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Robots and Ethics, Teaching AI to Make the Right Choices

by Will DeFour, age 14

In some nursing homes, robots help people with medications and health issues. In other scenarios, robots learn to distinguish between what is dangerous and what is not, such as grabbing a sharp knife or similar tool.

Robots have extraordinary abilities, allowing them to perform advanced tasks and work tirelessly. However, humans have many advantages over robots. One of those is the ability to make ethical choices. Engineers and philosophers are now working together to teach robots how to make the right decisions in different situations.

People make ethical choices daily; they don’t even think about it. They consider what will happen and the cost of changing their decision before deciding. These choices are easy for the brain because the human mind is an advanced organ that evolved over billions of years. Robots, on the other hand, are just complex algorithms that can’t make ethical choices. [Read More]

The World’s Population is Now 8 billion

by Jonah Smith, age 13

If you looked up on Google how many people were on Earth, the answer would be 7.8 billion people. But according to a recent United Nations report, in late 2022 our population finally hit 8 billion. The population is still rising, but the rate of growth has slowed. The rate the U.N. based their last predictions on was the rate of growth from 2017. At that time, the U.N. predicted that the world’s population could reach 11.2 billion people by the year 2100. With this new data, the population is now expected to peak during the 2080s at 10.4 billion people. Once it peaks, the numbers will plateau until 2100.

This new information also highlights the challenges linked with population growth, said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano of the U.N. during a news conference on July 11th, 2022. These challenges include meeting people's social and economic needs (food, water, shelter, etc.), as well as how people use Earth’s resources and alter the environment.

The population will grow differently across various areas. For example, high-income countries, which have low birth rates, will grow due to more people moving there, a U.N. report predicts. In low-income countries, populations will rise as there are more births than deaths. This report also states that in 61 countries, populations are expected to drop by one percent or more between now and 2050. The net effect is that overall, populations are still expected to rise. [Read More]

Scientists Study Sleep-Deprived Mosquitoes to Prevent the Spread of Deadly Diseases

by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 13

Humans and mosquitoes are more alike than you may want to believe; new research suggests mosquitoes prefer sleep over food when sleep-deprived.

As we all know, mosquitoes can be deadly, carrying diseases like Zika, Dengue, and Malaria. These diseases can cause death upon adults and even young children. Since most mosquitoes are active at night, people place nets over their beds for protection. Researchers are interested in mosquito sleep cycles, as awareness of sleep cycles can help predict diseases.

The presence of food can rouse a relaxing mosquito. It can be difficult sometimes to tell when they are asleep because they look similar to when they are simply relaxed. To better understand it, scientists track their behavior. Mosquitoes that have a long rests are more likely to land on people than mosquitoes that barely get any sleep. Oluwasuen Ajayi was part of a research team on mosquitos from the University of Ohio-Cincinnati. [Read More]

Doctors Transplant Pig Heart in Human Recipient

by Dayanara Flores, age 16

In a groundbreaking medical achievement, surgeons performed the second-ever pig heart transplant into a human. This remarkable surgery took place on September 20, 2023, at the University of Maryland Medical Center and was carried out by the same team responsible for the initial pig-to-human heart transplant.

The recipient of this pioneering procedure was Lawrence Faucette, a 58-year-old man facing a life-threatening heart disease and internal bleeding, which disqualified him from a standard heart transplant. Following the surgery, doctors reported that Faucette was able to breathe independently without requiring any external support.

This type of transplant is known as a xenotransplant, a procedure involving the transfer, implantation, or infusion of organs or tissues from non-human or animal sources into a human recipient. It's typically considered a last-resort option when a patient's condition is severe or life-threatening, leaving relatively untested treatments as the only alternative. [Read More]

100 Foot Jump Breaks World Record

by Moore Vang, age 13

What can jump as high as the eyes of the Statue of Liberty? Well, the jumping robot can! The robot was designed by Elliot Hawkes, a mechanical engineer from University of California, Santa Barbara. With the ability to jump three times higher than any other jumping robot, it can also out-jump any living animal.

Hawkes has been working on the robot for seven years. “It started out as a stick with weights and rubber bands,” he said. Nobody would’ve called it a robot at the start of its creation because it didn’t have anything electronic or any motors on it, he recalls. This got him and his colleagues determined to find out, “Just how high can it go?” After many years of work, the robot reached heights as high as 100 feet. Hawkes and his team recorded this on the website Nature on April 23, 2022.

Various researchers studied how different types of animals jump. Hawkes didn’t want to copy any of the animals so instead, his team learned the types of features of certain animal jumpers and how to find ways around it. Muscles in the body of many animals including humans provide energy for jumping. These muscles pull on stretchy hamstrings that react just like a spring, launching the body high into the air. A muscle can only tense up and release once per jump. Weight is also a factor due to large muscles making the animal or human heavier. Typically, the heavier the animal, the harder it is to move against the force of gravity. [Read More]

The International Space Station Is Retiring, What Does this Mean for Space Exploration?

by Theodore Morrison, age 14

The International Space Station is considered a constant symbol of humanity's achievements in the fields of space science and diplomacy. Many will be shocked to learn that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has plans to retire and crash the station straight into the ocean in 2031.

According to The International Space Station Report, NASA is aiming to crash the ISS into the Pacific Ocean at a location called Point Nemo, the farthest point at sea from any landmass. To put the distance in perspective, it is 2,000 miles North of Antarctica and 3,000 miles East of New Zealand. The ISS will, probably, rest forever at a point known as the spacecraft graveyard.

This retirement isn’t without merit, though, as NASA confirms that they intend to use the ISS as an “analog for a Mars transit mission,” according to a NASA report. The ISS was a point for which science could advance, which has included 3D printing an item on the orbiting station, producing the fifth state of matter, growing organic food in space, and sequencing DNA. [Read More]

There’s a Chance the Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy Is Actually a Wormhole

by Allison Torres, age 14

Writers that love science fiction like the idea of wormholes. Go in a wormhole, and it might transfer you to another place in time.

Physicists have taken the time to study and talk about what it might actually look like inside a black hole. There could be a wormhole in the middle of our galaxy. One way scientists are able to confirm that wormholes exist would be to go through a black hole and see if there is a hidden bridge. Although, this would be a rare occurrence, since the Milky Way is more of a door than a dead end. They could also probably figure out if there is any presence of existing life on the other side.

Researchers have found that orbits of stars, such as S2, have been orbiting a giant black hole for years. Scientists say that if this star or other stars feel existence on the other side of a black hole then the star would perform a peculiar dance. [Read More]

Webb Space Telescope Sends New Images to Scientists on Planet Earth

by Ashley Mercado, age 13

NASA has finally revealed the first set of beautiful images taken from a new space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope. The first picture from the Space Telescope was a plethora of distant galaxies that go deeper than scientists have ever seen. NASA says the new Webb Telescope will eventually replace the Hubble Telescope. Some of Webb’s images show areas of the universe Hubble has already studied, and some show areas Hubble could not reach.

Webb used infrared light which allowed scientists to obtain a clearer images and show places they have not yet studied. NASA administrator Bill Nelson said, “Every image is a new discovery and each will give humanity a view of the universe that we’ve never seen before.” In the new images, astronomers are looking for two nebulae: the Southern Ring Nebula and the Carina Nebula. They are also looking for five galaxies, known as Stephan’s Quintet, as well as the recently discovered gas planet called WASP-96b. 0[Read More]

Unmasking the Age of Fingerprints: Unlocking Forensic Mysteries with Chemical Analysis

by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 14

When you are done doing something involving your hands, they tend to get sweaty. Sweat is actually an oily chemical that is constantly being produced by your hands. This chemical helps forensic teams to identify peoples’ fingerprints during crime scene investigations. Scientists are using the chemical in these fingerprints left at crime scenes to reveal the age of the prints, but there is still an issue: scientists can't tell how old the prints are.

The oily chemical that fingerprints produce reacts with oxygen in the air. Examining the changes and degradation of the chemical after oxygen exposure helps scientists calculate the age of a fingerprint.

