Whoa, science! Liquid Nitrogen Under A Vacuum

3 weeks ago 104 notes

spaceplasma:

A Burning Candle In Zero-Gravity

The results of a Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) experiment demonstrates that in zero-gravity—where heat doesn’t rise—a flame burns in a uniform oval.

4 weeks ago 1,666 notes

The Rosetta spacecraft is about to do something no spacecraft has ever done before: orbit a comet and land on its surface

A spacecraft from Earth is about to do something no spacecraft has ever done before: orbit a comet and land on its surface.

Right now, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe is hurtling toward Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  The spacecraft’s mission is to study the comet at close-range as it transforms from a quiet nugget of ice and rock, frozen solid by years spent in deep space, to a sun-warmed dynamo spewing jets of gas and dust into a magnificently evolving tail.

News flash:  The metamorphosis has begun.

"Comet 67P is coming alive," says Claudia Alexander, project scientist for the U.S. Rosetta Project at JPL. "And it is even more active than I expected."

Launched in 2004, Rosetta has spent the past few years in hibernation as it chased the comet across the Solar System. In January of 2014, with its destination in sight, Rosetta woke up and turned on its cameras.  At first, the comet looked like a dimensionless pinprick, inactive except for its quiet motion through space.  Then, on May 4th a bright cloud appeared around the nucleus. (Read more)

Source: NASA Science

1 month ago 133 notes

Bats Have Sparkly Poop

Bats eat a lot of bugs — up to two-thirds of their body weight in insects daily for some species. There’s an unexpected side effect of all that insect eating, though. Bat scat is described as “sparkling with insect exoskeletons.” Generally the words “sparkling” and “feces” aren’t found together, unless you have a toddler that’s gotten into a jar of glitter.

It’s a diet of insects that puts the shine in bat guano. Insects’ exoskeletons, or hard outer coverings, are made of chitin. Chitin is chemically a lot like plant cellulose; it’s difficult to digest, and passes through a gut relatively unchanged. If you eat a lot of shiny insects, you are going to produce Twinkle Turds.

Exoskeletons are a chitinous candy bar wrapper around a delicious protein meal. It’s not uncommon for birds to shuck off insect wings and legs before consuming an insect snack. Insectivorous bats, however, chew everything up and the exoskeleton comes out the other end as shiny stools. (Fruit- and seed-eating bats have “splatty” feces with no gleam.) (Read more)

Source: Wired

1 month ago 213 notes

The Yoshimoto Cube

The polyhedral mechanical puzzle toy that transforms into two stellated rhombic dodecahedrons from a cube.

Made by C Bits on DIY.

1 month ago 359 notes