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NASA releases a video showing rugged surface of Mars

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NASA has released a video showing the rugged surface of Mars from the perspective of its Curiosity space rover.

The rover is close to finishing a crossing of the most rugged and difficult-to-navigate terrain it has tackled since arriving on the red planet in 2012 to explore the Gale Crater.

The rover climbed onto the “Naukluft Plateau” of lower Mount Sharp in early March after spending several weeks investigating sand dunes.

The path of about a quarter mile (400 meters) westward across it is taking Curiosity toward smoother surfaces leading to geological layers of scientific interest farther uphill.

Curiosity earlier this month shot a panorama from what NASA said were the ‘highest viewpoints’ the rover has reached.

“The scenes show wind-sculpted textures in the sandstone bedrock close to the rover, and Gale Crater’s rim rising above the crater floor in the distance,” NASA said in a statement.

The next part of Curiosity’s journey will take it to three sites that have been key destinations since the rover landed.

The rocky surface of the plateau raised concerns about how Curiosity’s wheels would fare during its trek.

But NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory deputy project manager Steve Lee said the rover’s wheels were carefully and continually monitored, and that the rover was still expected to reach its key destinations.

“Cracks and punctures have been gradually accumulating at the pace we anticipated,” he said in a statement.

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Health

Sleeping in on weekends may help live longer

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Sleep deprivation has been found to have numerous negative effects on a person’s health. But the new study has shown that sleeping more on the weekend might help ease health problems associated with not getting enough during the week, and even reduce the risk of an early death.

The study, published in Journal of Sleep Research by scientists from Sweden and the United States, suggested that the negative effects of a few nights of short sleep could be counteracted by staying in bed over the weekend.

The from the Stress Research Institute (SRI) at Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute discovered that people below 65 years old who slept less than five hours on weekends had a higher risk of early death after examining medical and lifestyle data from more than 43,000 adults, following them for a period of 13 years.

For people who slept for less than five hours throughout the week but slept longer on the weekends for about nine hours, there was no increase in mortality risk. But, for people who consistently slept for less than five hours through the whole week, the mortality risk is higher.

Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality.

However, those previous studies only focused on sleep during weekdays.

“The results imply that short sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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