October 3, 2013
Celebrating Space Week 2013 – The Daily Orbit
We begin the countdown to Space Week.
What got Mars heated in the past?
What are astronauts doing under the sea?
And getting a little ghoulish on the Daily Orbit.
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Guess what Orbiters? It is one day until Space Week 2013! This is one of my favorite times of the year! World Space Week kicks off October 4 and continues through October 10. This year’s theme? “Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth.” How appropriate for 2013 don’t you think? And here are some of the happenings for this year’s celebration. NASA will hold a Mars expedition simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. School groups and museum-goers can view rover activities live online by teams across the world from the U.S. to Poland. There are 825 events in total all over the world for Space Week. The President of the Austrian Space Forum said, “we are on the brink of an exciting new era and you can be a part of it.”
So to get you feeling festive we have a couple really cool space stories for you space junkies. This story is a perfect salute to this year’s space week theme. Scientists say that they have discovered a supervolcano on Mars for the first time using images and topographic data from NASA’s Mars Odyssey, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This supervolcano is located in the Arabia Terra region of Mars, which has a lot of impact craters. They said a volcano like this on Earth would have been a “game changer,” affecting global temperatures for years. There are also a few more basins nearby the supervolcano that could have been volcanoes. They said if a handful of these were once active, they played a major role in the evolution of Mars. Now that’s Red Planet Hot!
This next story is about as far from space as you can get. From under the sea have emerged two new astronauts. ESA astronauts Andreas Mogensen and Thomas Pesquet returned from their “Seatest” experience at NASA’s underwater test bed in Florida. Mogensen stayed 20 m underwater for four nights with three other astronauts in training, or AIT’s, as I call them. The AITs performed “waterwalks” to simulate “spacewalks” and practiced crew procedures on the underwater space station as if it were the International Space Station. They re-created lunar spacewalks by changing the weights on their scuba gear. The simulation also involved a test of the new “gymnasium-in-a-box” meant to keep astronauts fit during space travel. Pesquet stayed above the water (or on the ground) to serve as flight director and communicator.
Exercising is good for astronauts in space, and the same is true for us cadets on the ground. A new research team of US and UK scientists shows that regular exercise can be just as effective as heart medications and even outperformed some stroke meds. Physical activity can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 27%. They aren’t proposing that patients necessarily ditch their meds, but add a regular exercise routine to their prescription. Researchers said that patients need to understand that meds, in many cases, only provide modest improvement but exercise could yield more profound or sustainable goals. Dad, if you’re listening, I told you so!
Well, it’s October and you know what that means–it’s almost Halloween. So here’s a little trick or treat to get you ghouls out there excited. Crossrail workers building a utility tunnel at London’s Liverpool Street Station have uncovered about 20 Roman skulls and pottery, found in the sediment of the historic river channel of the River Walbrook. Archeologists think that the skulls are from a Roman cemetery about 50 meters up river that was eroded and washed the bones downstream. Roman skulls have been found in the River Walbrook before, and it was once suspected they were decapitated heads of rebels from the 1st Century AD. But archeologists now believe there was no foul play. They said the bodies were probably buried in an area where there wasn’t much land available allowing the skulls to wash away by natural processes and clump together in a river bend. The skulls are being analyzed by the Museum of London Archaeology where they say some of the skulls date back to the 3rd or 4th centuries AD – before Romans began cremating their citizens. Skulls make my skin crawl.
And that’s it for your Daily Orbit. See you tomorrow for the first day of World Space Week!