October 4, 2012
Forget Space – Scientists Plan To Go A Bit Deeper – The Daily Orbit
What’s the price tag for a journey to the center of the Earth?
Pick your poison: Morphine or Mamba?
And get on the floor, everybody do the dinosaur!
All that and more on today’s Daily Orbit!
Hi I’m Emerald Robinson, welcome to the Daily Orbit. What’s your plan for the next year? Ohh, to hang out in outer space. That’s what the International Space Congress plans for a crew of astronauts by 2015. The Congress decided to double the current six-month limit in space to one year. The first year-long test will consist of one Russian and one American astronaut. A year-long mission will provide a better understanding of the long-term effects spaceflight has on human health and may pave the way for farther human-manned space missions. Seems like we’re getting closer and closer to visiting our Martian Man.
Well, if hanging out in space isn’t your thing, how about a Journey to the Center of the Earth! A group of scientists are trying to raise $1 billion to go in the other direction, deep into the Earth’s mantle. The team plans to drill in the Pacific Ocean where they say the Earth’s crust is the thinnest, at about 3.7 miles. They will have to drill through hard crystalline rock. Project leader Damon Teagle likened it to “dangling a steel string the width of a human hair in the deep end of a swimming pool and inserting it into a thimble 1/10 mm wide on the bottom, and then drilling a few meters into its foundation.“ He called it “the most challenging endeavor in the history of Earth science.” Good luck! Well, good luck Mr. Teagle, here’s a $5 contribution from me..”
Ah man, the light bulb went out…hold on let me print a new one. Wouldn’t that be cool? With Disney’s new 3-D printed optics that may one day be a possibility. Although in its beginning stages, Disney Research released a video showcasing its 3D prototype toys and light bulbs. Their 3D printers employ “light pipes” and a sort of plastic filament to create whatever is being printed. The company said the 3D printers will reduce the time it takes for them to test toys since production can be done in-house. Anyone surprised Disney’s getting creative with toy making?
Now here’s a killer…a painkiller that is. Turns out one of the world’s deadliest snakes, the black mamba, contains a painkiller that works as well as morphine – without the side effects. The venom has pain-killing proteins that bypass the brain receptors targeted by morphine, which is what causes headaches, difficulty thinking, vomiting, muscle twitching and risk of addiction. Scientists said they were surprised that deadly venom from one of the most venomous snakes could contain analgesic properties. I’m glad they found some benefit from the venom, but snakes just make me cringe.
And I love when we do stories about dinosaurs because I get to bring back my dinosaur dance! Scientists have unveiled new details about the fanged Pegomastax. First uncovered in southern Africa in the 1960s, Pegomastax africanus, or “thick jaw from Africa,” had super sharp shearing teeth that it used for self defense and sparring for mates. As a plant-eater, the teeth were probably also used for nipping and digging, rather than slicing flesh. The dinosaur boasted a covering of bristles, like a porcupine, and had a parrot-shaped beak. Scientists say the Pegomastax was about the size of a house-cat and would have made a good pet…..yeah maybe if he was a little cuter…sorry Peggie!
Well that’s all folks! See ya tomorrow on the Daily Orbit.