Archive for April, 2017

Core of the Earth

When we think of the Earth as a whole, we see the blue planet in orbit around the Sun. The Earth is considered a solid planet, in the sense that it has more rock than gases. Unlike the Gas Giant Jupiter which may have a huge size, but is not as rocky as our home planet.

We may feel the solid rock beneath our feet and feel that it’s terra firma. However under it all is a hot core made up of iron and nickel. A molten core which has temperatures as hot as the surface of the Sun itself.

So do you think that this molten core will ever solidify? That the planet will become a cold and hard rock? Scientists feel that it is unlikely to happen. The heat in the core of the Earth is maintained by the radioactive decay of elements such as uranium present in the mantle.

Doesn’t that mean that after sometime, say a few billions of years, the material will eventually half life enough to become inert? Yes, it would. Unfortunately before that time can come, the Sun will die, and as the star explodes it will take into it’s wake the first four planets of the solar system. Effectively destroying the planet long before the molten core has any chance to cool off completely.

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Calories from Plate to Waist

Food is the primary source of fuel for the human body. We all need to consume a certain amount of calories in order to meet the energy requirements of our body. This calorie requirement is different based on the age, activity, gender and a bunch of other variables.

What that basically means is that a mother may not have the same calorie needs as her son. Or that a brother who plays basket ball regularly will need more calories than the one who is a computer programmer and is glued to his computer all the time.

Everyone agrees that if you eat excessive calories you put on weight. Just how long do you think it takes for the calories on your plate to show up on your physical body? An Oxford University study on the subject found that the fat in your food could end up on your waistline in as short as 4 hours.

Apparently carbohydrates and proteins take longer as they need to be converted to fat first. And In case you were wondering, it takes about 9 calories of proteins or carbohydrates to make one gram of fat. So now, thanks to this science project, you know how much you are going to end up gaining.

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Why Do You Feel Sleepy When Reading?

Most students find it difficult to stay awake when faced with the task of completing their studies or homework. However it is a fact that even adults tend to feel sleepy when they are reading something besides text books. Then why do you feel sleepy while reading something?

When reading the person is typically in a comfortable physical position. They could be sitting or lying down. This reduces the physical strain we put on the body.

The spot one picks to read will also be a quiet and peaceful one which we hope will allow us to concentrate better on the material in the book. This leads to a state of relaxation after a hectic daily routine.

Absorbing what you are reading will remove your focus from the outside world and it’s associated stress and tensions. These anxieties tend to keep us alert and when we no longer are paying attention to them we slip further closer to sleeping.

In addition, this one is for the students, if what you are reading is boring you tend to day dream rather than focus on the book. This also contributes to your being sleepy.

Wouldn’t it make a fun science project to check which books make you sleepy?

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Cassini on Its Final Approach of Saturn

The spacecraft Cassini sent by NASA to study the solar system has now come to the last bit of it’s twenty year voyage. This week the spacecraft will make it’s final close fly past of Saturn’s moon Titan before the craft head into the ringed planet.

This will be the 127th targeted mission that Cassini makes before ending a long term mission which has helped reveal many unknown details about planets and moons in our Solar System. The final mission is set for 21 April at 11.08 pm PDT.

The mission will involve the space craft passing just 979 km above the surface of the haze enshrouded Titan at a speed of about 21,000 km/hr. Over the time Cassini has been in operation it has managed to set 22 orbits that pass through Saturn and it’s rings.

The final plunge into Saturn will be on September 15th later this year. The space craft will use it’s rocket engine and thrusters to aim more accurately towards it’s last encounter with Titan before ending it’s mission.

The end of this science project should leave researchers with fresh information about the methane lakes and seas on Titan. It will be the first time the depth and composition of smaller lakes on the moon will be in focus and under study.

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The Elevator To Outer Space

In science fiction there is the huge elevator from the Earth that reaches all the way out into space. All you have to do is ride it and in a few hours you leave behind gravity and emerge in the twilight of inter planetary space.

The radical idea was first proposed by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian astronautical pioneer. He wanted to use the space elevator in place of rockets to get into space. The concept was similar to the cable car being pulled up by electricity.

While the concept itself is very simple, its the implementation that offers numerous challenges. The first of course is the types of materials that need to be used to construct this elevator. The material needs to be tough enough to survive the huge amount of tension that will be experinced.

For a while researchers were of the opinion that carbon nano tubes may be the right material. However the inability to create defect free carbon nano tubes persistently has led to the material being discarded. Till the logistics of this incredible science project can be worked out, the construction will not see the light of day. However when the elevator does become a reality it will truly be a world famous attraction.

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Boiled Eggs and Grey Coatings on Yolks

Often when eating a hard boiled egg, you may have noticed a grey or greenish grey coating inside the white and over the yellow portion of the egg. Have you ever wondered what it was? Or how it came to be there? Here we explain what the stuff is and how it shows up in your boiled egg.

The egg white is a mixuture of nearly 148 different types of proteins. It also has 92% water content. The three primary protiens are ovalbumin, ovotransferrin, and ovomucoid. When the egg is boiled the sulphur bonds between the amino acids unravel.

The unraveled bonds then get tangled up with their neighbors and become a solid mass. Hydrogen also reacts with sulphur at a temperature of above 70 degrees Celsius to form hydrogen sulphide. This is the greenish grey color that surrounds the yolk.

In case you don’t want this colour to show up in your boiled egg, you can run the boiled eggs under cool water once they are done. As the temperature is lowered fast the hydrogen sulphide ring does not form. Now you know what science experiment to conduct the next time you get stuck with cooking your own eggs for breakfast.

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