Thursday's science stories

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jul 30, 2020 - Science

NASA's Perseverance rover launches on a trip to Mars

The Atlas V rocket launching Perseverance to Mars Thursday. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA's Perseverance rover launched on a journey to Mars Thursday to hunt for signs of past alien life on the Red Planet.

Why it matters: The rover is the third spacecraft lofted to Mars this month, with the first two sent by the United Arab Emirates and China.

Florida to close state-run coronavirus testing sites ahead of storm

A drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

The Florida Division of Emergency Management announced Wednesday all state-supported coronavirus testing sites will temporarily close this week ahead of the anticipated arrival of a weather system that's expected to become a tropical storm.

Why it matters: Florida has reported more than 450,00 cases and over 6,300 deaths from COVID-19, including a record 216 deaths in 24 hours announced Wednesday. "All sites have free standing structures including tents and other equipment, which cannot withstand tropical storm force winds, and could cause damage to people and property if not secured," the emergency management's statement said.

Alzheimer's blood test may detect signs 20 years before symptoms show

A social worker shows a photo of Britain's Prince Charles to a woman during a memory activity at the Cuidem La Memoria elderly home, which specializes in Alzheimer patients, in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images

An international team of researchers has found that a newly developed blood test is highly accurate in aiding the detection of Alzheimer's disease.

Why it matters: The test could distinguish Alzheimer's from other conditions, and may be able to detect changes in the brain 20 years before dementia symptoms occur, per the study findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Tuesday.