March 4, 2014
Mars Crater Names Now On Sale To The Public – On Science
How can you leave your mark on Mars?
What’s so weird about a new comet?
What’s the smell that has girl goats going crazy?
And Apple is speeding things up. Coming up today…On Science!
Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Looking for a way to leave your mark on this world? How about out of this world? Science advocacy start-up Uwingu is giving you the opportunity to name a crater on Mars. With over 500,000 craters on the Red Planet left unnamed, there’s enough to go around. For just a mere five bucks you can name a crater after you, your pet, your Mom, your Dad, you name it. And while NASA might not be referring to Emerald Crater as its next dig site for the rover Curiosity, Uwingu will be using the names purchased by its customers in its Mars map which will be made available to the public. And your money will be used for science good! Proceeds from the naming campaign will go toward “grants for space research and education—meaning that with every name you contribute you’ll be helping to fuel future space activities.” And keep it clean folks because Uwingu won’t recognize anything profane. Emerald Crater… that has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
And you think we could come up with better names for comets! NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE, found its first comet since coming out of hibernation, Comet C/2014 C3 (NEOWISE). Yeah, not a very spectacular name. This never-before-seen comet is a real weirdo, say astronomers! This particular comet has a retrograde orbit, meaning that it orbits the Sun in the opposite way that Earth and the other planets do. NASA brought NEOWISE out of retirement to help with the effort to identify potentially hazardous objects that are near to Earth. How about naming it Comet Weirdo?
And speaking of weird. It turns out lady goats go ga-ga over males’ hairy stench! This smell may be pretty repulsive to us humans, but researchers at the University of Tokyo say that this particular pheromone activates the central reproductive axis in female goats. They found that this pheromone released by male goats’ head skin has the power to turn on a hormone in the female goats’ brains that governs the reproductive endocrine system. They say that this new knowledge may one day help farmers to more precisely control the reproduction of their herds. And they say that it’s likely this type of pheromonal effect is present in other livestock and maybe even humans. What did the girl goat say to the boy goat? I love your hairy stench.
Here’s another interesting new find. A graduate student at the Ohio State University discovered a creepy, crawly microscopic species. Yuck. The species is a type of mite that the student affectionately nicknamed “The Buckeye Dragon Mite.” The mite kind of resembles the Chinese dragon that you see in New Year celebrations. At just over a half a millimeter, the mite can’t be seen by the naked eye. The mite was found 20 inches below the surface on campus and had unusual straight hairs along its body not found in other known members of its family. The mite also has interesting features on its mouth called rutella that function similar to teeth in other mites. The rutella supports a pouch-like vessel in the front of the mouth and it’s believed that the pouch acts like a nutcracker, holding microorganisms in place while the internal pincers puncture them and suck up their fluid contents. Great…now I’ll probably dream about giant Buckeye Dragon Mites tonight.
Right after I dream about driving a shiny, red Ferrari with an iPhone app, that is. Sometimes dreams do come true! Apple plans to announce its first iOS in the Car with Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, and Volvo in the near future. This feature will link the iPhone or other device with a car’s infotainment system. The app will bring a customized version of the platform to the car’s own touchscreens and displays that goes beyond playing music and giving navigation through a car’s system. Users can expect a Siri-based text messaging system and call-handling with multi-media control. Apple plans to make the announcement at the Geneva Auto Show.
And that’s what’s cool in science and technology today. Siri let’s speed things up!