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Science Illustrated

Science Illustrated Issue 69

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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Nextmedia Pty Ltd
R 56,52
R 308,75
8 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
beaming up: lasers used to sharpen stars

The Atacama Desert in Chile is one of the driest places on Earth, and it is the location of the European Very Large Telescope (VLT), which offers a clear view of the sky on most nights. But although the conditions are ideal, the stars are blurred by Earth’s atmosphere. To make its images sharper, the telescope is equipped with lasers that make sodium atoms in the atmosphere light up like artificial stars. Using the bright spots as guides, the telescope can be adjusted to compensate for the blur. The result: sharp photos of stars up to four billion times weaker than those which can be observed by the naked eye. Photo // P. Horálek, F.KAMPHUES/ESO…

1 min.
dinner host: caterpillar survives parasitic wasps

Parasitic wasps lay eggs in other insects’ caterpillars by piercing them with their sharp ovipositor egg-laying organs, while simultaneously infecting the caterpillar with a virus that suppresses its immune system, so it will not attack the uninvited guests. As soon as the eggs hatch, the parasitic wasp larvae begin to eat their host from within. In this photo the larvae have exited the host and pupated in their silk-like cocoons after having used a butterfly caterpillar as a living incubator. In this case, the involuntary host survived, which is very unusual.…

1 min.
remote power: nasa’s mini reactor for the moon & mars

The long nights on the Moon and the dust storms on Mars would make solar cells an unreliable energy source for future bases, so NASA is developing a small nuclear reactor that provides 10kW – corresponding to the consumption of several households – for more than 10 years. The reactor, KRUSTY, uses uranium-235 as fuel, converting the heat from the fission process into power. The 1kW prototype weighs only 134kg, though the more powerful final version will be about 100kg heavier.…

3 min.
the milky way’s life has been prolonged by 600 million years

ASTRONOMY The Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy are approaching each other and, at some point, they will merge into a new and huge galaxy named Milkomeda. Astronomers have predicted this for the past seven years, but new observations show that it will happen much later than previously believed. Until now the fusion has been predicted for about 3.9 billion years hence, but according to the new calculations it won't occur until 600 million years later – in 4.5 billion years. Scientists from the Space Telescope Science Institute in the US have made their conclusion based on data from the Gaia satellite, which has mapped out the accurate positions and motions of one billion stars in the Milky Way. Gaia has also made measurements of stars in our neighbouring galaxies, such…

1 min.
new treatment converts cancer into fat

MEDICINE A combination of two approved drugs could convert cancer cells into harmless fat cells, according to a new study made by scientists from the University of Basel, Switzerland. One drug, rosiglitazone, is used to treat type 2 diabetes, boosting insulin sensitivity. The drug binds to receptors in fat tissue and contributes to maturing fat cells. The other drug, trametinib, is used for cancer treatment, curbing the growth of cancer cells. Scientists tested the combination on mice that had human breast cancer tumours implanted into their breast fat. A cancer tumour spreads to other parts of the body by releasing cells that can flow through the blood stream and form new tumours – also known as metastases. Before these “breakaway cells” can leave the original tumour, they change – rejuvenating, to…

1 min.
by the way

PLATYPUS MILK PROVIDES A NEW WEAPON AGAINST BACTERIA Australian scientists have mapped out the structure of a protein in platypus milk that can be used in the fight against resistant bacteria. The protein folds and curls in a way that scientists have never observed before, likely a key to the bacterium-killing effect. AND TALKING OF THE PLATYPUS … NOBODY KNOWS THE NUMBER OF PLATYPUSES Biologists know the habitats of platypuses, but nobody knows how many animals there are – maybe 100,000, but perhaps only 20,000. Scientists from independent Victoriabased research company cesar will count the animals based on the unique DNA traces each platypus leaves in the water of its habitat. PLATYPUS DESIGN IS 250 MILLION YEARS OLD Chinese palaeontologists have discovered the fossil of an animal that lived 250 million years ago, before the first…