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National Geographic at 125 Facts

Frank LaMacchia sits for an interview at Magee Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In a few hours, he will walk for the first time in 13 years.  Frank lost the use of his legs in a devastating injury but he held on to a hope that someday he would stand again on his own two feet.

Frank LaMacchia sits for an interview at Magee Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In a few hours, he will walk for the first time in 13 years.  Frank lost the use of his legs in a devastating injury but he held on to a hope that someday he would stand again on his own two feet.  (View larger version)

Photograph by NGT

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  • The StarCAVE is a virtual reality environment used by a wide variety of scientific disciplines to study as large as the cosmos and as minute as nanoparticles in 3D.

  • The user of the StarCAVE is surrounded on all sides and even the floor by 3D scientific models or animations at a high level of image quality.

  • Ekso Bionics is an industry leader in the robotic industry market, founded in 2005.

  • Currently the Ekso bionic suit costs $130,000, but the goal is to get the cost down to less than $75,000 when they sell them directly to patients in 2014.

  • The Van Allen Belts are zones of highly energetic charged particles that surround the earth in a torus, or doughnut, shape.

  • The two identical Radiation Belt Space Probes will spend approximately two years orbiting the earth collecting data about space weather.

  • About 75-80% of lightning occurs within the storm cloud because the electrical field within the storm is stronger than the one on the earth.

  • Lightning is five times hotter than the sun. A single bolt can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • The product is called "da Vinci" in part because Leonardo da Vinci invented the first robot. He also used unparalleled anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details to bring his masterpieces to life. The da Vinci Surgical System similarly provides physicians with such enhanced detail and precision that the System can simulate an open surgical environment while allowing operation through tiny incisions.

  • Studies have shown that minimally invasive surgeries, including robotic surgeries, lowered length of hospital stay, and resulted in 1/3 the rate of perioperative deaths when compared with open surgery.

  • Bob Ballard discovered the Titanic on September 1, 1985. It was more than two miles deep.

  • Bob Ballard says, 98 percent of the world's oceans are nearly 20,000 feet deep, and now Ballard has access to technology that allows him to explore that far down so we can explore places never seen before.

  • The Ebola virus got its name from a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it was first recognized.

  • Ebola shares a family with the Marburg virus called filoviruses, whose replication pattern is not completely understood.

  • When James Cameron dove to the Marianas Trench on March 25, 2012, he was the first person to do so since 1960.

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