Posts tagged science
How Your Body Knows Left From Right | It’s Okay To Be Smart
I never even thought to wonder why the left side of my body is the left and the right side is the right, but the answer is so unbelievably fascinating that I almost can’t handle it. In my early embryo days (and yours, too!), tiny little hairs in a special bunch of cells began to beat in unison and point to what later became my left side. They washed a current over the outside of my embryo cells leading pressure sensors to turn on a gene that then decided which organs go where. I mean, WHAT?!?! That is so cool!
Supernova remnants are impossibly stunning. Exploding stars fling a ridiculous amount of energy out across the cosmos, giving us killer images like the one above.
But supernovae also send out extremely energetic charged particles, which can strike and damage cells. Ol’ Mother Earth protects us with a luscious atmosphere and powerful magnetic field, but deep space explorers aren’t so lucky. Astronauts traveling beyond Earth’s orbit are exposed to these powerful, star-born cosmic rays. So how do we protect them and evaluate the risks?
Well, clearly you can’t just send a person out into space and see how long it takes them to develop cancer. So what we work with at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory are many experiments with different cell types that we expose to this type of radiation here on Earth—and then we use a lot of mathematical manipulations to extrapolate our data into the health risks for people.
That’s molecular biologist Peter Guida in a great Popular Mechanics (popmech) interview on the threat to Mars explorers. Guida works at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory here at Brookhaven Lab, using our accelerators to safely simulate the ion beams blazing through deep space. Go read the whole thing.
One of the coolest places at Brookhaven is the NASA Space Radiation Lab. They do some of the most fascinating work using a beamline that shoots off the side of our atom smasher, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. It might actually be my favorite lab at Brookhaven.
Wow. It’s Okay To Be Smart explains how the cycle of oxygen and carbon atoms in a really cool, visuals-only video. There’s another video with Joe telling you what you’re looking at, but go ahead and watch this one first. It’s interesting how easy it can be to understand something without much explanation.
"It’s a volcano, but not as we know it. This cerulean eruption takes place in the Danakil Depression, a low-lying plain in Ethiopia. The volcano’s lava is the usual orange-red – the blue comes from flames produced when escaping sulphuric gases burn."
Getting close enough for the photo made the photographer’s skin peel and left his clothes reeking of rotten eggs for weeks, plus it ruined his camera, but he said it was worth it for the shot. I’d say so.