Cambridge, Mass. - Massachusetts Institute of Technology students are planning to launch six mice into space to learn how they handle life in an environment simulating the gravity of Mars. The three-dozen students hope to send the mice on an old intercontinental ballistic missile fired from the shores of the Barents Sea in Northern Europe. The experiment will spin the animals in a small, rotating cone to create the right gravitational pull, according to The Boston Globe. While many studies have examined the effect of zero gravity on a mammal, MIT students said none has examined how the gravity on Mars - about a third of Earth's gravity - would affect animal physiology. The mice's responses could help pave the way for a human visit to the Red Planet.
providence - A top high school in Saudi Arabia is turning to Brown University to help students prepare for college. The partnership with the King Faisal School will earn about $300,000 for the university over three years. Brown will help the Saudi school revise its curriculum, prepare its students to do college-level work in English, and train its teachers in American-style classroom techniques. Saudi schools generally stress math and science, but they don't promote an analytical, problem-oriented approach to education. Brown was chosen because children of the Saudi royal family have graduated from the King Faisal School and from Brown.
mercer, penn. - A 19-year-old college freshman last week became the new mayor of Mercer, a tiny western Pennsylvania borough. Christopher Portman ran on a platform of revitalizing the town and starting a foundation to raise funds for community projects. The new mayor, whose job pays just $1,875 a year and doesn't wield much power, says he mostly views himself as a goodwill ambassador who inspires others - especially high-schoolers - to volunteer more. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Eric Pope was sworn in yesterday as a member of the New Bedford (Mass.) School Committee. The part-time youth worker and college student says he hopes to improve his town's image through education.