If you’ve ever pretended to be on the Red Planet, you’re not alone. This is Crew 138 of the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a team of scientists who are researching what it would be like to live on Mars by pretending. From Wikipedia:
The crews usually consist of a mix of astronomers, physicists, biologists, geologists, engineers and the occasional journalist. Each crew member is usually assigned a role: Commander, Executive Officer (ExO), Health and Safety Officer (HSO), Crew Biologist, Crew Geologist or Chief Engineer.
In addition to cooking, cleaning, exercise, HAB maintenance, GreenHab gardening, etc, the crew has mission objectives to complete. A final mission report is written from their notes, analysis, and experiences so that future Mars astronauts and explorers can be well prepared. From National Geographic:
On the mission, the international team is working on in-the-field mapping, collecting and analyzing rock samples, measuring the payoff from exercise, and taking blood samples to monitor crew health. The team is working in mock space suits and testing work protocols indoors and outside.
The first days were largely spent learning to live and work in the Habitat, which is a round two-story structure that measures about 25 feet across.
After the crew enters full simulation, the Habitat contains all the food and water we need, as well as work and sleep quarters.
This team was based in the Utah desert, but there have been other “extraterrestrial” sites: Haughton Crater on Devon Island, and next to the Krafla Rift Volcano in Iceland. There’s also one in the works 324 miles (521 km) north of Adelaide, South Australia. For more information about the project, including volunteer requirements, check out desert.marssociety.org, and read more at National Geographic.
Watch more Mars videos, including a topographically accurate landscapes of Mars and everything Mars Curiosity.
What Does Sound Look Like? NPR’s SkunkBear shows us the differences in fluid densities — in the form of compression waves in a gas, the air that surrounds us — thanks to the light passing through those fluids. Schlieren flow visualization and a high speed video camera make it possible.
When light travels through areas of different air density, it bends. You’ve probably noticed the way distant pavement seems to shimmer on a hot day, or the way stars appear to twinkle. You’re seeing light that has been distorted as it passes through varying air densities, which are in turn created by varying temperatures and pressures.
Schlieren Flow Visualization can be used to visually capture these changes in density: the rising heat from a candle, the turbulence around an airplane wing, the plume of a sneeze … even sound.
More seriously amazing physics videos the archives: underwater bubble rings, a fluidized bed of sand, and huge wingtip vortices.
That moment that ketchup transitions from a solid, high up in the ketchup bottle, to a liquid that squirts all over your fries – that moment is a big physics moment. Why? Ketchup is a non-Newtonian fluid (like oobleck, peanut butter, custard, toothpaste, paint, blood, or quicksand) that can switch between a solid and liquid state, and ketchup is non-Newtonian in two different ways…
In that transition moment, ketchup may be responding to a strong, quick force, suddenly making it thinner, or if you’re patient and apply just a wee bit of force, it may start flowing given some time and gravity. Grab a ketchup bottle and get the details in this TED Ed lesson by George Zaidan, with animation by TOGETHER.
Related watching: oobleck, TED Ed, the incredible physics of ants, and more about that sugar in your ketchup.
We know that sugar is a big part of candy, ice cream, and sweet drinks, but did you know that added sugars are included in 3/4 of the 600,000+ products found in the average grocery store? And that it can go by 56 different names?
Watch this super useful TED Ed by Robert Lustig, with animation by The Tremendousness Collective, to learn more about the different kinds of sugar inside the foods that we eat, and how it interacts with our bodies: Sugar: Hiding in plain sight.
Related watching: The Cook’s Atelier, China’s farm to table movement, How Gardening Enables Interdisciplinary Learning, and more TED Ed videos.
Sesame Street's Telly teams up with 5facts' Annie Colbert and Matt Silverman to explore sand, chalk, strawberries, velcro, and lint up close: 5 Hidden Worlds Revealed Under a “MEGA” MICROSCOPE, microscope, microscope…
For more science, tech, engineering, and math with Sesame Street, check out SesameStreet.org/STEM, and in the archives: Annie, Matt, and Grover do science.