8/24/2005:

Intermediate Word:  mensal -  pertaining to  (a) measurements  (b) a table (c) menses  (d) the meninges of the brain
Difficult Word: - baize  (a) carpenter's apron, with pockets  (b) eyeshade  (c) brown maize  (d) felt-napped coarse wool cloth

Graphic by Ingrid Pecca/Orlando Sentinel NASA outlines plans for moon and Mars  - Popular Mechanics   NASA's new road map for the human exploration of space would land four astronauts on the moon by 2018 as the first step toward an eventual six-person voyage to Mars. Pioneers would build a lunar outpost, most likely at the south pole, with living quarters, power plants and communication systems. Expeditions would scavenge the desolate landscape for precious supplies such as fuel and water. Astronauts would roam the surface in high-tech dune buggies to search for answers to scientific riddles that continue to baffle researchers. The crews would blast off aboard rockets derived from the space-shuttle fleet and parachute back to Earth in capsules similar to those used during the Apollo program. The assault on the moon would be a precursor to 500-day expeditions on Mars, an alien world more than 35 million miles away that some scientists suspect could hold evidence of extraterrestrial life. Some things are subject to change, and important decisions have yet to be made. But the study is the first detailed description of how NASA intends to accomplish the goals announced by President Bush in January 2004 of returning astronauts to the moon by 2020 to prepare for later missions to Mars. The study estimates the program will cost about $217 billion through 2025. NASA's exploration office is projected to receive about the same amount of money during that period.
Stem cells Scientists make nerve stem cells  - BBC  The world's first pure nerve stem cells made from human embryonic stem cells has been created by scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Milan. It is hoped the newly-created cells will eventually help scientists find new treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The more immediate use for the artificially-created cells is to test out the effectiveness of new drugs. "In terms of the possibility of using the cells for transplantation, that's a much more difficult and longer term thing and I think there we're talking more of the five to ten year range."    

Artificial "skin" matrix     Image: PNAS

Thin skin will help robots 'feel'  - BBC  Japanese researchers have developed a flexible artificial skin that could give robots a humanlike sense of touch. The team manufactured a type of "skin" capable of sensing pressure and another capable of sensing temperature. The researchers explain how pressure-sensing and temperature-sensing networks can be laminated together, forming an artificial skin that can detect both properties simultaneously. Someya and his colleagues used electronic circuits as pressure sensors and semiconductors as temperature sensors. They embedded these sensors in a thin plastic film to create a net-like matrix.




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