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Giant Exoplanet Has Astronomers Scratching Their Heads – On Science

December 6, 2013

What planet has scientists puzzled?

What’s the most twisted tongue twister?

Could we be heading to the moon again?

And practicing safe surfing. Coming up today…On Science!

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

Sometimes science stumps even the smartest scientists—like this scenario. Astronomers have found a giant exoplanet orbiting its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance. But this planet called HD 106906 has scientists scratching their heads. Commonly held theories of planet formation suggests that planets close to their stars form from small asteroid-like bodies born in the primordial disk of dust and gas that surrounds a forming star. And this process happens too slowly to grow giant planets far from their star. Scientists are looking to other theories to explain this enigma, but so far no luck. They say this find is exciting because it brings up intriguing questions about the planet’s formation history and composition. Interesting.

Pad kid poured curd pulled cold. Okay now your turn. Go ahead. Not easy right? That’s the phrase psychologists at MIT say will trip you up the most. Researchers didn’t have volunteers do the phrase just get a good laugh, although it is pretty funny, but to gain valuable insights into the brain’s speech-planning process. The speech errors that result from tongue twisters can help them understand normal brain functions. So if you say the pad kid phrase 10 times fast you win a prize! Not really.

What is at fault in the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami? According to the international Japan Trench Drilling Project, which involved scientists from 10 different countries, the largest fault slip ever recorded was responsible for the devastating Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. The 9.0 magnitude event was caused by a 164 feet slip in the Japan trench. Researchers had to drill through 800 meters of seafloor at 7,000 meters below the sea to collect their data. They relied on temperature change information to determine the cause of the earthquake.

And the U.S. is headed to the moon once again! It’s been a while since our last visit – 40 years to be exact! The commercial company, Moon Express, is planning a 2015 “soft” landing on the lunar surface. The company unveiled its MX-1 spacecraft at the Autodesk University show in Las Vegas this week. It will mark the first lunar “soft” landing since the Apollo program. But it won’t be carrying astronauts. The odd looking capsule can deliver cargo of up to 130 pounds to the moon and will return some of the coveted lunar dirt back to Earth. Moon Express has more in mind than just the name of doing a landing. The company plans to mine the moon for its precious platinum, titanium, and other rare elements. And this is pretty cool…Moon Express CEO said MX-1 is so small that two people could put their arms around it.

Wrap you head around this! Internet security firm Trustwave revealed a 2 million password heist in a blog series called “Look What I Found.” The passwords were swiped from social media sites, email accounts, and even a pay service using the malicious Pony Botnet Controller. Stolen passwords from social media can be annoying but from a pay service can have financial repercussions. Trustwave came across the 2 million passwords in an online post. They notified Facebook and other sites and services before posting their blog. And they recommend protecting yourself like by activating Login Approvals and Login Notifications in your Facebook settings. So practice safe password settings, citizen scientists.

And that’s what going on today On Science. Changing my settings now.



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