A Breath of Fresh Air for Astronauts and Miners alike

Hey Everyone!

As you should know by now, I’m really interested by NASA and their many projects. Well, this week I decided that I wanted to discuss one of their newest projects with you guys! This might be my favorite project/lab I’ve read about and researched so far!

Astronauts, as you know, work in highly hazardous conditions. Thus, a new team at NASA has been working together to figure out how to combat the life-threatening gases astronauts must worry about and create new ways to enhance safety for the agency’s future human spaceflight endeavors.

One of the new items that the team has begun utilizing in tests is a smaller, biomedical “liquid air” bag called a “Cryogenic Refuge Alternative Supply System” or CryoRASS for short. These nifty bags have the potential to store more than twice the amount of breathable air than traditional compressed gas systems previously created and utilized.

Despite the obvious need for something of this ilk, funding for the project testing has been limited. That is until the “National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health” (NIOSH) provided funding for NASA’s projects. Why, you may ask? The two groups are hopeful that these bags could not only change the way astronauts live and work while in space, but also for those a little closer to home- coal miners. This new cryogenic technology is most recently being looked at in terms of rescue operations for miners.

Saving the lives of those who work in such dangerous conditions as do miners and astronauts surely should be important to us. This is why I think this project is so interesting and relevant to all of us- these bags are not just a commercial necessity, but also could be highly important for future crewed missions to outer-space. Although cryogenic research is not a new thing, these smaller bags seem to be making a big fuss in and out of this world.

Leaf Fuel

For the past two weeks, I had a science project on biochemistry!

Discussing with my dad, he stated anything “bio” he knew. He mentioned biofuel, which interested me, so I Googled it. I searched to find out that there are actually scientists who research and try to create healthier environment since the current one is not that safe to live in.

One assignment that dragged me was the Leaf fuel. Of course, when one hears it, the first thing that comes to mind is: “THEY ARE CREATING FUEL OUT OF LEAVES?” So let me rephrase that. The scientists are working on a leaf that is actually genetically engineered to capture much as photosynthesis as possible to create energy which later turns into fuel.

Cool, isn’t it? Although, there are a few questions I wonder, what will be the price? Will there be consequences behind this? How long will it take?

For more info: http://www.planet-science.com/categories/over-11s/natural-world/2012/03/leaf-fuel-could-help-save-planet.aspx

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Using The Circle of Life

One of the major topics that are commonly elaborated upon is the benefits to people when we are relentless in our efforts of the Green Movement. It has become commonplace to say, “Do this and you will save the Earth and yourself!”

But the benefit that is often not viewed is the countless amount of animals that are saved due to your efforts when you’re an avid environmentalist. Just by recycling, conserving water, or even being an activist against the harmful effects of pollution, you are helping the lives of a multitude of species around the globe!

If you think your efforts are fruitless other than saving their lives, there is another pro for us humans (yeah, I know, right?). It is called Biomimicry, and it’s where humans design our technologies after the structures of animals and or nature itself. Admit it, your mind is blown away.

Here are some examples that have already been created: Scientists have started creating robotic arms that have semblance with the bone structures of elephant’s trunks because they have a wide range of flexibility. Similarly, aerospace technology is starting to mimic the structure of birds’ skulls in order to have a lighter weight while still being strong.

There are even biomimicry applications that have helped our disabled with the use of bat’s echolocation. There are now designed walking sticks for the visually impaired that will use this technique to locate obstacles in the pathway of the walker.

As of recently, companies are staking claim to harvesting energy the same way that a type of seaweed called Bull kelp uses. With the alternating swells of the ocean, the kelp is able to increase the amount of sunlight it receives for photosynthesis. These companies hope to create energy for consumer use with the same methods and also implement kinetic energy with its swaying motion.

So to all of you green goers out there, there is a little more proof that you should keep up the good work!

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OnAir says: How cool is it that inspiration is another resource we can gather from the earth? Another reason to preserve land, wildlife, water, and air–we never know where tomorrow’s innovators will get their ideas!

You can read more about biomimicry here. Heard about another cool bridge between nature and technology? Tell us about it in the comments!