Science Friday: Quantum Teleporter, Green Comet, Google Mars + Lizard Spock The T-Shirt & more

This week’s Science Friday will teleport your entangled molecules, crash the Earth into a big green comet, explore the depths of oceans and solar system in 3D, traverse dangerous Martian terrain, and school you with our gadget of the week: Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock tee! All this and more is waiting for you! All you’ve got to do is click “more”…


A Quantum Leap for Teleportation
Although the transporters of Trek may be a fantasy even in the far future, scientists are continually working on teleporting the identity of atoms through what is known as quantum entanglement. This process “entangles” two molecules into a single identity, and a change in one instantly changes the other even if it is far away. Researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute in Maryland have taken a new approach to the science by using light to transfer quantum information between two atoms. This mechanism could form an important component in new types of communication and computing.

Click the image for an interactive graphic

Green Comet Approaches Earth
Oh my gosh! We’re all gonna die! Ha ha, just kidding. There may be a comet headed for Earth, but at it’s closest point on February 24th, the bright green Comet Lulin will be 38 million miles away — utterly harmless. That’s still close enough, though, that it can be seen in all its fluorescent greenness with the naked eye. It will be about a magnitude 5 or 6, so dark country skies will probably be needed to view it. This is the first time Comet Lulin will be in the inner solar system, so it’s a first for all of us. It gets it’s bright green glow from gases that make up its Jupiter-sized atmosphere. Jets spewing from the comet’s nucleus contain cyanogen (CN: a poisonous gas found in many comets) and diatomic carbon (C2). Both substances glow green when illuminated by sunlight in the near-vacuum of space.

A photo of Lulin taken through a 14-inch telescope on Feb. 1st

Google Earth Goes Underwater and to Mars
Google Earth is becoming a more and more useful utility all the time. But, the latest improvement Google has made to their most popular program is quite a doozy. Working with dozens of government, corporate and non-profit partners, Google Earth 5.0 combines 3D sea floor terrain topography with video clips and photos from ocean pros who have actually been there, like cool shipwreck clips from Shipwreck Central. Now you can dive to the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean — the Mariana Trench — where, if you look closely, you might see the 3D model of the Trieste, the submarine first used to reach the bottom of the trench. In addition, you can take a trip to Mars which is actually quite astonishing. Zooming in on the location of one of the MER Rovers allows you to move into a 3D panorama of the site. Take the word of someone who’s seen quite a few Mars pictures, this thing really makes you feel like you’re standing on the Red Planet’s surface. It’s quite awesome.

Download the latest update for Google Earth here!

New Rover Could Explore Treacherous Martian Terrain
If you’ve seen high resolution pictures of Mars streaming in from sources like the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, you know Mars can be a rocky place. So complicated is the terrain that, in some cases, normal rovers — including the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) which is headed to the red planet soon — can’t traverse it. That’s where Axel comes in. Axel is a secondary rover which would attach to something like MSL by a tether and could boldly go where no other rovers have gone before. Check out the below video of Axel in action at JPL.

Gadget of the Week: Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock!
Okay, so this week’s GOTW isn’t so much a gadget as it is pure unadulterated awesome. For those of you that watch The Big Bang Theory on CBS (which should be all of you!) you’ll recognize the symbols on this T-Shirt. The game of Rock Paper Scissors is nothing compared to the ultimate challenge of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock. And it’s all laid out for you on this handy 100% cotton tee from! Remember: Scissors cuts Paper covers Rock crushes Lizard poisons Spock smashes Scissors decapitates Lizard eats Paper disproves Spock vaporizes Rock crushes Scissors. Simple!

RPSLS now immortalized in 100% cotton!

Watch the clip from The Big Bang Theory


Science Quickies
Here’s a warp-speed look at science tid-bits that didn’t quite make the cut, but nonetheless merit mention.

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Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock…
I need that shirt!

The Big Bang Theory is very well done,,

I hope they ramp up wih some guest stars soon


Yeah, me too – let’s go for centralized buying! :)

I’m not a fan of The Big Bang Theory show, but I like the Trek references.

I love Big Bang Theory!!

I am a big fan of quantum entanglement. I suspected the satphones in LOST season 3 to be quantum entangled, so that they could bridge the time gap of 31 minutes between the freighter and the Island…

Quantum entanglement sounds a lot like my last relationship. I was so happy when she entangled someone else and I beamed my ass outta that town.

I am so gonna do that Spock gesture next time somebody wants to play stone paper scissors! Hilarious!


good for you, Valar.
I timeslipped in my post, the freighterphones where in season 4, of course…


Please don’t. It will only be funny to you and further alienate you from society. I do approve of you doing it in front of people who would know what you’d be talking about because then you’d be a hero.

