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Killer Whale Buried in Secret Location On UF's Campus

Quote of the Week:

“Sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen.” –Tom Brady

Fact of the Week:

Space exploration is expensive. There’s so much engineering and research that goes into creating vessels, charting paths, and ensuring safety that it’s bound to add up to an astronomical number. But one price tag is particularly astounding: the one on an astronaut’s suit. The cost of a space suit in 1974 was between $15-22 million, which, when adjusted for inflation, is around $150 million in today’s money.

How can a single suit cost so much?

“A spacesuit has to protect an astronaut from the vacuum of space, from radiation coming from the sun and other bodies, and it has to protect against fast-traveling particles that are traveling up to 18,000 miles an hour that could penetrate the suit,” says Cathleen Lewis, the curator of International Space Programs and Spacesuits at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. “They provide oxygen, communications, telemetry, and everything else that a human needs to survive, all rolled into one tiny, human-formed spacecraft.”

The two most expensive parts of the suit are the gloves and the backpack. The gloves are extremely intricate and require great dexterity so the astronaut can use his or her hands adequately. The backpack houses the life support system, which is the most complex aspect of the whole suit.

Despite NASA spending $420 million between 2008 and 2021 on developing new suit technology, it seems unlikely they will have any new suits ready for 2024—the year in which they had hoped to send humans back to the moon.

Currently, the suits in use are over 40 years old. In fact, they are the very same $15-22 million suits constructed in 1974, even though were originally designed to be used for only fifteen years.

According to Business Insider, “Suit No. 1 was only used for certification, while suit two was destroyed during ground testing. Two suits were lost in the Challenger disaster in 1986, and another two in the Columbia disaster in 2003. The most recent spacesuit loss was unit 17, during SpaceX-7's cargo-mission mishap. The exact cost to replace this unit is unknown, but estimates range as high as $250 million. For the remaining 11 suits, the damage is mounting, with seven in various stages of refurbishment and maintenance. That leaves only four flight-ready spacesuits aboard the International Space Station.”

Business Insider and Slash Gear contributed to this article.

News Update:

Via ABC News

The University of Florida recently buried a killer whale on its campus in an undisclosed location. The orca, which was 21-feet long and nearly 6,000 pounds, was transported to Gainesville after washing ashore in Palm Coast.

Around 6:30 am on January 11th, a morning beach-goer spotted the orca and alerted authorities. The whale was thought to have been alive at the time of the sighting, but by the time a response team arrived, it had died. A crew of nearly a dozen people then spent hours loading the orca and transporting it to SeaWorld, where it underwent a necropsy. Although it will take weeks for the results to be ready, the orca showed "signs of illness,” according to Erin Fougeres, Marine Mammal Stranding Program administrator for NOAA's Southeast region. “There were no signs of human interaction or trauma.”

The orca was then buried in a secret location on Florida’s campus, where it will remain until its tissue decomposes. At that point, it will be dug up and the skeleton will be sent to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History where it will be used for research.

This was the third reported incident of a killer whale washing ashore in the southeastern United States and the first in 67 years.

NPR and WUFT contributed to this article.

Sports Update:

Via ESPN. Credit: Tim Aylen/Bahamas Visual Services/AP Photo

When the NCAAW Basketball AP rankings came out on Monday, there was a familiar team atop the board. South Carolina unanimously held its place as the best in the country, the 32nd consecutive week they’ve been ranked number one. According to ESPN, “The Gamecocks have the fourth-longest streak ever atop the poll. Only UConn (51 and 34 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) have had longer runs at No. 1.”

They’ve won most of their 21 games by fairly large margins, although they did come close to losing their streak back in November. They beat No. 2 Stanford in a 76-71 OT thriller that likely would have flopped the standings had Stanford won.

Currently, Stanford remains at No. 2 with a 21-2 record. LSU, the only unbeaten team other than South Carolina, is No. 3 in the rankings with a 21-0 record. Previously unbeaten Ohio State lost all three of their games last week, falling to 19-3 on the season and tumbling down to No. 10 in the rankings.

ESPN contributed to this article.

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