December 4, 2012
Japanese Astronaut To Bring A Robot With Him In 2013 – The Daily Orbit
A new companion for astronauts at the ISS?
Does the ”Pinocchio effect” really exist?
And what has Curiosity found now?
All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Curiosity has found something. Ok it’s not a green little Martian man with big ears, but organic compounds that could be ingredients for life. NASA announced at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco that its Mars Curiosity rover has found water, sulfur, and chlorine-containing substances among samples taken by the rover’s arm. The little rover also turned up traces of carbon in several samples taken by the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM, instrument, but NASA’s not saying that it’s actually Martian. The carbon could be a result of contamination from Curiosity or may have arrived on Mars via comets or asteroids. Curiosity performed its first soil scoops at a location called Rocknest, and delivered the samples into its analytical instruments. NASA said the latest find demonstrates Curiosity’s ability to analyze diverse soil and rock samples, which it will continue to do for the remainder of its 2 year mission.
And I would imagine it gets very lonely on the International Space Station. Well, get excited astronauts, you’re getting a friend! In a joint effort between the University of Tokyo, the Japanese robotics company “Robo Garage” and the ad agency Dentsu, a little humanoid robot will join the International Space Station next summer. The still unnamed robot will measure just over a foot in height and weigh only 2.2 lbs. He will accompany Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata during his stay at ISS. And you’ll want to make sure to follow the bot on Twitter as the humanoid will be tweeting back to Earth from the ISS. “The main objective,” say scientists “is that humans can talk to it and feel some sort of closeness to it” Maybe they can join hands and sing Kumbaya in the ISS.
And as we talk about a humanoid tweeting in space, we have to stop and honor the beginning of text messaging. The first text was sent on December 3, 1992, by Neil Papworth to Vodafone’s Richard Jarvis’ cell phone saying “Merry Christmas.” However, this now prevalent form of communication didn’t really take off until 1993 when Nokia introduced a phone capable of sending and receiving texts. Papworth said that he is “surprised with how popular this communication system has become.” A big happy 20th birthday to the text message!
And it comes as no surprise that 2012 global carbon dioxide emissions are projected to set a record high, with emissions expected to rise 2.6% this year. The Global Carbon Project’s new report shows fossil fuel emissions at 58% above 1990 levels, the year of the Kyoto Protocol, the largest international climate treaty. And just who are the biggest carbon-emitting culprits this year? China leads the way with 28% of total emissions, followed by the United States at 16% , the European Union at 11%, and India coming in at 7%. Authors of the study said that as emissions continue to rise, it’s like “no one is listening to the scientific community.” We here at the Daily Orbit keep trying to get the word out.
Liar, liar nose on fire! Well, it looks like the “Pinocchio effect” is real, but not exactly how the cartoon depicts. Thermography, a technique based on determining body temperature, reveals that lying causes the temperature of a person’s nose to heat up. Using thermographic imaging, the new study reveals that when lying, the area around the nose and the orbital muscle in the inner corner of the eye increase in temperature. Conversely, when a person performs a considerable mental effort, facial temperature drops. Thermography has been around since World War II, first developed by the US as “night vision” to detect the enemy. It’s now used in a wide variety of industrial applications, such as measuring energy loss from buildings. Scientists say being able to measure these temperature changes in humans may be helpful for people with certain medical conditions, like multiple sclerosis, who have trouble regulating body temperature.
Well, that’s all for today’s Daily Orbit! It really wasn’t me who ate the last cookie. I promise!! (nose turns red)