I’m a big fan of the geeks’ bartending next door neighbor on that show! Yowza! : D

Quite illogical.

In looking at the cause & effect relationship in RPSLS, the stated dominance of Spock over scissors – “smashing them” – comes under question as Spock unlike a rock, can be injured by them. It is understood that Vulcans possess a strength greater than that of the average human, but as the primary attribute of the scissors is the blade and cutting ability, it is quite clear (SEE: AMOK TIME) that Spock can indeed be injured by blades.*

Also, not sure how paper disproves Spock, as we have no idea what is on the paper, and to what extent it negates whatever Spock is stating.

* To head off the possible argument that we never SEE Spock being injured by a blade in Amok Time, it is logical to assume that since a blade is one of the chosen weapons, he is capable of being injured or killed by sharpened weapons.


(too much time procrastinating from actual work this morning…)

this video is not available in your country or domain. Wow. what’s the internet for?

To #12:
Just go with it, accept the rules and enjoy! You’ll feel better, I promise!

Big Bang Theory = epic win!

RPSLR Rules! That was hilarious!

I love Big Bang Theory (the argument about which Trek movie sucked harder was hilarious!).

Leonard = JJ :D

“This process “entangles” two molecules into a single identity, and a change in one instantly changes the other even if it is far away.” — This sounds amazingly like the ‘powder of sympathy’ that people tried to use in the dark ages. (Check out “Island of the Day Before” among other books.)

Ha! I had Google 5.0 on my show as a story a couple days ago. Beat you for a change, Kayla! Might have to steal Axel, though.

Thanks, Kayla!

Why oh why havn’t we developed levitating space rovers… it would solve all this mucking about on land, sea, air.

Quantum entanglement is the bestest and wisest and greatest kind of entanglement out there! ;-)

just create a goddamn transporter already!!

Big Bang Theory — Laugh out loud funny!

LOL!!!!!! I love TBBT. It’s so hilarious. I’ve seen that Rock-Paper-Lizard-Scissors-Spock part SO MANY TIMES it’s not even funny (‘cept to me, of course). I might get that t-shirt. ;D

And, ooo!! A comet! I’ve never seen one in my 15 (16 next week!) years of living. I should jot that down on my calendar… Looks fascinating.

BIG BANG THEORY ROCKS!!! Been watching faithfully since ep 1.

Oh… must have shirt!!!

T-shirts are on the way for me & Melissa!!

Umm, what’s with the pentagram on that shirt? Isn’t that a universal symbol for the occult? If I am correct about what that is, then count me out on the shirt. The occult has nothing to do with Star Trek, and I don’t like seeing something like that, especially on a Star Trek product.

ummmm 29…what trek have you been watchin? look at the 1979 star trek starfleet delta pins…theyre 2 points away from being pentagrams, asare the next generation combadges…

ummm ive been thinking…there were references to a ‘quantum transporter’ in earlier spoilers for the film…im wondering if jj and crew redefined what a transporter is in star trek to be this quantum teleporter but on a much bigger scale..

#29 er…universal symbol for the occult? I believe that the pentagram is what you see inside of an apple when you slice it in half horizontally. It thus became a symbol of some sort for primitive Celtics, who had nature as a large part of their religion. The upright pentagram is a symbol of stability, while an inverted one (standing on one point and liable to fall over) is a symbol for chaos or instability. When the Roman Catholics conquered the Celts, they declared their “heathen” beliefs to be evil, wrong, and all around generally witchcraft. So from then on, pentagrams were declared evil. I somehow doubt that ancient Celtic religion was any more evil than, say, ancient Native American beliefs. Just sayin.

I take it all back. While I was typing entry 32, the new keyboard I bought started typing the letter between L and N all by itself. Now it won’t type one at all. It was creepy. Pentagra*s are evil.

30, 31, & #2: Maybe I’m wrong about whether or not the symbol on that shirt is a pentagram, but gosh it sure looks like one and yes, I know what a pentegram with a circle around it means. That’s what got me so upset. If you’ve seen it before, you know it when you see it again. That’s all I’ll say.

Decloaking . . .

Never seen Big Bang (I don’t watch tv), but that clip was really funny.

That teleportation sounded rather hokey. They used sensors and emmiters to flip the other atomto be the same as the first, and called it “Teleportation” to make it sound cool; even though no matter nor enery was exchanged between the two.

Diggin’ my Google Mars, see ya’ll there!

Recloaking. }:-D>