February 2011 | Blogs
Monday, February 28, 2011
Who Is 179 Years Old?
Why Jonathan, of course. Jonathan is a Seychelles giant tortoise who is 179 years old. He was born in 1832. He was born before computers, telephones and cars were invented. He was born before the Civil War. Jonathan lives on the island of St. Helena, off the coast of Africa. He spends his time on the grounds of the governor’s residence which is called Plantation House. Jonathan is similar to Galapagos giant tortoises which weigh up to ¼ of a ton and have shells over 3 feet across. So why do these tortoises live so long? Scientists do not have a complete answer; more research needs to be done. Some scientists theorize that it is...
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Space Shuttle Discovery’s Final Mission
On February 24th, Spaceship Discovery started its final mission, STS 133. (Click here to see a video of the launch.) Discovery has six crew members on board and the purpose of the mission is to dock with the International Space Station and deliver a module which is essentially additional rooms to be used for lab and storage space. Discovery has flown into space more than any other spacecraft. It is one of five shuttles used by NASA which also included Challenger, Columbia, Atlantis, and Endeavour. Discovery first launched in 1984. Since that time, it has made 38 missions, circled the Earth 5,628 times and...
Sunday, February 27, 2011
A Spaceship With a Sail?
NASA has designed a spacecraft that moves through space with a solar sail. Picture an unmanned spacecraft with a rectangular gold metallic sail that is 100 feet square. Photons from the sun moving through space hit the sail and move the spacecraft. NASA launched the NanoSail-D and deployed its sail over the U.S. in low orbit in January. Here is a link with a great picture of what the spacecraft probably looks like. Through March 7th, the spacecraft moving through space can be seen with the naked eye (no telescope needed)! To help you see NanoSail-D, NASA has partnered with SpaceWeather.com to provide tracking...
Saturday, February 26, 2011
The Deep Carbon Observatory
Here at SuperSmart Carbon, we love learning about carbon. Apparently, we are not alone. There is a project being launched called the Deep Carbon Observatory that is being funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The purpose of this group is to study carbon deep inside the earth. Carbon makes up somewhere from 0.7% to 3.2% of the earth’s elements. We know that there is carbon trapped under the earth’s crust, but we don’t know how much. The Deep Carbon Observatory is going to study how much carbon there is in the earth and what happens to it. Another question is what form is the...
Friday, February 25, 2011
Where does gas come from?
Carbon! (We always love it when the answer is carbon.) The gas we use to power our cars comes from decomposing organic matter. What does that mean? All life has carbon in it -- this includes everything living from you and me to zebras, tapeworms, tulips and seaweed. Since all living things have carbon in them, they are referred to as organic matter. Non-organic matter includes things like rocks, water and metals. When something organic dies, it goes into the earth’s surface. For example, when a leaf falls off a tree, it settles on the ground. Over the next months, it slowly rots and...
Monday, February 21, 2011
A meteorite will (probably) hit earth today
Each year, thousands of meteorites hit earth. Meteorites are parts of asteroids that have broken off or dust from comets. Most are so small that we don’t even see them. Others fall in places that we cannot find them, like in the oceans. A scientist at Washington University in St. Louis has compiled a map of the US showing the number of meteorites found in each state. Click here to see how many have been found in your state. In Arizona, there is a crater named Meteor Crater – it was caused when a meteor hit Earth 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. It is as big as 20 football fields! (Click here for a...
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