Daily Orbit – Monitoring the Melt

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,432
    4-11-13: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, scientists are watching Antarctica’s ice flow closely, new dinosaur fossils are uncovered in China, and egg whites are good for your blood pressure.

    Emerald Robinson: Ring in the rain or rain in the ring? What's the latest ingredient in a heart healthy breakfast?

    The big bang drops a sweet beat.

    And we're going with the flow on today's Daily Orbit!

    Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I am Emerald Robinson.

    Go with the flow.



    yeah man. Well it doesn't have quite the same connotation when it comes to the melting ice sheet in Antarctica. In fact, researchers say that the best way to monitor the environmental health of the Antarctic is to go with the ice flow and we can't be so laid back about this! If the environmental health of Antarctica goes, so does the health of the entire world.

    At 1 mile thick and a surface area of 5 and a half million square miles, the Antarctic is the largest freshwater reservoir on Earth, and this ice desert would raise the sea level by more than 60 meters if totally melted, sparking a chain of ecological effects across the world. And they found the faster ice flow velocity, the faster ice is lost, as chunks of ice funnel into the ocean where they eventually melt in warmer waters.

    So they are monitoring the ice flow velocity by remote-sensing satellite imagery and hoping to develop simulation models of ice sheet dynamics to estimate its influence on sea level. Sound's like Antarctica is under doctor supervision.

    And it's a ring effect. A new study found that the "rain" of charged water particles in Saturn's atmosphere influences the composition and temperature of the planet's upper atmosphere and rings. They call it "ring rain" I like that and it quenches the ionosphere of Saturn by reducing electron densities where it falls.

    Scientists say this is important as it shows that there is significant interaction between the ring system and Saturn's atmosphere. Studying this "rain" will help scientists have a better understanding of the origin and evolution of Saturn's ring system, as well as the changes in Saturn's atmosphere. So let the ring rain fall!

    A baby boneyard is telling a lot!

    ! Okay before you freak out. It's a dino baby boneyard and researchers are excited because it's pushing the record of dinosaur embryo fossils back 100 million years. The bones which are 190 million years old are from the most common dinosaur in the Early Jurassic period. Up until now, almost all known dino embryos came from the Late Cretaceous period which ended 125 million years after these bones were buried and fossilized. They come from several nests containing dinosaurs in various embryonic stages and show rapid growth, indicating a short incubation period. Researchers also believe this fast growth continued after hatching to avoid predation. Grow fast or be eaten! Could they hatch one of these dino babies like in Jurassic Park?

    And how about a tasty dino egg for breakfast? Yum, yum. Okay while that may not be appealing, new research says that "the incredible edible egg" may actually lower blood pressure. Though having been given a bad rap in the past, researchers saw that a peptide found in egg whites, which is one of the building blocks of protein, reduces blood pressure about as much as a low dose of high blood pressure medication.

    The peptide RVPSL is an inhibitor of the enzyme known as ACE which raises blood pressure. But they did say it's just the egg white that holds this heart healthy peptide. Well, I like all of it, so eat up!

    And just what did the Big Bang sound like? Well, I would imagine this [sound of a big bang]. But this is what scientists believe the expanding of the Universe sounded like [soundbyte]. They say that the expansion produced sound waves that echoed through the dense plasma and hydrogen that filled the early Universe.

    Of course, they can't be heard now but scientists used NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe to capture wavelength changes in cosmic background radiation to create their rendition. They say the Big Bang song was heard from 380,000 years after the event to about 760,000 after. That is, if there was someone or something there to hear it.

    And that's all for today's Daily Orbit. See you tomorrow Orbiters!