August 16, 2013
Where Exactly Is Voyager 1 Today? – The Daily Orbit
Has or hasn’t Voyager 1 arrived in interstellar space?
Keeping Kepler discoveries coming.
Counting how many coffee cups will kill you.
And something that will make you go “awww”… on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Where exactly is Voyager 1? A few months back we reported that Voyager 1 had left the solar system. And then a NASA report said that it hadn’t quite reached interstellar space but was in a transitional zone. But NOW a team from the University of Maryland says the spacecraft has indeed left the solar system—and not recently, but a year ago. Using a new model, scientists determined that Voyager 1 is sending back data from about 11 billion miles away from our sun and has made “multiple crossings of a boundary unlike anything previously observed.” They say there is no longer the presence of solar particles from our sun but there are only galactic electrons and protons found in interstellar space. NASA made a response statement that they weren’t exactly buying it but it was a possibility. So I guess that means we’re still a little unsure?
There is no question that we will never see Voyager 1 again but there is one spacecraft that NASA’s looking to bring back. It’s not exactly lost but not exactly in working order at the moment. NASA is attempting to restore the Kepler Spacecraft. Two of the four reaction wheels that are used to precisely point the telescope have failed and have yet to be fixed. In order to function, the telescope needs three wheels. Engineers are also looking at exploration capabilities of the spacecraft in its current state. Kepler has already confirmed 135 exoplanets and identified 3,500 candidates. But NASA says there are hundreds or thousands waiting to be discovered and Kepler has more discoveries left in her even if she isn’t her best shape.
And you might not be in your best shape if you’re consuming more than 28 cups of coffee a week. In fact, it could kill you. A new study says that for those under the age of 55, drinking more than 28 cups of coffee a week spikes your mortality rate by over 50%. But if you’re over 55, drink all the coffee you want! There’s no adverse effect. While this study doesn’t prove what it is about coffee that is increasing death rates, scientists know it stimulates the release of epinephrine, inhibits insulin activity and increases blood pressure. So I drink a venti a day, so that’s basically two cups of coffee which means I’m only hitting 14 cups of coffee a week so I’m in the safe zone! That makes me happy!
And there’s a new furry little mammal in town. For the first time in 35 years a new carnivorous mammal species has been discovered in the Western hemisphere. The Smithsonian Institute announced the classification of this new species of raccoon—the olinguito—which is a native of Columbia and Ecuador. Awww! He’s so cute! This tree-dwelling, nocturnal, large eyed, bushy tailed creature has been around but wasn’t seen as a different species until DNA evidence identified the creature as a different one from its cousins. Scientists say “the discovery of the olinguito shows us that the world is not yet completely explored, its most basic secrets not yet revealed.”
And this is no secret, kids and soda are not a good combination. And a new study has confirmed that. Research has linked behavioral problems in young children with soft drink consumption. The study found that aggression, withdrawal, and attention problems were associated with soda consumption by children even after adjusting for any other contributing factors. Children who drank 4 or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people. And good luck trying to get them to pay attention. So parents do yourself a favor and keep your kids off the soda.
And that’s all for the Daily Orbit. See you Monday!