When researchers analyze prints, they use something called mass spectrometry. This technique is used to identify atoms and molecules in fingerprints by their mass. The chemical from each print changes differently, from one day to the next. Some even show changes within seven days. [Read More]

NASA's Osiris-REx Returns with Asteroid Samples to Avert Future Earth Collisions

by Valeria Moreno Lopez, age 17

A NASA spacecraft unleashed its sample findings that could help prevent a collision on Earth. After a seven-year expedition of observing the asteroid Bennu, a sample container landed in a Utah desert this past September. The sample is predicted to contain 250 grams of high-carbon dust and rocks from the asteroid.

In 2016, Osiris-REx, NASA’s third deep-space robotic mission, departed into space, costing over $1 billion. After two years of searching, the spacecraft landed on Bennu to gather material that has been dated back to 4.5 million years ago. Researchers will use this new data to improve the understanding of planet and life formation. To acquire the material, Osiris-REx inserted a stick vacuum connected to a container into the asteroid. However, much more dust and rocks were gathered than expected. This damaged the spacecraft’s container and lost a significant quantity of material. More than 100 grams were collected from extra material that was stuck on the outside of the container, bypassing the original goal of 60 grams.

From more than 500,000 asteroids that orbit our solar system, Bennu was chosen for the mission because of its elements. Its length is equal to one-third of a mile and it weighs nearly 172 billion pounds. The asteroid is 50 million miles away from Earth, but scientists found a concerning possibility that Bennu could hit Earth by 2182. They hope to use the sample data to prevent pocket collisions on our planet. One way is to change the trajectory using kinetic impactors. Dante Lauretta, the mission’s leader from the University of Arizona, said, “With each revelation from Bennu, we draw closer to unraveling the mysteries of our cosmic heritage.” [Read More]

From Moon to Mars: NASA's Ambitious Artemis Mission Set to Propel Human Exploration

by Will DeFour, age 13

Over 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. Now, half a century later, another explorer will leave Earth's orbit and take another adventure, our first encounter with our closest friend, Mars. NASA plans to use the Artemis mission to return to the moon and reach Mars, some 140 million miles away, for the first time. To get there safely, first, it plans to use the moon to test new life support and spacecraft for the Mars mission.

Artemis II is a mission designed to orbit the moon, and then return. However, nobody is stepping on the moon again until the next mission, Artemis III. Those will be the first woman and first person of color to walk on the moon. Artemis II is going to be the first flight of Orion, the spacecraft designed to get astronauts to Mars. But how does a single spacecraft go that far? The answer is the Gateway.

The Gateway will be a manned station that orbits the moon. It has multiple purposes, such as refueling spacecraft, testing equipment, and researching how zero gravity affects people over long periods. The Habitation and Logistics Outpost also referred to as HALO, not only is a living quarters, but also a laboratory, which enables them to conduct experiments without returning to Earth. [Read More]

Revolutionizing Data Transmission: Researchers Achieve Unprecedented Speeds Using Microcombs

by Daniel Li, age 15

A team of Danish researchers and physicists recently discovered a way to transfer almost 1.84 petabits of data per second - which is equivalent to nearly 100 million Netflix movies playing simultaneously - using only one small chip. In recent years, achieving this would have required more power and more chips, even though the previous record for the highest data transmission rate using one chip was only set in 2020.

The team used a relatively discovery as the basis for their development. In 2005, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a team of researchers who discovered a way to convert laser light into a special type of rainbow, called an optical frequency comb. To accomplish this, a laser is shined through a special chamber, which produces a rainbow with all of its colors spread out evenly. However, this process involved massive machines, larger than a standard refrigerator. Two years later, another team built on this discovery, and was able to achieve a similar effect, but with much smaller chips, dubbed “microcombs.”

Microcombs can be used in various fields to detect diseases, provide information about unknown planets, build more accurate clocks, and even efficiently transmit data. Compared to conventional fiber optic cables, microcombs are far better at transmitting large amounts of data at once. [Read More]

Search for the Origins of Life Takes Scientists to the Ocean Floor

by Shalmat Shalom, age 14

There is an oil drilling ship that has been drilling near the Earth's mantle for decades in order to discover new information about how our planet has evolved. Scientists and engineers are excited about what they may discover. Many different scientists such as geologists and microbiologists plan to sail this ship in April from Portugal.

The oil drill ship is a machine that can dig deep into the Earth specifically below sea. It has helped scientists discover what is inside the Earth for many years. This machine helped dig a 6,750 foot hole 20 years ago in the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists discovered a 14,000 foot underwater mountain. The mountain could have evolved by tectonic plates spreading apart. This will push close to the mantle, and “plump deeper layers of ocean crust that have not been reached before.” If they succeed, they could be the first in history. [Read More]

Secrets of the Ice: Archaeologists Discover Ancient Arrowhead inside a Melting Glacier

by Camila Cruz, age 15

As glaciers begin to melt, archaeologists in Scandinavia are discovering artifacts that help them learn more about the past. Recently, researchers found a well-preserved 1,500-year-old arrow, in what they believe is an ancient hunting ground.

The archaeologists who discovered the arrow are part of “Secrets Of The Ice”, a group of scientists and glacial archaeologists in Norway who explore and pinpoint glaciers. This arrow is not just any arrow. Not only is it believed to be older than the Vikings that inhabited the land from roughly 800-1100 AD, but it is also extremely well preserved.

The arrow was found between two rocks in Norway in an area where ancient people likely hunted reindeer. The archeologists think that the arrow was lost in the snow when one of the hunters missed a shot. Archaeologists believe the arrow was frozen into a glacier, and when the glacier melted it made its way down to where it was found. The fletching which helps stabilize the arrow while it’s flying is gone, but the arrowhead is still attached to the shaft, which is a unique discovery. [Read More]

Unveiling the Dangers of Light Pollution

by Valeria Moreno Lopez, age 16

Human activity has been a continuous danger to the environment and all living things. Right now, mounting research has put the spotlight on light pollution – the unrestrained and unnecessary use of artificial light. This type of pollution affects more than 80% of the world's population, with Singapore taking the lead.

Scientists have reported four main types of light pollution: sky glow, clutter, light trespass, and glare. Sky glow is the excessive brightness of the urban night sky caused by streetlamps, car lights, and factories. Living with high levels of this type of pollution makes it difficult to see stars at night, as it redirects their light and can obstruct the views of stars for astronomers and observers. Clutter is the unnatural grouping of lights, which are normally bright billboards and flashy tourist attractions. Since moonlight leads animals to their migration patterns, this often confuses animals and causes them to stray from their normal patterns. Light trespassing is light that reaches into an undesired space; such as light from a streetlamp seeping into a bedroom window. Lastly, glare is light that can cause discomfort and annoyance while driving, walking, or doing other daily tasks.

Beyond everyday tasks, light pollution is detrimental to human health and behavior. Light trespass, in particular, can disturb sleep and melatonin production, which requires surroundings to be fully dark to work properly. If not, many health issues develop, including fatigue, anxiety, stress, and sleep deprivation. Blue light, found in cell phones, computers, and even in popular LED light bulbs, also exposes people to the same damaging threats. Furthermore, studies reveal lower melatonin production is linked to cancer. As a result of this study, the American Medical Association advocates to control light pollution and discover the additional risks of nocturnal light. [Read More]

Why it's Important to Brush Your Teeth

by Jonah Smith, age 14

Your dentist will always tell you to brush your teeth. But why? Not brushing your teeth can cause tooth decay, an infectious disease caused by sugar-loving microbes that live in the mouth. A new study, however, might want to make you brush your teeth even more. Researchers have found that these tiny mouth microbes can combine to cause more damage than expected.

Damage from dental plaques causes cavities. Plaque coats the teeth in acid which breaks down the tooth’s hard enamel covering. Dental plaques are a type of biofilm and many types of microbes can form biofilms in the mouth. Young children who have severe tooth decay have a specific type of biofilm: the bacterium Streptococcus mutants and the fungus Candida Albicans. This fungus is a type of yeast that can cause infection in the human body.

To gather some more information, researchers collected 44 saliva and dental plaque samples from young children. Fourteen had healthy teeth and thirty had severe tooth decay. The scientists studied these samples to see what kind of germs lived in their mouths. The children with healthy teeth had bacteria, but no yeast, and children with tooth decay had both. [Read More]

Mars Rover Microphone Captures Sound from the Red Planet

by Sedona Afeworki, age 14

On September 27, 2021, a NASA rover detected a rumbling sound and forceful winds on Mars, later discovering that it was a dust devil.

