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Science Illustrated Issue 85

Science Illustrated delivers natural science, break through discoveries and an understanding of the world for the entire family. Packed with stunning photography and in-depth editorial it’s a visually spectacular gateway to the world looking into the beginning of life to distant objects in the universe.

Nextmedia Pty Ltd
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8 Issues

in this issue

1 min
ice house: tower stores the water of the himalaya

Very little rain falls in the Ladakh desert region of the Himalaya, so the human population is dependent on meltwater from glaciers. Global warming is making the glaciers shrink, but locals have found a work-around. During late summer they collect meltwater in underground pipes, and at night, when temperatures are below zero, the water is sprayed onto a dome-shaped structure, forming an artificial glacier up to 50 metres high, which then provides water throughout the summer. This image won a World Press Photo award.…

1 min
seal fresh: pup takes dip in freezing fresh water

Lake Baikal in eastern Russia is the world’s deepest lake, containing a staggering 20% of all the world’s lake-held fresh water. This huge lake is home to around 100,000 seals – the only seals that live in fresh water. Baikal seals also differ from their peers in another way: as the lake is covered in ice for a large part of the year, the pups spend a long time on the ice with their mothers. The fat-rich milk boosts the babies’ growth, so that after a month they can venture into the lake’s freezing cold water on their own for the first time.…

2 min
the milky way is full of water worlds like earth

ASTRONOMY Astronomers have searched for Earth-like planets in our galaxy for decades. But in order for a planet to be able to include life, plenty of liquid water is required. And scientists used to think that water could arrive at planets only from comets and icy asteroids. Ground-breaking research from Denmark’s University of Copenhagen is changing that. It shows that water is highly likely to be present in the interstellar incubator from which planets form. Using computer models, the scientists have calculated how fast planets were made, and from which building blocks they formed. Their studies demonstrate that Earth formed from tiny water and carbon particles coming together, and grew quickly during the initial period. Dust-sized particles became ice and carbon pebbles, collecting into ever larger lumps, until Earth reached its…

1 min
fake black hole proves famous theory

COSMOLOGY Black holes are objects in space in which gravity is so intense that not even light can escape. But English physicist Stephen Hawking predicted that black holes spontaneously emit a limited but constant quantity of light, which was named Hawking radiation. Now Israeli scientists have confirmed his theory using a lab-simulated black hole. The artificial black hole simulated the conditions around a black hole by collecting a cloud of 8000 rubidium atoms. To simulate light, the scientists used sound waves. Rubidium atoms travel faster than the speed of sound – so the sound waves could not escape the rubidium cloud, and in this way the scientists could simulate an event horizon. In a black hole, the event horizon is the point from which nothing can escape – not even light.…

2 min
neanderthals understood speech

HUMANS New research indicates that the Neanderthals could both speak and understand speech on the same level as Homo sapiens. So thousands of years ago, when our Homo sapiens ancestors first encountered these close relatives, we might have been able to communicate with each other by using our voices. The research involves virtual 3D models of the internal ear of Neanderthals, which scientists from Binghamton University in New York and Universidad de Alcalá in Spain created using high-resolution CT scans of fossil Neanderthal brains. The scientists scanned five Neanderthal skulls and compared them with a Homo sapiens skull and a skull from a Neanderthal ancestor known as the Sima hominin. Data from the virtual models was then analysed using auditory bioengineering software able to estimate the hearing abilities up to 5kHz. The…

1 min
new solar-powered electric car claims a range of 1500km

CARS With its unusual shape, Aptera’s three-wheeled electric car looks like something out of Bladerunner, but the car’s designers hope it will soon be more than science fiction. The makers of the ambitious solar-powered electric car claim to have 7000+ preorders for the Aptera, and funding to put the car into production has been obtained. Described as the first ‘Never-Charge’ vehicle, the car is innovative in being equipped with solar cells that can charge it on sunny days. More than 3m2 of replaceable solar cells are located on the bonnet, roof and rear of the car. According to Aptera Motors, a day parked in the sun can provide sufficient power for a subsequent ride of around 60km – although this would require a cloudless sky somewhere the Sun often shines –…