December 6, 2012
NASA Has Plans For Futures Mars Missions – The Daily Orbit
More news from Mars? We just don’t get tired of the Red Planet
The man in the moon doesn’t have much substance after all
And extroverted gorillas live longer?
All that and more coming up, on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Martian, Martian, Martian—seems like we just keep talking about Mars! Well, that’s because NASA has a lot planned for the Red Planet for the next 20 years. Building on the success of the rovers Opportunity and Curiosity, NASA is developing another new Mars rover to launch in 2020. And if that’s a success, plans are in place to put astronauts in orbit around Mars in the 2030s. NASA says it will begin work shortly on its new rover, using the same team that developed Curiosity, and even some of its spare parts! NASA said that by using some of the same components used for Curiosity, it should help keep overall costs-and risks-down. So astronauts headed to Mars by the 30s…hmm…don’t they know SpaceX’s Elon Musk plans to have colonized Mars by then?
And while we keep bringing you stories from Mars, that’s not all that’s going on in space. A little closer to home, scientists are busy analyzing the surface of our moon…and they say it ain’t much. Using data from NASA’s GRAIL mission, scientists have determined that the Moon’s crust is almost completely pulverized. Scientists stitched together this high-resolution map of the Moon’s gravity revealing an interior gravitational field consistent with an incredibly fractured lunar crust. The map shows that the Moon’s upper crust lacks dense rock structures, and is likely made of porous, pulverized material. Variations in the Moon’s gravity are due to surface features like crater rims and mountains. Scientists say they didn’t know the moon’s crust was so “pulverized” and the finding suggests that, in its first billion years, the moon — and probably other planets like Earth — may have endured much more fracturing from massive impacts than previously thought.
And speaking of pulverized—let’s go to some dinosaur news. Researchers have discovered a new fossil that may be the oldest known dinosaur. Named the Nyasassaurus parringtoni, the specimen existed 10 to 15 million years earlier than dinosaur fossils had previously shown, originating in the Middle, rather than the Late, Triassic Period. But researchers are not saying for sure that this is a dinosaur specimen. Scientists say that it is difficult to determine dinosaur fossils as they were so closely related to a variety of reptiles existing at the same time. They say that if it is not the earliest dinosaur, then it is still the closest relative found so far.
Well, I feel like we should have a segment specifically called “Why to Drink Wine and Eat Chocolate.” Here is another one to add to the pro-list for wine. New research says that Resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine, could reduce the risk of cancer. These scientists say that your daily wine dose–and that’s just one to two glasses of red wine folks–can decrease the risk of bowel cancer by 50%. However, scientists are still unsure of exactly how resveratrol works and it has been shown that high doses of resveratrol may potentially interfere with some medications. Scientists say the next steps will concentrate on how resveratrol works in human cells and finding the best dosage for supplements.
That gorilla looks so neurotic! Ugh! Not only do gorillas have specific personalities, but new research indicates that certain personality traits could be linked to longer lives. A team of researchers collected data from zookeepers, volunteers, researchers, and caretakers of gorillas. From this data, they identified four personality traits—dominance, extraversion, neuroticism, and agreeableness. Of the four, extraversion, which is linked with behaviors like sociability and curiosity, showed a correlation to longer survival. Are you an extroverted person? Well, you’re in luck because the findings are consistent with studies in people, which found human extraverts tend to live longer as well. Glad I’m an extrovert
Well and that concludes today’s Daily Orbit. Catch ya later Orbitors!