Curiosity Rover | SciByte 22

Curiosity Rover | SciByte 22

We take a look at the Curiosity Rover launching this week, Europa’s water, bugs, Voyager, telescopes and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

Too much out there is just plain distraction, why can’t we have our cake and eat it too? There are a lot of interesting things going on out there in science, but getting to the interesting bits without all the hype you get from major media outlets is a trick we at Jupiter Broadcasting are hoping to pull off.

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*— LAUNCHING THIS WEEK — *

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity” Rover

Jupiter’s ice-moon Europa

*— NEWS BYTE — *

Why are flies attracted to beer?

  • The low down
  • Insects use their taste system to glean important information about the quality and nutritive value of food sources
  • Taste becomes important only after the fly makes physical contact with food
  • A fly first locates food sources using its odor receptors – crucial for its long-range attraction to food
  • Then, after landing on food, the fly uses its taste system to sample the food for suitability in terms of nutrition and toxicity
  • Significance
  • Flies are attracted to beer because they detect glycerol, a sweet-tasting compound that yeasts make during fermentation.
  • A receptor (a protein that serves as a gatekeeper) that is associated with neurons located in the fly’s mouth-parts is instrumental in signaling a good taste for beer
  • * Of Note*
  • How do you get information from the chemical environment to the brain – not just in flies but other insects as well
  • Social Media
  • UC Riverside @UCRiverside
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • The buzz around beer @ PhysOrg
  • University of California – Riverside

Amoeba-Sized Insect

  • The low down
  • The fairy wasp (Megaphragma mymaripenne), which at a mere 200 micrometers in length is one of the world’s smallest animals [roughly 2 strands of human hair / or 10 could fit between between pins in DIP]
  • Roughly the size of an amoeba, the wasp shrink so small that it can avoid most predators and invade the eggs of other insects
  • When the scientist compared the neurons of adult and pupae fairy wasps, he discovered that more than 95% of adult neurons lack a nucleus.
  • Significance
  • suggest that while a complete set of neurons is needed to grow, far less are required to live
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • ScienceShot: Amoeba-Sized Insect Is Missing Some Pieces @ Science Magazine

Voyager tune-up

To telescope or not to telescope for the holidays

SCIENCE CALENDER

Looking back this week

  • Nov 24, 1639 – 372 years ago : First Transit of Venus : Jeremiah Horrocks, an English astronomer and clergyman, measured a transit of Venus, the first ever to be observed.
  • Nov 24, 1859 – 152 years ago : The Origin of Species : The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Darwin’s groundbreaking book, was published in England to great acclaim
  • Nov 26, 1885 – 126 years ago : First meteor photo : The first meteor trail was photographed in Prague, Czechoslovakia. On the next evening, 27 Nov, he declared “meteors were falling so thickly as the night advanced that it became almost impossible to enumerate them.”
  • Nov 23, 1897 – 114 years ago : Pencil Sharpener : patent was issued for a pencil sharpener to its inventor , John Lee Love of Fall River, Mass.
  • Nov 25–27, 1922 – 89 years ago : Tut’s tomb approached : Archaeologist Howard Carter opened the two doorways to the tomb of King Tutankamun. The sepulchral chamber itself was not opened until 16 Feb 1923
  • Nov 29, 1961 – 50 years ago : Animal astronaut : Enos, a five-year-old chimpanzee, became the first chimp to orbit the Earth on a 2-orbit ride for 3-hr 20 min. During the flight, Enos carried out the lever-pulling performance and psychological tests that he had trained on for the past 16-months. NASA Animals in Space
  • Nov 27, 2001 – 10 years ago : Sodium atmosphere : Sodium was detected in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet by the Hubble Space Telescope. The planet, was the first transiting planet discovered (5 Nov 1999). It was later seen to have Oxygen, Carbon, and Hydrogen in it’s atmosphere. Osiris / HD 209458b

Looking up this week

  • You might have seen …

  • In arctic countries like Norway, they saw the last sunrise/sunset until January

  • While sunspot activity has remained high, solar activity has been low recently

  • Keep an eye out for …

  • Wed, Nov 23 : The Moon will be at perigee, its closest point to Earth for its current orbit. It will pass less than 224,000 miles away, or about 15,000 miles closer than its average distance.

  • Fri, Nov 25 : Antarctic Solar Eclipse – The Moon will pass in front of the sun, slightly off-center, producing a partial solar eclipse visible from Antarctica, Tasmania, and parts of South Africa and New Zealand. Maximum coverage occurs about 100 miles off the coast of Antarctica where the sun will appear to be a slender 9% crescent

  • Sat, Nov 26 : At twilight, low in the SW sky you can see the thin crescent moon, and to the upper left is Venus.

  • More on whats in the sky this week

  • Sky&Telescope

  • AstronomyNow

  • SpaceWeather.com

  • HeavensAbove

  • StarDate.org

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