May 15, 2013

Safe Landing For The ISS Expedition 35 Crew – The Daily Orbit

Mr. Space Oddity himself has made a safe return to Earth.

What music fits your mood?

What do gator teeth and human teeth have in common?

And a robot is serving up drinks on today’s Daily Orbit!

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

After 146 days in space and rocking out at the International Space Station, Commander Chris Hadfield and his Expedition 35 crew safely landed in Kazakhstan Monday evening. Hadfield relinquished command to Russian cosmonaut Paul Vinogradov, who is now commander of the Expedition 36 team. The astronauts brought back a test with them that looked at how gasses and liquids come together and separate in space. The experiment could lead to improvements in the shelf-life of household products, food and medicine. Saturday before their return, the two other astronauts had to conduct a spacewalk that lasted 5 and a half hours to fix an ammonia leak that NASA is reporting was successful. Good job team. And Commander Paul, you have a lot to live up to! The public now expects some creativity and regular tweets from the ISS!

Maybe Commander Chris was trying to cope with the ending of his space journey with his rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that has set the web on fire. Because, well, that’s what we humans do according to new research—we use music to help lift our spirits or enable us to better cope. One study found that we seek solace in sad music that provides an aesthetic experience. When we’re frustrated, angry music suits us, and happy music can help pick us up out of a funk. Listening to upbeat music improves mood, which improves happiness. But conversely, listening to slow music can bring your mood down. You know, I’m going to have to make sure my Spotify isn’t linked to my Facebook anymore since music is a dead giveaway!

Don’t you think so many more people would go green energy for their home if you could just simply “paint-on” solar panels? Well, that’s what a team at the University at Buffalo is looking to develop. The team is looking to use organic carbon-based polymers and small molecules to make solar panels. The photovoltaic cells will produce more power and cost less than current solar panels and are processed in liquid form that allows them to just be painted on surfaces. But they are not quite ready yet. Due to their thinness, the photovoltaic cells have poor electronic conductivity, limiting their optical absorption. The team hopes to get them up to at least 10% power conversion efficiency to make them competitive in today’s market. Come on guys! You’re so close!

All of those gator catching reality shows down south make gator teeth look pretty scary! But one scientist says alligator teeth can benefit human teeth! It’s not like they’re going to implant them in your mouth but they are studying how gators can regenerate their teeth at least 50 times during their life. Although humans have the appropriate material to make more teeth in the future, our bodies just don’t as too many unlucky dudes in a bar fight have found out. Scientists want to identify stem cells that can be used as a resource to stimulate tooth renewal in adult humans who have lost teeth and they hope the alligator will provide clues into how it does just that!

Well, if you haven’t gotten excited about cheetah-bot or turtle-bot or the robot that can rock it Gagnum Style—I bet this one will peak your interest! Engineers have developed a three-armed robot called “Makr Shakr” to mix drinks! With a few taps of a smartphone, the robot begins mixing libations. And he keeps it classy—serving it up in a plastic cup. A specially designed app lets patrons share their drink concoctions with others—complete with pics of course! The Makr Shakr can slice a lemon, shake a martini, and multi-task, keeping a running queue of what’s next—ohhh so it’s a female robot! And like a true friend, this robot won’t let you drive drunk. It measures consumption and blood alcohol levels and it will just cut you off. Try arguing with a robot—probably won’t work out so well.

Well, that’s all for today’s Daily Orbit! Give me a beat ! An up beat!

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