A dust devil is a small vortex that swirls dust, debris and sand to great heights. The whirlwind on Mars was around 400 feet tall and about 80 feet wide, going fast at 16 feet per second. Its rumbling gusts went 25 miles per hour for around 10 seconds.

The sound of the dust devil on Mars is quite similar to how it sounds on Earth. However, the sounds are more quiet due to Mars’ thin atmosphere, which also makes the winds sound weaker. Last year, a dust devil went right over the range rover Perseverance currently on Mars. Scientist German Martinez, a co-author at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston stated, “it was fully caught red-handed by Persy.” [Read More]

The Mighty Sun, Stellar Powerhouse Illuminating the Solar System and Nurturing Life on Earth

by Daileni Cruz, age 10

The Sun was born nearly five billion years ago and still has quite a long time to live. The diameter of the sun is about 864,950 miles making the sun 109 times bigger than Earth. It also is 333,000 times heavier than our planet.

The sun has multiple layers that serve different purposes. The Sun's core is the source of its energy and is extremely hot. The surface of the sun is named the photosphere, which produces light and heat for planets. The corona is the largest outer layer and has solar winds that reach Earth. However, these solar winds are blocked because of Earth’s magnetic field.

The surface of the Sun can develop dark spots. Violent and rapid solar flares can cause eruptions near sunspots; these flares release magnetic energy. Another feature of the sun is the red loops around the atmosphere called prominences. These are large clouds of gas that extend outward around the Sun's atmosphere. Geomagnetic storms are caused by solar flares that can damage satellites and radio transmissions. [Read More]

Rising Tide of Colon Cancer: Younger Patients at Risk and Seeking Answers

by Sandy Flores-Ruiz, age 17

Colon cancer, the second deadliest type of cancer in the United States, has seen a rise in diagnosis in younger patients under 50. While doctors are not exactly sure of the reason for this increase, they might know contributing factors.

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is a disease in the digestive system. This cancer usually begins with a growth of tissue called a polyp, which is caused due to abnormal production of cells. Removing this tissue in the early stages could prevent cancer, but many of the symptoms may not appear at first. Some of those symptoms could include changes in bowel movements, bleeding, abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2020, over 147,950 people were diagnosed with colon cancer, and an estimated 53,200 people died–which is still just 8.8% of all cancer-related deaths. In 2019, 20% of the newly diagnosed patients were under the age of fifty. In comparison, only 11% under the age of fifty were diagnosed in 1995. [Read More]

Understanding the Health Impacts and Controversies Surrounding Daylight Saving Time

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

Although daylight saving time is very popular with many people, it may have negative health effects for humans, according to some scientists.

Daylight saving time is when clocks move an hour forward in the spring and return to standard time in the fall. This makes people lose an hour of sleep, causing scientists to question if this is healthy. Kenneth Wright, an expert on sleep and body clocks, says that daylight saving time is the wrong name for this procedure. He says that humans are only changing the way they live concerning the sun, making their bodies out of sync. The action of changing the clocks creates a problem with the human body’s circadian rhythm as it resets.

Wright and other scientists advocate for permanent standard time instead of switching twice a year. The U.S. Senate voted for daylight saving to become permanent in March 2022, but without a vote from the House, it has not become law. Something similar happened in Congress in the 1970s, however, it was not passed as people feared the shift could cause fear or depression among adolescents and others. [Read More]

How Seismic Waves are Studied to Peer Inside the Earth

by Alejandro Berrueta, age 11

Scientists continue to get more advanced as their knowledge of seismology increases. These advancements are helping citizens all around the world to take shelter before any disaster strikes, regardless if it is natural or manmade.

As we know, movements on Earth are caused by platonic plates moving under the ground. These extremely fast movements can cause earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, which can be deadly. Humans can also cause movements on the planet by the use of explosions. For example, testing atomic bombs, and other heavy explosions as well as mining can also cause earthquakes.

With more advanced technology becoming available, scientists will continue to study movements in or on Earth. With the correct measurements, big impacts can be avoided and save lives. [Read More]

Scientists Discover Fish are Self-Aware

by Jonah Smith, age 14

Humans can recognize their faces in mirrors and photos almost automatically. Ongoing research at Metropolitan University in Japan suggests that fish have the same ability. Being able to recognize your reflection or being self-aware, is an ability usually tied to intelligent animals, such as chimpanzees or humans. Finding this ability in fish suggests that self-awareness might be more common than scientists previously thought. [Read More]

Brain Wave Technology Could Help Assess Concussion Severity

by Kevin Chen, age 15

Researchers in Texas have discovered a new technology that could use brain waves to detect the severity of a concussion and compare injuries in a standardized way. Known as magnetoencephalography (MEG), this technology may offer a way for doctors to evaluate and quantify the seriousness of concussions by measuring brain waves, potentially indicating the healing progress of a concussion.

Primarily employed in planning epilepsy surgeries, MEG scans the brain for various frequencies of waves, including delta waves with a frequency of one to four hertz. Typically, a person's brain frequency falls within the range of 13 to 30 hertz, known as beta waves. Researchers observed that individuals with concussions exhibited unusual delta waves, leading them to consider MEG as a new avenue for concussion detection.

Currently, doctors use brain scanners like electroencephalogram (EEG) to record neuron activity. However, EEG cannot detect weak electromagnetic signals deep within the brain, whereas MEG can receive signals from any part of the brain's folds and grooves. The resulting MEG images provide significantly more detailed data on brain activity compared to EEG, offering more accurate insights into a patient's condition [Read More]

Himalayan Glaciers Face up to 80% Ice Loss by 2100 Amid Rising Temperatures

By Valeria Moreno Lopez, age 16

Scientists believe that nearly a quarter of the world's population could face severe natural disasters by 2100 due to the alarming rate at which the Himalayan glaciers are melting. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), based in Nepal, has warned that the glaciers could lose up to 80% of their volume if worldwide temperatures increase by 3 degrees Celsius or more.

ICIMOD, which aims to preserve life and biodiversity in mountain and downstream populations, has reported that one-third of the glaciers from Afghanistan to Myanmar could disappear even in the best-case scenario. However, over the years, the calculations have changed. If worldwide temperatures rise between 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, less than half of the volume will be lost by 2100. Moreover, these temperatures could also exacerbate global droughts, wildfires, extreme floods, and food shortages. Professor Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, has stated, "In all three pillars of climate action - mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage - we are at a standstill or going the wrong way, while the consequences of inaction are accelerating by the day."

Further research suggests that nearly 2 million square miles surrounding the highest mountain chain already show dramatic impacts. Due to the isolated location of Himalayan communities, immediate disaster response is challenging. Glacial water benefits crops and medicinal plants in nearby farmlands, but rapid melting will overwhelm them. The risk of constant floods, landslides, and avalanches soars, followed by a series of drought phases as the water dries up. Stretching from tropical rainforests to cold deserts in Asia, numerous rare species are in danger due to the region's shifting conditions. In particular, about 14 butterfly species are extinct in the Murree Hills of Pakistan, and other animals face breeding and developmental issues. [Read More]

Small Killers, Big Impact: A Creative Approach to Controlling Deadly Snail Parasites

by Camila Cruz, age 16

When we think of deadly creatures, our minds often gravitate toward large predators. However, the most lethal killers in the natural world happen to be quite small.

Snail parasites are responsible for thousands of deaths annually, having infected nearly 250 million people, primarily in regions across Asia, Africa, and South America. This parasitic disease is known as schistosomiasis, and despite its ease of transmission, it remains relatively unknown. The parasite resides in freshwater environments worldwide, primarily latching onto snails, and waiting for other organisms to enter the water. Once it detects a potential host, it attaches to the skin and burrows into the host's blood vessels, where it can reproduce and live for decades.

