Daily Orbit – Alien Heat Shields

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,928
    9-17-12: In this episode of the Daily Orbit, NASA is developing a new technology to construct heat shields from alien soil, scientists believe your genes hold the secret to your face shape, and a new laser technology may replace traditional shots.

    Emerald Robinson: Criminals beware; the boys in blue may soon have a new DNA tool. High monkeys providing high expectations for a new brain implant. And runway brides, why more women should run? All that and more on today's Daily Orbit.

    Hello Orbiters, I'm Emerald Robinson, welcome to the Daily Orbit. So we talked about the building blocks of life in space, well now NASA engineers are literally working on building blocks from alien soil.

    Scientists are currently testing a method that would use Regolith or extraterrestrial soil, to create a heat shield for returning spacecraft instead of having to bring one along with them.

    NASA says that by eliminating a heavy heat shield at take-off, astronauts may be able to bring additional equipment or supplies. This new method would use a robotic device to mix the Regolith with a rubbery substance into a mold OR heat a large disc of Regolith until the soil elements fuse together.

    Tests have been successful so far, but researchers say on a readiness scale of 1 to 9, they're still at 1. Hey that's a start!

    And criminals beware; your DNA will soon show your face. Researchers have discovered five genes that determine facial shapes. A research team in the Netherlands looked at 10,000 individuals using MRI, portrait photographs and a genome wide association study to search for small variations that occur more frequently in people with certain facial types.

    Scientists say in time they may be able to draw a phantom portrait of an individual from their DNA, which could prove very useful in forensic investigations. Bad boys, bad boys what's you going to do?

    No please doc don't make me get that shot, I'll do anything not to have a shot, sound familiar? Well if you're one of those patients who'd risk having the flu to avoid a shot you'll be very excited about current research for a new pain free laser based injection.

    This new technology uses a special laser to propel a precise stream of medicine with just the right amount of force leaving no tissue damage. Researchers say the jet pressure is higher than the skin's tensile strength, so the medicine can smoothly penetrate to the right depth without any splash back. So maybe more people will brave the dreaded flu shot when this laser becomes widely available.

    And what do monkeys; cocaine and improved brain function have in common? Scientists are developing an implant that may help regain lost decision making processes. Using rhesus monkeys, a team of scientists implanted a cybernetic chip into two brain layers important in the decision-making process.

    After repeatedly administering cocaine to the monkeys, diminishing their cognitive abilities, scientists used electrodes from the implant to manipulate the animal's neural activity.

    The electrodes restored the monkeys' memory above the original baseline. Researchers hope these implants could one day help recover brain functions in victims of dementia or brain trauma. I don't know about you but I just keep seeing these jacked-up monkeys partying in my head.

    And if you're having jitters about saying I do, then maybe you should just say I don't. New research suggests that cold feet may predict later divorce. Psychologists at UCLA studied 232 newlywed couples over a period of four years. The study found that women who experienced pre-wedding uncertainty described their marriages as less-satisfying and were more likely to end up in a divorce.

    Newlywed wives who had doubts before marriage were two and a half times more likely to divorce four years later than those without doubts. Over the course of the study only 10% of marriages dissolved when it was the man who had pre-wedding jitters as opposed to 18% when the bride was unsure. So ladies, if you're not feeling sure when you hear those wedding bells, maybe you should just take Julia Roberts cue and run! Speaking of running, that's it for the Daily Orbit. I'm out of here, catch me if you can.