Science

Phobos-Grunt Mission To Mars Misfires
News Science Technology

Phobos-Grunt Mission To Mars Misfires

In the 1970s, a space project called the Phobos-Grunt project was proposed by Russian space experts.

At the time, it represented a dream for the Russian space program. To build a vehicle that could go all the way to Mars, to collect information from one of its moons, Phobos. It would be Russia’s first deep-space mission, developed entirely in the post-Soviet era.

The project had lots of problems over the years. They include mismanagement, political issues and serious technical problems, according to Russian journalist Anatoly Zak.

However, the Russian space agency persisted, and eventually the Phobos-Grunt became a reality.

The Phobos-Grunt launched on Nov. 9.

Unfortunately, the unmanned vehicle would not make it to Mars.

New Toronto Aquarium — 13,500 Creatures, Shark Tunnel
Animals Entertainment Environment

New Toronto Aquarium — 13,500 Creatures, Shark Tunnel

The people who are building a huge new aquarium in downtown Toronto have released some exciting new details about it.

Ripley’s Entertainment Corporation – which publishes Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – plans to open the aquarium in 2013.

It will be one of the largest aquariums in North America.

It will be located near the base of the CN Tower.

More than 13,500 underwater creatures from around the world will be on display at the aquarium.

There will be exhibits on jellyfish, seahorses, stingrays, the Great Lakes, tropical reefs and more.

The aquarium is designed to be fully interactive.

Image: AFP Photo/Khaled Desouki
Science

The First Mummy In 3,000 Years

The body of Alan Billis, who died of cancer recently will be the first one in the modern world to be mummified like the ancient Egyptians were.

While he was terminally ill with lung cancer, Billis—a taxi driver in the UK—signed up for the procedure.

Dr. Stephen Buckley is a scientist who has been working for nearly 20 years to figure out how to mummify bodies in the same way Egyptian bodies like Tutankhamun’s were preserved.

His process was filmed for a television documentary on Britain’s Channel Four TV station.

Image: Birds of a Feature B&B
Animals News

Cougars Spotted On Vancouver Island, BC

Cougars are becoming a problem on Vancouver Island, BC.

Last September, four cougars were spotted prowling through Victoria (the capital of BC), on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island has a growing population of deer who look for food in city gardens and the cougars are following them into the city.

Cougars rarely attack humans, but in the cases where it has happened it is usually because the cougar is hurt or startled.

Dieter Gerhard is a long-time resident of Victoria. “We have a very fat cougar living on the property next door to us,” he said. The cougar is attracted to the deer who come to graze nearby.

Canadian Nobel Winner Allowed To Keep Award
News Science

Canadian Nobel Winner Allowed To Keep Award

A Canadian-born scientist recently won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine is one of five Nobel Prizes given out each year for achievement in various scientific fields.

This year, a very unusual situation occurred – one that required a special emergency meeting of the Nobel Prize committee.

When the Nobel Foundation announced that it was giving the award to three scientists: Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Canadian Ralph Steinman, it didn’t realize that Steinman had died from cancer three days earlier.

Mummies With Hair Gel
Lighter Science

Mummies With Hair Gel

The Ancient Egyptians probably used hair gel to style their hair, new research on mummies shows.

Scientists at the University of Manchester, UK published an article in the Journal of Archaeological Science that said, “…in cases where the (mummies’) hair was styled, the embalming process was adapted to preserve the hairstyle.”

In other words, when the bodies were turned into mummies, the embalmers made sure their hair didn’t get mussed.

The researchers studied hair from 18 mummies who lived around 300 B.C. in Egypt.

Under a microscope, the scientists noticed that the hair on nine of the mummies had a coating on it. When they analysed it, it turned out to be made of plant and animal fats.

Space Junk Re-Enters Earth’s Atmosphere
Science Technology

Space Junk Re-Enters Earth’s Atmosphere

A bus-sized chunk of space trash fell out of the sky on Friday or Saturday, and NASA isn’t quite sure where it landed.

They say it likely landed in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States. They are fairly certain that it didn’t cause any injuries.

The space junk was made up of fragments of a 6.3 tonne satellite that is no longer in use.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) was sent into space in 1991 and hasn’t been used since 2005. Its job was to collect information about chemicals in the atmosphere.

As many as 26 pieces of the satellite weighing up to 135 kilograms likely survived re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Most fragments burned up before reaching earth.

Faster Than The Speed Of Light
Science Technology

Faster Than The Speed Of Light

How fast does light travel? Scientists have known for a long time that light always travels at the same speed: 299,792,458 metres per second.

The speed of light is the fastest speed that all energy, matter and information in the universe can travel.

The speed of light is very important in science. Because it is always the same – it is a known constant – it defines many things, including the length of a metre.

Using the speed of light scientists calculate many things. The speed of light is part of Einstein’s famous theory of relativity, E=mc2.

That is why there was such a shock within the scientific community this week when it was announced that a group of scientists has been recording some particles going faster than the speed of light.

Rare Albino Hummingbird Seen In Colorado
Animals Lighter

Rare Albino Hummingbird Seen In Colorado

A rare albino hummingbird may have been spotted in Colorado.

Albino hummingbirds have a genetic condition that prevents their body from producing a natural chemical called “melanin.” Melanin is a chemical that gives most birds their beautiful colours.

Because Albino hummingbirds aren’t coloured, their feathers are white. They have pink bill and whitish or pink legs and feet. They may either have red or pink eyes.

The pink or red colour is caused by the red of their blood vessels.

LEGO Figures In Space
Lighter Science

LEGO Figures In Space

In August, a rocket was sent to deliver a space probe, called Juno, to Jupiter to study the planet.

The probe carried three unique stowaways.

Three special LEGO figures, made of aluminum, are accompanying Juno on its five-year mission. The figures look like the Roman god Jupiter, his sister Juno and the Italian astronomer Galileo.

Jupiter carries a lightning bolt. Juno has a magnifying glass to help her search for truth. And Galileo carries a telescope and a model of the planet Jupiter.

People at NASA approached LEGO and asked them to design the special minifigs, which cost about $5,000 each. They had to build them very carefully so they didn’t interfere with any of the probe’s sensitive instruments.