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Dr. Fauci says to take vitamin D if you're deficient — here's how to know - CNBC
Experts say signs of vitamin D deficiency are often subtle. But getting tested for vitamin D is controversial among medical professionals. Here's what you need to know.
While Dr. Anthony Fauci admits most "so-called immune boosting" supplements being marketing amid Covid-19 mostly do "nothing," he does believe in the benefits of vitamin D. "If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. So I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements," Fauci, 79, said during an Instagram Live on Sept. 10. But figuring out if whether you are vitamin D deficient and how much of the supplement you need to take is complicated. In fact, medical professionals have been debating the efficacy of routine vitamin D screenings and supplementation recommendations for years. "You're wandering into a maze," Dr. Clifford Rosen, an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at Tufts University's School of Medicine, who has studied vitamin D for more than 30 years, tells CNBC Make It. Here's what you need to know from three experts. Why vitamin D is important Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role building and maintaining muscles and overall bone health. People who have low vitamin D may develop soft, than and brittle bones. The primary sources of vitamin D is through direct sunlight and it can also be obtained through foods such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel), mushrooms and milk. What's more, researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine found a link between vitamin D deficiency and the likelihood of being infected with Covid-19 those with an untreated deficiency were more likely to test positive, according to the study published in September. (The National Institutes of Health released a statement last updated in July saying "there are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19.") How do you know if you are vitamin D deficient? According to study published in 2014 by the NIH, researchers estimated that 35% of adults and nearly 50% of infants in the U.S. had a vitamin D deficiency. Without a blood test (more on that later), it can be hard to tell. Early signs of vitamin D deficiency are subtle if they even existent. You may not show any symptoms at all, according to experts. But vitamin D deficiency can cause accelerated skin aging and dry skin, according to Dr. Raman Madan, a dermatologist at Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital. And over time, severe deficiency can result in muscle weakness and bone fractures, says Paul Thomas, a registered dietitian nutritionist and scientific consultant at the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplement. Studies have also found that prolonged vitamin D deficiency can cause bone-related diseases in adults and children. All that said, the only way to truly know if you are vitamin D deficient is to get a blood test through your doctor, says Thomas. Not all medical professionals, however, think routine testing for vitamin D is a good idea. Vitamin D testing and supplements can be controversial Routine testing for vitamin D can be controversial among medical professionals. The National Endocrine Society (NES) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), for example, recommend vitamin D testing be limited to specific patients (like those at risk for weakened bones or with certain chronic conditions). Rosen and Madan also say not everyone needs vitamin D supplements, only those who have a confirmed deficiency and experience symptoms, according to Madan. One of the criticisms of routine vitamin D testing is that it can be time-consuming and costly for insurance companies. Out-of-pocket costs for vitamin D tests could range from $40 to $225,according to Kaiser Health News. And typically, most vitamin D tests are covered by health insurance. Another issue is that widespread vitamin D testing can result in unnecessary treatment of patients with supplements. "It leads to lots of people taking very high doses of vitamin D," Rosen says. There are concerns around consuming too much vitamin D according the NIH, excess vitamin D can cause nausea, poor appetite, constipation and weight loss. Severe vitamin D toxicity can cause confusion, disorientation and problems with heart rhythm. Additinally, there is not a lot of scientific evidence that taking vitamin D if you do not have a deficiency does anything helpful. It's safe to take in small doses, Rosen says (600 IUs to 800 IUs daily IUs, or international units, are the measurement in which the tablets are sold), but "whether it's effective is really the question." To date, the research that has been done around vitamin D supplementation has not shown clear results. Rosen says until researchers do randomized controlled trials on the effects of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of chronic diseases and acute infections such as Covid 19, it's efficacy will not be established On the other hand, Dr. Michael Holick, a vitamin D researcher, professor of medicine at Boston University and director of Bone Health Care Clinic, who chaired the expert panel that wrote the NES guidelines, believes in the effectiveness of vitamin D and thinks everyone should take it. Holick points to his research and other studies