Eight nations, including U.S., sign accords for moon missions

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ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 13 (UPI) — Eight nations have signed NASA’s new framework to govern lunar exploration missions, the agency’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, announced Tuesday.

By signing the agreement, the eight nations commit to peaceful activities on the moon and in travel to the moon.

Provisions in the Artemis Accords stipulate that nations, and private companies in those nations, will openly disclose plans for lunar missions, and mine resources on the moon in accordance with the international Outer Space Treaty that dates to 1967.

The accords also commit signing nations to render aid to other nations on the moon if necessary, to minimize space debris and to register all objects taken to the lunar surface.

In addition to the United States, Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates and Britain signed the Artemis Accords.

“We are one human race and we are in this together. The Accords help us to work together to benefit all,” Sarah Al Amiri, chair of the United Arab Emirates Council of Scientists, said in a live broadcast Tuesday.

Bridenstine had said in a press conference Monday that more nations are expected to sign the accords this year, and that he hopes all nations eventually will.

“As NASA, we always try to be very transparent and what our plans and policies are, and we think it’s good for all nations to be transparent with their plans,” Bridenstine said.

The new agreement comes as NASA plans to return astronauts to the moon in 2024, with further plans to establish a lunar base to tap water ice for possible long-term habitation.

NASA officials on Monday acknowledged they didn’t approach all space-faring nations in drafting the accords because the agency wanted to move quickly. NASA sought a few nations believed to have common values, said Mike Gold, associate


How could a toxic gas be a sign of life of Venus?

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Scientists recently announced that they had found possible signs of life in the clouds of Venus. We probably should have suspected as much all along.

Venus is a natural place to look for life beyond Earth. It is Earth’s twin — almost the same size and structure — and closer to us than Mars, the current favorite of astronomers looking for life elsewhere in the solar system. Venus is also closer to the Sun, which provides the warmth necessary for life as we know it. In the past, a few scientists have suggested that Venus was a source of primordial life that was later seeded on Earth. That theory, lithopanspermia, never gained popularity because current conditions on Venus seemed very inhospitable to life. The high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Venus ensures that the planet has a runaway greenhouse effect that makes its surface incredibly hot, way hotter than your oven, which kills off microorganisms. And the clouds in its atmosphere are acidic. So scientists turned their attention elsewhere, to Mars and the moons of Saturn. So far, no definitive signs of life have been found on any of them.

But the latest announcement about Venus is a tantalizing one. Astronomers haven’t actually seen life on Venus. Instead, they have observed evidence of a gas called phosphine in the planet’s clouds. What could phosphine have to do with extraterrestrial life?

Phosphine is a highly toxic gas formed when one atom of phosphorus combines with three atoms of hydrogen. Giant planets such as Jupiter have a lot of hydrogen in them and in their atmospheres, and are known to produce phosphine. But on Venus and Earth, there is very little hydrogen in the atmosphere. So, the thinking goes, any phosphine detected is likely associated with life, because someone


University of Toledo Medical Center, University of Toledo Physicians Sign Network Agreements with Humana

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Leading health and well-being company Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) announced today it has signed Medicare and commercial plan network agreements with University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) and University of Toledo Physicians (UTP).

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200930005109/en/

The contracts are in effect for certain Humana Medicare Advantage Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) health plans and Humana commercial HMO and PPO health plans in Ohio and Michigan. Plan members have in-network access:

  • At UTMC, a community-focused teaching hospital in northwest Ohio. The 247-bed hospital is a major patient-care referral and teaching facility.

  • With more than 280 UTP physicians in an array of specialties and subspecialties. UTP is a multi-specialty faculty practice group affiliated with UTMC.

“This agreement is a reflection of our commitment of more than 50 years to offer quality health care near where people live and work,” said UTMC CEO Rick Swaine. “UTMC is pleased to be an in-network option for Humana members. We look forward to them placing their trust in us as we care for them and help them with their health care needs.”

“We are aligned with Humana in our dedication to compassionate, patient-centered health care, and pleased to join together to help its members be as healthy as they can,” said UTP Chief Physician Executive Kris Brickman, M.D. “Broadening access to care is important to all of us at UTP, particularly during these difficult times.”

“Expanding options for care has never been more imperative than it is today, given the challenges we face as the coronavirus pandemic continues,” said Humana Regional President Kathie Mancini. “Humana looks forward to collaborating with UTMC and University of Toledo Physicians in support of the


Illinois State coach Kurt Beathard posts ‘All Lives Matter’ sign, then resigns

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The Pantagraph cited sources last week in reporting that a “Black Lives Matter” poster was taken down recently in the Redbirds’ locker room. Beathard told the newspaper he had nothing to do with that, but he suggested that he took down a similar poster placed on his office door and replaced it with the “All Lives Matter” sign.

“That locker room crap is wrong. I took the sign down somebody put on my door. That’s it,” Beathard told the Pantagraph. “I didn’t take anything off that wasn’t put on my door. I wrote the message.”

Lyons and a spokesman for the Redbirds’ athletic department could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Illinois State athletics department announced Wednesday that Beathard was “no longer with the football program.” A pair of assistants, Ghaali Muhammad-Lankford and C.J. Irvin, will share the position of offensive coordinator.

The Vidette, Illinois State’s student newspaper, reported last week that Beathard cleared his office and posted the sign before resigning his position.

Beathard has deep ties to the football world: He is the son of legendary NFL general manager Bobby Beathard and the uncle of San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard.

That Facebook account has also shared messages of support for President Trump and criticism of football players’ protests of racial injustice during the national anthem. Earlier in September, the account shared a message that asked people to “Pray for our president,” and it included an image with the message, “Babies Lives Matter Also.”

The Redbirds don’t have a game until February; the Missouri Valley Football Conference postponed football until spring because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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