• A few weeks ago, on the 20th of July, the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing was celebrated. 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, marking a significant milestone in space exploration. Recently, NASA has built ‘Valkyrie’, a semi-autonomous robot that could be used to build a base on Mars, continuing NASA’s space exploration legacy.
• Scientists are re-estimating the speed at which the Universe is expanding. The current estimation suggests that the universe expands at a rate of 74 kilometres per second for each 3 million light years. This means that for every 3.3 million light years further away from the earthy you are, the matter surrounding you is moving away from earth 72 kilometres a second faster. Note that 1 light year is how far light travels in a year, which is around 6 million million miles.
• NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a mission designed to comb ‘nearby space’ for exoplanets, has found its first potentially habitable world outside of our own solar system. This planet is only 31 million light years away!
• Biomedical Engineers are developing a prosthetic arm that can move with the person’s thoughts and feel the sensation of touch via an array of electrodes implanted in the muscles of the patient.
• A new article from the University of Notre Dame describes how the increase in population and the need to feed everyone will lead to an increase in disease. Authors of the paper are calling this ‘two of the most formidable ecological and public health challenges of the 21st century.’
This term we’re also taking science outside the classroom and asking students from around the College to share their interest in science. Our first brave participant in “ATC Scientist Spotlights” is Ethan Casey. Here’s his response to some questions on a love of science.
• What is your favourite science?
My favourite science would have to be a split between Chemistry and Astronomy. I find both of these remarkably interesting as I enjoy finding out innovative ideas and concepts of these subjects such as black holes or Super Nova’s.
• What makes science especially fun for you?
Science is fun for me as there is always something new and interesting to learn. Another reason it’s fun is the connection with mathematics in science. I’m pretty addicted to solving mathematic equations, so the connections it has to physics, astronomy and chemistry make science for me more interesting, engaging, and fun.
• What has been your favourite experiment you’ve done in science class at ATC this year?
In semester one we did an experiment where we had a test tube with hydrochloric acid in the tube and then lit a match and inserted it into the same tube. This caused the flame on the match to go out and created a loud ‘pop’ like sound. This was due to the flame needing oxygen to stay alive, the lack of oxygen in the test tube caused the flame to go out.
• Do you have a favourite science fact you’d like to share (just think of something random)?
The Sun’s core releases approximately the same amount of energy as 100 billion nuclear bombs. This energy is transferred through thousands of years through the Sun’s layers until it is eventually produced into heat and light.
That’s all from us, stay interested in science boys.
Will Percival-Hayes and Tom Perissinotto
UQ Science Ambassadors