Instant kid science dance party pop hit! <3 <3 <3
More Parry Gripp tunes here.
Instant kid science dance party pop hit! <3 <3 <3
More Parry Gripp tunes here.
Lily the astrofrog says, “I love water bears. They are the first known animal to survive the vacuum of space in low Earth orbit.”
That great video is by Hank Green and SciShow. Check out their whole YouTube channel. It rocks!
Tardigrades, also known as waterbears or moss piglets and even bug bears, are fascinating little creatures. If you have ever looked at soil under a microscope you might have seen some of these little guys. Under ideal lighting they almost look cute–like micro manatees with eight legs.
Under a regular microscope they look like this:
Tardigrades have evolved to be able to survive in extreme conditions including vacuum, high radiation, and temperatures from near absolute zero up to 151 degrees centigrade. They can also survive almost decade without water. They are truly amazing little creatures.
This is an excellent video introduction to tardigrades that explains what makes them so awesome.
Tardigrades might make a great science fair project. They are easy to find outside and are reported to love to live in moss. Get some moss wet and start scanning some of the water drops on your microscope slide. Notice what happens when the water bears dry out. What happens if you then add water? After doing some more research, test some of the claims made about the extreme survivability of tardigrades. Design an experiment that tests water bears under extreme conditions.
Amber is fossilized tree resin from prehistoric conifer trees. The slow and sticky resin oozed out of a tree when it suffered damage and protected it like a gooey bandage. Eventually this resin would harden and shed off the tree where it would collect as part of the debris and sediment of the ancient forest floor. Over eons of time the resin matured chemically and fossilized into the hard plastic-like material that we know today as amber.
Fossilized tree resin from hundreds of millions of years ago is exciting, yes, but it’s what has been found in amber that is so much more riveting. Trapped within these organic stones you can often glimpse perfectly preserved organisms from the prehistoric past. Some of these unlucky deep time travelers include insects, spiders and their webs, seeds, pine needles, flowers, frogs, and even a lizard. These ensnared creatures and plant matter–known as inclusions–have been dated up to about 150 million years ago. Most of these organisms are now extinct but can be studied and classified by comparing them with current known species or known fossils.
Many of the most intriguing amber fossils are found in Canada and include a few types of feathers and protofeathers. Scientists collected and studied 11 samples of amber containing feathers and found that they were seeing a range of plumage that showed a development from primitive protofeathers to more complex feathers like those found on modern birds. They found that some of these feathers are similar to the ones seen in rock fossil impressions of feathered dinosaurs. The more advanced feathers may have come from early birds. If you like reading about dinosaurs, amber, or prehistoric life, you will enjoy reading the original scientific paper by the scientists who are studying these fossil feathers in amber.
Above are just two stages of the known stages of feather evolution. On the left are protofeathers which are very primitive and look like very fine hairs or filaments. Researchers have nicknamed these simple protofeathers “dinofuzz”. They are even studying the pigments–color-producing particles–on these feathers. Those pigments from feathers have been found in rock fossils as well, as seen in this video from researchers at Yale University.
If you have ever seen or heard about the movie or book “Jurassic Park” you may have heard that it might be possible to take DNA from an organism that has been preserved in amber. Unfortunately, at this time, that seems unlikely. DNA breaks apart quickly once an organism dies. However, amber is a fantastic preservative and if we are going to find ancient DNA somewhere it is most likely to come from just such an ideal source. Some scientists have had promising results in extracting bits of DNA from amber; however, it is a difficult and tricky process and other scientists have had trouble getting the same results. It could be possible to get a snippet or two of DNA but the DNA of a whole organism from many millions of years ago might be impossible at least for the foreseeable future.
….is a parody and I was fooled and originally had a serious post on it. I should have known better than to post anything from a 4Chan link.
Cary Huang created an updated version and parody of the interactive “Scale of the Universe” flash animation.
More at http://htwins.net.
Curiosity is an exciting and important robot because its job when it gets to Mars in 8 months is to look for life there. Scientists suspect that there is some very primitive form of life on Mars, but we need to send a probe with instruments and detectors built into it to test the martian environment for evidence of life.
Curiosity probably won’t find a baby plant like Wall-E does in the movie. If life is detected it’s more likely to be a type of tiny, microscopic life. That would be great because it would be the first time that people have discovered life anywhere other than Earth.
Here’s a video animation from NASA/JPL that shows us how Curiosity will travel from Earth to Mars and what Curiosity will be doing once it lands.
Yes! It will shoot laser beams at stuff on Mars.
