December 7, 2012
Golden Spike Wants You To Fly To The Moon And Back – The Daily Orbit
Next stop, the moon?
Be careful what you do in front of the TV, somebody may be watching you.
And cancer sniffing canines?
Get ready for Friday Fun on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
“Fly me to the moon and let me sing among the stars…” So I already know what I want for Christmas 2020 — a trip to the moon. You heard me right. Former NASA execs are launching a private company to send people to the moon and back. The new Golden Spike company is offering countries and individuals a trip to the moon, whether for scientific research or just to get the best view of Earth ever. It’s been 40 years since NASA has put a man on the moon. Reps for Golden Spike said that providing commercial missions to the moon will free up NASA to focus on human missions to asteroids and Mars. The company hopes to complete its first launch before the end of the decade. They also plan to use existing equipment to cut costs. And by cutting costs, that still puts the round trip total at $1.5 billion making the breakdown $750 million per seat. Well, I guess I’ll start taking contributions now…if you’d like to donate to my moon fund please, feel free!
“I always feel like somebody’s watching me.” That somebody might soon be advertisers. Communications giant, Verizon filed a patent application for a set-top box technology that would detect “ambient action” like cuddling, fighting, and talking, in customers’ living rooms to help marketers push targeted advertisements. Utilizing a depth sensor, an image sensor, an audio sensor, and a thermal sensor, the box can detect anything from eating to exercising. As expected there has been an outcry from critics concerned with invasion of privacy. Verizon responded by saying the company has always respected its customers’ privacy and protected their personal information. I feel like I’m being watched. Oh wait, I am!
And your dog might pick up on lung cancer faster than your doctor! According to researchers, dogs have no problem identifying patients with tumors. In a study, dogs achieved a 70% success rate in identifying cancer from 120 breath samples. But scientists still aren’t sure what these canines are actually detecting. Once they solve that problem, scientists hope to develop an “electronic nose” that could help diagnose lung cancer in the early stages, leading to improved cancer survival rates.
The birth of a star. Sounds like a Hollywood biography but we’re referring to the very first stars — formed 750 million years after the Big Bang. Last year’s discovery of the most distant known quasar, a galactic nucleus more than 13 billion light-years from Earth, is shedding some light on the universe during its infancy. The Big Bang threw off massive amounts of matter and energy and in the minutes following the explosion, protons and neutrons collided in nuclear fusion reactions to form hydrogen and helium. Heavier elements, such as carbon and oxygen, would not form until the first stars appeared. Scientists studying this distant quasar found no evidence of heavy elements in the surrounding cloud suggesting that it dates back to a time before stars were plentiful. This is a huge discovery for scientists who had sort of hit a “universal wall” but can now “leapfrog further back in time and make a measurement that was substantially earlier.”
So the Arctic gets a big “F” in snow coverage and sea ice extent on its yearly Arctic Report Card. The report card calls on the expertise of 140 scientists from 15 countries to summarize the state of the Arctic. Snow coverage and the sea ice extent hit record lows in 2012. The report also showed a longer growing season with greener tundra, record phytoplankton blooms, and record high permafrost temperatures. Losing ice in the Arctic also adds to the growing global warming problem, because it means there is less ice and snow to reflect solar energy out. Instead, darker ground and waters are exposed, absorbing more sunlight. One expert warns that “if we are not already there, we’re clearly on the verge of seeing a new Arctic.”
Well that does it for the Daily Orbit. “I’m watching you!”