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Science Illustrated

Science Illustrated Issue 62

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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$5.49(Incl. tax)
$29.99(Incl. tax)
8 Issues

In this issue

3 min.
per ingens flamma ad astra

Yeah okay that’s pretty terrible Latin, but it’s meant to be a play on the old air force motto “per ardua ad astra”, or “through adversity to the stars”. In this case, it’s through a huge flame. Meh, the Romans didn’t have rockets, I did my best. Please send complaints to the email below - but only in Latin. Anyway, the point here is that the age of the big lifters may be dawning anew. Space-X tested its Falcon Heavy this year, a test that ended with a truly spectacular synchronised dual-booster landing, and that’s the little one in the new generation. Our feature starting on page 24 details the lineup, but of particular interest is NASA’s Space Launch System (below, left). Following the cancellation of the Constellation program and the Ares…

1 min.
first conference for australia's new space agency

SPACE RACE Australia finally got a proper space agency in July 2018, and now a conference in Western Australia will start to explore how the agency will play a role in the future. In partnership with the University of Western Australia and the international policy think-tank Perth USAsia, the In The Zone conference will discuss Australia's role in space. The focus will especially be on our regional partners in the Indo-Pacfic and how we can work together in space. Topics of discussion will include improving the Earth observation systems and platforms available in our region (that means satellites) as well as "preserving the space environment". This is about space junk and how Australia can play a role in cleaning up near-Earth orbit for future space missions.…

2 min.
three gene 'flaws' made our brains grow

EVOLUTION In 14 million years, the human brain has grown from about 0.5 kg in our earliest ancestors to 1.4 kg, probably thanks to three newly-identified genes. Californian scientists spotted the genes, when they studied how many nerve cells a macaque produces in its brain. They cultivated the animals’ brain tissue in the lab, particularly focusing on NOTCH genes, which influence the development of stem cells in embryos. The scientists discovered that humans have three active NOTCH genes on chromosome 1, which do not exist in macaques nor in our closest relatives, chimps and gorillas, i.e. the three genes are unique for humans. So, scientists can reconstruct our evolutionary history. The first gene emerged as a partial copy of a gene on chromosome 1 some 14 million years ago, before humans parted from…

1 min.
the centre of the milky way is full of holes

ASTRONOMY The large black hole at the centre of our galaxy is not the only one. A new study indicates that an entire swarm of small black holes are orbiting it, swallowing matter from the stars around them. Astronomers from the Columbia University in New York, USA, have taken a closer look at more than 10 years of recordings from the Chandra space telescope. Twelve sources stand out. From those, the X-radiation is so powerful that according to theories, it can only come from the extremely hot matter orbiting a black hole. The 12 holes were produced by very large stars, which burned out and collapsed under their own weight. Only stars that weigh 25+ times more than the Sun can end up as black holes. The newly-discovered black holes are within 3.3…

1 min.
insect eggs get a lift

SPEAKING OF STICK INSECTS … HUGE SPECIES REVIVED ON AUSTRALIAN ISLAND In 1918, a large stick insect species went extinct on Lord Howe Island. The 15cm insect was consumed by ship's rats. Gene studies have revealed that the species still exists on another small island. The authorities aim to reintroduce the species to Lord Howe Island. BACTERIA COULD IMPROVE ANTIBIOTICS Diapherodes gigantea stick insects carry bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Scientists aim to find out if the bacteria developed their resistance in the encounter with the plants that the insect consumes. If they find how the bacteria become resistant, they might be able to prevent it. PERFUME ATTRACTS THE PERFECT MATE British scientists have revealed how stick insects find each other. Each species has its own individual mix of oils on its surface: a perfume…

1 min.
space hotel to open in four years

SPACE RACE With three months of training and a fat wallet, you might soon be able to take a holiday in space. The Orion Span company expects to open its Aurora Station space hotel in four years. According to plan, the first module of the space hotel will be launched in 2021 to orbit 322 km above Earth. That is slightly lower than the International Space Station, which orbits 408 km above Earth. The company has not yet disclosed how the launch will be carried out. Aerospace players such as SpaceX, Orbital ATK, and Blue Origin are constantly pushing the boundaries of private aerospace activities, and companies such as Orion Span will probably need to cooperate with one of them to launch their projects. In 2022, the hotel is meant to have been…