February 4, 2013
3D Printing, On The Moon! – The Daily Orbit
Could a printer make a lunar home?
There’s another big whale vomit winner!
And can a billboard make you fat?
All that and more coming up on today’s Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Let me print a paper house and put it on the moon. That’s what the European Space Agency is looking to do. Partnering with an architectural company, ESA is looking to Monolite’s D-Shape 3D printer technology to make it possible. The printer would utilize regolith from the lunar surface to print a paper, and then a binding salt would be applied to convert the paper into a stone-like solid. This method would reduce the materials needed to be transported from Earth, making a lunar base more feasible. The base would shield astronauts from meteoroids and radiation. They are currently testing the process using basaltic rock from an Italian volcano. Not sure I would want to be stuck on the moon in a paper house, but if they build it I’m sure they will come.
And it’s starting to seem like finding a pile of whale vomit is like winning the lotto! Another lucky puke picker found ambergris on a beach in the UK. Not knowing what the yellow waxy substance was when his boxer Madge brought it back, the 48-year-old unemployed bloke went home and researched it on the Internet and cha-ching! Used in perfume-making, this piece of ambergris could get the man as much as $150,000. Well, looks like Daddy’s getting a payday and that dog deserves an extra special doggie treat!
Put down that hedgehog before you get infected! If you have a pet hedgehog you might wanna listen up. The CDC is blaming hedgehogs for the latest Salmonella outbreak. The contaminated pets came from USDA-APHIS-licensed breeders and officials are now working to see if more diseased hedgehogs were sold. The CDC is recommending that if you have a pet hedgehog, to be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after petting it before you eat or handle food. I think that would be a given.
Who-dat looking at an owl’s neck? That would be researchers from Johns Hopkins trying to discover how owls can turn their head almost 270 degrees in either direction. They found that the vessels under an owl’s jaw bone enlarge and pool blood to meet the energy needs of the brain during rotation but contract when not in use. Owls have more space in holes of the vertebrae that allow arteries more room for movement. Hence, owls can turn their heads almost all the way without dying while having a large field of vision, keeping their body still, and not scaring off prey. I wish I could turn my head all the way around like an owl.
Feeling a little fat from fast food fixes? Well blame it on the billboard! A new study found that in areas where there’s more outdoor food advertising, there’s also more obesity. Looking at randomly selected census tracks from highly populated cities with an even distribution of high and low income, researchers found a correlation between more outside advertising and higher rates of obesity. They found that in an area of 5,000 people, if 30% of outdoor ads were devoted to food, then typically there were an additional 100 to 150 obese people than in areas with no food ads. Researchers recommend that citizens “free their communities from advertising clutter!” Or maybe just get some self-control?
That does it for today’s Daily Orbit.