September 10, 2012

Aliens Among Us? Not Yet, But It Could Happen – The Daily Orbit

Aliens among us? A royal prediction says so!

What NASA mission is approaching the final frontier?

And my two favorite things– coffee and TV!

All this and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!

Hello Orbiters, I’m Emerald Robinson. Welcome to the Daily Orbit!   Can’t you just picture the introduction of the Queen to the royal extraterrestrial, “Why hello, would you like a spot of tea?”  Well, the queen’s royal astronomer, Lord Martin Rees, predicts that scientists will discover alien life beyond our solar system within the next 40 years.  Rees said that he believes astro-physicists could be able to view images of distant planets outside the solar system as early as 2025, potentially leading to the discovery of some form of life.  Rees went on to say that aliens “may be staring us in the face.” For all you know, I could be an alien 😉

And the spacecraft Voyager 1 is definitely a whole lot closer to an intergalactic meeting than Her Royal Highness! NASA scientists say that the spacecraft, launched back in the late 1970s, could cross into interstellar space any day now, making it the first man-made instrument to ever leave our solar system!  Voyager 1 is traveling at a speed of 8 miles per second and is currently 11 billion miles from the sun.  The probe is equipped with not only information gathering technology, but also a gold plated copper record with images and sounds of Earth in case of an extraterrestrial encounter. Chief Voyager Project Scientist Dr. Ed Stone says “This is what science is all about-observing nature in a new way.”

And you might just look at this adorable furry little creature in a whole new way!  Besides being cute, a new study from the University of California-Santa Cruz, indicates that sea otters have a significant influence on the carbon cycle.  Sea otters prey on sea urchins, a kelp grazer.  This in turn allows the kelp forests to thrive.  Spreading kelp forests can absorb as much as 12 times the amount of CO2 from the atmosphere than if the sea urchin population was left unchecked by the sea otters.  Researchers say this is an important find because it shows  that animals can have a big effect on the carbon cycle.  Awww…isn’t he just soo cute…yes he is (baby talk).

Wow…maybe I sound like I’ve been watching too much TV.  But according to a new study, watching TV actually may help boost brain power!  A recent study shows that watching a rerun of a favorite TV show might help restore the drive to “getter done” for people who need to gather up a little more will power.  When watching a favorite re-run, people typically don’t have to exert any extra effort.  Since they already know what the characters will say and do, they can just enjoy the show.  Scientists believe this activity can restore your energy. However, researchers say it’s not a pass to veg out in front of the TV all day.  This restorative effect is specific to re-watching your favorite re-runs or movies or re-reading your favorite book.  Ah, man I was about to get excited!

You know how coffee smells soooo amazing and then you take a sip and it’s like..blah? Why is that? Well, scientist say they have solved the mystery!  According to scientists, we have two senses of smell. One sense is when you inhale things from the environment into you, and the other is when the air comes out of you up the nasal passage and is breathed out through the nose. This second sense of smell, referred to as “retronasal,” is sent to a different part of the brain where it is interpreted differently.  This is a downer for coffee but makes other foods, like certain foul-smelling cheeses, taste better than they smell!  The only two aromas that are interpreted exactly the same during exhalation and inhalation are chocolate and lavender.  Again, another point in my on-going case for chocolate.

Well, that does it for the Daily Orbit. See you tomorrow Earthlings!

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