s already known that nicotine constricts blood vessels and over time this leads to a loss of elasticity, which can increase the risk of developing heart disease.  

E-cigarettes are particularly risky for the developing brains of teenagers and can also damage babies in the womb, according to the World Health Organisation. 

Whether using e-cigarettes – known as vaping – is safe has been a topic of debate for years as their use has increased rapidly, particularly among young people (stock image)

Despite this, the NHS says: ‘Many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette, and there is growing evidence that they can be effective.

It’s thought switching to e-cigarettes provide a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes while still providing a nicotine hit. 

The NHS says the liquid and vapour in e-cigarettes contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke but at much lower levels. 

Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians estimate e-cigarettes are at least 95 per cent less harmful than traditional cigarettes. 

This new study hints at the possibility that there’s something about ice e-cigarettes in particular that makes them a possible gateway to both smoking traditional cigarettes and more frequent vaping – but the experts aren’t sure what.

Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians estimate e-cigarettes are at least 95 per cent less harmful than traditional cigarettes (stock image)


E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are devices that allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke.

E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco and don’t produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most damaging constituents in cigarette smoke. 

E-cigarettes work by heating a solution (e-liquid) that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. 

Using an e-cigarette is known as vaping. 

Source: NHS 


‘Young adult use of ice flavoured e-cigarettes may be common and positively associated with combustible tobacco use, nicotine vaping frequency and dependence and use of disposable e-cigarette devices,’ the authors say.

‘Because ice flavours represent a hybrid that may contain both cooling and fruity flavouring constituents, it is unclear how these flavours fit into current and future regulatory policies that place differential restrictions across different flavour categories. 

‘Further studies of the specific cooling agents and chemical constituents in ice flavoured products and health effects of ice flavoured e-cigarette use are warranted.’

As ice e-cigarettes have only recently entered the US market, the researchers wanted to gauge their appeal and see if they’re linked to other behaviours around vaping and/or smoking among young adults.          

For their study, they drew on 344 online survey responses submitted between May and August 2020.

The survey was part of the Happiness & Health Study – a prospective study of health behaviours which originally recruited 3396 ninth grade students in Los Angeles in 2013.

The survey aimed to find out if respondents vaped and if so, which flavour they had used most often in the preceding 30 days – menthol/mint, fruit/sweet or ice.

Respondents, whose average age was 21, were also asked if they smoked regular cigarettes, what symptoms of vaping dependency they had and how often and what type of vaping device they used. 

Overall, 168 (49 per cent) reported most often using ice flavours, 60 (17 per cent) menthol/mint and 116 (34 per cent) fruit/sweet.


Vaping doesn’t work as an aid for quitting tobacco and actually has the opposite effect, suggests new research.

Researchers said there was ‘no evidence that e-cigarettes were helpful in the quit attempt’ in a large-scale study in the US.

Scientists from the University of California in San Diego carried out an analysis of data on 45,971 Americans included in the government-commissioned Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study.

Participants in the study were interviewed in 2013 and 2014 and are interviewed every year. 

A quarter of smokers who tried to quit in the first years of their enrolment used e-cigarettes to help with their attempt. And at their follow-up interview one year later, 9.6 per cent had managed to stay away from tobacco over the previous 12 months.

However, even though some had stopped smoking, researchers say the number who quit was hardly different at all from smokers who didn’t use e-cigs.

One of the studies’ authors, Dr John P. Pierce, said: ‘Among this representative sample of US smokers trying to quit, we found no evidence that e-cigarettes were helpful in the quit attempt.

‘This lack of effectiveness was also apparent in the sub-sample who used e-cigarettes on a daily basis for this quit attempt.’ 

The study was published in the journal PLOS One.


Compared with the vapers of menthol/mint flavoured e-cigarettes, those vaping ice flavoured e-cigarettes were more likely to report smoking regular cigarettes over the previous 30 days – 31.5 per cent versus 22 per cent.   

Ice flavour vapers were more likely to report symptoms of vaping dependence than fruit/sweet flavour vapers (67 per cent versus 43 per cent).

They were also more likely to have started vaping during high school (74 per cent versus 65 per cent), and to report more daily vaping episodes – 11 versus eight.