Interestingly, it's not the parasite itself but its eggs that cause the infection. These eggs possess sharp barbs that pierce through the host's body, allowing them to return to the water, where they seek out a snail to complete their life cycle. [Read More]

Bursting into Bloom: The Life Cycle of Flowers

by Abigail Gezae, age 11

There are many steps for a flower to blossom. A key factor to making plants grow is the resource of light. This is what makes flowers bloom and causes leaves on a tree to change.

Regardless of the type of plant, light and water are essential components for a plant to survive. In fact, some plants have adapted to be able to rotate or turn themselves to face the sun. If a plant is in the shade it will most likely die because there is no sun.

In the winter, seeds start germinating. This is the beginning of the life cycle of plants. Plants grow rapidly, with only shallow roots in spring. Summer is when flowers open and are pollinated by insects. For example, bees take pollen from a flower and bring it back to the hive. In the fall, plants die and the wind spreads the seeds, birds are a big help in scattering seeds. These are the ways in which plants or flowers grow according to various seasons. For some of plants, these processes happens over one year – these plants are called annuals. An example of an annual plant is the common poppy, which takes one year to germinate, scatter seeds, and then dies. [Read More]

Tree Kangaroos Face Extinction as Habitats Disappear

by Siheon Park, age 11

Tree kangaroos are an endangered species that are often unheard of or overlooked. Their role in ecosystems and indigenous cultures and diets are threatened by habitat loss.

There are 12 species, two are found in Australia and the rest are mostly found on the island of New Guinea. Scientists estimate that there are less than 2,500 tree kangaroos in the world.

The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program partnered with National Geographic Society to protect the tree kangaroos by using critter cams to observe how they act in the wild. Researchers captured kangaroos and placed collars that have small cameras in them. The footage records their behavior and diet. After placing the collars, researchers release them back into their natural habitat. [Read More]

The Science Behind Fingerprint Formations

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 14

Fingerprints are a unique part of the human body, and there are many different patterns. In 2023, scientists fully understood how they form.

Fingerprints help humans in daily activities. They allow humans to grip objects, such as holding a bottle or pencil. Every human being has a unique pattern. Law enforcement organizations have used fingerprints to help identify people since the 1800s.

Scientists have found that the basis of fingerprints is three molecules that control the development process. The molecules are WNT, EDAR, and BMP, which have different jobs. For example, if the amount of EDAR increases, it creates a wide and spaced fingerprint, but if it is decreased, it makes spots. However, when BMP increases, the opposite happens. WNT multiplies cells, which also makes EDAR produce cells. BMP stops both WNT and EDAR, preventing skin cell buildup. All of these molecules are essential and work together in fingerprint formation. [Read More]

Why Writing by Hand Is Better for Memory and Learning

by Camila Cruz, age 16

There’s been evidence for years that it’s better to take notes by handwriting than typing. New research is finally giving us an answer as to why.

Handwriting uses more regions of your brain and builds connections between physical and visual parts of the brain. That makes it easier to learn and pay attention, according to a recent study in Frontiers in Psychology by Audrey van de Meer and Ruud van der Weel at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The two researchers dove into the intricate workings of the brain during note-taking by using helmets with sensors to monitor students' brains. The research builds on a study from 2014, which hinted at the lower effort of typing notes on a computer as compared to handwritten notes. Van de Meer and van der Weel found that handwriting produces higher levels of electrical activity across interconnected brain regions responsible for sensory processing, movement, memory, and vision. On the other hand, typing led to minimal activity in these areas. [Read More]

The Mighty Roar and Clever Mind of Lions

by Semaia Zerezghi, age 9

Panthera leo or lions are the kings and queens of beasts and are known for being terrifying regal creatures. However, what most people don't know is that lions are also incredibly intelligent.

Lions live throughout Africa in groups of up to 40 called “prides.” Within the pride there are several females, cubs, and one to five adult males. Lions are very territorial. A pride can extend as far as ten miles in any direction. A lion's roar is extremely noisy and can be heard five miles away, they use their roar to let everyone know that the territory is theirs.

Cubs depend on their mothers for almost two years. During this time, they learn to attack prey by wrestling with their siblings. Once they've become adults, the females stay home but the males leave to start their own pride. Meanwhile, the males in the pride protect the females against intruders. [Read More]

Sanderlings Are Arctic Breeders with a Love for Sandy Beaches

by Siheon Park, age 11

Sanderling birds have unusual lives. Their breeding habitat is the Arctic tundra, but they hate the cold!

These birds, known by the scientific name Calidris Alba, are small and travel in flocks called grains. Sanderlings in the summer have a gray color, which helps them blend in on sandy beaches. In the winter, they have brown feathers but usually keep their gray feathers too. These birds have very few predators, but among them are seagulls, owls, foxes, and even wolves.

Adults are seven to eight inches long with a wingspan of 14 inches. Their legs are thin, black, and very fast. This is useful when they run to get food that waves have brought into the sand, a process called wave chasing. Their long beaks are used to peck food out of the wet sand. Sanderlings can eat crabs, berries, roots, and almost anything they can find. However, when they migrate in the winter, they eat more seafood. [Read More]

Exploring Galaxies: Shapes, Sizes, and Cosmic Mysteries

by Aloniab Gezae, age 10

All galaxies are made up of stars, gases, and dust. There are billions of galaxies across space, including the one Earth is in: the Milky Way.

There are so many galaxies that scientists cannot keep track of all of them; however, it is known that they all have solar systems. A solar system is just a speck of the whole galaxy. The Milky Way’s solar system has eight planets.

There are various types of galaxies, such as spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies. Spiral galaxies look similar to pinwheels. Sixty percent of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way are spiral galaxies. Also, they are often the brightest in the universe. [Read More]

Blue Jays Are Nature’s Colorful Songbirds

by Abigail Gezae, age 12

Blue Jays are interesting animals with a variety of skills. They are beautifully colored birds, with blue and white on their stomach and chest.

Blue Jays are intelligent and adaptable. They are also among the loudest birds and can make various musical sounds. They can feed on almost anything and are classified as omnivores. Their diet consists of seeds, nuts, and insects.

Blue Jays build their nests with a bulky open cup made of twigs, grass, weeds, bark strips, moss, and sometimes held together with mud. Regarding nesting, both parents are involved in bringing food to the young. Young ones leave the nest 17-21 days after hatching. [Read More]

Africa’s Donkeys are Being Slaughtered for Medicine in China

by Owen Ayite Atayi, age 16

China’s demand for a traditional medicine known as e-jiao is fueling the slaughter of millions of donkeys every year, say animal welfare groups and veterinary experts. E-jiao, which is made using collagen extracted from donkey hides, is the vital ingredient in food and beauty products believed by many Chinese consumers to enrich the blood, improve the immune system, and prevent diseases. Reuters spoke to more than a dozen experts, including veterinarians and academics, to examine how demand for e-jiao is rippling across communities in Africa, which rely heavily on the donkey, and how the trade in hide continues to boom despite efforts by some African nations to restrict it.

Traditionally, e-jiao was a luxury product. It gained favor among elites during the Qing dynasty that ruled China from 1644 until 1912. Its popularity has surged in recent years due partly to its use in the Chinese television series ‘Empress in the Palace’, which started airing in 2011. The rise in demand has also been fueled by China’s growing middle class and rising elderly population. Its price has leapt 30-fold in the past decade from 100 yuan per 500 grams to 2,986 yuan ($420), according to Chinese state media. The e-jiao industry requires an estimated 5.9 million donkey skins annually, which has put unprecedented pressure on global populations, according to a report released in February by The Donkey Sanctuary, a British charity devoted to the animal’s welfare. China’s donkey population has fallen more than 80% to just under 2 million from 11 million in 1992, prompting its e-jiao industry to source donkey skins from overseas.

The consumption boom for e-jiao has led to international commodification of donkeys, says Lauren Johnston, an expert on China-Africa relations who published a study in January last year called “China, Africa and the Market for Donkeys”. As Africa has the world’s largest donkey population, it has emerged as the key source of donkey skins. [Read More]

Beluga Whales: Navigating Arctic Challenges

by Sessina Zerezghi, age 7

Beluga whales are one of nature’s amazing mammals. These whales live in the Arctic but move locations when the ice melts. In the fall, they move to the south as ice forms, returning in the spring when ice breaks apart.

