June 13, 2013
Protecting Astronauts From Radiation During Space Travel – The Daily Orbit
Is there a revolution is cosmic radiation?
Which of our neighbors is full of holes?
Staring social networking in the face.
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Answers on protection for astronauts are radiating from the moon. A new moon radiation study is looking at how to reduce health hazards for astronauts. Data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals that lighter materials like plastics provide effective shielding against the radiation hazards faced by astronauts during extended space travel. Aluminum has been the choice for spacecraft construction to protect against high-energy cosmic rays, but adds a lot of mass making it costly to launch. Scientists have performed ground-based simulations and found that “anything with high hydrogen content, including water, could work well.” We do want to get to other planets, but we do also want to keep our astronauts safe!!!
Turns out our neighbor is full of holes! Our neighbor being the Andromeda galaxy. Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have identified 26 more black holes in our sister galaxy, added to nine previously discovered for a total of 35 potential black hole candidates. Why so many holes? Andromeda has a bigger concentration of stars in a spherical pattern in its center and a larger supermassive black hole that allows for the formation of other black holes. They say this is a case of where “bigger is better.” They say they are excited to see so many black hole candidates so close to the center because they have been searching for them for years. So happy y’all found them then.
(mirror on wall) Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fiercest Facebooker of them all? (Em in mirror: You are Emerald!) A new study from the University of Michigan likens Facebook to a mirror and Twitter to a megaphone—both great outlets for narcissists. Looking at graduate students and 35 year old adults, they found that younger narcissists posted more frequently on Twitter to broadcast their feelings to a broader population while finding other social circles of people like themselves. Older narcissists posted more frequently on Facebook where they could gain approval from their already well-defined social circles. The study did not determine if social networks lead to narcissism or vice versa. I mean, I post all the time on Facebook and I’m not a narcissist…I’m not!
And as if Florida didn’t have enough to worry about with crazy ants and boas, another invader is on its way to the Sunshine state—giant mosquitoes!!!! And I do mean monstrous at 20 times larger than their more common cousins, and they pack a painful bite! The huge bloodsuckers can bite right through clothing. They were seen in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby and are native to the Northeastern part of America. But it’s really on the females who feed on blood; the males prefer flower nectar and such. I can see you fellas out there saying “typical.” Hmph! Fortunately DEET still works to ward off these giant pests. So Floridians, make sure you give them their DEET desserts!
And from pests to pets! If you like remote control cars then this might be right up your alley—remote controllable cockroaches. A new Kickstarter campaign by the company “Backyard Brains” wants you to own and control your own cockroach. The RoboRoach consists of a backpack you install on a cockroach’s back that sends pulses to its antenna, causing neurons to fire, which makes the roach think there is a wall…so it turns! How do you control the backpack? How do we control most everything else? With your iPhone of course! For a $100 you get the kit, sorry, cockroach not included. But for another $50 you can get a dozen “well behaved and well trained” cockroaches. Or you can save your money and catch them on your own.
And that’s all for the Daily Orbit.