And they were also more likely than fruit/sweet or menthol/mint flavour vapers to report more vaping days over the past month – 17 versus 12 on average.

The study authors point out that their research relied on recall and didn’t measure nicotine intake, nor did it differentiate between e-cigarettes containing nicotine and those that didn’t.

‘While causality cannot be inferred from this cross sectional study, it is possible that exposure to e-cigarettes in ice flavours may somehow increase nicotine vaping frequency and dependence,’ they say.

One possibility is that the novel combination of flavours in ice e-cigarettes make users more inclined to take a puff, or they’re just a more appealing purchase in vape shops. 

‘Previous clinical laboratory studies show that fruit and menthol flavours each independently increase the appeal of e-cigarettes and suppress the aversive qualities of nicotine in young adults by creating perceptions of sweetness and coolness, respectively,’ the authors say. 

‘Ice flavours represent a hybrid that may contain both cooling and fruity flavouring constituents.

‘Further studies of the specific cooling agents and chemical constituents in ice flavoured products and the health effects of ice flavoured e-cigarette use are warranted.’       

The peer-reviewed study, which was also authored by experts at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, has been published in Tobacco Control

Earlier this year, a study warned that taking up vaping increases the likelihood that young people will end up smoking traditional cigarettes daily by threefold. 

The authors, from UC San Diego, said: ‘Trying e-cigarettes and multiple other tobacco products before age 18 years is strongly associated with later daily cigarette smoking.’  

A report ordered by the Department of Health in the UK found that vaping, which is touted as a healthier alternative to smoking, would be a harmful choice unless replacing cigarettes (stock image)

Last year, a UK government-commissioned report found that e-cigarettes can worsen heart disease and lung disorders while the risks posed by inhaling flavouring ingredients are still ‘unknown’. 

The report warned users who do not already use tobacco products ‘risk negative effects on their health’ by vaping, although vaping is a better option for traditional smokers than sticking with the cigarettes.  

Health threats to bystanders were considered low but people can suffer an increased heart rate from high nicotine exposure, if stood close to someone vaping, the report added. 

Meanwhile, a major UK clinical trial published in 2019 revealed that, when combined with expert face-to-face support, people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking were twice as likely to succeed as people who used other nicotine replacement products such as patches or gum. 


The chemicals produced by e-cigarettes combine inside people’s lungs to make entirely new combinations that are toxic to living cells, scientists have found.

Chemicals that produce flavours such as vanilla, berry and cinnamon can mix up with other solvents in the gadgets and become a danger to health.

‘We consistently observed that the new chemicals formed from the flavours and e-liquid solvents were more toxic than either of their parent compounds,’ said Professor Sven-Eric Jordt, a pharmacologist at Duke University in North Carolina.

He and colleagues at Yale University isolated chemicals used in e-cigarettes and put them onto human lung cells in a lab.

The cells were those that occur in the lining of the bronchi, which are the main airways that connect the windpipe to the insides of the lungs.

Chemicals they looked at included the flavourings vanillin, ethyl-vanillin, benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, and the solvents propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine.

The team said that e-cigarette manufacturers often claim that their devices are safe because they contain chemicals considered to be stable.

But when they mix inside the devices, Professor Jordt and colleague found, they form unstable compounds which could then go on to damage healthy cells.

They appeared to irritate receptors in nerve endings linked to the heart and blood vessels, and also to actually be able to kill cells in the lungs.  

Damaging effects could be seen even when the vapour was breathed in in low quantities. 

The scientists said they were surprised by what they saw in the lab because they did not expect the chemicals to become more unstable and dangerous as they mixed. 

‘Activation of sensory irritant receptors can increase the heart rate and, in predisposed people, can lead to an irregular heartbeat and higher blood pressure,’ said Professor Jordt.

‘It can also increase secretions in the nasal passages and throughout the lungs and airways, leading to coughing and breathing difficulties.’ 


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Some pet food brands are now using proteins from insects to reduce their carbon impact




Pet food companies are swapping meat proteins for that of insects in a bid to reduce your cat or dog’s environmental impact or carbon pawprint.