Beluga whales are very social creatures and typically live in small groups known as pods. They have flexible foreheads that can change shape to show their different expressions. Additionally, they can make different sounds, such as chirps, clicks, whistles, and squeals, to communicate with one another.

Belugas need ice to live. Specifically, these whales use ice to hide from predators like orcas or feed and take shelter. As the climate changes, it is very hard for these whales to adapt as the ice cover slowly melts away. Another big factor that harms these whales is noise pollution, as this prevents them from communicating with each other. [Read More]

Journey Along the Grand Canal's Historic Waters

by Aubrey Bevenue, age 13

The beauty of Venice comes from its buildings and water. The buildings date back to ancient times and are still used today. Additionally, many sculptures provide context about Venice and its rich history.

Venice is located in Italy. It was built on many islands and with millions of wood piles, a creative construction style.

Venice is fairly wealthy. The city was a great commercial empire built on maritime trade. Historically, it earned its money from trading while also benefiting from tourism. [Read More]

How Toucans Are More Than Just Big Bills and Bright Feathers

by Amare Smith, age 20

Toucans are colorful, big-billed, beautiful birds that live in rainforest trees of Central and South America.

The Toucan's bill can be four times the size of its head and almost as long as its entire body. Some suggest that the large and brightly colored bill is used to attract mates. Others believe this bill wards off predators or other creatures competing with the bird for food. Additionally, some think the bill is an adaptation that allows the bird to grab food that grows on the ends of branches that are hard to reach. Regardless of its purpose, the toucan's bill is a handy tool!

The toucan's bill is a light and primarily hollow structure made of keratin. The lightweight nature allows the toucan to stand on thin branches and reach for food without having to compensate for its ability due to its weight. The word "toucan" is derived from the sound these birds make, which often resembles the croaking noises of frogs. Many toucans make croaking, growling, and evening barking sounds. Female toucans usually have higher pitches than males. [Read More]

Future Exploration of Enceladus Could Use Snake-Like Robot

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 14

The idea of living somewhere other than Earth is fascinating for the future. Traces of chemicals needed for life have been detected from Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. Scientists are trying to find possible ways to explore Enceladus.

Saturn is a well-known planet for its dozens of moons, and Enceladus happens to be one of the many. Since Saturn is the sixth planet away from the sun, the temperatures there are very low. Enceladus has a frozen crust and huge water plumes, essential for sustaining life on the moon. Additionally, it contains phosphorus and hydrogen cyanide, which are needed for life.

Exploring Enceladus is currently an idea NASA has evolved, but it will only happen for a while. They created the Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor, also known as EELS, which will someday be used to research Enceladus. EELS is a robot that has the features of a snake. The robot is four meters long and can move vertically inside crevasses. It can vertically move due to the cylindrical segments that can be angled and rotated. This movement can crawl into Enceladus' fEnceladus't and provide further information about alien life. [Read More]

Kiwis Are New Zealand's Fuzzy Flightless Bird Species

by Siwoo Park, age 12

A brown, fuzzy… bird! Kiwi birds are almost the size of a chicken and live in burrows. They are very mysterious; only three species have been discovered.

The kiwi is a relatively small, flightless, and defenseless bird that is native to New Zealand. Kiwis are ratites, which include large, flightless birds like ostriches and emus. Although kiwis have wings, those wings have no purpose and are covered by long, loose, brown, and hair-like feathers. Their sizes depend on the species, yet they are typically about two feet tall. They can run up to 20 miles per hour, faster than an average human.

Kiwis are the only birds that have nostrils at the tip of their beaks. They have a strong sense of smell and use sensory pads (also at the tip of the beak) to hunt grubs, worms, bugs, and more. Kiwis are protective of their territory and don’t want any other kiwis to ruin their burrow. [Read More]

Thorny Devils, Masters of Camouflage

by Ian Kosharek, age 11

Thorny devils are spiny, fierce-looking creatures native to the Australian desert, particularly favoring dry and hot climates in coastal areas of Australia. These creatures weigh up to three ounces and are approximately two centimeters in size, roughly the size of a hand. When they hatch, both male and female thorny devils are similar, but after a year, females become visibly longer, sometimes reaching twice the size of the largest males. Their lifespan ranges from 10 to 20 years.

When the thorny devil walks, its tail doesn't touch the ground. They possess distinctive horn-like features, giving rise to their name, "thorny devil." They also have a false head used to deceive potential predators. When threatened, the thorny devil tucks its head, and this fake head often confuses predators because they can't eat the sharp and fragile spikes. As for their diet, thorny devils primarily feed on tiny insects, with a preference for ants. In terms of reproduction, females dig 10-inch tunnels to lay their eggs.

Their distinctive appearance and behavior make them stand out in the animal kingdom. Thorny devils have specialized coloration that helps them camouflage with their surroundings. Depending on factors like temperature and mood, they can change their color to some extent, which assists in temperature regulation. [Read More]

Learn About the Bright Colors and Deadly Poison of Poison Dart Frogs

by Ian Kosharek, age 11 `

Poison dart frogs come in many unique colors. They are native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America.

These frogs have big eyes to let in as much light as possible. This is also very helpful for catching prey at night. Their sticky tongues catch small insects like fruit flies, termites, ants, and young crickets.

These frogs can have different colors and patterns, such as yellow, orange, red, green, and blue. The poison dart frog's vivid colors keep predators away. [Read More]

Rapidly Intensifying Hurricanes Could be a Consequence of Climate Change

by Dulce Vazquez, age 15

Throughout several decades, hurricanes have seen a trend of increasing intensity. The increasing strength of hurricanes has led people to be unprepared for their effects.

A thunderstorm that formed on the western coast of Africa turned into Hurricane Lee within a day. Hurricane Lee spun more than 130 km per hour placing the storm at a Category 1. A day later, it came across warm water in the North Atlantic. This doubled its wind speed from 130 km to 260 km per hour.

While Hurricane Lee caught lots of attention, Hurricane Jova reached Category 4, only a day and a half after becoming a named storm. Andra Garner from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, found that recent storms were more than twice as likely to strengthen to a dangerous category of three or higher within a day. The possibility of a weak hurricane becoming strong within a day went from about 3.2% to 8.1%, within a few decades. Multiple elements boost storms' strengths, such as moist air and warm water, says Philip Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University. The world's oceans have become hotter due to global warming, which has implications for the intensifying abilities of these storms. [Read More]

Stargazers in North America Get Ready for Eventful 2024

by Camila Cruz, age 16

Stargazers in North America should start getting ready because they will have much to watch for in 2024. People are excitedly waiting for two comets, 12 meteor showers, two lunar eclipses, an asteroid, and most excitingly a solar eclipse over parts of the U.S.

Comets are beautiful and become easier to see as they approach Earth. Comets are snowballs of frozen gasses, dust, and rocks. As they travel through our solar system, they leave an icy dust trail. If the comet is close enough to the sun, it creates a mesmerizing, sparkling show. Comets are seen when they link up with Earth’s rotation around the sun. One of the best-known is Halley’s Comet, which was the first comet to be photographed. Halley’s Comet was photographed by multiple spacecraft in 1986. Comets are mainly named by the person or spacecraft who discovered them. Halley’s Comet is named after Edmind Halley, an astronomer.

Comets are also responsible for meteor showers when the debris of the comet's trail hits the atmosphere gets warmed up and shows bright streaks. If it’s a full moon you won’t be able to see meteors as well due to the moonlight. [Read More]

Black Widow Spiders Pose Threat Across North America

by Siwoo Park, age 12

The Black Widow, one of the most venomous spiders in North America, is known for its potent venom and red mark. This species of spider is responsible for several deaths.

The Black Widow is found in various regions across the United States, including Mexico and Panama. Their lifespan is about two years. The most familiar form of the Black Widow is females, with their black glossy exoskeleton and iconic red hourglass mark. Their male counterparts are smaller, have no venom, and are brown. Black Widows have a cephalothorax containing the brain, venom glands, and limbs. The abdomen contains the heart, silk spinnerets, and vital organs.

