May 2, 2013
Fermi Moved To Avoid Defunct Satellite – The Daily Orbit
Could cosmic trash mean a cosmic clash?
And the Oscar goes to…the atom!
And colonial cannibals on today’s Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Well, it was almost a cosmic crash recently when a defunct Russian spy satellite in orbit around the Earth came dangerously close to NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The 1.5 ton Russian satellite from the cold war was set to cross paths with Fermi at a mere 700 ft. NASA learned about the possible collision a week in advance and, after the 2009 collision between a US commercial satellite and more Russian space junk, NASA learned they couldn’t be too careful. The team said things can change quickly and they had to be ready to move Fermi out of the way, which they did by firing all thrusters for one second, putting a 6 mile distance between the two space objects. NASA said “there was a lot of suspense and tension leading up to it, but once it was over, we just sighed with relief that all went well.” Whew! That was close!
Lights, camera, atoms! Yep atoms are the star of science’s latest blockbuster. IBM released what they are calling the “World’s Smallest Movie” entitled “A Boy and His Atom.” The team manipulated individual atoms and captured it all on film, magnifying it over 100 million times for us to see. The film consists of a cast of oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Each atom measures 60 picometers or about 2.35 millionths of an inch. To get the cast do their bidding, the directors rendered them placid by placing them in a copper surface chamber 450 degrees F below zero and then used a sharp needle to create an electrical current to persuade the atoms to jump to their next mark. And they could determine how far they had moved an atom by listening to the sound these atoms made as they scooted along the surface. Wow! Well, I have to say the atoms were naturals!
Well a new study says that playing outside reduces nearsightedness in children. Researchers found that in a school where children received 80 minutes per day of outdoor play, as opposed to a school that did not have outdoor play, fewer kids became or moved towards nearsightedness. Another study found that children with access to fewer hours of daylight had more eye growth than with children with the most access to daylight suggesting that daylight helps protect children from myopia. The team recommends elementary schools add frequent recess breaks and other outdoor activities to their daily schedules to help protect children’s eye development and vision. Well, I played outdoors all the time and I’m still blind as a bat! What happened there?
“That girl is Poison….” Maybe Bel Biv Devo should have said that girl’s LIPS are poison because new research of 32 common drugstore brand lipsticks and lip glosses showed a disturbing level of toxic metals. They detected lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals. When lipstick or lip gloss isn’t blotted, it is ingested or absorbed. On average women ingest 24 milligrams of lip stuff per day. Women like me who slather it on every 5 minutes ingested more like 87 milligrams per day. Who cares as long as my lip gloss is popping you say? Well chromium is linked to stomach tumors and manganese has been linked to toxicity in the nervous system. Lead was also detected, which is of particular concern for children who sometimes play with makeup. Researchers say no need to toss the gloss—or lipstick—but the FDA should pay attention. “Poison…pa-pa-poison!”
And maybe you thought that was disturbing, well hold on to your horses because this one takes the cake. New research proves that Jamestown settlers resorted to cannibalism during the harsh winter of 1609-1610. Studying human remains unearthed at the site last year of the skull and tibia of a 14 year old girl, researchers found signs of dismemberment and cannibalism. They found 4 shallow chops on the forehead of the skull that were failed attempts to crack open the skull along with an obvious attempt to remove the brain. They found punctures on the sides and bottom of the mandible which seemed to be a result of attempting to remove tissue from the face and throat with a knife. Yuck! They had also found remains of dogs, cats, and horses with similar bone markings, indicating that they were used as food sources as well during the harsh winter.
Well, that’s all for the Daily Orbit. Sorry to leave you with that mental image.