On this edition: Space Research - Hotline to the Moon | Virtual Reality - Training with simulators | On the Defensive - Reaction skills put to the test | Sound Sleep - Television keeps you awake
Despite funding being scarce, Europe still has grand plans to make it to the Moon Mars. The first goal is to build an outpost on the Moon to facilitate further trips into space. But such a station would have to be contactable at all times.
Space researchers in Stuttgart are working out how to set up a sustained radio connection. They hope to position communication satellites at a spot between the Moon and the Earth where the gravitational forces of the two celestial bodies balance out.
Interview with planetary geologist Harald Hiesinger
Whether for captains, pilots or doctors – computer simulations are a growing aspect of job training. Their advantage lies in the ability to test out realistic but perfectly safe scenarios, so that candidates can prepare themselves for the real thing in a risk free environment. Tomorrow Today presents some examples.
Sometimes even talent and hard training can’t win the match. Sports scientists from the University of Bern wanted to find out which factors are important when playing defense in a beach volleyball match.
In a sensorimotor laboratory, they used a video projection with sensors and special glasses to see how and when the players moved, where they looked and whether their decisions were correct. Among other results, the researchers found a way to more effectively focus the players’ attention on decision-making in the game.
Blue light can stop you from sleeping, and a Swiss team of researchers have now confirmed that this includes television screens. Large amounts of blue light are emitted from blue backlit screens, strongly influencing the circadian rhythm when it is processed by special light receptors in the eye.
The researchers measured brain waves and the levels of the sleep hormone melatonin and discovered that light from the screens delays the build-up of melatonin by an hour. So staring at an iPad before bed turns out not to be a good idea.