Big name brands like Nestle Purina and Mars have recently joined the move by using dried black soldier fly larvae, while other companies, such as Jiminy’s, use cricket protein.

The shift aims to reduce the 64 million tons of carbon dioxide that is emitted each year from producing and the consumption of meat-based products. 

Some companies say their insect farms only generate four percent of the current emissions released each year by farms that maintain cows, pigs and chickens.

Using insect protein as a base requires far less feed, land and water, all of which generates fewer greenhouse gases per pound than those made with beef, pork or chicken. 

Big name brands like Nestle Purina and Mars have recently joined the move by using dried black soldier fly larvae

Thanks in part to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the world has made a huge shift to going green in the past few years, with hopes of curbing carbon emissions to combat climate change.

And it seems even pet food brands want to do their part.

In November 2020, Purina launched its Beyond Nature’s Protein line in Switzerland for both cats and dogs, which contains two recipes: one based on chicken, pig’s liver and millet; the second using insect protein, chicken and fava beans.

The insect protein comes from black soldier fly larva, which is also being used by Mars in its new LoveBug for cats that first launched in the UK.

Using the larva allows companies to create a taste that mimics ‘beef and cheese,’ so our furry friends likely do not taste a difference from traditional meat-based products

Mars is using black soldier fly larvae its new LoveBug for cats that first launched in the UK

However, the ingredient only received approval in the US this past January for adult dogs and use in cats is expected to be given in 2022.

Using the larva allows companies to create a taste that mimics ‘beef and cheese,’ so our furry friends likely do not taste a difference from traditional meat-based products.

The insect protein also includes beneficial Omega 6, along with nine fatty acids for pets, which can also provide the same nutrients when consumed by humans.

A Mars Petcare representative told via email: ‘The insects we use and the process that the insects and the pet food are passed through are all designed to produce a safe and nutritious feed for your cat. Protix takes great care and responsibility to improve animal welfare.

‘This starts from the breeding stage to the final stage of processing, the larvae are well-cared, protected and allowed to express normal insect behavior.’

The larvae can be grown in smaller spaces that would not be suitable for cows or pigs and the production site can be designed to grow vertically.

Petco, a major pet shop chain, added Jiminy’s insect-based dog food and treats to its product line on June 5, which uses crickets.

Jiminy’s products are formulated with insect-based protein powder instead of traditional protein options such as beef or poultry, which have a significant impact on the environment.

Other companies are replacing meat protein with mealworms to combat climate change

Yora Pet Foods, a British startup, uses the insect ingredient that the firm says needs just two percent of the land required to farm cattle to produce 22 pounds of protein, while generating about four percent of the emissions

In the past year alone, Jiminy’s estimates its products saved 218 million gallons of water and averted 20.5 million grams of greenhouse gas emissions.

Founder and CEO of Jiminy’s, Anne Carlson, said in a statement: ‘Pet ownership’s carbon pawprint is massive, with more than 89 million dogs in the U.S. consuming more than 32 billion pounds of protein each year.

‘Jiminy’s use of insect-based protein powders challenges pet owners to rethink their dogs’ diet and make a healthy choice for pets and the planet. We are excited to now be offering our full product line in stores and online at Petco, allowing more dog owners the opportunity to make the switch to alternative proteins for their pets.’

Crickets are a great source of vitamins, minerals, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and they actually provide more iron, vitamin B12 and magnesium that beef does.

Other companies are replacing meat protein with mealworms to combat climate change.

Yora Pet Foods, a British startup, uses the insect ingredient that the firm says needs just two percent of the land required to farm cattle to produce 22 pounds of protein, while generating about four percent of the emissions.

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Baltimore’s garbage interceptor Mr Trash Wheel is gobbling up marine garbage and making lots of fans




Marine pollution is a big problem, but it’s not always an oil spill or toxic chemicals dumping into the ocean: sometimes it’s as simple as a burger wrapper blowing into the bay

A Baltimore inventor has devised Mr. Trash Wheel, a googly-eyed contraption designed to ‘eat’ garbage that falls into Jones Falls stream, a tributary for Charm City’s beloved Inner Harbor.

The goal is to snatch trash in the harbor before it floats out into the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Costing up to $800,000, the customizable contraption has intercepted more than three million pounds of garbage from the harbor since 2014.

