This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I am Ira Flatow. When we talk about Mars, you know, it's usually about the search for life or water or something like that on the red planet that might be similar to life on earth, right? Is there life on Mars? Was there life on Mars? Was it similar to life on earth? But what if life came from Mars to earth? What if earth was seeded by Martian life forms three billion years ago? It's not a new idea, Martian life forms hitching a ride on a meteorite. But there is a new theory to support it.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I am Ira Flatow. Did you know that trillions of bacteria live in your gut, happily dining on the food you eat? And your bacteria community, well, it's different than mine; everyone has a different community and that is important because as a new study published in Science points out, the specific bacteria you shelter can alter your metabolism. It can help determine your health. How do you get the bacteria in your gut? What connection do they have to our well-being?
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Back in 1972, during Apollo's final mission to the moon, Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan spotted a strange phenomenon, a glow along the horizon of the moon just before sunrise, followed by mysterious streamers of light, sort of like, you know, the rays of sunlight you see peaking through a cloud. Well, he made a sketch describing it, and since then, scientists have been trying to figure out what the heck he saw.
Next up: wildfires. California's Rim Fire is not 80 percent contained, with some 4,000 firefighters still on the job. All that emergency response, of course, costs money, which federal government budgets for each year. But it doesn't seem to be enough, because three weeks ago, the head of the U.S. Forest Service announced that the Forest Service had burned through its firefighting budget, and would have to drain money earmarked for other things, like fire prevention.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Just about everybody loves penguins, right? They're funny on land. They're amazing underwater, and they're very photogenic, so they show up in lots of ads and movies. But beyond the screen, prospects for the birds are not entirely good. This week, over 200 researches from around the world met in the U.K. to talk penguins, from the prospects of conservation of species to how penguins are able to stay under water so long, to the properties of penguin poop.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, in case you didn't know that. Dr. Alois Alzheimer first described a type of dementia that could go on to - that would go on to bear his name - first described that in 1901. Now over a century later, more than five million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer's, according to the Alzheimer's Association, and we still are looking for the exact cause and treatment for the disease.
Last year, 2012, the Earth experienced a record melt of Arctic ice, torrential rainfall in Australia, and withering droughts in the United States and elsewhere. Scientists are beginning to figure out why. Here's NPR's Richard Harris
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:52 pm
Here's a bit of news that might make you drop that chicken nugget midbite.
Just before the start of the long holiday weekend last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that it was ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.