May 16, 2013

Asteroid Impacts Common On Mars – The Daily Orbit

What kind of action is happening on the Red Planet?

Have you Googled where has Larry Page been?

Bringing down the BAC.

And women rule! On today’s Daily Orbit!

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

NASA continues to probe the Martian surface. Images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter helped scientists estimate that more than 200 small asteroids or bits of comet hit the Red Planet each year, forming craters at least 12 feet across. A systematic survey of a portion of the planet identified almost 250 fresh craters on the Martian surface in the past decade, leading scientists to extrapolate the 200 per year estimate. The impacts are caused by objects 3 to 6 feet in diameter, which do not burn up in Mars’ thin atmosphere. Images from the fresh craters were taken from MRO’s HiRISE camera, using previous images to bracket where exactly the impacts occurred. One scientist said the research is exciting because “it reminds you Mars is an active planet!”

Where has Google’s co-founder Larry Page been? His absence didn’t go unnoticed at least year’s I/O Developers Conference in San Francisco with an “unspecified ailment” given as the excuse. Well, one day before this year’s conference got underway, the Internet mogul took to the medium he knows best to talk about his condition, on his Google+ page. Page has been diagnosed with left vocal cord paralysis, a condition that can make it difficult for him to exercise vigorously, and even speak at full volume; limiting his participation in company events.  But looking on the bright side, Page’s business partner says it probably makes Page a better CEO “because [he] has to choose his words more carefully.”  Way to be positive. We are wishing you all the best Larry Page!

And the NTSB is trying to take the BAC down!!!! Literally. The National Transportation Safety Board recommended in a panel this week that states reduce the allowable blood-alcohol concentration by more than one-third, 0.08% to 0.05%, in an attempt to lessen the nearly 10,000 alcohol-related traffic deaths each year. They based their new number on research that showed that cognitive and visual function declines at a BAC of 0.05. What does that translate too? For a 180-pound man that’s two drinks instead of four over the course of an hour. The move is part of an effort to try to eliminate drunk driving, which accounts for 170,000 injuries and costs $66 billion each year. They estimate that 500 to 8000 lives could be saved per year with a lower allowable BAC. If it will save lives, I say, let’s do it!

And we keep hearing in the news how science is helping us to live better and longer—case in point Angelina Jolie. Well, here’s another exciting breakthrough for stem cell research-scientists have successfully converted human skin cells into embryonic stem cells which are capable of transforming into any other cell type in the body. This type of stem cell therapy is patient-specific and holds the promise of replacing cells damaged through injury or illnesses such as Parkinson’s, MS, and spinal cord injuries. The new process is a variation of a commonly used method called somatic cell nuclear transfer or SCNT. It involves transplanting the nucleus of one cell with a person’s DNA into an egg cell that has had it genetic material removed. The unfertilized egg cell then develops and eventually produces stem cells. And it’s more ethically acceptable because it doesn’t use fertilized embryos.

And women are often called the key to life—but we may also hold the key to a longer life. A new study shows that women tend to live longer than men because we have a superior immune system. Well, we have superior everything, so it just goes to show. A new study out of Japan has found that the levels of white blood cells and other parts of the immune system called cytokines decline faster in men. Why? They believe the female hormone estrogen can boost the immune systems response to infections. During the study, that found that, although white blood cells decreased in both sexes with age, T-cell and B-cell lymphocytes that are involved in fighting off bacterial infections decline faster in men. It’s only fair our immune system ages slower since we get the short end of the stick on aging on the outside!

Well that’s it for the Daily Orbit! See you tomorrow!

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