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Science IllustratedScience Illustrated

Science Illustrated Issue 64

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.

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8 Issues


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balaenoptera musculus, we hardly knew ye

When it comes to the children’s preschool list of standard animals, the blue whale is right up there with the zebra, giraffe, kangaroo, lion, tiger, and so forth, right?In fact, and this surprised me when I learned it just recently, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) was a creature of myth and legend, only occasionally sighted by humans, right up well into the 17th century.It was first scientifically described in the late 17th century by a Scottish doctor named Robert Sibbald. In fact, the animal was called Sibbald’s Rorqual for many years afterward.The most famous whale story of all, Moby Dick, doesn’t call them blue whales either. Melville refers to a “sulphur-bottomed” whale at one point. Indeed, before the advent of steam-powered whaling ships and explosive harpoons in the late 19th…

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(AMES RESEARCH CENTER/NASA)Umbrella paves the way for missions to Venus and MarsTemperatures might exceed 3,000 °C, when space probes enter a planet’s atmosphere. So far, the probes have been protected by plastic shields, which take up a lot of space, but NASA scientists have now made a carbon fibre heat shield, which is unfolded just like an umbrella. The compact shield has been tested during a launch to an altitude of 100 km. According to plan, the technology will allow us to send large space probes to Venus, Mars, and more, using smaller rockets.Photo // Dominic Hart(NATUREPL)One of these leaves is a grasshopperPanama’s rain forest is the home of an extremely discrete creature that prefers to blend into the surroundings. The insect with the Latin name of Cycloptera speculate lives…

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intestinal bacteria convert all blood types into one

MEDICINE Some 112.5 million portions of blood are donated annually throughout the world, but unfortunately, different patients require different blood types. On the surface of red blood cells of the blood types of A, B, and AB, there are different sugars, also known as antigens. If you receive blood of another type than your own, your immune system will attack the antigens in the blood, and that is potentially lethal. Type 0 is the only one without antigens, and so, it can be given to any recipient and is very popular with blood banks. Now, US scientists have found out how to convert all blood into type 0. The solution is in our intestines, on whose inside you will find sugars that are the spitting images of antigens. The intestines also…

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andromeda has swallowed the milky way’s sister galaxy

Andromeda’s small M32 satellite galaxy used to be a large spiral galaxy just like the Milky Way. Now, only the core of the galaxy is left. (JANICE CARR/CDC)ASTRONOMY In four billion years, the Milky Way will collide with our large neighbouring galaxy of Andromeda. Astronomers think that a similar collision took place 2 billion years ago, when Andromeda swallowed the Milky Way’s sister galaxy. The remains can be observed today as a small satellite galaxy known as M32.Andromeda and the Milky Way are the two major galaxies of the Local Group, that includes a total of 54 galaxies. During its life span of about 10 billion years, Andromeda probably swallowed a series of smaller galaxies, but so far, it has been impossible to reconstruct their sizes and the distribution of…

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quark soup!

These are quark-gluon plasma droplets, which form into different shapes depending on the type of the projectile used in a collider.QUANTUM PHYSICS One of the biggest unsolved puzzles in physics remains exactly how the matter in the universe got from the singularity of the Big Bang to the relatively complex set of particles we have today.Experiments in high-energy colliders around the world (including the Large Hadron Collider), have yielded hints and clues about a state - physicists call it a "system" - called a quark-gluon plasma or quark soup.Normally, particles like protons and neutrons are made up of several quarks bound together by gluons. Pull apart a proton, and rather than the quarks moving apart, more quarks appear. It's weird. But make a system hot enough (two trillion degrees) and…

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by the way

(PNAS)NEW PROOF OF WATER ON THE MOONShady craters by the Moon's poles are full of ice. American scientists revealed this by means of a spectrometer, which maps out the minerals on the Moon’s surface. The discovery is decisive for the plans to build permanent lunar bases.AND TALKING OF THE MOON …(SHUTTERSTOCK)MYSTERIOUS MOON SWIRLS POWERED BY MAGNETSLight patterns in the moon dust have been explained. Astronomers think the swirls occur because solar wind particles are affected by local magnets formed 3+ billion years ago, when the Moon had active volcanoes. High temperatures made minerals release iron, that was magnetized by the Moon’s magnetic field.(PETER EECKHOUT/UNIVERSITÉ LIBRE DE BRUXELLES)NEW TELESCOPE TO SEARCH FOR MOON SIBLINGSAs asteroids speed past us, some of them are captured by gravity as a type of tiny temporary…