One of the most important things you need to keep in mind if you are building a robot that will probe another planet for life, is that you don’t want to send any Earth life with your robot probe. If your rover arrives on Mars covered in Earth germs your life detectors are going to detect life, but possibly not martian life. Or perhaps the scientists would be scratching their heads when Curiosity discovered that along with unknown alien life, Mars also has athletes’ foot. Awkward…
To send a clean spacecraft to another planet you need to build it in a clean room like this:
The above picture was the Mars Curiosity Rover’s room on Earth at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Your bedroom is a pig sty compared to Mars Curiosity Rover’s room. The interesting thing about this room is that it is cleaner than cleanest place you’ve probably ever been outside of a hospital operating room. Operating rooms and JPL’s clean room are designed to have fewer than 10,000 particles of 0.5 micrometers (microns) or more in diameter in the air. Microscopic life bigger than 0.5 microns are yeast, mold, most bacteria, spores and pollen.
Hey, wait! People are bigger than 0.5 microns! They are covered cooties! How can we prevent the people working in the clean room from contaminating the spacecraft? Here’s how. Before it traveled to Florida in preparation for launch to Mars, you used to be able to watch the clean room engineers and technicians build Curiosity on the internet via a webcam. However, Curiosity is traveling to Mars at the moment so Curiosity Cam is off air. Fortunately, we have a video of JPL clean room technicians in action:
You can’t miss that the technicians are completely covered in white clean room suits. These are also known as bunny suits.
The clean room suits including masks, gloves, smocks, pants, and booties are designed to keep human cooties, hair, skin cells, or whatever off the spacecraft. There are many more videos showing the assembly of Curiosity at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory clean room at YouTube. Check them out.
This NASA video from a different project shows how even pieces of paper must be wiped down front and back before they can enter a clean room, or in this case, a clean tent:
Now, think about how you would get your room clean enough to make a robot for space in there.
Don’t forget the bunny suit.
We promised you adventures in science. This is a good one if you can make it through the first few minutes, because it is the most disgusting but fascinating science show we have ever seen. If you don’t wimp out, you’ll get to see something amazing and rare—the inside of a dead sperm whale.
Before watching “Sperm Whale” _Inside Nature’s Giants_ make sure you have an empty stomach and are sitting down.
Mwah-ha-ha-ha. Let the torture begin.
That is Professor Joy Reidenberg slipping around in that whale’s guts and cutting its eyeball apart for us to see. She is a comparative anatomist which is someone who studies and compares the structure or parts of different animals. In the video, she uses her knowledge of comparative anatomy to safely dissect and study this poor whale adding to our knowledge of whales. She is amazing.
“Sperm Whale” _Inside Nature’s Giants_ is another great BBC science program. It has also been broadcast on the Discovery Channel in the U.S. Look for it and the rest of the programs from the _Inside Nature’s Giants_ series featuring elephant, python, and giant squid.
A breach and wave of the flipper to Ed Yong who recommended the show @edyong209 on Twitter.
This is Joanne Manaster. She is a scientist who studies cell biology. She also likes to share her love of science with everyone especially kids. She does this through her website, joannelovesscience.com Go check it out! There is so much fun science there including reviews about science books, science videos, and science web links.
Our favorite part of Joanne Manaster’s site is Gummi Bear Science. She has done a series of videos in her laboratory where she dramatically experiments on the protein and sugar in the Gummi bears.
If you can stomach watching cute, delicious, little Gummi bears get frozen, shrunken, shattered, bloated, decapitated, and pureed by sound waves you will learn a lot!
Our 11-y.o. editor-in-chief thinks the Gummi bear videos are radical. She has no pity. No heart.
Oh, the gummanity!!
Digested in a lab flask! What a waste!
If you are a sick puppy and want to see more Gummi murrderrr, Joanne Manaster has a couple of other videos here.
This is happening inside every cell of your body. Right now!
No, there aren’t any movie cameras small enough to get inside our cells to see what is going on in there. This video is a computer animation. The stars of the video are our mitochondria. Mitochondria are the organelles (parts) of our cells that turn the sugar that we eat into energy that make it possible for us to do anything and everything that we do as humans. That’s how important they are for us know about.
It is so cool that the video shows us how the parts of our cells wiggle and wriggle with activity. Most of the time, if we are lucky and the scientists can get good pictures of these tiny things with powerful microscopes, we usually see pictures of them just sitting there.
The people who made this video are called BioVisions. Follow the link below to see more of their wonderful videos and learn more about what is happening inside your cells.