Right now, 500 light years away from Earth, there’s a planet that looks a lot like our own. It is bathed in dim orangeish light, which at high noon is only as bright as the golden hour before sunset back home.
NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it’s unlike anything they’ve found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered.
It’s the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star—the sweet spot between too-hot Mercury-like planets and too-cold Neptunes— and it is likely to give scientists their first real opportunity to seek life elsewhere in the universe. “It’s no longer in the realm of science fiction,” said Elisa Quintana, a researcher at the SETI Institute.
But if there is indeed life on Kepler-186f, it may not look like what we have here. Given the redder wavelengths of light on the planet, vegetation there would sprout in hues of yellow and orange instead of green.
Read more. [Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech]
Sixteen-year-old Elif Bilgin of Turkey has developed a way to replace traditional petroleum-based plastic with banana peels.
The Turkish teen took home a US$50,000 prize for her project “Go Bananas!” Thursday after winning the second annual Scientific American Science in Action Award, associated with Google Science Fair.
“My project makes it possible to use banana peels, a waste material which is thrown away almost every day, in the electrical insulation of cables,” Bilgin said in a media statement.
“This is both an extremely nature-friendly and cheap process, which has the potential to decrease the amount of pollution created due to the use of plastics, which contain petroleum derivatives.”
Bilgin spent two years developing the bio-plastic, which does not decay. She said the process is so easy that it is possible to repeat at home, with special care taken for chemicals used in the production process.
In September, the teen will compete at Google’s California headquarters for the overall Google Science Fair prize for 15-to-16 year olds. She will also have access to a one-year mentorship.
Has anyone else noticed how many brilliant breakthroughs in science are coming from the minds of teenage girls the last few years? Between this story, the four girls in Nigeria who invented a generator that runs on urine, the California girl who invented a twenty-second cell phone charger… Who knows where we’d be today without the patriarchal interference of men, stealing or hiding the brilliance of women?
Our future is in the hands of teenage girls, and I for one feel really good about that.
When I was about 7 I wanted to invent a thing that purified water based off of fish gills. I went to the school library to do research like a good little inventor and one of my teachers asked me what I was doing, and then told me that there were some new barbie books in, and that I’d probably be better off with those.
Don’t forget the girl who invented a torch that’d light up just from the heat of your hands
basically everyone should stop s***ting on teenage girls because they do awesome things when you let them
But nah, girls and women just suck at math and science and have never invented anything worthwhile. Sure. Right.
Solar energy that doesn’t block the view
A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface. And, according to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, the key word is “transparent.”