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Earth and space sciences posts

Hovering surprise for earthquake scientists News

by David, 12 May 2017 | 0 comments

A blue helicopter.

Iceland is a remote and beautiful island, brimming with volcanoes. Volcanic eruptions give the Earth an almighty shake, so it’s no surprise that Iceland has lots of earthquake measuring seismometers. But you might be surprised to find out what these instruments are picking up. Recently, a team of scientists placed several seismometers around an Icelandic…

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Cool stars and comfy planets News

by David, 17 March 2017 | 0 comments

Is there life on other planets? It may seem like we’re alone in the universe, but there’s still hope. The race is on to find signs of life on Earth-like planets, which have atmospheres and liquid water on the surface. Recently, it was announced that scientists have discovered seven planets orbiting nearby star TRAPPIST-1, each…

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Who knew? Sea birds fight climate change! Activity

by David, 9 January 2017 | 0 comments

You might think we know everything there is to know about climate change. We know that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are trapping heat. And we know that average temperatures are climbing worldwide. But there’s still lots for us to learn, and new discoveries are being made all the time. For example,…

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New dish helps spaceships phone home News

by David, 22 December 2016 | 0 comments

A large radio telescope dish.

Voyager, Pathfinder, Cassini. Humanity has sent out dozens of plucky little space probes to explore our solar system. But when these robots need to call home, who’s listening in? Luckily for them, NASA has three deep space communication complexes scattered around the world. One of them is right here in Australia, operated by CSIRO. And…

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We found Philae!

by David, 14 November 2016 | 0 comments

It’s been a wild ride through space for the Philae lander. Two years ago, Philae hitched a ride aboard the European Space Agency spacecraft Rosetta. Together they took a one-way trip to a comet known as 67P. This little lander became the first spacecraft to touchdown on a comet. Unfortunately, Philae’s harpoons didn’t fire properly…

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Venus’ cool past

by David, 26 August 2016 | 0 comments

In some ways, Venus is Earth’s twin – it’s the closest planet to Earth, and it’s almost exactly the same size. But poor Venus flies too close to the Sun. Brighter sunlight and a runaway greenhouse effect makes Venus unbearably hot, with temperatures averaging more than 450 degrees Celsius. But recent climate simulations suggest that…

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Gravity makes the Earth age slowly

by David, 15 June 2016 | 0 comments

It’s a science fiction horror story – a young astronaut takes a year-long mission closely orbiting a black hole. When he returns home, thousands of years have passed and everyone he has ever known has been dead for centuries. Is there a hint of truth to this terrifying tale? This imaginary astronaut’s story is a…

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An astronaut’s tall tale

by David, 26 March 2016 | 0 comments

On 2 March this year, two long-term International Space Station residents returned to Earth. Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko both spent 342 days in space. Their year-long mission included space walks and Earth photography. But the most important experiment was on themselves. How does a person react to a year in space? Throughout their expedition,…

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Where on Earth am I? Activity

by David, 2 March 2016 | 0 comments

NOTE: This activity is written for people in the southern hemisphere. Northern hemisphere mathematicians can still do this activity, but they will need to swap north and south. You will need Long, straight stick (a broom handle is perfect) 1 metre string Plasticine Compass Tape measure Pair of compasses Pens, ruler, A3 paper (or two…

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Aussie volcano chain

by David, 2 October 2015 | 0 comments

The longest chain of continental volcanoes in the world was recently discovered in Australia. It stretches from near Mackay in Queensland down to Cosgrove in Victoria.

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