January 8, 2013

What Would A Living Mars Really Look Like – The Daily Orbit

Is the kilogram getting fat?

What are babies not getting?

And watch out for that giant squid!

Plus Martian dreaming on today’s Daily Orbit…

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

I dream of a Martian world with a lush forest, grassy fields, vast rolling oceans, and a breathable atmosphere. Well dream on! One man did. Software engineer Kevin Gill was inspired to turn the Red Planet into a Blue Planet. Using data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, he created “A Living Mars” with a lush, green landscape, deep blue oceans, and white clouds. He said there was no scientific reasoning behind his work – he just tried to envision how the land would appear given certain features. Although Gill’s creation bears a striking resemblance to Earth, experts say there it is highly unlikely that the Red Planet ever could have supported any alien flora or fauna as it lacks a magnetic field to support a biosphere. Gill said he was simply “hoping at least to trigger the imagination, so please enjoy!” Well, mission accomplished!

But here is a Martian dream that could come true. Another Martian simulation looked at the effect a mission to Mars would have on astronauts’ sleep. In a 520-day simulation of a space mission to Mars, researchers attempted to pinpoint the “crucial role that sleep-wake cycles will play in extended space missions.” A team of volunteers were locked up in a 550-cubic-meter spacecraft-like confinement facility in Russia. The research teams monitored rest-activity patterns and looked at the extent to which sleep loss, fatigue, stress, mood changes, and conflicts happened. Overall, they saw increased sedentariness of crew members and inadequate circadian synchronization which they say will have to be addressed before we send a real crew to the Red Planet.

Put on a few pounds over the holidays? You’re not the only one. Scientists say that the kilogram itself has packed on a few over the years. The kilogram — known as the International Prototype Kilogram or IPK – is the standard against which all other measurements of mass are set. Housed in Paris, 40 replicas were made and sent worldwide in order to standardize mass. But hydrocarbons from pollution have built up on the surface of the weights and all at different rates which affects the worldwide standard. To shed the added weight, the researchers suggest a suntan. UV and ozone can remove the contamination and bring them back to their ideal weight. Wish it were that simple for us!

She got it from her Mama…or didn’t get it from her mama more like it. A new study says that modern parenting has taken a turn for the worse as far as nurturing and parenting practices. What are babies not getting anymore? Constant touch, multiple caregivers, responsiveness to crying, and breastfeeding. Instead, modern American parenting tends toward formula, isolation in their rooms, and a fear of spoiling the baby. Researchers say this shift in parental practices is preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children. But researchers say it’s never too late. They say take your child to do some rough and tumble, play, dance or freelance artistic creation. My mama was on point with all those. So I did “get it from my mama.”

OMG there’s a jumbo squid coming right at us! Ahhhh!!! Looks like the coast of Southern Cali is under attack from the Humboldt squid. Okay not really, but they are appearing in record numbers. Some speculate the huge numbers of squid may be in response to an increased quantity of their fave dish—krill. Also known as the jumbo flying squid, they can grow to be about 5 feet long and are nicknamed “Diablo rojo” or red devil, because their skin flashes red while on the hunt. I’ll have “Diablo rojo” fried…or just some fried calamari. Thanks

That’s all for the Daily Orbit. This stuff rocks…Sorry I won’t eat any more of your family!

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