that suggest an association between low vitamin D levels and higher rates of various diseases. According to Holick's 2010 book, The Vitamin D Solution," vitamin D deficiency is extremely common and supplements could help many people "avoid the myriad ailments associated with deficiency, including heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis," he wrote. (Past studies have associated low vitamin D levels with increased risk of cardiovascular events and some cancers.) Holick references the recommendation from NES, which, to guarantee vitamin D sufficiency, is around 1500-2000 IUs of vitamin D supplementation daily for adults. "For obese people they need two to three times more," Holick, an endocrinologist, says. The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements does not recommend whether or not to take supplements, but says the daily upper limit for adults is 4,000 IUs. Holick has been criticized, however. In 2018, The New York Times reported that Holick received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the vitamin D supplement industry over the years for his research. Holick told the Times that the industry funding "doesn't influence me in terms of talking about the health benefits of vitamin D." And Holick tells CNBC Make It that he stands behind his peer-reviewed, published science and always makes financial disclosures. How to get vitamin D without supplements According to Thomas, natural vitamin D builds up in your blood when your intake is sufficient from sunlight and/or food. "If your vitamin D blood level is sufficiently good at the end of the summer, it can remain at adequate levels throughout the winter ... if you get some vitamin D from food." And while excessive sun exposure is unhealthy for other reasons, it won't cause vitamin D toxicity because the body naturally limits the amount of vitamin D it produces, according to the NIH. As for food, "the only foods naturally containing vitamin D are oily fish such as wild caught salmon, which contains about 600-1000 IUs vitamin D, mushrooms exposed to sunlight and cod liver oil. Eight ounces of milk or orange fortified with vitamin D contains 100 IUs," Holick says. Holick also recommends getting "sensible sun exposure" for "some" vitamin D, but caveats that "you cannot make any significant vitamin D before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. no matter where you live in the United States." And if you wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30, it will reduce your ability to make vitamin D in your skin by 97.5%, he says. Holick helped to develop an app called dminder to help them figure out how much vitamin D they may be getting from the sun. Thomas says that people should consult their own healthcare provider before taking any vitamin D supplements. Check out: Americans spend over $5,000 a year on groceriessave hundreds at supermarkets with these cards Don't miss: Fauci: Stop looking at the 'rosy side of things' and prepare to 'hunker down' until 2021 White House advisor Dr. Fauci works 20-hour days and his wife reminds him to eat, sleep and drink water The supplement Dr. Fauci takes to help keep his immune system healthy
Amazon's newest Ring device is a flying security camera drone - CNBC
The $250 autonomous security camera will be available next year.
Amazon is launching a new Ring security camera that's fixed on top of a flying drone. Called the Ring Always Home Cam, it's an autonomous indoor security camera that can fly inside your home and record footage of multiple viewpoints. Users set a path for the device to fly throughout the home. When the device isn't in the air, it locks into a dock that blocks the camera, in an effort to assuage privacy concerns. Amazon unveiled the device during its virtual hardware event on Thursday alongside a slew of new products. The company announced upgraded Echo and Echo Show models, new Ring security cameras for cars and launched its video game streaming service, Luna. Ring, acquired by Amazon in 2018, has tackled multiple areas of the smart security market, launching connected doorbells and smart home cameras that allow people to remotely check in on their homes. Jamie Siminoff, Ring's founder, wrote in a blog post that the Always Home Cam will allow people to monitor multiple areas of their home with just one device, instead of purchasing several cameras. The drone is connected to a Ring Alarm, the company's smart home security system. If the system detects suspicious activity, the Always Home Cam automatically flies over "to see what's happening." Ring devices have provided Amazon another avenue to draw customers in deeper to its ecosystem, integrating them with its Alexa virtual assistant. But the business has also been beset with privacy concerns, following controversy over Ring's decision to work closely with police departments to help investigate crimes. Lawmakers have increasingly stepped up their scrutiny of Ring and what customer video footage its employees have access to. Siminoff said the Always Home Cam was built with "privacy and security top of mind." Ring said the device only records when it's in flight and its motors are loud enough so that users can hear it move throughout the home. "It cannot be manually controlled, ensuring that it will only record and see what is important to you," Siminoff added. The Always Home Cam will be available in 2021 and costs $250.
