Space

The American flags on the moon – are they still standing?

We’ve all seen the pictures of astronauts triumphantly placing an American flag on the surface of the moon, evidence of mankind’s excursion to a heavenly body far from home. But flag planting wasn’t as easy as the astronauts made it seem. American flags on the moon Apollo 11, the first mission to land on the moon, learned an important lesson about the moon’s surface when they tried to plant the American flag. It has been supposed that the dirt on the moon would be similar to earth’s. It was not and its unusual composition made the flag impossible to plant deeply into the soil. Unlike dirt granules on earth which are roundish, moon dirt is flattened with sharp edges. The granules tend to lock into…
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Animal Kingdom

An eagle has amazing eyes – it can even see UV light which lets it track an animal by its urine trail.

Eagles are regal, powerful animals. At the top of the bird food chain, they can grow up to 7-foot wide and weigh up to 15 lbs. They can carry their weight (15 pounds) while flying. This lets them carry an animal about the weight of a baby mule deer. Their eyes are extremely powerful, about 3-times more powerful than a human’s eye (their eyesight is about 20/5 vs. 20/20 for a human). An eagle’s eye fills a large portion of its head. Unlike a human, their eyes are fixed – they cannot move their eyes in the eyeball socket. To look around, they must turn their head. When hunting, they swivel their head back and forth looking for prey. Their fixed eye design gives the…
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Animal Kingdom

The shiny cocoons of the orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly look like beautiful gold jewels.

No, these golden beauties are not fine jewelry or decorative trinkets. Although they look metallic, they are actually made of chitin, the material that gives some insects their shiny look. And inside these chitin containers, are baby butterflies! The orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly (or mechantis polymnia) lives in the jungles from Mexico down to the Amazon forests. They are colorful orange, yellow, and black butterflies, similar to a monarch butterfly, and grow to about 3-inches wide. The shiny golden cocoons they spin contain pupae, the third stage of baby butterfly’s development. Since pupae cannot move and are unable to defend themselves, they often rely on the appearance of their cocoon to deter predators. It is believed that the shiny surface of the orange-spotted tiger clearwing’s…
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Animal Kingdom

Here’s why some people get bitten by mosquitoes more than others.

It’s true. Mosquitoes prefer biting some people over others and now scientists know why. As it turns out, about 20% of people are especially yummy to mosquitoes. Here’s why. Mosquitoes smell carbon dioxide Mosquitoes find victims by smelling carbon dioxide. They can smell it from across a large yard. People who exhale more carbon dioxide than others become targets. This is why children, who breathe smaller breaths, are bitten less often than adults. Mosquitoes prefer dark colors Just as we see with human beings, to a mosquito, certain colors stand out more than others. If you wear black, dark blue, or red, mosquitoes will swarm your way. Mosquitoes smell lactic acid Mosquitoes can also smell lactic acid, the chemical excreted when you exercise. They also…
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Space

Here’s what our solar system looks like while flying through space.

We know that planets revolve around the Sun but did you know the entire solar system is moving through space? The Sun and the entire solar system orbit around the center of the Milky Way galaxy at a speed of about 500,00 MPH. If we take into account the movement of the solar system, the planets movement around the Sun looks more like the animation above.
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Technology

Watch this Air Force test sled reach a mind boggling 6,599 miles/hour (Mach 8.6).

Hold on tight because this video shows a high-speed test at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico that makes us think the Air Force should be designing roller coasters. The sled in this video reaches a dazzling speed of 6,599 miles/hour. That's Mach for the science nerds.   The Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT) is a United States Department of Defense/Air Force aerospace ground test facility located at Holloman Air Force Base in south-central New Mexico. According to the Air Force: "The Holloman High-Speed Test Track is a 10-mile long, precision-aligned track that provides scientists and engineers a platform from which to conduct their various missions. Tests on the track provide valid data on problems which cannot be solved by other ground…
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Space

Here’s what a flame looks like in space, where there is no gravity.

How a flame burns in space When a flame burns on earth, heated gases rise from the fire, drawing oxygen in and pushing combustion molecules out. As the flame burns, it heats the air around it and causes it to expand and rise upward. Denser air sinks downward to fill the void. The process continues in a sort of loop. This upward rising of air is what causes the classic teardrop shape we see in a candle flame. In microgravity however, hot gases do not rise. Air pretty much remains unmoved in all areas around the flame. So an entirely different process, called molecular diffusion, drives flame behavior and gives it an unusual round appearance. Since no flow of air replaces the oxygen that is…
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Animal Kingdom

Unable to find food in it natural habitat, this starving polar bear roamed into a town in Russia looking for food.

Residents of Norilsk, Russia woke to a strange site. A starving polar bear was roaming the streets looking for food. The animal would normally be in the Kara Sea area, about 300 miles from Norilsk, but climate change has forced animals such as this, to roam far from home looking for food and habitat they require to survive. The polar bear was photographed roaming throughout the city looking for food. Its paws are blackened with mud accumulated during its long trek. Authorities in the area say the polar bear may be sedated and transported to a zoo. World Wildlife Fund's Russia office told reporters: "It’s not normal for them to walk so far south, but the unusual situation can happen because of the lack of…
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Physics and math

Scientist captures picture of a single atom using a normal DSLR camera.

David Nadlinger, a quantum physicist at the University of Oxford, has done the impossible. He captured a picture of a single atom using a normal DSLR digital camera. The atom in the picture comes from strontium, an alkaline earth metal. To capture the photo, Nadlinger captured the particle between two electrodes then bombarded it with light from a blue laser to cause it to glow. Below we have magnified the part of the photo that contains the single-atom image.
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Weather

Black snow falls in Siberia – and it’s toxic and dangerous to the people who live there.

In early 2019, black snow fell from the sky in several towns in the Siberian region of Kuzbass. About million people live in the area. Most work in the area’s coal fields which are the world’s largest. Scientists say the snow is tainted with black coal dust that has been released from the area’s coal pits – and this isn’t the first time black snow fell from the sky. In fact, it’s a common occurrence in the area. One resident told reporters: “It’s harder to find white snow than black snow during the winter. There is a lot of coal dust in the air all the time. When snow falls, it just becomes visible. You can’t see it the rest of the year, but it…
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