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Winning The Asteroid Battle – News Ideas Emerge – On Science

October 24, 2013

How we will win the asteroid battle?

What added benefit comes with the flu vaccine?

Dolphins are doing it again.

And the arts and STEM come together once again. Today…On Science.

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m your host Emerald Robinson.

It’s a fierce battle…and we fight not against anything of this world…we fight against asteroids. It sounds more like the premise to the last Xbox sensation, but it seems like the whole world is getting into the asteroid fight. The Russian space agency, Roscomos, is partnering with the Russian Academy of Sciences on a project to neutralize deadly asteroids that may threaten the Earth. They say that taking on asteroids may involve the military. This comes one week after the discovery of asteroid 2013 TV135 by a Ukrainian scientist and a few months after the meteorite explosion over Russia’s Ural Mountains.

Well here’s an asteroid-fighting idea for you, Russia—space probes. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics in Germany are experimenting with how space probes could be used to deflect hazardous asteroids. They suggest impacting the asteroid with the probe at high speeds. The probe would transfer its own momentum to the asteroid; in addition the recoil of detached material from the crater would act as a turbocharger on the deviation of the asteroid. The impact of the probe would only change the speed of the asteroid by just a few centimeters per second, but researchers say that’s enough to deflect its course significantly over a longer period. That means we need to attack years ahead of time. They determined this in simulations performed by attaching materials with asteroid-like properties to a pendulum and firing aluminum projectiles at them. Well there’s one idea.

Besides protecting yourself from the coughing, sneezing, aching body and near death experience of the flu, there’s another reason to get the flu shot. New research from the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto found that the flu vaccine may also reduce the risk of heart attack. Conducting a research review of 6 different vaccination clinical trials, researchers found that those patients who had already had a heart attack event before, had 55% lower risk of having a severe cardiac event. Vaccinated patients were also found to be less likely to have a fatal event. Also, stronger vaccines had more cardiac benefit than the typical seasonal vaccine. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in North America and researchers say that these findings “are all the ammunition [they] need to move forward” in their research. Well keep it moving!

Dolphins are inspiring scientists once again. This time it’s new radar technology. Scientists from the University of Southampton got a little dolphin inspiration to develop their new twin introverted pulse radar, or TWIPR, to look for hidden surveillance and explosive devices. Dolphins blow bubble nets around schools of fish to cluster them together, and use sonar to distinguish the fish from the bubbles. Inspired by this ability to differentiate, the new radar distinguishes the true “targets” from the “clutter”; basically between electronic circuitry commonly found in espionage equipment from other metallic items like pipe and nails. I feel like we are always taking cues from these cool creatures.

So parents those piano lessons might not sound like they’re paying off, but they will! But not in the way you think. Research from Michigan State shows a link between childhood participation in the arts, and patents generated and businesses launched as adults. Looking at a group of STEM graduates, researchers found that those of the group who owned businesses or had received patents had 8 times more exposure to the arts as kids than the general public. They also found that 93% of STEM grads reported musical training. If they continued the arts into adulthood, they were more likely to become inventors. Exposure to metal work, architecture, and photography also increased entrepreneurial and inventing chances in adulthood. Why? Because art activities facilitate out-of-the-box thinking. Again, I always say art and science depend on one another.

And that’s your On Science for today. How about a little Beethoven for Science [ music ].