Showing posts with label Curiosity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Curiosity. Show all posts

Sep 6, 2012

Weird Tracks

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover does not have built-in GPS. The only way to track Curiosity's whereabouts and how far it has traveled is by following the six explorer's wheel marks.

For this reason, engineers put holes in Curiosity's treads so that every time the wheels turn, they leave a unique imprint on Mars. Orbiters photograph the print and scientists can determine how far the rover has moved.

The track pattern spells out "JPL" in Morse code through a series of "dots" and "dashes." JPL is an acronym for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the agency arm in charge of Curiosity.

Sep 25, 2009

Curiosity and Intelligence

If you are reading Friday Thoughts, you are probably a curious person. Well, here is some good news. It also means that you are likely intelligent. Something we all knew, but now science is on our side.

Scientists from University of Toronto and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital have discovered a molecular link between intelligence and curiosity.

Sep, 2009, the journal, Neuron published results from researchers, who studied the interaction of two proteins in a small region of the brain in the hippocampus, which plays an important role in long-term memory and spatial navigation.

For the study, the neuronal calcium sensor-1, a protein was increased by one-and-a-half times in mice. This modest overexpression increased the ability of brain cells to change how they communicate with each other and gave the mice superior memory in complex tasks and a significant increase in exploratory behavior (curiosity).

The scientists believe they have discovered a region of the brain that generates curiosity and a model for how brain activity leads to curiosity. They believe that fostering curiosity should also foster intelligence and vice versa, which may lead to the development of drugs to improve learning. I'm curious, when can we get some of those drugs?