December 28th, 2007

Moon Rocks

7 Things You Didn't Know About Moon Rocks
1  Apollo 11 astronauts used an aseptic sampler to avoid contaminating the rocks and dirt collected from the moon. The astronauts used an extension handle to hold a sterile plastic bag for the samples.
2 Nonetheless, all the samples astrobiologist Andrew Steele inspected had been contaminated with brush bristles, bits of plastic, nylon, and Teflon, and even biological material from the astronauts. The plastic bags themselves were a major source of contamination.
In total, Apollo astronauts collected 840 pounds of lunar material.
4  The moon samples are stored at the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility at NASA’s JohnsonSpaceCenter in Houston, Texas, in nitrogen-filled steel cabinets. Researchers must wear three layers of gloves to protect the samples. Inside the cabinets, sealed Teflon bags, plastic vials, and stainless steel or aluminum containers hold the samples.
5  In October 2000, FBI agents arrested a man in Arizona who claimed to be selling moon rocks over the Internet. RichardKeithMountain pled guilty and was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years’ probation, and 300 hours of community service
6  In 2000, the House of Representatives approved a moon rock giveaway to 32 Apollo astronauts, including family members of the crew lost in Apollo 1. There was one condition: The rocks cannot be sold—they can only be handed down to family members.
7  Initially, the moon rocks were quarantined with about a dozen species of animals to make sure they did not harbor toxic or poisonous materials. Cockroaches were fed and inoculated with lunar rocks for up to 28 days, which did them no harm. Paramecia, planarians, shrimps, oysters, and houseflies also served as guinea pigs.
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How to Survive

How to Survive on a Deserted Island
Would you know the basics for staying alive if stranded on a deserted island?

One of the first rules of survival in general is there are no rules. The amount of variables is inconceivable and impossible to predict. Survival in one geographical area may totally differ in another. For example, you wouldn’t do the same things to survive in the desert as you would in the arctic.
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Intelligence in the Cosmos

Flesh or Machine?
"The reasonable probability is that any extraterrestrial intelligence we will detect will be machine intelligence, not biological intelligence like us" says Seth Shostak, who works for the SETI Institute.

Other experts in the field aren’t so sure. Some say the proposition underestimates the potential of biotechnology, and the chance that machines and organisms will meld. Those most skeptical scoff at the debate altogether – they say we’re the first advanced sentience to emerge.

Never assume because …

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Quote of the Day

“Every human institution has become corrupt. In such a world, the antihero or outlaw becomes the hero with whom we identify.”
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Image of the Day

Tropical Rain Forests

This view from a rain forest floor reveals openings in the canopy where sunlight gets through. Despite the blanketed look of rain forests from above, canopy trees actually rarely touch.
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