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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific American

NASA's Kepler Mission Endangered by Hardware Failure

The prolific planet-hunting spacecraft that has already discovered some of the most intriguing exoplanets known has abruptly lost the capacity to carry out its mission, NASA officials announced May 15.NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which launched in 2009, relies on an array of flywheels, or reaction-wheel assemblies, to stabilize the pointing of its telescope toward a field of stars in the Milky Way...

May 15, 2013 — John Matson

Video Game to Help Kids Fight Cancer

Doctors can’t inject cancer patients with intelligent nanobots programmed to launch surgical counterstrikes against the disease. That didn’t stop a team of medical researchers and software programmers from developing a video game several years ago that helped young patients imagine such an empowering scenario...

May 13, 2013 — Larry Greenemeier

EPA Nominee Gina McCarthy Stymied By Republican Boycott

When a U.S. president nominates a candidate to take over the top spot at a major government agency such as the Defense Department, at least a few senators—usually from the opposing party—raise some objections, if for no other reason than to show that they will not rubber-stamp anyone the president proposes.But yesterday Republicans boycotted a vote on Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency...

May 10, 2013 — Mark Fischetti

Polio Vaccinations Need A Boost

Scientific American 's editorial board strongly believes that the US was wrong to mount a fake hepatitis B vaccination campaign in the effort to kill Osama bin Laden.

May 3, 2013 — Christine Gorman

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