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Montreal teen opens pop-up PPE store to help community during pandemic – CBC.ca

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Sixteen-year-old Vanessa Vassalos says she wanted to do something meaningful over the summer to help others during the pandemic. 

That’s why she decided to open a pop-up shop, selling personal protective equipment to the community, in a building owned by her grandfather.

She says it took some convincing, but she was able to persuade her family to let her use a small ground-floor space on Parc  Avenue. 

Vassalos says she plans to donate any profits to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

WATCH: Montreal teen opens up pop-up PPE store on Parc Avenue.
It’s not easy this year for students looking for a summer job. Vanessa Vassalos wanted to do something meaningful, so she made her own. 1:41

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Dinosaur Diagnosed With Malignant Cancer for the First Time – Cancerous Bone From 77 Million Years Ago – SciTechDaily

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The main tumor mass is at the top of the bone, and can be seen on the 3D reconstruction in yellow; red gray is the normal bone and red denotes the medullary cavity. Credit: Centrosaurus diagram by Danielle Dufault. Courtesy of Royal Ontario Museum. © Royal Ontario Museum/McMaster University

Royal Ontario Museum and McMaster University researchers diagnose osteosarcoma in a Centrosaurus apertus.

A collaboration led by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and McMaster University has led to the discovery and diagnosis of an aggressive malignant bone cancer — an osteosarcoma — for the first time ever in a dinosaur. No malignant cancers (tumors that can spread throughout the body and have severe health implications) have ever been documented in dinosaurs previously. The paper was published on August 3rd in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet Oncology.

The cancerous bone in question is the fibula (lower leg bone) from Centrosaurus apertus, a horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Originally discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta in 1989, the badly malformed end of the fossil was originally thought to represent a healing fracture. Noting the unusual properties of the bone on a trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in 2017, Dr. David Evans, James and Louise Temerty Endowed Chair of Vertebrate Palaeontology from the ROM, and Drs. Mark Crowther, Professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, and Snezana Popovic, an histopathologist, both at McMaster University, decided to investigate it further using modern medical techniques. They assembled a team of multidisciplinary specialists and medical professionals from fields including pathology, radiology, orthopedic surgery, and palaeopathology. The team re-evaluated the bone and approached the diagnosis similarly to how it would be approached for the diagnosis of an unknown tumor in a human patient.

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“Diagnosis of aggressive cancer like this in dinosaurs has been elusive and requires medical expertise and multiple levels of analysis to properly identify,” says Crowther, who is also a Royal Patrons Circle donor and volunteer at the ROM. “Here, we show the unmistakable signature of advanced bone cancer in 76-million-year-old horned dinosaur — the first of its kind. It’s very exciting.”

After carefully examining, documenting, and casting the bone, the team performed high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scans. They then thin-sectioned the fossil bone and examined it under a microscope to assess it at the bone-cellular level. Powerful three-dimensional CT reconstruction tools were used to visualize the progression of the cancer through the bone. Using this rigorous process, the investigators reached a diagnosis of osteosarcoma.

To confirm this diagnosis, they then compared the fossil to a normal fibula from a dinosaur of the same species, as well as to a human fibula with a confirmed case of osteosarcoma. The fossil specimen is from an adult dinosaur with an advanced stage of cancer that may have invaded other body systems. Yet it was found in a massive bonebed, suggesting it died as part of a large herd of Centrosaurus struck down by a flood.

Cancerous and Non-cancerous Dinosaur Bone Comparison

Comparison between thin sections of the cancerous shin bone (left) and normal shin bone of the horned dinosaur Centrosaurus apertus. The fossils were thin sectioned to compare the bone microstructure and properly diagnose the osteosarcoma. Credit: Courtesy of Royal Ontario Museum. © Royal Ontario Museum/McMaster University

“The shin bone shows aggressive cancer at an advanced stage. The cancer would have had crippling effects on the individual and made it very vulnerable to the formidable tyrannosaur predators of the time,” says Evans, an expert on these horned dinosaurs. “The fact that this plant-eating dinosaur lived in a large, protective herd may have allowed it to survive longer than it normally would have with such a devastating disease.”

Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer that usually occurs in the second or third decade of life. It is an overgrowth of disorganized bone that spreads rapidly both through the bone in which it originates and to other organs, including most commonly, the lung. It is the same type of cancer that afflicted Canadian athlete Terry Fox and led to the partial amputation of his right leg prior to Fox’s heroic Marathon of Hope in 1980.

