Amazon & Martian Weather | SciByte 39

Amazon & Martian Weather | SciByte 39

We take a look at hiking in the Amazon, swimming robots, Lunar images, Martian weather, Apollo sites, Space Station precautions, viewer feedback, and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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Hiking the Amazon

*— NEWS BYTE — *

Robotic Jellyfish

  • The low down
  • American researchers have created a robotic jellyfish, constructed from a set of smart materials named Robojelly
  • Its characteristics could make it ideal to use in underwater search and rescue operations
  • The simply swimming action of the jellyfish makes it an ideal invertebrate to base a vehicle on
  • The smart materials offer the ability to change shape or size as a result of a stimulus, and carbon nanotubes
  • Significance
  • This prototype used commercially-available shape memory alloys that “remember” their original shape
  • They then coated those with carbon nanotubes and coated with a platinum black powder.
  • The robot is powered by heat-producing chemical reactions between the oxygen and hydrogen in water and the platinum on its surface
  • Heat given off from the reaction transfers to the artificial muscles in the robot allowing the robot to transform into different shapes
  • The RoboJelly still needs development to achieve full functionality and efficiency
  • Robots of the floating kind
  • Another interesting robot is a quasi-autonomous floating robot
  • It is made to land on a lake, propel itself around and gather data about the water and atmosphere as it goes
  • The robot itself weighs about 100 pounds, and carry 150 pounds’ worth of sensing equipment
  • In a video it can turn circles and navigate around a lake
  • Currently it can be controlled from anywhere around the world using an Internet connection
  • The team is however working on making it more autonomous, even have a sense of curiosity to better investigate certain places
  • This type of robot would be useful science and military missions on Earth or for extraterrestrial lake landing probes, like Titan
  • It could also be used for help officials survey the cleanup of dangerously polluted water in munitions dumps and mines
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube VIDEO : Bioinspired Robojelly fuelled by hydrogen
  • YouTube VIDEO : Moon Jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium
  • YouTube VIDEO : Wolfgang Fink’s Robotic Lake Lander
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Jellyfish inspires latest ocean-powered robot (w/ video) @
  • Jellyfish-like Robot Takes a Very Simple Swim @
  • Robojelly: Hydrogen-powered robot jellyfish is squishy awesome @
  • Self-Propelled Floating Robot Could Explore Saturn Moon Titan @


First MoonKAM Image comes in from the Lunar Orbiters Ebb & Flow

Martian Clouds

Apollo landing sites up close

Space Station takes precautionary shelter

*— Updates — *

Martian Storm Chasing


Ocean Salinity

  • Thanks to Mrs. Grubb’s Class’ science
  • Asked about the word for when you can’t dissolve any more of a substance into water
  • Also asked about the oceans salinity content across the oceans, and the locations of the saltiest places.
  • Saturation Point
  • Compounds that are called insoluble means they have poor or very poor solubility
  • When the solution can no longer dissolve or break down the bonds of a solute, it is called the saturation point
  • The saturation point, maximum concentration of a solution, can change with temperature, pressure and the chemical properties of molecules in the solution
  • There are also rare instances of molecules that don’t have a saturation point, they are called fully miscible
  • Supersaturation
  • Under the right conditions you can actually exceed the saturation point, like carbonated water or soda pop.
  • They are filled under higher than atmospheric pressure, so when you open it and the pressure drops the carbon dioxide in the water escapes the solution
  • Supersaturated solutions of sugar and water are sometimes used to make rock candy
  • The Oceans salinity
  • The salinity levels of the ocean are different all over the world and interact with the oceans flow
  • Changes in salt concentration at the ocean surface affect the weight of surface waters. Fresh water is light and floats on the surface, while salty water is heavy and sinks
  • Saltiest bodies of water
  • Don Juan Pond in Victoria Land, Antarctica. At a possible 18 times the salinity of the ocean, Don Juan never freezes.
  • Lake Assal (Djibouti) in central-eastern Djibouti, Garabogazkol in Turkmenistan, and the Dead Sea on the border of Jordan and Israel
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube VIDEO :
  • IMAGE : @
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Salinity @


Looking back

  • Mar 30, 239 BC : 2251 years ago : Halley’s Comet : In 239, B.C., was the first recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet by Chinese astronomers in the Shih Chi and Wen Hsien Thung Khao chronicles. Its highly elliptical, 75-year orbit carries it out well beyond the orbit of Neptune and well inside the orbits of Earth and Venus when it swings in around the Sun, travelling in the opposite direction from the revolution of the planets. It was the first comet that was recognized as being periodic. An Englishman, Edmond Halley predicted in 1705 that the comet that appeared over London in 1682 would reappear again in 1759, and that it was the same comet that appeared in 1607 and 1531. When the comet did in fact reappear again in 1759, as correctly predicted, it was named (posthumously) after Halley | Comet Halley | Comet Halley @ | Reproduction of original plates of Comet Halley 25 May 1910 @ |
  • Mar 31, 1889 : 123 years ago : Eiffel Tower : In 1889, the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, was inaugurated, becoming the world’s tallest tower of its era. With a height of 300-m (986-ft), it remained the world’s tallest structure until surpassed by the Empire State Building, 40 years later. The designer Gustave Eiffel, 56, celebrated by unfurling a French flag at the top of the tower. The immense iron latticework design was chosen unanimously from 700 proposals submitted in a competition. Construction took from 26 Jan 1887 to 31 Mar 1889, using 300 steel workers. It was erected for the Paris Exposition of 1889, which had 1,968,287 visitors. Elevators were powered from machinery in the basements of the eastern and western pillars | Record breaking structure | Stages of Construction | This Day in History @ 32s |

Looking up this week

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