The legs of the Black Widow and most spiders have burrs and claws on them. The burrs can detect when something is caught in their web; both features benefit the spider to hang and move around their surroundings. Silk spinnerets produce the web’s material. Their prey is caught with the barely visible web. The spiders use their pedipalps or jaws to capture prey; then they inject venom into their prey with their fangs [Read More]

The Warm-Blooded Giant that Ruled Ancient Seas

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 16

Did you know there was once a shark three times larger than a great white Shark? This shark was an Otodus megalodon, a massive ancestor of sharks that grew to be 66 feet long. Its blood was warmer in comparison to that of great white sharks. Its body temperature was about 13 degrees Celsius, which was warmer than seawater. Their warm-bloodedness may have contributed to their success and eventual fall as creatures in the past.

Megalodons were one of the world's most giant carnivores. They ate meat to gain energy and often obtained food from consuming large marine mammals. Their warm-bloodedness may have helped them become swift and aggressive apex predators. Specifically, the O. megalodon's body temperature would have allowed it to swim further and faster, which increases the chances of it finding its prey. However, this trait likely also led to the shark's enormous appetite and diet, potentially creating a risk for the species as environments change. Large creatures with warm blood require lots of food to fuel their metabolism. In an environment with scarce resources and food, this could become a problem, especially for apex predators.

The O. megalodon evolved around 23 million years ago; they went extinct between 3.5 million and 2.6 million years ago. This was around the same time when great white sharks emerged, around 3.5 million years ago. Competition between these two species likely drove megalodons towards extinction, especially when food became scarce. Additionally, scientists suspect that climate change during the Pliocene Epoch, lasting from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago, also led to drastic megalodon decline as marine mammals faded. Great white sharks, being smaller in size, likely needed less food to survive, thus allowing them to live past megalodons. [Read More]

Marie Curie Was a Trailblazer in Science and Radioactivity

by Siwoo Park, age 12

Marie Curie, one of the world’s beloved scientists, was a pioneer in the study of radioactivity and her discoveries revolutionized cancer treatment. Through her discovery of radium, she became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in two different fields, and eight years later won a subsequent prize.

Marie was born Marya Sklodowska on November 7, 1867, in Warsaw, Poland. She earned good grades and was even awarded a gold medal in her high school. Despite being a great student and her family valued education, she could not attend university because Russia had invaded Poland and women were not able to go to college after the invasion. Marya made money by giving private tutoring lessons and became involved with a group of young people who taught themselves their topics, called the “Floating University.” She became a governess to a wealthy family, but she craved knowledge and became more determined than ever to attend university.

In 1891, Marya went to live with her sister Bronya in France. She changed her name to a French variation of her name, “Marie,” and studied mathematics, chemistry, and physics at the Sorbonne, where she became the first woman to teach. In 1894, she needed a laboratory to work on her chosen study of measuring the magnetic properties of steel alloys. Her colleagues suggested she meet Pierre Curie at the Schools of Physics and Chemistry. Marie was astonished by Pierre from their very first meeting. [Read More]

New Breed of Supercomputer Aims for the Two Quintillion Mark

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

There is a new type of supercomputer under construction known as an exascale supercomputer. Exascale refers to a supercomputer that can perform two quintillion operations in a second. This drastically compares with a phone which does 17 trillion operations and the human brain which does 228 trillion operations in a second. These computers can help rearrange human life.

One such new supercomputer has been built inside a data center in Aurora, Illinois, near Chicago. The computer, also called Aurora, is located in the Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory. Built by Intel and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Aurora is the size of two tennis courts and weighs 600 tons. High-powered machines like Aurora will take months to be fully operational because technicians are always on the lookout for errors, improvements, and changes. Although this process will take a long time, Aurora should be fully operating in 2024.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Frontier was the first working exascale computer and got the title of the world’s most powerful computer. Aurora is not fully operational, tests have shown it is the second-most powerful. Other supercomputers are being built around the world. For example, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is building a $600 million exascale computer named El Capitan, which potentially could be more powerful than Aurora. Another exascale supercomputer called Dojo is being built by Tesla, which spent more than $1 billion. The United Kingdom and other places are trying to create their exclusive supercomputers. [Read More]

Dumb Phones on the Rise as Gen Z Looks to Limit Screen Time

by Allison Torres, age 15

Flip phones became popular in the 1990s and 2000s. At that time, they were a great invention in communicating with people wherever and whenever.

Over the years, phones have advanced technologically, which can be seen in both positive and negative ways. In 2007 smartphones came along, replacing flip phones with iPhones and Androids.

Smartphones have many advanced features like cameras, GPS, and many more applications, that can incorporate your data. This incorporation of personal information concerns people about their data being collected, shared, and used by companies. [Read More]

Tracking Asteroid Apophis's Near Miss and Future Trajectory

by Iliyan Hoskins, age 11

When the asteroid Apophis was discovered in 2004, it was considered dangerous for Earth. At the time, scientists tracked its orbit and predicted that the asteroid had a slim chance of hitting Earth in 2029.

Apophis was discovered by astronomers David Theolen, Roy Tucker, and Fabrizio Bernardi at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. After further analysis, the prediction of Apophis hitting Earth in 2029 was ruled out. However, collision is still a concern as astronomers predict a small chance of impact on Earth in 2068.

On April 13, 2029, Apophis will pass less than 20,000 miles from our planet’s surface and will be the closest approach of an asteroid to Earth. Currently, there’s a spacecraft equipped with cameras named OSIRIS-REx. It’s currently on a mission to study a different asteroid Bennu, but it might be possible that by 2029, the spacecraft could observe Apophis. When Apophis gets close to Earth, OSIRIS-PEx’s cameras could take pictures of the asteroid up close and observe it. [Read More]

U.S. Military's PFAS Pollution Threatens Communities Nationwide

by Camila Cruz, age 16

It is hard to imagine that the U.S. military, whose number one goal is to protect, is also one of the biggest contributors to the spread of chemicals that cause cancer, kidney disease, and many other serious health problems.

The military is one of the largest PFAS polluters in the world. PFAS are a group of 15,000 compounds that are used to make stain-, grease- and water-resistant products, making them extremely harmful to humans and animals. PFAS are also called “forever chemicals” because they are nearly indestructible.

PFAS in water is connected to birth defects, high cholesterol, decreased immunity, and much more. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that less than one part per trillion (ppt) is safe to consume in drinking water. However, the levels of PFAS found around military bases have been much higher. [Read More]

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Flies Toward the Sun

by Daniel Li, age 16

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has achieved a remarkable feat by getting close enough to the Sun to study the intricate details of solar wind. This has revealed information that was previously hidden as the solar wind left the Sun's corona in a uniform stream of charged particles.

Understanding the origin of the solar wind is crucial for predicting solar storms, which are responsible for auroras on Earth, but they also disrupt satellites and power grids. In a forthcoming article in the journal Nature, a team led by Professor Stuart D. Bale from the University of California, Berkeley, and James Drake from the University of Maryland-College Park, reveals the Parker Solar Probe has found that coronal holes are where solar wind originates.

According to their findings, some exceptionally high-energy particles detected by the Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018, can only be explained by magnetic reconnection. [Read More]

Learn How Dinosaur Fossils are Formed

by Bruno Torres, age 8

When visiting dinosaur museums, one typically encounters large reconstructions of dinosaurs with what appears to be their bones. In reality, these structures aren’t bones and are called fossils. Fossils are features or remnants left behind after animals and plants die, they typically date back at least 10,000 years.

Fossils can be bones, teeth, footprints, skin, and feces. There are two kinds of fossils, body fossils or trace fossils. Body fossils are made up of bones and teeth. Trace fossils are skin impressions and footprints.

Not all ancient animals will become fossils because other animals often eat them when they die. However, remains that are not eaten by other animals and are subject to the right conditions can be preserved for thousands of years. Most fossilization happens when animals are buried by sediments like sand, mud, or silt, therefore the bones are protected from rotting. As soft parts of the body decay, harder parts like bone and teeth are left behind. Through millions of years, the rocks surround these hard parts and minerals in water replace the parts. When water minerals completely replace the organic material in the bones, a solid “rock copy”, or fossil, is left behind. [Read More]

The Science of Lucid Dreaming, Exploring the Sleeping Mind

by Dayanara Flores, age 16

The experience of knowing you're in a dream while you're still asleep is called “lucid dreaming.” Most people don't have lucid dreams, but some have tried techniques to become more self-aware in their sleep while dreaming.