“It is both fascinating and inspiring to see a similar multidisciplinary effort that we use in diagnosing and treating osteosarcoma in our patients leading to the first diagnosis of osteosarcoma in a dinosaur,” says Seper Ekhtiari, an Orthopaedic Surgery Resident at McMaster University. “This discovery reminds us of the common biological links throughout the animal kingdom and reinforces the theory that osteosarcoma tends to affect bones when and where they are growing most rapidly.”

This study aims to establish a new standard for the diagnosis of unclear diseases in dinosaur fossils and opens the door to more precise and more certain diagnoses. Establishing links between human disease and the diseases of the past will help scientists to gain a better understanding of the evolution and genetics of various diseases. Evidence of many other diseases that we share with dinosaurs and other extinct animals may yet be sitting in museum collections in need of re-examination using modern analytical techniques.

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Reference: “First case of osteosarcoma in a dinosaur: a multimodal diagnosis” by Seper Ekhtiari, Kentaro Chiba, Snezana Popovic, Rhianne Crowther, Gregory Wohl, Andy Kin On Wong, Darren H Tanke, Danielle M Dufault, Olivia D Geen, Naveen Parasu, Mark A Crowther and David C Evans, August 2020, The Lancet Oncology.
DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30171-6

Funding for David Evans was provided by an NSERC Discovery Grant, and research computers for 3D visualization were generously supported by The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation.

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NASA astronaut on SpaceX Crew Dragon return: ‘Sounded like an animal’ – The Verge

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As NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley careened to Earth inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on Sunday, the two said that the vehicle truly came “alive” when it plunged through Earth’s atmosphere. The capsule vibrated, jolted, and roared while the surrounding air heated up and scorched the outside of the vehicle — and the astronauts got it all on tape.

“I did record some audio of it, but it doesn’t sound like a machine. It sounds like an animal coming through the atmosphere with all the puffs that are happening from the thrusters and the atmospheric noise,” Behnken said during a press conference following the landing. “It just continues to gain magnitude as you descend down through the atmosphere.”

Both Behnken and Hurley made history in late May when they launched to the International Space Station inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, becoming the first two people to fly in the vehicle and the first crew to travel to orbit in a privately made space capsule. The two named their capsule Endeavour, after the Space Shuttle that Behnken and Hurley both previously flew in. After launch, Behnken said the ride was pretty lively, arguing that the Crew Dragon lived up to its namesake. “Dragon was huffing and puffing all the way into orbit, and we were definitely driving or riding a Dragon all the way up,” he said while on station.

Two months after arriving at the ISS, the duo returned to Earth in the Crew Drago over the weekend. The capsule undocked from the space station on Saturday evening and slowly distanced itself from the ISS, before taking a harrowing dive through the planet’s atmosphere and then splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday afternoon.

Behnken noted that their trip was relatively smooth between undocking and the start of the dive, since he and Hurley were still in space, orbiting Earth. But the process of getting out of orbit became a vigorous one. Just an hour before landing, the Crew Dragon ejected its attached trunk — a large cylindrical piece of hardware that provided support during the mission. The capsule then fired its onboard thrusters, taking the vehicle out of orbit and setting it on course for Earth. Soon after, the Crew Dragon heated up immensely as it careened through the planet’s upper atmosphere, experiencing temperatures of up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually, it deployed a series of parachutes to slow the capsule down so that it could touch down gently in the water off of Pensacola.

The astronauts could really feel each of those important steps, according to Behnken, who described them in vivid detail. “All the separation events — from the trunk separation through the parachute firings — were very much like getting hit in the back of a chair with a baseball bat, you know, just a crack,” he said. “And then you get some sort of a motion associated with that usually, pretty light for the trunk separation. But with the parachutes, it was a pretty significant jolt.”

The Crew Dragon splashed down at around 2:48PM ET on Sunday, and SpaceX recovery vessels quickly met up with the capsule to get Behnken and Hurley out of the water. Soon after, recreational boats swarmed the area, defying restrictions from the US Coast Guard in order to get a close view of the capsule. The astronauts said they weren’t really aware of them while inside the Crew Dragon. “[Atmospheric] reentry is a pretty demanding environment as you know with the different scorches on the vehicle, and the windows were not spared any of that,” Hurley said. “The look out the windows, you could basically tell that it was daylight but very little else. So we didn’t really see anything clearly out of the windows until the SpaceX recovery crews got near with the fast boats, and then we can see a head or two out there.”

