Sunday, February 26, 2012

A380 - World's Biggest Jet Airliner

You won’t see this aircraft at the Dothan airport anytime soon – it’s just too big.  The Airbus A380 is the world's biggest jet airliner and the first to have two decks along its full length. It accommodates 525 passengers in a standard configuration, almost 100 more than the rival Boeing 747, the next biggest. 

The A380 is built in Europe by Airbus and is labeled the “gentle giant” because while it is a super-jumbo, its engines burn much less fuel and it is designed to meet demanding noise limits.

Check out this link to see time lapse video of this monster aircraft being assembled.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! … No! It’s a NOAA Weather Balloon!

At an isolated weather station in the central United States, a technician emerges from a small brick shed grasping a balloon. It's not just any birthday party balloon, mind you, but a massive, white sphere more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) in diameter. In the other hand, the scientist grasps a radiosonde, a lightweight cardboard box filled with scientific instruments that's tied to the bottom of the balloon. Striding out into an empty clearing, he gently releases the balloon and radiosonde.
After an hour, the balloon has ascended to almost 100,000 feet.  Below, the Earth's features are obscured by a thick layer of cloud. Above, the blue sky has faded to dark black. It's a beautiful sight, one only seen by a handful of astronauts and test pilots.
For the balloon, these breathtaking views will be its last moments. All throughout its ascent, the balloon has been expanding…. It is now the size of a moving truck. Stretched to its limit, the balloon bursts and sends the tiny radiosonde plummeting back toward Earth. Within seconds, the wind catches a small, orange parachute and slows the device's descent.
Each day, hundreds of weather balloons around the world undertake this dramatic, near-space voyage. More than 70 years after scientists sent up the first experimental weather balloon, they remain the workhorses of modern meteorological forecasts. Whether it's a tornado warning or the weather report on the 6 o'clock news, weather balloons are what keep people on the ground tuned in to the meteorological workings of the upper atmosphere.

Thanks to HOWSTUFFWORKS.COM for this post.

To learn more - check out these links!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Science !!

Super Bowl Sunday - Giants vs Patriots !   Did you know that each player on the field is protected by a number of devices designed by scientists?  Shoes, leg pads, shoulder pads, kevlar vests .... and the most important of all: the helmet.  Helmets are designed to protect heads and faces and they are constantly improved.  Take a look at some football helmets dating back almost 100 years and look at the changes.

EARN A REWARD - Examine the helmets on the attached photo and do some online research.....  or even ask a football coach about helmet design improvements.  To get your reward, do the following and bring to class on or before Friday, 10 February.

(1) List the requirements for a good football helmet - identify at least six requirements
(2) List improvements in football helmet design in the past 100 years - identify at least six improvements
(3) Identify a sports related safety device that needs to be invented or improved upon.  (a) Describe it, (b) list at least three benefits of this device, (c) draw a picture of how it might look, (d) define the material you might use to make it.