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SpaceX plans to send two people around the Moon by 2018

Gorkha Post

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SpaceX plans to send two people around the Moon by 2018

US billionaire Elon Musk has said on Monday that his company SpaceX plans to fly two private citizens on a mission around the moon by late 2018 as part of a lunar journey that would last about a week and travel deeper into space than any human has ventured before.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk would not name the two individuals, who he said approached the company and would pay for the flight.

“The passengers are very serious about the trip and have already paid a significant deposit,” The Verge reported citing Musk as saying.

The plan is to do the trip in the second quarter of 2018 on the Crew Dragon spacecraft with the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is due to do its maiden launch this summer.

The trip around the Moon would take approximately one week: it would skim the surface of the Moon, go further out into deep space, and loop back to Earth — approximately 300,000 to 400,000 miles.

The two people going on the trip, who weren’t named, already know each other. They will begin initial training for the trip later this year.

Musk, however, declined to comment on the exact cost of the trip, but said it was “comparable” or a little more than the cost of a crewed mission to the International Space Station. On the Russian Soyuz rocket one ticket costs NASA around $80 million.

Musk is famous for laying out ambitious timelines and goals—he ultimately plans to colonize Mars, for example— that often get pushed back. SpaceX has never flown people before, and has had two of its rockets blow up in the last two years.

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Science & Technology

Researchers successfully grow human cells in sheep embryos

Raghu Kshitiz

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Researchers successfully grow human cells in sheep embryos. Represenatational image

KATHMANDU — In an incredible development that could possibly go a long way in medical practices, scientists in California are working on a way to reduce organ transplants and rejections: Growing embryos in sheep and pigs containing human patients’ cells.

In a transplant breakthrough, scientists at the University of California said they have achieved sheep embryos in which around one in every 10,000 cells was human, according to UPI report.

The researchers presented preliminary findings Saturday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

The new finding paves way for genetically tailoring the organs to be compatible with the immune system of the patient receiving them, thus removing the possibility of rejection, the report said.

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The hybrid embryos contain both human and sheep cells and were created in an early step toward growing human organs in farm animals before transplanting them into patients.

Last year, the same researchers introduced human stem cells into early pig embryos, producing embryos with about one in every 100,000 cells being human.

The experiment began with Hiro Nakauchi, from the University of Tokyo, who grew a mouse with a rat pancreas and a rat with a mouse pancreas.

When cells from the rat-grown mouse pancreas were transplanted into a diabetic mouse, they made enough insulin to cure the condition without being rejected.

Mice and rats are different types of rodents with the former having thin slightly hairy tails, while rats have thicker hairless scaly tails.

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“The next step was to move into large animals,” Nakauchi said. Since this was prohibited in Japan, he moved to the Stanford University in the US.

Nakauchi’s rodent work has demonstrated that you can “grow organs in a different species and cure a disease without [suppressing the immune system],” added co-researcher Pablo Ross, Professor at from the University of California, Davis.

“We are working together to translate the technology into humans, to solve the terrible shortage of organs for transplantation. In the US, 20 people die every day because they cannot get the organs they need,” Ross explained.

With Agency Inputs

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