SpaceX is manufacturing 120 Starlink internet satellites per month - CNBC
SpaceX is manufacturing its Starlink satellites at an unprecedented rate for the space industry.
A stack of Starlink internet satellites just before a launch. SpaceX is manufacturing its Starlink satellites at an unprecedented rate for the space industry, analysts say, as the company dives headlong into building a space-based global internet service. Elon Musk's company told the Federal Communications Commission in a presentation last month that its Starlink unit is "now building 120 satellites per month" and has "invested over $70 million developing and producing thousands of consumer user terminals per month." "Invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Starlink to date," the SpaceX presentation added. A slide from SpaceX's July 2020 presentation to the FCC. Starlink is SpaceX's ambitious plan to build an interconnected network of about 12,000 small satellites, to beam high-speed internet from orbit to anywhere in the world. The company has so far launched nearly 600 Starlink satellites and is currently building a system of ground stations and user terminals, to connect consumers directly to its network. It's difficult to contextualize what SpaceX's satellite production rate means given the difference in size and complexity of spacecraft built by other companies. But Quilty Analytics founder Chris Quilty told CNBC that Starlink manufacturing is happening at a speed never before seen in the satellite sector. Quilty's boutique research and investment firm focuses on the satellite communications sector, which he founded after leading Raymond James' coverage of the space industry for 20 years. "To put it in perspective, Iridium, which previously held the record for the largest commercial satellite constellation, was manufacturing satellites at the rate of about six satellites per month at the peak of production," Quilty said. Iridium's NEXT satellites are nearly three times the mass of a Starlink satellite, at about 670 kilograms versus an estimated 260 kilograms. But, even with the caveat that each Starlink is smaller than an Iridium satellite, SpaceX is building its spacecraft 20 times as fast. Notably, Quilty pointed out that Iridium's satellites were built by European aerospace conglomerate Thales Alenia Space. Additionally, rival satellite internet startup OneWeb was building satellites at a rate of about 30 per month before it went bankrupt and Quilty highlighted that OneWeb's production line was designed and built in collaboration with Airbus, another European aerospace giant. That makes Starlink the only of the three with satellites built solely by a U.S. firm, as well as the most productive. "American ingenuity wins again," Quilty said. On the customer side, SpaceX last week told the FCC that is already seeing "extraordinary demand" from people interested in Starlink's internet service. The company said "nearly 700,000 individuals" across the United States said they were interested in the service, causing SpaceX to request that the FCC increase the number of authorized user terminals to 5 million from 1 million. Right now it seems the primary bottleneck for Starlink's service lies in how quickly SpaceX can launch the satellites, according to industry analytics firm Bryce Space and Technology. The company has been launching Starlink missions about once per month with its Falcon 9 rocket fleet. "At 60 satellites per Falcon 9, SpaceX is also driven to bring its Starship launch vehicle online as soon as it can, as the company says each will be able to carry 400 Starlink satellites at a time," Bryce senior space analyst Phil Smith told CNBC. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying 60 Starlink satellites on November 11, 2019 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Starlink constellation will eventually consist of thousands of satellites designed to provide world wide high-speed internet service. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.
