Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scientists Get In the Middle of Things - (Literally) - Receive an Award !!

Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the eastern coast of the United States.  Ever wonder how scientists are able to measure and predict hurricanes?  “Hurricane Hunters” are specially equipped aircraft that ACTUALLY FLY INTO TROPICAL CYCLONES in the North Atlantic Ocean and Northeastern Pacific Ocean for the specific purpose of directly measuring weather data in and around those storms.  Although satellite data has revolutionized weather forecasters' ability to detect early signs of tropical cyclones before they form, there are still many important tasks they are not suited for. Satellites cannot determine the interior barometric pressure of a hurricane, nor provide accurate wind speed information.  These data are needed to accurately predict hurricane development and movement.
53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, also known as the "Hurricane Hunters", is a United States Air Force squadron of aircraft, based in Biloxi, Mississippi, that flies missions into hurricanes and weather systems for research purposes and observation. The term "hurricane hunters" was first applied to its missions in 1946.

To learn more – checkout this link:  Hurricane Hunters Video

To receive an award, bring in the following on Monday !

  •  List any five of the major hurricanes that have struck the United States in the past 50 years.
  • Bring in a map showing the path of hurricane Irene over the past few days – be prepared to show the location of the storm as of Monday morning.
  • Be a scientist and do some research – what’s unusual about the eye of a hurricane?
  • Does a hurricane rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise?
  • What do the following abbreviations stand for?  NOAA and NWS
  • Is the air pressure in a hurricane higher or lower than normal?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Think Like a Scientist - (If a Maple Seeds Float to the Ground Like a Helicopter..... I wonder if.....)

Lockheed has created a new unmanned aircraft that replicates the motion of the maple seed. The craft is called the Samarai, is about a foot long, and has two moving parts along with a camera onboard. It can be controlled by an app on a tablet or using a remote control system. The tiny flying vehicle can hover in place and take off vertically in tight places.

The Samarai had its first flight this week, was piloted at a soccer field, and rose to the lofty height of about 30-feet. The idea for the small and light "drone" is that it would be compact enough for soldiers to carry in the field and for police departments to deploy to see what is over a wall or around a corner. The drones would be carried in a backpack and launched by throwing them like boomerangs.  Checkout this link to read more and to see a cool video of the Samari in flight!  Tiny Flying Vehicle Resembles Maple Seed

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SCIENTISTS HELP ATHLETES BEAT THE HEAT - Drink Plenty of Fluids (and Swallow this Thermometer Please)

Athletes, firefighters, soldiers and astronauts are all subject to Heat Injury. The human body cools itself by producing perspiration (sweat) but if the temperatures are too hot, or the body is under extreme load, the body’s ability to manage heat becomes overloaded. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke and lead to brain damage or death.
In football, heat exhaustion is a dangerous reality. Football players take the field for preseason training during the dog days of summer, frequently in full pads, when the heat index can easily exceed 100 °F. Even players in top shape can be at high risk if they sweat out fluids without properly replenishing.

Scientists at NASA and Johns Hopkins University developed an ingestible pill to monitor the core body temperature of astronauts during space flight.  Once ingested, the quartz crystal transmits a harmless, low-frequency signal through the body. This signal can then be retrieved by a recorder, outside of the body, that displays the core body temperature. (It will remain in an individual’s system for 18 to 30 hours, before passing safely.)

NFL football teams are using the CorTemp technology to monitor their players. They are also evaluating headbands (with embedded thermometers) to determine if they can provide the same type of information. If successful, this would make the technology more affordable for high school and college athletic programs.
Read More - Article on CorTemp Technology