Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
For a monkey, water is wealth.
U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Kasey Close
When the money is water, “wealthier” monkeys take more risks. Which makes them a decent model for human behavior.
Much like their human cousins, wealthy primates are more likely to monkey around with their money, says a new study on how monkeys perceive wealth and risk.
Currency means little to a rhesus monkey, of course, so to look at how monkeys approach risk-taking, the study examined how they treated a gambling task that rewarded them with a drink. Wealth was measured in terms of water–if a monkey started out thirsty, he or she was “poorer” than a monkey that was sated (as measured by a blood test).
The monkeys were for the most part, slightly averse to risk, but they were even less willing to take risks when they were thirsty. Monkeys that were “richer” in hydration took bigger gambles–much like human investors. This is contrary to the findings of some previous research on animals. One study found that birds take more risks when they’re hungry (food being another indicator of animal wealth).
“We found that monkeys are capable of rational decision-making, just like humans, after training, and we found their risk attitudes are also similar to those of humans,” University of Sydney economist Agnieszka Tymula, one of the study’s authors, told ABC Science. The researchers suggest that biologically, the mechanisms behind our relationship to wealth and risk be similar to those found in monkeys, and could have evolved long before we started using actual currency. “It seems likely that the biological mechanisms that mediate changes in risk attitudes with wealth evolved around satiety mechanisms rather than around mortgages,” they write.
The full study is published online in PNAS.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.