January 28, 2013

Remembering The Apollo 1 Astronauts – The Daily Orbit

Remembering Apollo 1 and three brave astronauts.

Good news on global warming? Really?

And self-control leads to weight loss…umm…yeah duh?

All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Today we remember the tragic Apollo 1 mission and astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. On January 27, 1967, these brave astronauts stepped into their Apollo capsule for a seemingly non-hazardous test. While running through their checklist, a voltage transit was recorded and ten seconds later Grissom reported a fire. Within 17 seconds the capsule and crew were engulfed in flames. An investigation showed that Grissom’s and White’s suits and life support hoses had partly melted. The accident led to major design and engineering changes that made the Apollo spacecraft safer for later moon missions. So we remember the heroes and their contribution to space exploration.

And guess what’s next? Yes a global warming update, but this time it’s not all doom and gloom. Turns out global warming might be curable and not as bad as we had thought! Norwegian researchers say that policymakers’ goal of containing global warming to less than 3.6 F is totally doable. Although the Earth’s average temperature and ocean warming rose sharply through the 1990s, the increase leveled off after the year 2000, although CO2 levels continue to rise. They say it’ll get worse before it gets better but they are 90% certain that global warming from CO2 will lie between 2.1 and 5.2 F, lower than previous calculations.

And here’s another one of our favorite topics: new planet discoveries! Astronomers discovered that the HAT-P7 planetary system includes at least two giant planets and one companion star. Using the Subaru Telescope, astronomers first discovered the HAT-P-7 little b (the planet) in 2008. Scientists believe that the existence of the companion star and the outer planet play a big role in forming and maintaining the retrograde orbit of the inner planet. They say this discovery provides important clues in understanding the origin of a variety of planetary systems.

And who knew you need self-control to lose weight and improve your health. Okay, I know it seems like a no-brainer but here are the facts for you anyway. A six-month behavioral weight loss treatment program found that participants who had more willpower also had higher levels of physical activity, consumed fewer calories from fat, and were more likely to attend group sessions. Researchers say that even though it seems like a “yeah-duh,” the correlation has been “woefully” understudied. They also say that you can train yourself to have self-control. Can’t you just give me a shot of willpower or something?

Think you’re clear of city pollution perils living miles away, out in the country? Not so bucko! A new study says that heat generated by day-to-day human activities in large cities can affect the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems, causing warming or cooling in areas more than 1,000 miles away. Called “waste heat,” this heat is “produced directly through transportation, heating and cooling units and other activities.” The research group said that temperatures in some areas could increase by as much as 1.8 F. Although waste heat doesn’t majorly affect the global temperature, it can explain some regions’ winter warming trend. See mama I’m just as well living in the city!

And that’s it for today’s Daily Orbit. See you right back here tomorrow!

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