Plus: A Study Finds Coffee Drinkers Live Longer and a Big Week for Private Space Flight.
SpaceX Rocket Launch a Success
Earlier this week, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) successfully launched its unmanned Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft to orbit. The successful launch marks the beginning of the first-ever commercial spacecraft mission to the International Space Station.
So far, the demonstration flight has been near flawless, according to progress reports from SpaceX and NASA since the capsule blasted off atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday.
“The vehicle’s first stage performed nominally before separating from the second stage. The second stage successfully delivered the Dragon spacecraft into its intended orbit,” the private company said in an announcement. “This marks the third consecutive successful Falcon 9 launch and the fifth straight launch success for SpaceX.”
Here the Falcon 9 launch vehicle carrying the Dragon spacecraft climbs from the launch pad:
The following video from NASA shows Dragon as it flies under the ISS at a distance of about 1.5 miles:
After minor technical corrections, the Dragon docked with the ISS today bearing a modest cargo: 162 meal packets, a laptop computer, a change of clothes for the station astronauts and 15 student experiments.
The California-based company hopes its gumdrop-shaped capsule will be able to carry astronauts to the ISS in about three years’ time.
NASA is counting on companies like SpaceX to take over the task of flying cargo, and eventually astronauts, to the ISS, which orbits about 240 miles above Earth. SpaceX and a second company, Orbital Sciences Corp, already hold contracts worth a combined $3.5 billion to fly cargo to the station.
Study Finds Coffee Drinkers Live Longer
Older adults who drank coffee – caffeinated or decaffeinated – have a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study, the largest-ever analysis of coffee and mortality risk, seems to settle previous inconsistent results in smaller studies. Researchers tracked more than 400,000 people, comprised of 229,000 men and 173,000 women between 50 and 71 years of age. Funded by the National Institutes of Health and AARP, the study reveals an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality risk.
Essentially, the coffee drinkers “were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections, although the association was not seen for cancer,” an announcement of the findings states.
Relative to men and women who did not drink coffee, those who consumed three or more cups of coffee per day had approximately a 10 percent lower risk of death. Even a single cup a day seemed to lower risk a little: 6 percent in men and 5 percent in women.
“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in America, but the association between coffee consumption and risk of death has been unclear. We found coffee consumption to be associated with lower risk of death overall, and of death from a number of different causes,” according to lead researcher Neal Freedman of the National Cancer Institute. “Although we cannot infer a causal relationship between coffee drinking and lower risk of death, we believe these results do provide some reassurance that coffee drinking does not adversely affect health.”
Although this doesn’t prove that coffee makes people live longer – only that the two seem related – “this is probably the best evidence we have” and are likely to get, Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health, told the Associated Press. Hu was not involved in this study but helped lead a previous one that also found coffee beneficial.
Ultra-Slippery Coating Keeps Ketchup Flowing
Thanks to a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) mechanical engineers and nanotechnologists, we may finally have a non-stick coating solution to the ketchup bottle battle – meaning no more slapping or pounding on the “57” at the bottom of a Heinz bottle.
LiquiGlide is a “slide-inducing spray” that ensures you will always get that last glob of ketchup, mustard or dressing gathered at a bottle’s neck, clung to its side or otherwise impeded from reaching its desired destination,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
Made up of nontoxic materials that allow the condiment to pour out smoothly, the lubricant can be applied to all sorts of food packaging. One of the biggest challenges the research team faced was making sure the coating was safe to consume, which meant ingredients had to be FDA-approved.
“We had a limited amount of materials to pick from,” Dave Smith, an MIT Ph.D. candidate and team member, told Fast Company’s Co.Exist. “I can’t say what they are, but we’ve patented the hell out of it.”
In observance of Memorial Day, IMT will be shuttered on Monday. We’ll return on Tuesday with our Weekly Industry Crib Sheet. Until then, we wish all our readers a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!