Some lucid dreamers can control particular parts of their dreams like the setting.

Martin Dresler, a neuroscientist in the Netherlands who works at the Donders Institute says, “The special thing about lucid dreaming is that you can get even closer to dream content and in a much more controlled and systematic fashion.” Tests from small groups have found that lucid dreamers can also send signals to researchers while they’re asleep. [Read More]

Amateur Fossil Hunter Finds “Underwater T-Rex”

By Iliyan Hoskins, age 11

150 million years ago, an ancient apex predator roamed the ocean. The species was called a Pliosaur, and it possessed jaws more than twice as powerful as those of today’s saltwater crocodiles. It killed its prey with just one bite from its 130 long, razor-sharp teeth, earning it the nickname "underwater T-Rex." The underwater T-Rex existed 150 million years ago, spanning the early Jurassic to the Cretaceous periods. An adult Pliosaur was a 30-foot-long sea creature capable of traversing the ocean at high speeds. That’s why scientists bestowed upon it the name underwater T-Rex.

The skull of this formidable predator was discovered in southern England, among many other fossils. A fossil hunter named Phil Jacobs was strolling along a beach in search of something special when he spotted the tip of the Pliosaur’s snout sticking out of the sand, near the water's edge. Scientists consider this rare discovery one of the most intact and complete examples of a Pliosaur ever found.

The underwater T-Rex was a sizable and deadly creature, capable of preying on almost any marine animal alive at the time. The discovery of this creature has assisted scientists in understanding the inhabitants of the ancient oceans. This rare find leaves hope for the possibility of another special discovery in the future. [Read More]

Three New Missions Planned to Explore Venus

by Chelsea Zheng, age 11

Venus is considered Earth’s twin due to its similar size and density. However both these planets have developed vastly different from one another. Earth was able to develop and sustain life, while Venus became a scorching and toxic planet. To further understand how Earth’s neighboring “twin” developed a harsh environment, scientists launched spacecraft to study Venus and continue to launch more in the future.

In our solar system, Venus is our closest planetary neighbor. It’s the color of rust and is covered with forcefully bunched mountains. It is also the second planet from our sun, Venus is one of the four rocky planets. It has an atmosphere full of toxic fumes such as carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid. The fumes create an extreme greenhouse effect that traps a lot of heat.

The surface temperatures on Venus can melt various metals, reaching 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though Mercury is the closest planet to our sun, its heat can’t compare to Venus – it is the hottest planet in the solar system. Despite having similar size, density, mass, and gravitational pull to Earth, it is more than evident that they are nothing alike. [Read More]

Mysterious Golden Orb Found on Alaska Seafloor

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 16

A mysterious golden orb was recently discovered on the Alaska seafloor. Marine scientists have no idea what this orb might be, but scientists believe it might be an egg casing of a creature nobody has seen before.

This orb was discovered in August by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. It was discovered on the ocean floor off the Pacific Coast of Alaska at about a depth of two miles by a remote-controlled submarine explorer. It has a skin-like texture.

The Seascape Alaska 5 expedition took place in August and September 2023. The Gulf of Alaska is four miles deep and contains sea fish, coral, sponge habitats, and geological features such as mud volcanoes. [Read More]

Volcanic Eruptions Cause Birth of a New Island in the Pacific Ocean

by Kaleab Afeworki, age 11

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano had one of the most powerful underwater explosions and still holds unbreakable records. This volcano has erupted several times in the last decade and scientists continue to study its activity.

It erupted in 2014 near the South Pacific Island Kingdom of Tonga. The cause of the eruption was due to a submarine volcano, an underwater vent where magma erupts and explodes. It left vast amounts of ash, rock, and mist in the air, settling into a tiny island with a 400-foot summit.

The volcano remained active until its recent eruption in 2022, which produced a tsunami so great that it touched the coasts of Japan and South America. This eruption was so intense that it injected water vapor that managed to touch space – a feat that has never been observed with any other volcanoes on Earth. Additionally, the event created the greatest concentration of lightning and energy strong enough to damage undersea fiber optic communication cables. [Read More]

Exploring Mercury, NASA's Mission to the Solar System's Hottest Planet

by Lina Alquraishi, age 9

Scientists knew very little about the planet Mercury up until 1974 when NASA launched the Spacecraft Mariner, which opened the door to vast amounts of information.

Christened after the Roman god, Mercury stands as the smallest planet in the solar system and has zero moons. The tiny planet teems with boiling temperatures during the day followed by ultra-freezing winds at night. This is largely due to the lack of an atmosphere on the planet, enabling the weather to vary greatly. Atmospheres are important because they work to contain the heat within a planet. If Earth had no atmosphere, for instance, the temperatures would range from -310 to 230 degrees, making life unsustainable.

Like Earth, Mercury is made of three layers: the core, the mantle, and a thin outer crust. The planet houses several old craters and layers on its surface due to the innumerable asteroids, meteorites, and comets that have crashed into it. [Read More]

The Complex Steps and Technologies Behind Spacecraft Missions

by Aarosh Subedi, age 11

There are many steps before you launch a spacecraft, and many kinds of spacecraft are important to the technology we use today. Multiple types of satellites watch the world around us. Meteorological satellites give meteorologists information about what the weather will look like. Communication satellites make television possible to watch; navigation satellites help people guide their ships in water; geodetic satellites help record unknown places on Earth. Satellites that are used by militaries help perform observations to find enemies in specific places. Many more types of innovations are used to go to space.

It takes many months to launch a spacecraft. Before a launch, the instruments will perform the experiments and functions for the assigned mission to ensure everything works properly. This takes place in phases, where technicians put together components and make sure they work together. While the spacecraft's instrumentation is being powered up, the components for the launching vehicle also go through the same process.

The last step for integration is connecting the spacecraft and launcher and having them be part of a countdown practice. The spacecraft and the launcher are set next to each other on a launching pad, the support base that holds the spacecraft in place. This support structure, called the gantry, holds the spacecraft from falling over on its side. [Read More]

Quetzalcoatlus: The Flying Giant

by Aloniab Gezae, age 8

The Quetzalcoatlus is the biggest flying creature of the late cretaceous period. It is not a dinosaur, it is actually a pterosaur, which was a group of flying reptiles. Its wings were 40 feet wide.

Quetzalcoatlus had a crest, long neck, and a long sharp beak. Some scientists think that the Quetzalcoatlus looked through the sand with its sharp beak to find crabs and worms, others think they hunted for fish along the water. It lived about 70 million years ago in North America, around where Texas is now.

Archaeologists found the first fossil of the Quetzalcoatlus in 1975, and it took them years to realize that such a big reptile could fly. Quetzalcoatlus started to fly by launching itself eight feet in the air, because its muscles were able to push it up, and its light bones helped it fly. [Read More]

Two Black Holes Orbiting Each Other Were Discovered in Cosmic Light Show by Astronomers

by Allison Torres, age 14

Scientists have made a remarkable discovery - a previously hidden black hole has emerged from obscurity. This colossal black hole is accompanied by a smaller partner that had remained undetected until now. Astronomers have recently confirmed the emission of light from this smaller black hole. When these two black holes orbit each other, they generate bursts of light, known as a blazar, which emits intense radiation into space, specifically in the OJ287 region.

Mauri Valtonen, who reported this discovery during a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in New Mexico on June 7, emphasized the extraordinary nature of this find, stating, "We've never seen anything like this before."

Predictions made in early 2022 anticipated the most recent flare's appearance. Since that forecast, astronomers have diligently monitored OJ287 using both Earth-based and space telescopes to gain a clearer perspective. [Read More]

Lone Star Ticks and the Allergic Reaction to Red Meat

by Valeria Moreno Lopez, age 17

Tick bites are a common nuisance in the U.S., but in the last 13 years, certain ticks have caused a severe and puzzling food allergy. Lone star ticks, commonly found in the Southeastern U.S., can transmit alpha-gal, a sugar that triggers an allergic reaction to red meat and mammal products like dairy and gelatin.