How SpaceX won the race against Boeing to send NASA astronauts to space - CNBC
The launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station marked the first time NASA astronauts took off from U.S. soil since 2011. The event also represented the first time a commercially built spacecraft carried NASA astronauts, an achie…
When NASA started the Commercial Crew Program in 2010, the goal was to get private-sector companies to produce the most cost-effective, innovative and safe way to get astronauts to the International Space Station. The program was structured as a multi-tiered competition, with companies bidding for NASA contracts to build the space transportation systems under specific parameters set forth by the agency. NASA eventually awarded the contracts to SpaceX and Boeing. For nearly a decade, SpaceX and Boeing have been neck and neck, building and testing their crew transportation systems. But SpaceX's successful launch in May marked a major milestone for the company, leaving Boeing to play catch up. It was the first time that NASA astronauts took off from U.S. soil since 2011 and the first time a commercially built spacecraft carried NASA astronauts. "Boeing had the advantage of having a long history of working with NASA, a long history with the shuttle program. And, you know, knowing how to do these kinds of spacecraft," said Cristina Chaplain, a former director at the Government Accountability Office. Chaplain helped oversee the Commercial Crew Program for Congress. "SpaceX was new to the game. And I think their advantage was their flexibility, their speed and their culture that they could work in this fixed price, more commercial like environment." SpaceX used the NASA contract to develop the Crew Dragon capsule, and Boeing used it to develop the Starliner capsule. Both capsules are designed to be reusable. SpaceX also recycles its rocket, the Falcon 9, which it uses to launch the Crew Dragon capsule. "The traditional aerospace industry, of course, questioned start-up companies like SpaceX," said Lori Garver, a former NASA deputy administrator. "A very senior executive of one of the competitors told me that SpaceX will never fly. Their rockets are put together with sealing wax and chewing gum. We really had a very healthy competition." The SpaceX launch on May 30 was technically the last test flight needed before NASA can certify Crew Dragon for consistent, operational missions to the space station. The flight is scheduled to end on Sunday with the return of NASA's astronauts to Earth. Watch the video above to find out how SpaceX beat Boeing to make history.
How SpaceX, social media and the 'worm' helped NASA become cool again - CNBC
The future of NASA and American space explorationwas recently up in the air. Now, the space agency and its brand are as hot as ever. How did NASA become cool again?
NASA is having a moment. The U.S. space agency teamed with Elon Musk's SpaceX in May to launch its first manned rocket from American soil in nearly a decade. And adorning that rocket was NASA's iconic "worm" logo, a throwback look that NASA announced a month earlier it was bringing out of retirement, causing space fans across the country to collectively geek out. The worm added a touch of 1980s nostalgia to the launch with SpaceX that already had NASA followers buzzing about the future of American space exploration. And, the excitement over both served as just the latest reminder that NASA is back. After all, in 2011, NASA shut down its storied but costly space shuttle program the one that launched the Hubble Space Telescope and carried pieces of the International Space Station into orbit prompting concerns that NASA was in "decline" and whether the U.S. had a future in space at all. But in May, over 150,000 people braved the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to gather near NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the first attempt at a launch (which ended up being postponed due to weather), and over 10 million concurrent viewers watched the final launch a few days later online. "We're at the dawn of a new age, and we're really leading the beginning of a space revolution," James Morhard, NASA's deputy administrator, told reporters ahead of the launch. Headlines declared that the successful launch heralded an exciting "new era of human spaceflight". An American flag is seen as SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken lifts off during NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. May 30, 2020. NASA's glory days So nearly a decade after the shuttle program shut down and NASA's future appeared to be, well, up in the air, it now seems fair to ask the question: Is NASA cool again? "NASA's always cool. Always," insists retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who retired in 2016 after two decades in which he flew four space missions and spent 520 days in space, including a 340-day stretch (a NASA record) in 2015. "It's like the greatest brand ever," Kelly tells CNBC Make It. "I travel around the world. You see that NASA meatball everywhere Everyone knows NASA's brand." NASA's "meatball" logo which was designed in 1959, used