August 26, 2013

Spitzer To Start The Hunt For Near-Earth Asteroids – The Daily Orbit

What’s up next for NASA’s Spitzer telescope?

What do the world’s oldest globe and an ostrich egg have in common?

Tinker toy twittertape.

And spraying on that good feeling on the Daily Orbit!

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.

NASA’s Spitzer telescope celebrates a milestone this week, reaching its 10th anniversary. The telescope has made major contributions in the field of astronomy – studying comets and asteroids, analyzing planets and galaxies and counting stars. Spitzer also discovered the largest of Saturn’s rings, which was so faint it hadn’t yet been detected, and the carbon spheres known as “buckyballs.” It helped to create a clearer picture of the spiral arms of our Milky Way and gave us a more complete census of forming stars in nearby clouds. This telescope deserves a medal of honor. But this accomplished telescope gets no rest. Spitzer’s next task will be joining NASA’s team of superhero telescopes – like WISE – to observe and identify a potential asteroid for its asteroid capture and relocation mission. NASA said “Using Spitzer to help us characterize asteroids and potential targets for an asteroid mission advances both science and exploration.” And we’re all for that!

Who would have thought that the world’s oldest globe to show the New World would be depicted on an ostrich egg. But that seems to be the case. And it’s surprisingly pretty! Researchers say the egg, the size of a grapefruit, dates back to the early 1500s. The egg depicts the New World as reflected by the explorer Amerigo Vespucci for whom the Americas are named. It includes South America, Japan, Brazil and Arabia along with ships, monsters, and waves. Love the intricacy! The globe was constructed from the lower halves of two ostrich eggs and researchers used carbon dating, computer tomography testing, ink assessment, along with geographic, cartographic, and historical analysis to verify the egg. Now that’s one “bad egg…”

Hello past, meet the future. The old school 19th century ticker-tape machine that prints stock-price information has been redesigned to print out a more modern form of communication–tweets. The new machine dubbed “Twittertape” prints a permanent feed of your tweets and mentions on Twitter. It was built from scratch using second-hand parts from clocks by web developer, Adam Vaughan, in the UK. Ticker-tape machines gained popularity in late 1800s and were named for the sound they made as its paper strip rolled out stock prices. The new social networking version requires no ink or computer; just power and an Ethernet connection to pull data straight from your Twitter account.

Ever heard serving others is the best way to serve yourself? Well, science now proves it. New research found a connection between volunteering and both longevity and mental well-being. Data showed a 20% reduction in mortality among volunteers compared to non-volunteers. Volunteers also reported less depression and greater life satisfaction. However researchers were not able to establish a cause and effect relationship. It is not clear if biological and cultural factors and social resources that are commonly associated with better health are also associated with a willingness to give back in the first place. Kind of like the chicken before the egg type deal. So hey, I guess if you don’t feel like doing good just for the sake of others, then do it for yourself!

Okay, I personally think this idea is genius. Y’all know how I love my caffeine and the faster I can get it the better. Voila…spray-on energy. How does it work? 1. Twist the bottle. 2. Spray four times 3. You’re done. Now go enjoy all that extra energy! What else is great is that it lasts longer when applied to the skin rather than orally. And it’s inexpensive! $15 for 40 doses. I can handle that! The company has already raised more than their goal on the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. Other benefits of spray-on energy? It’s odorless and tasteless, no jitters and the best? It’s calorie-free!!

And that’s it for the Daily Orbit…Yes! Ok, I need to calm down.

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