Science Saturday: V’Ger’s Journey + Near-Miss Asteroid + Colored Poo + Planetrise + More June 23, 2012by Kayla Iacovino , Filed under: Science/Technology , trackback
This week on Science Saturday, get the latest update on Voyager and her journey into interstellar space; witness video captured of a near-miss asteroid; diagnose your ailments by checking the color of your poo; and see ‘planetrise’ from exoplanet Kepler-36c. All this, and more, plus our gadget of the week: The USS Enterprise turn table!
Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
As we reported last week, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft is approaching interstellar space (we’d like to clarify that it’s not clear that Voyager has in fact left the Solar System yet, but it’s certainly very close). This week, NASA released a video giving more specifics about the sharp increase in interstellar radiation that Voyager is experiencing, which indicates that it’s closing in on the border between our Solar System and what lies beyond. When it finally crosses over, this will be a momentous occasion for all of mankind, as it will be the first manmade object to ever leave out Solar System. Will it one day return a la V’ger?
Astronomers Capture Video of Near-Miss Asteroid
The sixth-closest asteroid flyby to Earth occurred on May 29th when asteroid 2012 KT-42 came within three Earth radii of our home planet. Researchers using NASA’s infrared telescope facility in Hawaii managed to track the asteroid with a video camera as it flew past Earth at about 17 kilometers per second. The bright white object in the video is the asteroid, with the background stars whizzing past as the camera tracks with the asteroid’s movement.
More at Nature.com.
Colored Poo May Help Diagnose Patients
Scientists have created a disease-detecting probiotic (yogurt) drink that can color your feces to match your illness. Your poop could tell doctors if you have a range of disease from stomach ulcers to cancer. So far, researchers say that the genetically engineered dung-changing yogurt can only reliably track the progress of E. Coli, but they hope that one day it will be able to diagnose more serious ailments.
The yogurt-like drink can interact with bacteria in the stomach to give you technicolor BM
Alien Planets So Close Together They Experience ‘Planetrise’
Astronomers have just discovered two odd exoplanets around the same star whose orbits are so close together that a person living on one of those planets would see the other rise and set like the sun or moon. Kepler-36b and Kepler-36c, which are 1,200 lightyears from Earth, give credence to the so often depicted scene in science fiction of planets seen hovering on the horizon of an alien world.
More at Huffington Post.
What the view from Kepler-36c might look like in a parallel universe where Seattle has two Space Needles and is located on Kepler-36b. Image credit: NASA.
Gadget of the Week: USS Enterprise Turn Table
Any geeky DJ should be dying to get their hands on the USS Enterprise turn table to lay down some mad beats. B-b-b-b-beam me up, Scotty! It’s just a concept design at the moment, but this Star Trek 2009 Enterprise turn table could be the perfect gift for that audiophile trekkie who has everything!
The Enterprise turn table
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a peek.