SpaceX setback

SpaceX setback

For new stories every day, visit THE deal was supposed to be done by now. But negotiators for Iran and the West are about to mi...

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For new stories every day, visit

THE deal was supposed to be done by now. But negotiators for Iran and the West are about to miss the 30 June deadline for making a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

“The sticking point is how nuclear inspectors will check Iran isn’t building nuclear weapons”

Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images

Iran deal in doubt?

60 Seconds

UK says no to fracking It’s frack off time. Lancashire county council has rejected energy firm Cuadrilla’s bid to dig exploratory fracking wells near Little Plumpton, in north-west England. It was rejected on the grounds of unacceptable noise and the urbanising effect fracking would have on the landscape.

Levitating cells

Nelson Luiz Wendel/Getty

As New Scientist went to press the talks had been extended by a week. The sticking point is how nuclear inspectors will check Iran isn’t building nuclear weapons. The outlines of the deal were SpaceX setback agreed in Lausanne, Switzerland, in April. Among other things, Iran BOOM. The explosion of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket minutes after agreed to abide by International launch last weekend was a blow Atomic Energy Agency rules for US hopes of rebooting crewed allowing inspectors to check space flight: this is the type of any site they deem suspicious, rocket the company wants to use including military facilities. to send people into space in 2017. But last week Iran’s supreme After 18 successful launches leader, Ali Khamenei, rejected in a row, SpaceX has now lost its any such military inspections. perfect launch record. The Falcon He also insisted sanctions be 9 rocket exploded 2 minutes and lifted before Iran reduces its 19 seconds after launch from Cape stockpile of enriched uranium Canaveral in Florida. SpaceX will and enrichment equipment, as the agreement stipulates. “After 18 successful At the same time, a panel of launches in a row, 18 US experts insisted that the SpaceX has now lost its IAEA must verify that Iran had perfect launch record” done all those things and more before lifting sanctions, a position need to convince people that likely to influence approval of the rocket can be trusted, says any deal by the US Congress. Jonathan McDowell of Harvard University. “You want a really, really reliable rocket before you put people on it.” Among the 2 tonnes of supplies and equipment in the Dragon capsule atop the rocket were two docking stations, so that the capsule – which could one day carry people – can dock with the International Space Station. It was also carrying several plant and animal experiments. The failure shouldn’t delay plans to launch the first crewed space mission from US soil since –A thing of the past – hopefully– 2011, said William Gerstenmaier,

–Falcon no more–

NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration, at a press conference. “It could help us nail down designs and move forward.” In a tweet, Elon Musk said the incident was triggered by too much pressure in a liquid oxygen tank in the upper stage of the rocket. Watching from on board the ISS, US astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted: “Space is hard.”

Mosquito migration IT’S time to stock up on repellent. Mosquitoes may soon be carrying nasty diseases into new areas of the globe. Simon Hay of the University of Oxford and his colleagues have mapped the exact locations in which 42,000 mosquitoes were captured. Some 22,000 were yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) and 20,000 were Aedes albopictus. Both can carry yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya. The team then used climate and landscape data to work out where in the world had the conditions the mosquitoes seemed to prefer. As global warming continues, Hay says the insects may migrate from their present strongholds, including the Mediterranean. “I would expect them to reach more northerly parts of France and southern Germany,” he says (eLife,

Magnetism 1 – Gravity 0. A team at Stanford University has devised a way to make living cells hover using magnets. The technique, which measures the density of individual cancer cells, may be useful for testing new drugs or monitoring diseases (PNAS,

Record-breaking trip Now that’s a long-haul flight. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, currently aboard the International Space Station, has broken the record for total time in space. On Monday he beat the previous record of 803 days, 9 hours and 41 minutes. Padalka is set to return to Earth on 11 September, having amassed 878 days in space in five trips, and hopes to fly again to break 1000 days.

Clean air too costly? Up in the air. This is the status of the Obama administration’s regulation to reduce the emission of mercury and other harmful gases from power plants. The Supreme Court ruled that the US Environmental Protection Agency failed to take into account the annual bill of $9.6 billion for meeting the standards. The appeals court will now decide whether to scrap the regulation.

Childbirth trauma Women experience abuse and discrimination while in labour, according to an analysis of health care facilities across 34 countries. Mistreatment includes sexual, verbal and physical abuse, such as slapping (PLoS Medicine, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001846).

4 July 2015 | NewScientist | 5