Daily Orbit – Quantum Conundrum

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,560
    9-7-12: In this episode of the Daily Orbit, scientists break a record in quantum teleportation, NASA develops a new waste disposal system, and a robot outruns the world’s fastest man.

    Emerald Robinson: Hey! I'm over here. No, I'm actually over here. We've got the latest in teleportation. A high speed cheetah-bot, it's not just in a movie. And a light shines in the dark -- of the sea that is. All that and more on today's Daily Orbit!

    Hi, I'm Emerald Robinson. Welcome to the Daily Orbit.

    Ever seen the show The Tomorrow People with the teleporting kids? Well, tomorrow is here. Well, almost. ESA's Optical Ground Station has set a new distance world record in quantum teleportation by reproducing the characteristics of a light particle across 143 kilometers of open air. The purpose of the experiment was to provide the basis for a worldwide information network in which information exchange could have more security. Scientists say the next step is to achieve quantum teleportation to a satellite in the orbit. Unfortunately, only quantum states are exchanged, not matter. I'm still looking forward to the day when we can just teleport instead of fly.

    All right! Which one of you astronauts left the toilet seat up? Ah men! Anyway, NASA is following Mother Nature's lead on processing waste in space. NASA's new Water Walls Project mimics nature's approach to waste processing by providing a life support system that is biologically and chemically passive. The new system uses forward osmosis and will not rely on electro-mechanical systems that tend to break. NASA says Water Walls is a more reliable system that also protects astronauts from radiation. Now if these NASA engineers could just figure out a way for the seat to automatically go down!

    And the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, has just been bested, by whom? The world's fastest robot. DARPA released a video of their Boston Dynamic's Cheetah robot setting the land speed record for robots with legs. The Cheetah reached speeds of 28.

    3 miles per hour in a 20 meter span. They are now building an outdoor version called a WildCat that will move freely outdoors while it runs really fast. They plan to use WildCat robots to offer emergency response and humanitarian aid in places where normal human intervention might be too dangerous or remote. Scientists say this research will help to create possibilities for a whole range of robots suited for future Department of Defense missions. That's like a knight made from shining armor!

    Remember going to the museum, seeing all the dinosaur fossils and learning about the first mass extinction? Well, guess what, turns out that wasn't the first after all. A new study from the University of Washington indicates that a mass extinction of life on the sea floor occurred long before the dinosaurs died out. Based on their research in the fossil-rich area on Seymour Island of the Antarctic Peninsula, scientists say that volcanic eruptions filled the air with particles, carbon dioxide, and greenhouse gases that lead to long-term warming. Now I have that song stuck in my head, "Open the door, get on the floor, everybody do the dinosaur".

    And speaking of sea life, where's one of the best light shows in town? Well, that would be at the bottom of the sea. A team of oceanographers led by Duke University, found that a wide array of deep sea creatures are capable of producing chemically-generated bioluminescence when touched. Cruising the sea floor in a submarine, the team found that 20% of the species they tapped with the submarine's robotic arms emitted light. Even more surprising to the team, some crustaceans can see UV light even though it never reaches the sea-floor. The crew collected samples of specimens from glowing corals to luminescence-vomiting shrimp. I wish I could make myself glow!

    Well that's it for this episode of the Daily Orbit. See you later, I'm out of here.