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While the role of genetic factors in self-report measures of emotion has been frequently studied, we know little about the degree to which genetic factors influence emotional facial expressions.
Twenty-eight pairs of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart were shown three emotion-inducing films and their facial responses recorded. These recordings were blindly scored by trained raters. Ranked correlations between twins were calculated controlling for age and sex.
Twin pairs were significantly correlated for facial expressions of general positive emotions, happiness, surprise and anger, but not for general negative emotions, sadness, or disgust or average emotional intensity. MZ pairs (n=18) were more correlated than DZ pairs (n=10) for most but not all emotional expressions.
Since these twin pairs had minimal contact with each other prior to testing, these results support significant genetic effects on the facial display of at least some human emotions in response to standardized stimuli. The small sample size resulted in estimated twin correlations with very wide confidence intervals.
The Aurora programme is the European Space Agency programme of planetary exploration focused primarily on Mars. Although the long-term goals of Aurora are uncertain, the early phases of the Aurora programme are based on a number of robotic explorer missions – the first of these is the ExoMars rover mission currently scheduled for launch in 2013 (originally 2011). The ExoMars rover – developed during a Phase A study – is a 240 kg Mars rover supporting a 40 kg payload (called Pasteur) of scientific instruments specifically designed for astrobiological prospecting to search for evidence of extant or extinct life. In other words, ExoMars represents a new approach to experimental astrobiology in which scientific instruments are robotically deployed at extraterrestrial environments of astrobiological interest. Presented is an outline of the design of the rover, its robotic technology, its instrument complement and aspects of the design decisions made. ExoMars represents a highly challenging mission, both programmatically and technologically. Some comparisons are made with the highly successful Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.
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