Overall, the two said that there were really no big surprises with the landing, thanks to all of the training and simulations they had done leading up to the mission. “My credit once again is to the folks at SpaceX — the production folks, the people that put Endeavour together and then certainly our training folks,” Hurley said at the press conference. “The mission went just like the simulators…from start to finish all the way — there was really no surprises.”

Now that Behnken and Hurley’s trip is over, NASA will spend the upcoming weeks looking at all of the data from this mission in order to certify the Crew Dragon for regular trips to and from the station. In fact, SpaceX is already slated to fly its next Crew Dragon in mid- to late-September, carrying a crew of four NASA astronauts to the ISS. Behnken and Hurley believe that the Crew Dragon is more than ready for those flights once that analysis is done.

“From a crew perspective, I think we’re perfectly comfortable saying that [the next crew] is ready when they finish the engineering and analysis associated with certification,” Behnken said. Hurley noted that SpaceX and NASA plan to sync up video of Crew Dragon’s launch and landing along with the crew’s audio from inside the capsule. “That will be passed on for multiple crews for them to use,” he said.

Now that they’re back on solid ground, the two hope to spend time with their families, but they say they’re honored to have been part of SpaceX’s first crewed mission to orbit. “I think for both of us, it still feels pretty surreal and I know that’s a little bit overused but I don’t know how else to describe it,” Hurley said. “One minute, you’re bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico and, you know, less than two days later you’re in a news conference.”

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Happy anniversary, Curiosity! NASA rover marks 8 years on Mars – Space.com

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NASA would be thrilled if its newly launched Mars rover ended up matching its predecessor’s longevity.

The agency’s car-sized Curiosity rover celebrates eight (Earth) years on the Red Planet today (Aug. 5), less than a week after the Perseverance rover took flight toward Mars

The synergy in timing is appropriate; Perseverance shares Curiosity’s chassis and “sky crane” landing strategy, among other features. And the new rover will build upon the many discoveries that Curiosity has made over the years.

Related: Amazing Mars photos by NASA’s Curiosity rover (latest images) 

Curiosity launched in November 2011 and touched down inside the 96-mile-wide (154 kilometers) Gale Crater on the night of Aug. 5, 2012, kicking off a surface mission designed to last at least one Martian year (which is equivalent to 687 Earth days).

The main goal of Curiosity’s $2.5 billion mission, officially known as Mars Science Laboratory, involves assessing whether Gale could ever have supported Earth-like life. The nuclear-powered robot has returned exciting news on this front, finding that the crater hosted a potentially habitable lake-and-stream system for long stretches in the ancient past, perhaps millions of years at a time.

Curiosity has also detected complex organic chemicals, the building blocks of life as know it, in Gale Crater rocks. In addition, the rover has rolled through several plumes of methane and discovered a seasonal pattern in the concentration of this gas, which here on Earth is primarily produced by living organisms. (Abiotic processes can generate methane as well, however, and the source of the stuff within Gale is unclear.)

In September 2014, Curiosity reached the base of Mount Sharp, which rises 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) into the sky from Gale’s center. For the past six years, the rover has been climbing through the mountain’s foothills, reading the rocks for clues about Gale’s past habitable environments and how Mars transitioned into the cold, dry desert planet we know today.

During its eight years on Mars, Curiosity has drilled 27 rock samples, scooped up six soil samples and put more than 14 miles (23 km) on its odometer, NASA officials said. (The Mars surface-distance record is held by another NASA rover, Opportunity, which covered 28.06 miles, or 45.16 km, between 2004 and 2018.)

Perseverance’s $2.7 billion mission, called Mars 2020, aims to extend Curiosity’s findings. The new rover will hunt for signs of ancient life in Mars’ 28-mile-wide (45 km) Jezero Crater, which was home to a lake and a river delta long ago. 

Perseverance will also collect and cache samples for future return to Earth and test out several new exploration technologies, including a tiny helicopter named Ingenuity and an instrument that generates oxygen from the thin, carbon dioxide-dominated Martian atmosphere.

Mars 2020 is scheduled to touch down on Feb. 18, 2021. Maybe Curiosity will take a short break from its work in Gale Crater that day, look up at the Martian sky, and send well wishes to the new arrival.

Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook. 

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