until the introduction of the "worm" in 1975 and then brought out of retirement in 1992 features a blue circle of stars encapsulating red and white swooshes and block-y lettering. NASA's original "meatball" insignia, first introduced in 1959 and brought out of retirement in 1992. But that doesn't mean that the general public's interest in, and excitement about, NASA and space exploration has not fluctuated over the decades. It's hard to imagine NASA's place in pop culture ever matching the space agency's golden age of the Apollo program of the 1960s and '70s, which turned astronauts into superstars and landed the first humans on the moon an event watched by an estimated 600 million people around the world in 1969. "Indisputably, NASA was at its height of popularity during the Apollo moon program. That's when every TV in America was tuned to those launches," says Andrew Sloan, founder of Cosma Schema, a branding and design agency dedicated to the space industry. By comparison, NASA's shuttle program, which kicked off in 1981, did not inspire the same "fervor," Sloan says. "The shuttles were very cool to watch launch and cool to watch land. But that program was super expensive, super bloated, and the shuttle launches were way more expensive than planned and ran way less frequently." As a result, NASA experienced a "dip in popularity" beginning in the early-2000s, Sloan says. Even Kelly can admit that NASA's shuttle program had "become a little bit routine to the public," which was hungry for "something new [and] something that's different". "I think where we are today, there is more of that," Kelly says. Help from space-minded billionaires Experts say the U.S. space agency has, in part, seen a boost from the rise of the private space industry, which has become a hotbed for innovation led by the deep pockets and headline-grabbing ambitions of billionaires like Elon Musk (the founder of SpaceX), Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) and Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), among others. They are "generating big interest again in what's happening in space exploration," Sloan says. Any interest in space exploration from the American public is essentially interest in NASA, which is so closely associated with space and space travel in our minds. "A lot of people confuse NASA and SpaceX," says Michael Sheetz, CNBC's reporter covering the space industry. In fact, Sheetz explains that the rise of the private space industry was NASA's plan all along. Starting in 2010, instead of the government paying to build its own rockets, it began to offerfinancial grants to private companies to build them, with NASA buying seats for its astronauts on the spacecraft for each partnered launch. Since the shuttle program ended, NASA had been paying Russia's space agency as much as $90 million per seat on that country's spacecrafts, Sheetz notes. The cost for a seat on the SpaceX Crew Dragon that launched two NASA astronauts into space in May is estimated at $55 million, by comparison. "The mere fact that we can every few months, or so send up our own astronauts, and even astronauts of other countries, on our spacecraft, really changes the game," Sheetz says. NASA awarded SpaceX a contract worth $2.6 billion in 2014 for development of the Crew Dragon capsule that transported two astronauts to space in May 2020. In total, NASA has provided more than $3.1 billion in contracts to SpaceX. Boeing has received more than $4.8 billion in contracts from NASA to develop its Starliner crew capsule, and the space agency recently awarded Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin a $579 million contract to develop a lunar lander. This support from NASA and the U.S. government is spurring exciting innovation like SpaceX's development of reusable rockets, which greatly reduces the cost of space travel and makes Musk's high-profile goals, like putting humans on Mars, seem all the more attainable. Trendy branding NASA's prominence in pop culture has always been a boon to reaching new generations of followers. And today, NASA's iconic logos have become a fashion staple, thanks to the fact that the space agency allows nearly any company to produce merchandise featuring its logos for free (as long as they obtain permission and follow some guidelines). Apparel featuring NASA logos have been popular items for retailers from JCPenney and Forever 21, while even high-fashion designers like Heron Preston have used the NASA logo to add some science nerd chic to a $500 hooded sweatshirt. Last year, sportswear giant Nike and NBA star Paul George celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a pair of sneakers that sported the NASA "meatball" logo and gold soles. "You go to Target and you buy a NASA T-shirt and you wear it and you support it because being a nerd is cool," says Leland Melvin, a retired astronaut who flew two space missions in 2008 and 2009. "NASA" also happens to be the name of a hit single from popstar Ariana Grande's double-platinum 2019 album, "Thank U, Next." After performing the song at last year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Grande even debuted some