ZINIO logo
Science Illustrated

Science Illustrated Issue 70

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.

Read More
Nextmedia Pty Ltd
8 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
compressed air: two sonic shock waves in collision

When a plane flies faster than the speed of sound, the pressure waves in front don’t have time to flow around the aircraft and the air becomes compressed, eventually producing a shock wave, its energy discharge yielding the sonic ‘boom’ for which supersonic planes are famous. NASA has managed to capture this image of two such shock waves interfering like ripples on a pond, with the resulting variation of air density causing light to bend differently and so be observed as different colours.…

2 min.
steam-powered space probe to jump through the solar system

AERO SPACE A steam-powered rocket engine – it sounds like an idea from Jules Verne or H.G. Wells, but it is new, and real! Scientists from the University of Central Florida working with the private aerospace company Honeybee Robotics have developed the engine, which might allow a space probe to jump from world to world in the Solar System without ever running out of fuel. The latest research indicates that water exists almost everywhere – not only on planets and moons, but also on small objects such as asteroids. In most places water exists in the form of ice, so the space probe must heat it. This happens by the probe drilling into the surface using hollow drills, the contents of which can then be heated by means of energy from the…

1 min.
plants decontaminate indoor climate

BIO TECHNOLOGY Cancer-causing toxins can now be cleaned from the air of our homes by genetically-manipulated plants. Scientists from the University of Washington in the US have genetically manipulated ivy to be able to absorb microscopic chloroform and benzene particles which ordinary air filters cannot eliminate. Chloroform exists particularly in areas where chlorine is added to drinking water, while benzene is found mainly in houses with a garage from which vapour can escape cars and mowers. The extra gene that gives the plant its new abilities is a synthetic imitation of a gene that exists in all mammals, including humans. In humans, the gene is active in the liver, responsible for the production of a protein that breaks down chloroform and benzene into harmless substances. But being active only in the liver,…

1 min.
scientists revive mammoth cells and speaking of mammoths…

PRINTS SHOW COMPASSION AMONG PREHISTORIC GIANTS A set of 117 footprints in the American state of Oregon demonstrate how a mammoth family crossed a dry lake bed 43,000 years ago. The prints show that one adult mammoth limped, and that the younger animals repeatedly sought it out and accompanied it – a behaviour that can also be observed among modern elephants. MAMMOTHS HAD TO RETREAT DUE TO HUMANS It has been unknown whether climate change or hunting led to the extinction of mammoths. Now palaeontologists have mapped out the range of mammoths and compared the data with the expansion of humans. According to the scientists, there is now every indication that hunting was decisive in the fate of the mammoths. MAMMOTH GENES TO SAVE THE ELEPHANTS? US scientists aim to create a cross-breed between an…

1 min.
new material offers the world’s best insulation

TECHNOLOGY Scientists from the University of California have developed a new super-light insulation material that tolerates both higher temperatures and faster temperature changes than any other known material. The new material is an aerogel consisting of small air pockets divided by walls as thin as an atom. Aerogel is not a new invention, but here the insulating power has been very much improved. Each wall between the air pockets consists of two ceramic layers that work in the same way as the layers of glass in a double-glazed window, so less heat is conducted between pockets. The scientists created the new aerogel based on experience with graphene’s 2D structures of carbon atoms, where the plates of carbon are only one atom thick. The graphene plates can be united into a 3D structure, but…

1 min.
mysterious old dwarf found in the philippines

EVOLUTION Scientists from the Australian National University have discovered bones and teeth that could add a new chapter to human history. Although the finds from the Callao cave in the Philippines are scarce, there is every indication they come from an unknown human species living some 50,000 years ago. The new discovery was made in the northern part of the island of Luzon, the scientists so far excavating the remains of at least two adults and one younger individual. The shapes of toe and finger bones show that they walked upright, but must have been good at climbing trees, too. The scientists are comparing the discovery to that of Homo floresiensis in 2003. Based on the size of the teeth, the people were short, as was Homo floresiensis, perhaps due to the phenomenon…