Daily Orbit – Plastic in Titan’s Atmosphere

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,465
    10-1-13: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, Cassini sees plastics ingredient in Titan’s atmosphere, why there are earthquakes in America’s heartland, and Delta replaces manuals with tablets.


    What’s so plastic in our solar system?


    Earth-moving research…


    Tablet technology is flying high!


    And we’re moving to the farm on the Daily Orbit!


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


    Titan is so plastic!  The Cassini spacecraft has identified plastic ingredients in Titan’s atmosphere.  The spacecraft’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer revealed the chemical propylene at all levels of the moon’s lower atmosphere.  This chemical is what we use to make the plastic polypropylene, and you might know it best by the #5 at the bottom of your bottle when you go to recycle.  Scientists at NASA knew that propylene should exist on Titan, as many other hydrocarbons are found on the moon, but proof of that had eluded ground observations and Voyager 1. Cassini was finally able to sift through other stronger chemical signals to identify the propylene and scientists expect to find more hidden chemical’s on Titan as well.  One scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab said, “This new piece of the puzzle will provide an additional test of how well we understand the chemical zoo that makes up Titan’s atmosphere.”


    Did you feel that? I feel the Earth move under my feet.  New research from the US Geological Survey shows that a zone from Marked Tree, Arkansas to Paducah, KY and down to Memphis, TN will continue to be at a greater risk for earthquakes than adjacent areas.  Why?  This area sits on the New Madrid Seismic Zone comprised of weak rocks found deep in Earth’s mantle.  A series of some of the largest Earthquakes in American history rocked this region between 1811-1812, and there have been smaller earthquakes since then.  Looking at new high-resolution images of these rocks, scientists say they are better able to understand their characteristics and mechanical behavior and how they can handle a constant stream of stress and pressure.  They say this detailed mapping will be beneficial in applying building codes to protect vulnerable communities, as well as learning more about zones of weakness that can be applied worldwide.


    Passengers please refer to the tablet located on your seatback for safety instructions. I totally could’ve been a flight attendant.  Delta’s getting on board with tablet technology.  The company announced that it will be replacing the reference manuals and maps used by their pilot’s with Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablets, allowing them real-time access to tools and resources.  Ok so it doesn’t mean you will have a tablet at your disposal while flying, darn it.  It’s all part of an effort to ditch lengthy paper manuals and flight charts and will save the company about $13 million annually.  Delta will start making the switch later this year, first on Boeing 757s and 767s.  They plan to go 100% paperless by the end of 2014.


    Stress makes you crazy!!!  I mean it really does.  A 40-year study of Swedish women linked mid-life stress to a heightened risk of dementia later in life.   Of the 800 women, one in five developed dementia including 104 cases of Alzheimer’s. The data showed that the number of stressors reported at the beginning of the study, such as divorce or unemployment, were associated with a 21% heightened risk of developing Alzheimer’s and a 15% increased risk of any type of dementia.  Researchers suggested other studies are needed to look at whether stress management and behavioral therapy might help.  I better take a chill pill now.


    That’s it.  I’m becoming a farmer.  I have a constant battle with my allergies as y’all know, so apparently here’s a new option in allergy treatment.   New research found moving to the farm could reduce allergy symptoms and hypersensitivities.  The exposure to a wide range of bacteria, fungi, pollen, and all that nose-tickling stuff may trigger an immune response to protect against hypersensitivity.  The positive effect on the immune system was true for those who both grew up in farmland and those who moved from urban areas.  Research said it’s not too late to make the move from the city to the farm but they’re not necessarily recommending you do that, as there are other factors involved.  The new research proves that it’s possible to positively affect allergies later in life and brings us closer to understanding more about preventing allergies.  Shouldn’t having grown up directly across from a farm helped at least a little bit?


    And that’s today’s Daily Orbit.