limited-edition, NASA-themed merchandise. Melvin points out that the popularity of the NASA logo in fashion, from kids' t-shirts to an NBA player's Nike sneakers, is just another sign that people associate the space agency with a certain kind of "cool" that taps into the limitless possibilities of space exploration. "We're looking at going to Mars. We're looking at sending the first woman to the moon in the Artemis program. And I think kids see this, people see this, and they say, 'These are the things that are possible,'" says Melvin. Promoting diversity Making space more accessible is also enticing for kids who dream of being an astronaut or engineer working at NASA, says Melvin. For Melvin, who is one of only 14 Black NASA astronauts to ever go to space, becoming an astronaut was not a childhood dream because he "didn't see someone who looked like me" when he watched NASA's moon landing as a 5-year-old. Melvin, who has degrees in chemistry and materials science engineering (and who was drafted by the NFL), was recruited to join NASA as a scientist at the Langley Research Center in 1989, six years after Guy Bluford became the first African-American in space, and at a time when NASA was pushing to increase its diversity. That push continues today (NASA's employees are still 72% white, with 12% identifying as Black or African-American). But NASA's improved diversity has been on display more and more, thanks to people like Melvin, who spent 25 years at NASA, as well as behind-the-scenes contributors like Kathrine Johnson, the mathematician whose work on the early NASA crewed flights (including the Apollo 11 moon landing) became the subject of the 2016 Oscar-nominated movie "Hidden Figures." Melvin also notes that NASA's next crewed launch in a SpaceX spacecraft, scheduled for later this year, will include Victor Glover, a Black NASA astronaut making his first trip to space. NASA astronaut Leland Melvin poses with his dogs, Jake and Scout, for an official portrait that later went viral. Though "there's still a long way to go," things have changed, says Melvin. "I've spoken to kids all over the world" says Melvin, who served as NASA's Associate Administrator for Education from 2010 to 2014. "When you see a kid in South Central L.A. that's wearing a NASA shirt, you know things have changed a lot and that it's cool." Science and technology on the 'bleeding edge' NASA is doing "bleeding edge research when it comes to climate science and technology," Sheetz says, as well as deep space probes like the one carrying a new Mars rover (named "Perseverance" by a Virginia seventh-grader's winning entry from a NASA essay contest) that's set to launch July 20. For instance, NASA uses state-of-the-art technology to study the effects of natural disasters on the Earth, including using infrared imagery captured from its satellites and high-altitude aircraft over wildfires in places like California and the Amazon rainforest to collect data on those fires that could hopefully one day help to contain or prevent future fires. NASA's satellite imagery has also been used to track decreasing air pollution as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. NASA's Earth Science Disasters Program also uses satellites to study earthquakes, floods, industrial accidents, volcanoes and hurricanes. Last year, NASA created an animation to track the Category-5 Hurricane Dorian using imagery taken from an "experimental" satellite that's "the size of a cereal box" and which NASA hopes can eventually create higher quality predictions for major storm systems. And after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in 2017, NASA used its Black Marble technology, which uses satellite imagery to detect electric lights on Earth from space, to aid disaster response teams by identifying all of the parts of the island that had electricity and those that did not and were in need of assistance. And NASA doesn't necessarily have to rely only on sending people into deep space it already has deep space probes like the New Horizons probe (which made the Pluto fly-by five years ago) and Voyager 1 and 2. Voyager 1 launched in 1977 and is currently the farthest man-made object from Earth, having traveled over 13.8 billion miles (and counting) over the past four decades. Those probes are constantly transmitting data back to NASA scientists on Earth, including everything from photos of a volcanic eruption on a moon of Jupiter to readings on the density of interstellar particles encountered billions of miles beyond the sun. NASA isn't shy about showing off the results of its research, whether it's on social media or the massive (and searchable) photo and video database the agency launched three years ago, at images.NASA.gov. There, anyone can search among the 140,000 NASA images, videos and audio files from the space agency's 62 years of research and exploration, such as a breathtaking photo of the Andromeda galaxy, over 2.5 million light-years away. The Galaxy Evolution Explorer captured this image of the Andromeda galaxy, or M31, the Milky Way's largest galactic neighbor, in 2012, according to NASA. Sharing the NASA mission on social media