This Science Friday we bring you Hubble’s 100,000th orbit of Earth, the world’s largest atom smasher, news about the Martian soil, artificial corneas, and in honor of 08/08/08, 8 things you didn’t know about the number 8. All this plus our gadget of the week: The Robotic, Camera-equipped pill.
Hubble to Make 100,000th Orbit
This Monday, August 11th, the Hubble Space Telescope will make its 100,000th orbit around the Earth. The HST has been surveying the universe, from our neighboring planets to the distant stars, for nearly two decades. Located 350 miles above the surface, it has a clear view of the cosmos, unobscured by Earth’s atmosphere, allowing it to get some astonishing images. Check out this slideshow of some of its best pictures.
The HST in orbit
Atom Smashing To Begin Oct. 21st
The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, will be officially launched in Switzerland on October 21st of this year. It will operate in a circular 27-kilometer tunnel about 100 meters underground and will create almost a billion proton-proton collisions per second. Take a look at some amazing high-res images.
Just one of the awesome LHC images
Perchlorate Found in Martian Soil
New soil chemistry tests by NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander have unexpectedly uncovered evidence of perchlorate, a highly reactive salt found naturally on Earth and used in a variety of products, including fertilizer, fireworks and rocket fuel, scientists said Tuesday. The finding has surprised scientists evaluating results from Phoenix, but they denied that the presence of large amounts of the salt would render Mars uninhabitable.
A trench where perchlorate was found
Artificial Corneas On The Way
Researchers at Stanford University may have just gotten us one step closer to creating a cyborg. They’ve developed a new kind of artificial cornea, one that’s “showing promise” in animal studies and could eliminate the need for cornea transplants completely. An estimated 10 million people worldwide have lost their sight to corneal disease. If the Stanford corneas are successful in human trials, some of them may get a second chance at sight. Being able to say you’re part machine is a bonus.
Stanford’s artificial corneas
08/08/08 – 8 Things You Didn’t Know About The Number 8
- One human being out of eight is a Chinese farmer.
- There are eight bits in a byte.
- There are eight furlongs in a mile.
- In the middle ages, eight was the number of “unmoving” stars in the sky, and symbolized the 'perfectioning' of incoming planetary energy
- The symbol 8 means eternity or infinity as it has no start and no end.
- Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture because it sounds like the word “prosper”. When Chinese businessmen stay in a hotel, they would rather choose rooms with numbers such as: 8, 38, 78, 88, 108 and so on.
- In nuclear physics, 8 is the second magic number
- In chemistry, 8 is the The maximum number of electrons that can occupy a valence shell.
The evolution of the figure eight
Video of the Week: Gigantic Fossil Find in Romania
Gadget of the Week: Robotic Pill Boldly Goes Where No Bot Has Gone Before
At first glance, the pill sounds pretty damn creepy: It harmlessly attaches itself to your intestinal walls and then sprouts legs and marches about, taking pictures of your inner workings. It’s feet have tiny arrays at the tip of each one, so it’s more like an adhesive. Current snake-like cameras are safe enough, but the robotic pill would give doctors far more control over where they are looking, and increase the chance that, if there’s a problem to be found, they’ll find it.
Robotic, camera-equipped pill
Here's a warp-speed look at science tid-bits that didn't quite make the cut, but nonetheless merit mention.
- Liked the artificial corneas? How about artificial retinas?
- Multi-Touch 3D Display makes Minority Report real used to weigh individual atoms and molecules
- Any good chemist will enjoy this Periodic Coffee Table