November 13, 2012

Even Space Satellites Are Affected By Climate Change – The Daily Orbit

What caused “lights out” over Australia?

Can a new candy leave you smelling like a rose?

What new technology will measure the world’s shortest light pulses?

And the latest on the climate change saga…coming up on the Daily Orbit!

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

How about we start the day off with a climate change story? I know that’s exactly what you were hoping for. According to scientists the rising carbon dioxide levels could have a big effect on satellites in orbit around Earth. As carbon dioxide builds in the upper level of Earth’s atmosphere, it cools down the atmosphere causing it to contract. This contraction causes the orbits of satellites to change, drawing them closer to Earth. Satellites like ISS have to boost themselves back on course. Scientists say this cooling will also slow the rate that the atmosphere burns up debris, making Earth more susceptible to meteors. Scientists say space junk will accumulate at a faster rate and we will see more collisions between space objects as a result. I think we can sum it up with “climate change affects everything.”

That means cute little panda bears too. A new study is predicting that climate change will wipe out bamboo, an important food source for pandas, which are already threatened by slow breeding and loss of habitat. Bamboo makes up 99% of pandas’ diet. With bamboo on the decline, it’s possible the panda populations could be decimated by the end of this century. “We will need pro-active actions to protect the current giant panda habitats,” say researchers. The research team’s projections for the future of bamboo were based on rainfall data, greenhouse gas emissions, and historical growth patterns. We need to get it together folks if we want our future generations to be able to go to the zoo to check out some cute panda bears while sipping on a latte without getting hit by a meteor.

And what could time the world’s shortest light pulses ever created? How about the world’s fastest stopwatch? Heavy collisions at CERN should be able to produce the shortest light pulses ever created. In the new ALICE experiment, CERN is seeking to understand what makes up an atom by colliding nuclei at nearly the speed of light, creating debris known as “Quark Soup.” But this plasma only exists for several yoctoseconds, or one septillionth of a second. The plasma will emit light pulses, but they are so short that there is currently no technology available to measure them. What does that mean? It means that they will have to create something. And that something they are proposing is the world’s most precise stopwatch, using a detector which is going to be installed at CERN in 2018.

And speaking of light, Orbitors in Cairns, Australia experienced their first total solar eclipse in a decade! The eclipse occurred about an hour after sunrise and lasted around 120 seconds before the region returned to a partial-eclipse status for another hour. The next total solar eclipse for our planet will occur over Africa on November 3, 2014, while residents of the United States will have to wait until August 21, 2017 to experience one.

And what will they think of next? There’s a new candy on the market that keeps you smelling like a rose—literally! The candy, called Deo Perfume Candy, contains geraniol—an alcohol found in rose oil that cannot be broken down in the human body, so it releases through the pores of the skin and “aromatizes” the user. Some scientists are skeptical of the sweet smelling candy saying that it’s not known if the sweet smell might change the person’s overall body odor later on, leaving less desirable effects. But in spite of its critics, the candy has been widely popular in the U.S. And just where can you get this sweet secreting candy?  Right now, sells Deo for a pricey $10 a bag. But is that really too much for candy that’s going to leave you smelling like a rose?

And that does for today’s Daily Orbit!  I smell roses…..

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