Science news

Former Indiana governor, now Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, has joined a panel that will make recommendations about the future of the nation's space program. 

The Committee on Human Spaceflight is part of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. Its purpose is to review the space program's long-term goals and direction and suggest ways to sustain it. 

Daniels says Purdue has a long history with the space program and that he's honored to serve on the panel. Purdue's alumni include astronauts Virgil `Gus' Grissom, Roger Chaffee, Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan. Armstrong was the first man on the moon, and Cernan was the last. 

Daniels will serve as co-chairman of the committee through June 30, 2014.

Update at 9:04 a.m.:

NPR just reported that at least 900 people in one Russian community have sought medical help following Friday's meteor hit.

Original post:

A meteor slammed into the Ural Mountains in Russia Friday, reportedly injuring hundreds. The Associated Press says at least three people are hospitalized in serious condition.

This comes on the same day NASA is tracking an asteroid the size of an office building that will fly by Earth today.

Still, scientists say there is no link between the two events.

Middle Tennessee State University has signed a deal with the Army and Marine Corps to study how to coordinate robots on the ground with unmanned vehicles in the air.

TVA is unveiling a new program, designed to encourage paper and aluminum recycling at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. The facility in the bluegrass state is the first of  four in the Southeast starting such programs.

The USDA Forest Service is extending mine and cave closures to help protect bats, in the fight against white nose syndrome. The disease is expected to spread to caves and abandoned mines in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Mammoth Cave National Park is making use of some new propane-fueled vehicles, thanks to a partnership between the National Park Service and the Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program. The vehicles are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the park.

In recognition of "Earth Hour" activities around the world, lights on the State Capitol in Frankfort were dimmed for one hour Saturday. "Earth Hour" is an international program backed by the World Wildlife Federation, to recognize the need to conserve energy and protect the environment.

National Park Service

Biologists in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have confirmed that two bats found in a park cave have white-nose syndrome. The fungus that causes the disease had been found earlier in the Smokies.

Vickie Carson

Professional archaeologists in Kentucky are sharing research and project updates this weekend at Mammoth Cave National Park. The conference, which runs through noon Sunday, is co-sponsored by the WKU Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology, the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archeologists, and the WKU Office of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

A disease that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America has been found in three central Kentucky caves.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources says three common bat species tested positive for the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome. The species are the Northern long-eared, tri-colored and little brown bats.

The caves are privately owned and not open to the public. The department says they are northeast of Hardinsburg in Breckinridge County.

WKU Public Radio

A new study indicates that air quality in Bowling Green Hospitality venues has improved since a smoke-free ordinance took effect last spring. The new study, which was funded by the Kentucky Cancer Consortium and the Barren River Area Health Department, found an 83 percent decline in indoor air pollution since the smoke-free ordinance was established.

Ten hospitality venues were monitored in the study, using a device called a TSI Sidepak. That device monitored air quality every sixty seconds in the venues included in the report.

Bowling Green, Ky – Delaying the vaccinations a child is to receive in the first year of life has no positive impact on that child's cognitive development. That's the conclusion of research conducted at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and published in the journal Pediatrics. Researcher Dr. Michael Smith spoke to WKU Public Radio about the study, and WKU Nursing Instructor Deanna Hanson described the negative consequences of delaying or forgoing vaccinations.

Nashville, TN – All over the world, scientists are trying to unlock the secrets of the human brain. At Vanderbilt University in Nashville, researchers are engaged in cutting-edge experiments designed to reveal how we arrive at legal decisions, such as guilt and innocence. As Kevin Willis reports, the research could help us understand how juries and judges administer verdicts.