December 18, 2012

Moon Crash Successful For Twin GRAIL Probes – The Daily Orbit

A successful crash and burn on the lunar surface.

Touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight all human qualities right? Not for long!

What tasty treat might one day fuel your car?

Plus code cracking and night vision. Getting ready orbiters for today’s Daily Orbit!

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

Well, it was a dramatic end for GRAIL’s Ebb and Flow satellites yesterday. The pair crashed into a shadowy mountainside on the moon at 2:28 pm moving at 3,760 mph. Unfortunately there was no video documentation of their demise but NASA did stream live commentary. Some people disliked the idea of trashing the probes on the moon, but one of our viewer’s made a really good point — at least Ebb & Flow didn’t land on his barbeque. Touché.

Can you break this secret code? Well, amateur historian Gord Young says he’s cracked a code held by a lost WWI carrier pigeon in England. The coded message was found inside a canister attached to the remains of a dead pigeon by an Englishman renovating his chimney. But the Government Communications Headquarters, which got the first crack at the code, ain’t buying it. They made a statement that the message would be impossible to decrypt. You can decide for yourself. We’ll post the full message on the Daily Orbit Facebook page. And see if you can crack my code — that answer will be on our Twitter and Facebook too!

[Computer: “I like your perfume.” Emerald: “Thanks it’s Versace—wait! Who said that?” Computer: It’s me– Emerald: You can’t smell yet computer!] But IBM predicts that computers will have all 5 senses in 5 years. Researchers say they will have the ability to give machines some of the capabilities of the right brain. And the benefits? They say we will be able touch through our smartphones—feeling the fabrics as we shop online. Computers could “smell” diseases and communicate with doctors. Researchers say computers could one day “hear” what matters—is the baby crying because he’s hungry or because he’s sick? [Computer: Actually, Emerald, you smell rather strong. Emerald: Oh shut up, you don’t know.]

Remember when you were a kid and you would eat all your cereal to get to the super night vision goggles at the bottom — just to find out they didn’t really work? Well, soon you might get ‘em and not have to eat all your cereal. A development team is working on an ultra-thin smart layer film than can be applied to any pair of glasses instantaneously transforming them into night vision glasses that will be like seeing at night with full moonlight. At 2 ounces, the new film will be much lighter than existing bulky goggles and far less expensive. The nanophotonics film captures invisible rays of light and turns them into visible light and will run on a lightweight 20 volt battery. How cool!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! And so might your car one day! A new study is showing how fatty acids, found in ice cream and even soap, could one day be used to create fuel. Researchers say the creation of fuel involves the manipulation of hydrocarbon chemicals– commonly found in ice cream, soaps, shampoos, and many other household products. The breakthrough allows researchers to further explore how to create renewable energy from sustainable sources, and could lead to more innovative ways of sourcing fuel from natural resources. Researchers from the University of Manchester and the University of Turku in Finland came together to work on this project, saying that sometimes it’s necessary to work together to solve challenging problems. That’s sweet!

And that’s a wrap for today’s Daily Orbit! [Computer: Emerald, I sense that you have eaten too much ice cream lately. Emerald: Would somebody please tell this computer that she won’t be able to do this for another 5 years? Geez!]

Share on Linkedin Share on Google+