To share all its work, NASA's social media team boasts more than 500 distinct accounts. Sure, nearly 60 million people follow the official NASA Instgram account (that's just ahead of pop star Justin Timberlake, but behind teen singer-songwriter Billie Eilish). But, a separate official Instagram account dedicated to the Hubble Space Telescope has another 3.3 million followers and 4 million people even follow a Twitter account for the Mars Curiosity Rover that features tweets written as if the rover itself is tweeting from the Red Planet. Since 2008, when NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) communications head Veronica McGregor first started tweeting as the Mars Phoenix Lander in the first-person, NASA's social media strategy has been to flood the internet with content that shows off the scientific research and innovations undertaken by the space agency. NASA has had a seemingly unending string of social media hits over the subsequent years, including a viral 2015 Instagram post showing a close-up photo of Pluto taken by NASA's New Horizons space probe during a fly-by. Other photos shared far and wide online include NASA's shots of wildfires as seen from space, the ISS passing in front of an eclipse, and rectangular icebergs. Social media is also a platform that allows NASA to show the human side of its endeavors, whether that's a viral official NASA photo of Melvin's rescue dogs excited to see him in his orange NASA space suit, or Kelly holding NASA's first-ever Reddit AMA conducted from space.
NASA plans to return its astronauts in SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft on Aug. 2 - CNBC
NASA plans to return astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft in about two weeks.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon "Endeavour" docked with the International Space Station. NASA is currently planning to return astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to Earth on board SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft in about two weeks, the space agency told CNBC on Friday. The spacecraft, which the astronauts named Endeavour, is scheduled to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean on Aug. 2 at about 3 p.m. ET, according to NASA's Johnson Space Center public affairs officer Kyle Herring. Herring noted that the departure time from the International Space Station "is a bit of a moving target," but said in an email that the spacecraft is scheduled to un-dock at about 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 1. NASA will look more closely at the weather forecasts for where the spacecraft might splash down after the astronauts perform a spacewalk next week. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also confirmed those dates. Splashdown and recovery would mark the conclusion of NASA and SpaceX's Demo-2 mission, which launched successfully on a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on May 30. The mission is the first time that Elon Musk's space company has launched people with its spacecraft. SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule splashed into the Atlantic Ocean after completing its test flight for NASA. As Demo-2 was considered a test flight, the spacecraft carried only two astronauts on board. For Crew-1, which NASA considers to be the first operational SpaceX mission, the Crew Dragon spacecraft will carry four people. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley buckled into the Crew Dragon capsule for SpaceX Demo-2. NASA intends to thoroughly review the data from the Demo-2 mission before it moves forward with Crew-1, a process it expects will take about six weeks. That would see Crew-1 launch in about mid-September. On Tuesday, the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch Crew-1 arrived at SpaceX's processing facility in Florida, to undergo final preparations for the mission. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.
City in China's Inner Mongolia warns after suspected bubonic plague case - CNBC
Plague cases are not uncommon in China, but outbreaks have become increasingly rare. From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26 cases and 11 deaths.
Authorities in a city in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning on Sunday, one day after a hospital reported a case of suspected bubonic plague. The health committee of the city of Bayan Nur issued the third-level alert, the second lowest in a four-level system. The alert forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague and asks the public to report any suspected cases of plague or fever with no clear causes, and to report any sick or dead marmots. Sunday's warning follows four reported cases of plague in people from Inner Mongolia last November, including two of pneumonic plague, a deadlier variant of plague. The bubonic plague, known as the "Black Death" in the Middle Ages, is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that is spread mostly by rodents. Plague cases are not uncommon in China, but outbreaks have become increasingly rare. From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26 cases and 11 deaths.