December 14, 2012
NASA’s Twin Moon Probes To Crash Into The Moon Next Week – The Daily Orbit
We bid adieu to two honorable NASA probes…
Feeling uninspired? Take a hike!
Why you should think twice about texting while you walk…
Things are about to get a little cheesy on today’s Daily Orbit!
Welcome to the Daily Orbit…I’m Emerald Robinson.
What more befitting an end to GRAIL’s two little twin probes – Ebb and Flow – than to crash into their very subject, the moon. Like all good warriors, their journey must come to an end with dignity. NASA is preparing for the controlled descent and impact of Ebb and Flow on a mountain named Goldschmidt near the moon’s north pole next Monday at 2:28 p.m. Pacific time. Due to low orbit and low fuel levels, their mission must end. However, we have to thank them for giving us the highest resolution gravity field map of any celestial body which will help provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed. NASA said that “their little robotic twins have been exemplary members of the GRAIL family” and that they “will go out swinging!” And in honor of the probes here is my rendition of Bon Jovi. “I’m going down in a blaze of glory.”
What did one prehistoric Northern European say to the other prehistoric Northern European? Pass the cheese please…haha! Okay, so that wasn’t funny but it could have been true! New research suggests that humans were making cheese as early as 7,000 years ago. By studying fatty acids extracted from unglazed pottery excavated from archaeological sites in Poland, the research team found that these ceramic vessels pierced with small holes were proven to have been used to process dairy products. The vessels resemble modern cheese strainers. Researchers said before this study it was unclear if cows were prehistorically used for their milk, but they now know they were. Say cheese…oh there’re so many cheesy jokes I can think of right now.
Now I know what I have to do when science news just ain’t getting my creative juices flowing — take a nature walk! A new study says that spending some time with nature, and away from electronic devices, could help writers block. In their study, researchers found that backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic devices. However, they say their test was not designed to measure whether it was just the presence of nature or the removal of detracting mobile and electronic devices that truly contributed to the results. Researchers said that “this is a way of showing that interacting with nature has real, measurable benefits to creative problem-solving that really hadn’t been formally demonstrated before.” And I feel re-inspired!
Watch out for the car! Mobile technology might not just leave you uninspired, but just plain old in danger! A new study shows that distracted walking is quickly becoming just as much of a hazard as distracted driving. The study looked at the behaviors of more than 1,000 pedestrians crossing 20 busy road intersections. They found that pedestrians were four times more likely to ignore oncoming traffic and disobey traffic signals while checking their devices. While texting was the biggest problem found in the study, other comparable distractions were talking on the phone, listening to music, talking to others and dealing with children or pets. So don’t text and walk, you might end up walking into a pole. I would know.
And finally for today, if our little curious rover Curiosity ever gets lost on Mars, scientists say it can look to a Martian eclipse to find its way. They said “observing these events offers an independent method for determining the coordinates of Curiosity.” This method will serve the rover well in the event that communication between Curiosity and Earth should be lost. Estimation of its position can be determined using radiometric dating or images provided by orbiters. It’s almost whimsical to think the Curiosity can look to an eclipse to find its way! I like that!
That’s all for today’s Daily Orbit. Remember you can still catch the Geminid meteor shower tonight! Have a great weekend!