March 13, 2013
Sign Of Life On Mars? Curiosity Team Says Yes – The Daily Orbit
What’s the latest in the life on Mars saga?
Who is taking the animal out of animal testing?
What’s not protecting your noggin’ from a hard knocking!
And the tablet war is on! On today’s Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Yes, life on Mars is turning into quite the saga and “as the rover roams,” there is more evidence of potential past life on the Red Planet. Our little rover drilled into the rock ‘John Klein’ last month and the powder from that drill showed the presence of sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon—all chemical ingredients of life. But the big question—could Mars have supported a habitable environment? What does NASA say? “From what we know, the answer is yes!” Whoop, whoop! After heating the rock sample to a scorching 1,535 degrees Fahrenheit using Curiosity’s SAM instrument, NASA says there’s evidence of a watery past. The mixture of the rock samples suggests sulfates and sulfides that indicate a possible chemical energy source for microorganisms. So anyone wanna throw in the pot for ‘if’ and ‘when’ the rover will find some microorganisms?
And one scientist claims to have found extraterrestrial life here on Earth, but not everyone’s buying into this one. A recently released report says that fragments taken from a fireball that appeared over northern Sri Lanka last December contained “fossilized biological structures.” The authors of this paper say that these algae are “otherworldly” and therefore are evidence of a theory called, “panspermia,” and that life on Earth originated in outer space. But more than a few people are raising a skeptical eyebrow at the find. Police records indicated reports of low level burn injuries from immediate contact with the fallen stones and a strong aroma. “So what?” you might be saying. Well, meteorite fragments are typically not hot – they cool before reaching the ground. They also say the fumes are hard to explain. But we’ll let you decide for yourself.
And the war is on! The tablet war that is and it may be the Apple iPad that’s losing on the 2013 battlefield. New predictions from the International Data Corporation claim that the smaller and cheaper Android tablets will gain ground in 2013. But looking at the big picture, the IDC says the overall tablet market will see big victories, estimating over 190 million tablets will be shipped this year. The smaller tablets seem to be a big hit with those below 8” selling best this first quarter. The IDC says that Android sales will come at the expense of Apple, with Android expected to close the year with over 48 percent of the market share. Sorry Apple it’s been a good run. If it’s any consolation I still love my iPad.
And here’s a big win for lab rats in Europe. The European Union has immediately banned new products containing animal tested ingredients on store shelves in Europe, regardless of where in the world the testing took place. This comes on the heels of the NIH retiring some 400 chimpanzees from being used in lab testing. Although cosmetic giant L’Oreal is playing nice with the ban, some other major cosmetic companies are not so willing to follow suit, saying that the ban shouldn’t be put in place before alternative testing can be developed. A spokesman with the trade association, “Cosmetics Europe” told the New York Times, that most likely “consumers in Europe won’t have access to new products because we can’t ensure some ingredients will be safe without access to suitable and adequate testing.” So my European ladies out there, you might have to learn to live without one of your favorite lip glosses. I feel your pain!
Think that “brain bucket” is gonna keep the noggin safe? Well, maybe not. A new study looked at helmets and their ability to prevent concussions. While helmets do help protect the wearer from serious head injuries, the occurrence of concussions is still a major issue as doctors say the sense of security derived from helmet wearing instigates “riskier behavior.” Concussions are difficult to diagnose and treat and have the potential for long-term brain injury (ever met a former pro-football player?…yeah). But they say a better helmet is not necessarily the answer. Instead rule changes in sports aimed at preventing concussions would be a better strategy. Rugby players out there are saying—who wears helmets?
Well that’s all for today’s Daily Orbit. See ya tomorrow Orbiters!