May 22, 2013
NASA Solar Research Is Heating Up – The Daily Orbit
What’s NASA’s hot new mission?
How do you like your pizza printed?
Get his brain to the Greek.
And we’re off the hook on the Daily Orbit.
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
NASA’s heating things up! They’re launching a new mission in June called the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, to help scientists learn more about the sun’s interface region—the area in the lower atmosphere of the sun where most ultraviolet emissions are generated that affect near-Earth space and our climate. IRIS will orbit Earth and use an ultraviolet telescope to capture high-resolution images of the sun to try to answer the question of how the corona gets so hot. They believe the interaction between the sun’s moving plasma and magnetic field may be the source of the energy that heats the corona. NASA is so hot!
And NASA doesn’t just have its head in space. The agency is jumping on the 3D printing bandwagon. And its goal? Pizza! NASA’s dishing out $125,000 in grant money to build a 3D printer that uses sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein or some other basic building blocks for nutrition to create nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time from cartridges of powder and oils. And these ingredients have a 30 year shelf life. The company is looking to pizza first because it has distinct layers, but they have high hopes for this 3D food printer as a possible solution to an impending world food shortage. But it could also be what NASA needs to feed hungry astronauts in deep space travel. That’s taking processed food to a whole new level!
Ugh! There’s an ant on my pizza! The other day we brought you news of how crazy ants were infesting homes in the Gulf, but today ants are responsible for a little inspiration. Researchers at Georgia Tech are looking at how these tiny creatures are masters at tunneling. Using video tracking and an imaging technique called tomography, researchers studied ants’ principal locomotion and how they move so quickly through tunnels. They found that ants in confined spaces use their antennae for locomotion as well as for sensing the environment—literally using their antennae to grab on when falling. Researchers hope to use this information to help create more effective search-and-rescue robots. They said ants can teach engineers a lot about using effective tricks for maneuvering in subterranean environments. I guess you build the world you play in, no?
How about feeding your brain with a little hummus and olives? Yep, Mediterranean food is brain food. The Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts could improve the brainpower of older people. And researchers say it’s better for the brain than a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean diet consists of virgin olive oil as the main culinary fat with fruits, nuts, veggies, and legumes along with moderate fish and seafood. Yummy! Just what I like! And a moderate intake of red wine. So eat Greek and be smart! No, wonder I’m so smart. [ off-camera voice – “Yeah right!” ] Hey!
So typically we humans get the blame for everything—global warming, climate change, species extinction, but guess what, we’re off the hook for the woolly mammoth. A new study found evidence of a large meteorite breaking apart in the atmosphere about 13,000 years ago—about the time of the mammoth die out. An event of this magnitude would have created toxic gas that would have filled the air and blocked out the sun, globally dropping temperatures, and rapidly changing the climate. They said animals and plants either had to “move, downsize, or…go extinct.” And there were two distinct groups: “winners and losers.” And well obviously the woolly mammoth fell into that last category.
And that’s all for the Daily Orbit. [ woolly mammoth speak – “Hey lady, you calling me a loser?” ] The researchers said it! I didn’t…I mean…sorry?