September 12, 2012

Famous Moon Speech Remembered 50 Years Later – The Daily Orbit

Today we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy’s 50,000 years Moon Speech.

What animal can carry up 400 lbs. and you don’t have to feed it? The mule-bot!

And does getting your “just desserts” first control you appetite?

All that and more on today’s Daily Orbit!

Hello Orbiters, I’m Emerald Robinson. Welcome to the Daily Orbit!

With a rover on Mars and Voyager 1 approaching interstellar space, it’s almost like a page out of a  storybook that today marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s famous “Moon Speech” at Rice University.  On this day in 1962, Kennedy made a call to America to be the first country on the moon.  In his speech, Kennedy condensed 50,000 years of human history into a span 50 years. Kennedy called the exploration of space “one of the great adventures of all time.”  If only he could see how far we’ve come….or should I say gone :)

Well it feels like we were just talking about DARPA’s record setting cheetah-bot, now it’s the Mule-bot.  Yesterday DARPA and Boston Dynamics showcased their “pack mule” robot which can hold up to 400 lbs of cargo and even carry troops in and out of battle zones.  During the test, the mule-bots performed trotting and jogging mobility runs and demonstrated their visualization skills and autonomy.  The mules reached speeds of 7 mph and demonstrated the versatility needed to accompany dismounted units in various terrains.  The only suggestion that I have for DARPA is to maybe give them a cute face so they don’t look so intimidating! There that’s better!

Now, I have always eaten my dessert first and people look at me like I’m crazy.  Well, a new study suggests that having your dessert first may help you eat just enough. Researchers say satisfying that sweet tooth up front gives you the self-control you need to avoid over-indulging at dinner.  The study suggests that people can’t entirely rely on willpower to eat healthy.  They “need to create situations that will make them lose interest in food.”  So in the words of Marie Antoinette:  “let them eat cake” …..only now, eat it first!

And it’s snowing, it’s snowing! On Mars that is.  NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or (MRO) has given scientists the clearest evidence yet of snowfall on Mars.  But it isn’t the white, fluffy winter wonderland we picture here on Earth.  The Mars snowfall consists of frozen carbon dioxide or “dry ice” that occurs when temperatures fall to about a chilly negative 193 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists say that although some parts of Mars may look similar to Earth, carbon dioxide snow reminds us that the red planet is still much different.

Well, winds of change are ever-blowing. A new study says that converting to wind energy is a highly efficient and clean way to meet global energy demands. To produce energy, turbines create resistance which removes momentum from the winds.  As the number of turbines increases, so does the amount of energy extracted. The study focused on finding the point at which the winds would be slowed so much that adding new turbines would not generate more electricity.   Researchers found as much as 400 terra watts of power could be extracted from surface winds and 1800 terra watts from atmospheric winds before the tipping point. Global consumption is only around 18 terra watts of power.  Wow!  Wind energy is really strong…..(as being blowed with fan).

Ok well that does it for today’s Daily Orbit.  And we hope the wind blows you back this way tomorrow!

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