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River currents turn water wheels that power a conveyer belt feeding trash into the floating garbage interceptor, which deposits into a Dumpster that is emptied later

Mr. Trash Wheel’s creator, John Kellett, is the former director of the Baltimore Maritime Museum, now known as Historic Ships of Baltimore.

It’s home to a WWII submarine, the USS Constitution and other sea craft.

‘When it rained,’ Kellett told The New Yorker in 2019, ‘there was a river of trash flowing down’ into the harbor.

‘There should be a way to stop this trash before it spreads out,’ he added. ‘I did some research to see if there was anything out there to tackle that job, and I found nothing.’

Kellett went old school with his solution, combining the basic principle of a water wheel with the design for a hay baler to create Mr. Trash Wheel, a 50-foot machine weighing nearly 100,000 pounds.

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Since launching in 2014, Mr. Trash Wheels has intercepted more than three million pounds of garbage

The Chesapeake River’s current rotates the water mill, powering a system of pulleys that in turn run a large conveyor belt with rake-like ‘teeth’ to scoop up floating soda cans, plastic bags, styrofoam plates, cigarette butts and other detritus.

Two long buoys help funnel trash toward Mr. Trash Wheel’s smiling maw and into a floating Dumpster that’s emptied by a small crew of volunteers.

Though he appears to float on the water, the machine is stationary. 

If the river isn’t flowing fast enough, Mr. Trash Wheel also sports solar panels and batteries.

Kellett can turn on the pumps via his smartphone and check on his invention 24/7 via webcam. 

Trash Wheels operators say they’ve pulled over a million styrofoam containers from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor alone

Since launching in 2014, Mr. Trash Wheels has intercepted more than three million pounds of garbage, according to CNet.

There’s also been some unusual input, including a beer keg, guitar and a napping ball python. 

After the first major rainstorm, Mr. Trash Wheel ate 19 tons of garbage in one day in April 2015. 

He’s added some family members, including Professor Trash Wheel (the first female interceptor), the non-binary Captain Trash Wheel and most recently, Gwynnda The Good Wheel of the West, which debuted April 2021 at the mouth of the Gwynns Falls in west Baltimore. 

Gwynnda bigger than Mr. Trash Wheel, With thick black lashes over her giant eyes, and is expected to scoop up over 300 tons of waste a year, reported WYPR

Kellet partnered with the nonprofit Abell Foundation to fund the project and has also enjoyed support from The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore.

The website tallies detailed information on the kind of refuse that the machines have pulled from the harbor. 

The goal is to to scoop up litter before it makes its way out to the Chesapeake River or Atlantic Ocean, says Mr. Trash Wheel creator John Kellett

‘We know that we’ve pulled out over a million styrofoam containers from the harbor,’ Adam Lindquist, director of Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative, told CNet. 

‘That’s the sort of information, data, and photos that we share with our elected officials to let them know just how big of a problem this is.’

Despite their undesirable vocation, the Trash Wheel clan have become Baltimore attractions in their own right, with a profuse social media presence and a line of t-shirts and beer.

‘Over the last few years, I’ve been getting calls and e-mails from all over the world,’ Kellett told the New Yorker. ‘A Japanese film crew visited last week. ‘I’m still kind of in shock about how much attention it has garnered. Never in my wilbodest dreams would I ever have thought that this idea I sketched on a napkin would lead to all this.’

There are plans to install versions of Mr. Trash Wheels in other port cities, including Milwaukee, Honolulu, San Francisco and Atlanta. 

Depending on its size, a Trash Wheel costs between $400,000 and $800,000, including assembly, installation and personalization.   

Depending on its size, a Trash Wheel costs between $400,000 and $800,000, including assembly, installation and personalization

Using a $1.7 million grant, Newport Beach, California, expects to install one by late 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal, though the pandemic may have slowed those plans. 

Kellet says couldn’t have envisioned how popular the Trash Wheels would become, but he knows much more must be done to protect city waterways.

‘I don’t think of the Trash Wheel as a solution,’ Kellett told the New Yorker. ‘We are treating a symptom of the disease. It’s not a cure.’

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