Daily Orbit – Prospecting an Asteroid

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,785
    1-23-13: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, mining is making its way to space, cats are killing New Zealand’s native birds, and the war is on against facial recognition devices.

    Emerald Robinson: Fireflies in space? Curiosity could kill the cat. Words shaping our world and saving face on today's Daily Orbit.

    Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I'm Emerald Robinson. FireFlies in space mining for metals, these fireflies you can't put in a jar. Deep Space Industries announced this week that it plans to send a fleet of asteroid-prospecting spacecraft out into the solar system. Talk about heading west, way west.

    These FireFly spacecraft use a low-cost component and get discounted to space travel by carpooling, tagging along on the launch of larger spacecraft. The first launch is planned for 2015 and will last two to six months. Then in 2016 the company plans to launch larger DragonFlies that will collect samples from asteroids to bring back to Earth. And you can participate too. The company will provide live feeds from Mission Control, online courses in asteroid mining and other really cool stuff. So let's get prospecting.

    This next story reminds me of Looney Tunes. I thought I saw a putty cat, I did; I did. Well while Tweety bird managed to always escape the clutches of Sylvester the cat, one conservationist says the birds in New Zealand aren't so lucky.

    Gareth Morgan is urging New Zealand cat owners to spay and neuter their feline friends and go one step further and not replace them when they die. Morgan says that the overrun domestic cat population is decimating the native birds. He calls cats natural born killers and in an online video says, cats are the only true sadists of the animal world, cats torture their victim slowly and without mercy, and that cats are serial killers.

    Many of the New Zealanders are outraged and Morgan has received backlash from the SPCA. You know he is kind of the opposite of that crazy cat lady; he is the crazy cat conservationist.

    And on to crazy conspiracies, recognize me now. Worried about new facial recognition technologies, walking by a mannequin that can identify you, TV that tells who is watching. Well for all you paranoid patrons, say hello to the privacy visor glasses. The glasses boast an array of infrared lights that confuse the cameras.

    Powered by a pocket-sized power supply, the glasses will be reasonably priced. But if you don't want to wear these attractive privacy visors, you have options. You can put on a lot of make-up or tilt your head at a 15 degree angle to confuse the camera, or better yet wear a mask. I'm not sure I'd walk into the bank like this.

    And there's a red super giant about to supernova, in 5000 years from now. New images of the nearest super giant to Earth called Betelgeuse shows multiple arcs which could be colliding with a dusty wall.

    Located in the constellation Orion the Hunter, Betelgeuse is visible to the naked eye in the northern hemisphere winter night sky as an orange-red star to the left of Orion's three-star belt. Scientists say it is likely on its way to a supernova explosion. Betelgeuse sounds a lot like, well Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, nothing.

    And what is in a word? Well I think it's supposed to be what is in a name, but for our case today we'll go with it. A new study says that public acceptance of climate change may have been influenced by the rate at which words move from scientific journals to everyday vernacular.

    Using Google Ngram two anthropologists looked at the rise and fall of particular climate change words in the mainstream. These include biodiversity, Holocene, Paleoclimate, and phenology. They say that scientists can learn from this study that the general public shouldn't be expected to understand technical terms, or be convinced by journal papers written in jargon. They say explain it till we can all understand it.

    Well that's all for today's Daily Orbit, see you back here tomorrow orbiters.