March 29, 2013 The sand is pumped underground along with water and other chemicals to extract oil and natural gas trapped deep in rock. But researchers found that air samples taken at some drilling sites contained high enough levels of very fine silica particles to be dangerous to workers.
February 27, 2013 The 72-year-old businessman who flew to the International Space Station in 2001 now wants to take advantage of planetary alignment in January 2018 that would allow for people to fly to Mars, loop around the planet, and return to Earth. Dennis Tito says he won't go, but the plan is to send a man and a woman on the 501-day trip.
February 22, 2013 In early 2012, experiments that made H5N1 bird flu more contagious caused an uproar. People feared that mutant viruses could escape the lab and kill people. To prevent a repeat, the government has unveiled a policy describing how scientists should study dangerous pathogens and toxins.
February 8, 2013 At its closest approach, the office building-sized asteroid will be only about 17,200 miles above the surface of our planet. That's far nearer to us than the moon, and even closer than some weather and communications satellites. Some people think this near miss should serve as a wake-up call.
February 7, 2013 Regulations to restrict the amount of silica dust that workers can inhale were set decades ago, and workplace safety experts say that limit needs to be cut in half. A proposal for new rules was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for a 90-day review, but almost two years later, it's still under review.
January 23, 2013 After researchers created versions of the bird flu virus that could spread more easily, critics began to worry that the work could spawn a pandemic if a virus escaped from the lab. After halting their work for more than a year, scientists now say the benefits outweigh the risks, and they are set to restart their experiments.
January 23, 2013 An NIH working group recommends that most of the agency's 360 research chimpanzees be sent to a sanctuary — a non-laboratory setting where chimps can live more natural lives. But even if the NIH accepts the recommendations, putting them into effect won't be easy.
December 31, 2012 When scientists figured out how to make the deadly H5N1 virus more contagious, a debate ignited about whether to publish the research and do more experiments. Over the past year, scientists published the contentious work, but they still can't agree on the field's future.
December 19, 2012 Scientists recently sparked controversy when they made dangerous new forms of bird flu. The National Institutes of Health is about to put in place a new system for reviewing this kind of work in the future.
December 18, 2012 On Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health in Maryland is holding a second day of talks about whether and how to continue funding some controversial scientific experiments. Back in January, virologists agreed to temporarily stop research that was creating new forms of bird flu, because critics argued that the work was too dangerous.