Emerald Robinson: An American icon makes his final voyage into the great unknown. Didn't think high def could get any better? Wait till you hear what's new? And move over Kobe beef, there is a new cow in town. All this and more in today's Daily Orbit.
Hi! I am Emerald Robinson, welcome to the Daily Orbit. It's a sad day in science as the nation mourns the loss of a legendary hero, Neil Armstrong. The accomplished astronaut passed away on Saturday, just weeks after his 82nd birthday due to complications from open heart surgery. Armstrong was a war veteran, aerospace engineer and test pilot. He joined NASA in 1962 and served as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission in 1966. However, he is most remembered for the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, where he made world history by becoming the first man to step on the moon.
Neil Armstrong: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind".
Emerald Robinson: In a statement made Saturday, his family suggested we and I "Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink. "Well, here's to you, Mr. Armstrong!
In technology news today, high-def gets a whole lot more def. A UN Regulatory Committee has approved a new television format that has 16 times the resolution of current sets, as if it wasn't hard enough already to look good in high-def.
The new technology called Ultra High Definition Television or UHDTV will allow a wider array of colors, and have a frame rate more than twice that of current HD broadcast. NHK, developers of the technology, expect to broadcast the format called Super Hi-Vision by 2020. But, that technology can set you back a pretty penny. LG announced it will release a UHD TV version for an estimated $22,000, while Sony expects to release a $30,000 TV by Christmas. Well, I won't hold my breath on that one being under my Christmas tree.
Okay beef lovers, here is a story you might get excited about. Scientists at the Beijing University of Agriculture have genetically modified a pair of calves to be tastier and more tender. The team of scientists produced a pair of cloned calves which they implanted with an extra gene to increase fat in their muscles and add flavor and tenderness to the beef. Scientists hope that by genetically modifying cattle, they can help cut the cost of richly marbled beef.
Critics of the technology raise concerns about the welfare of the animals involved and the potential harm to humans consuming the meat and milk products. Can't you just imagine a big old juicy genetically modified steak? Yum!
And a more genetic engineering news, proponents celebrate another win in the stem cell research funding saga. On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals in DC ruled that the government can continue funding of embryonic stem cell research. This is the second time the Appeals Court has refused to stop Federal funding of the controversial program. Opponents object because the stem cells were obtained from destroyed human embryos. Supporters insist that most cells using research come from extra embryos from fertility clinics that would have been disposed off anyway.
The National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement that the NIH will continue to move forward with their stem cell research.
And it's a big Happy Un-birthday to Pluto! Saturday marked the sixth anniversary of the deplaneting of Pluto as I like to refer to it. Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union after redefined the term Planet as a body that circles the sun without being some other object's satellite is large enough to be rounded by its own gravity and has cleared its neighborhood of most other orbiting bodies. Scientists ruled that Pluto cannot be a true planet because it was just too different from the eight original planets. Well, poor Pluto! Wish you have friends like Eris and the other Kuiper belt bodies that don't belong in the same category as the eight original planets either. Everybody needs friends, even planets.
Well that's it for the Daily Orbit today. We'll see you right back here tomorrow with more science news.