While alpha-gal syndrome is not typically fatal, it has affected an estimated 450,000 Americans, leading to intense reactions. Symptoms may not be immediately apparent, taking hours to manifest after consuming mammal products. Some common symptoms include hives, breathing difficulties, severe stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, and facial swelling. It's possible to experience any one of these symptoms, and if they occur, it's essential to seek testing. Certain factors, such as exercise, alcohol consumption, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, can make individuals more susceptible to the allergy after a tick bite. Those concerned about their sensitivity to red meat can undergo yearly blood tests to check antibody levels against the sugar.

Dr. Scott Commins, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, who has written about alpha-gal syndrome for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has suggested that it could be the 10th most common food allergy in the U.S. While the allergy can subside in one-fifth of those affected, it's crucial to avoid tick bites, as reinfection can prolong the syndrome. Alongside tick avoidance, experts recommend dietary adjustments and carrying epinephrine, a hormone that treats severe allergic reactions. It's important to note that not everyone bitten by ticks will develop alpha-gal syndrome, but studies indicate a higher likelihood of development if the bite is scratched. [Read More]

The Profound Effects of Music on the Human Brain and Emotions

by Aissata Bah, age 13

Music serves as a form of art and tradition, expressing a wide spectrum of emotions, including anger, amusement, and sadness. It wields a remarkable emotional power that can transform one's mood, evoke physical sensations, and trigger the retrieval of long-lost memories.

The human brain responds to music in profound ways. When we listen to music, various parts of the brain come into play, including the temporal lobe, amygdala, frontal lobe, cerebellum, and hippocampus. These brain regions are involved in processes related to memory, emotions, communication, and muscle control. They help individuals analyze the components of music, such as instruments, lyrics, and musical chords. Moreover, the brain can recognize harmonies and notes, grasp lyrics, and synchronize with the rhythm, giving rise to new emotional experiences.

Music holds a special place in the hearts of many people, offering both enjoyment and therapeutic benefits. According to the Berklee Music and Health Institute, music can open pathways to healing. It has been used as a therapeutic tool for various conditions, ranging from alleviating subjective distress in chronic pain syndromes to influencing the reward circuitry in addiction disorders, the psychomotor pathways in Parkinson's disease, and even the functional connectivity changes in autism spectrum disorders. In simpler terms, music can serve as a form of medicine for trauma, chronic pain, addiction, and conditions that involve a disconnection between the brain and the body. Remarkably, music therapy can provide strength to patients undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and other medical treatments due to its emotional effects. [Read More]

Do Dolphins Use 'Baby Talk'? Examining Whistle Communication in Bottlenose Dolphins

by Dulce Vazquez, age 15

Typically, when adults speak to babies they use a high-pitched baby voice. Did you know dolphins do the same?

Bottlenose dolphin moms modify their whistles when their newborns are nearby. Similarly, baby bottlenose dolphins also start creating a unique tune or whistle in their first few weeks and can continue doing so for up to a couple of months. “Dolphins shout their names in water as a way to keep track of each other,” marine biologist Laela Sayigh from Massachusetts said.

Sayigh and her students published a large study in 2009 that examined 40 unique whistles from 19 female dolphins. The researchers discovered that mom dolphins appear to adjust their tune when their calves are present. Calves stay with their moms from three to six years, creating mother-baby bonds. [Read More]

Venus, Earth's Mysterious Neighbor with Peculiar Traits

by Chelsea Zheng, age 11

Venus is the second planet from the sun and neighbor to Earth. Besides the moon, Venus is the brightest object that can be seen in the night sky.

Astronomers believe that Earth and Venus may have comparable histories due to their similar size, mass, and volume. However, researchers wonder why Venus is so different compared to Earth today.

Venus’s rotation is unlike any other planet in the solar system. It also has no moons. One rotation on Earth is 24 hours, but one on Venus is about 243 Earth days. Venus’s rotation around the sun is about 117 Earth days. Venus is the only planet that rotates longer around its axis than once around the sun. Every other planet rotates clockwise, while Venus and Uranus rotate counterclockwise. [Read More]

Navigating the Dangers of the Sea

by Daileni Torres-Cruz, age 10

Being at sea can be a wonderful experience, however, it can also take an unexpected turn for the worse. There are many dangerous occurrences in the sea. High winds during storms or volcanoes make big waves in the middle of the ocean that can cause ships to swerve off their courses. Ships may also collide with large icebergs, similar to what occurred on the Titanic in 1912. The Titanic was the newest and most luxurious boat at the time. The iceberg ripped a hole in its exterior, which caused it to sink to the bottom of the ocean. It was known as one of the worst accidents at sea.

Waterspouts are formed when tornadoes land in the sea. They suck up a lot of seawater into a big dark cloud. Boats floating on the sea can be sucked into waterspouts.

Packed ice in the Arctic Ocean and circling Antarctica can trap or sometimes even crush ships. Nowadays, it is easy for icebreakers to break through the packed ice as they are specially made to force their way through. [Read More]

The System Scientists Use to Track Near-Earth Objects

by Dulce Maria Vazquez, age 14

The Torino scale is a system that predicts the chances of objects in space hitting the Earth. Established in 1999, the Torino scale rates the potential of an asteroid to cause harm by looking at its size, and the probability that it will hit the Earth. The scale ranges from zero to ten—zero means no danger and ten means that an asteroid is guaranteed to hit the Earth, and large enough that an impact would cause worldwide destruction.

This scale is meant to be an easier way for people to understand the risk associated with asteroid impacts. However, there has been a public debate about whether the scale is helpful. Some say there are other systems that are more effective. Others say the Torino scale isn't beneficial because it's unlikely for an asteroid to impact Earth.

If an asteroid appears to be approaching Earth, it is observed continually until its orbit can be determined. If astronomers determine there is no chance for an object to hit our planet, the object is assigned a zero on the Torino scale. But if there is a chance the asteroid could harm the Earth in the next 100 years, it will be given a higher value. [Read More]

UW-Madison Researchers Use 3D Printing Technology to Develop More Efficient Electric Motor

by Sedona Afeworki, age 15

Four researchers from UW-Madison have achieved a groundbreaking feat by developing an electric motor using 3D printing technology. According to The Wisconsin State Journal, this prototype incorporates a "higher-percentage silicon electrical steel," which effectively reduces energy loss.

The prototype takes on a circular shape with prongs designed for winding wires around them, allowing for the generation of an electrical field, also known as a stator. The most significant innovation in the design lies in the prongs themselves, featuring intricate patterns of thin geometric lines aimed at minimizing energy loss. In contrast, the conventional method for producing such stators involves a lamination process that rolls coils of electrical steel.

The team responsible for creating this motor prototype hails from both UW-Madison and England. It comprises FNU Nishanth, a post-doctoral research assistant at UW-Madison, and his advisor, Eric Severson, along with Alexander Goodall, a Ph.D. student at the University of Sheffield in England, and his advisor, Iain Todd. The collaborative effort began in July 2020 when they met at a conference and recognized the potential to jointly develop an entirely new type of motor. [Read More]

The African Bongo: Big Horns? Low Branches? No Problem!

by Oliver Zink, age 12

The bongo is Africa's most colorful antelope. They can weigh up to 892 pounds and have spiral shaped horns which can grow up to 39 inches long. The bongos’ big ears help with hearing the slightest noise from predators.

Bongos have patterns in their coats which makes it easier to spot each other in shaded areas. This patterns is also broken up across the bongo’s coat, making it especially helpful for camouflage.

Bongos reach sexual maturity when they are 30 months old. They mate throughout the year, however, they can only have one calf at a time. Bongos live in rainforests and they lean their head back while running to prevent getting their horns stuck in the foliage. Their diet consists of plants, buds, leaves and roots. They roam all over the rainforest to find the best food. [Read More]

Four Consecutive “Supermoons” Visible in Wisconsin this Fall

by Dayanis Torres Cruz, age 13

In the coming months, there will be a lunar eclipse, a blue moon, and multiple supermoons. Supermoons are brighter and are seven percent bigger than the average size of a full moon because the moon is closest to Earth during these times.

There will be a blue supermoon on August 30th, which is very rare. It will be the second full moon of the month. The term "blue supermoon" was coined in 1883 after the Krakatoa Volcano eruption, as debris in the sky gave the moon a blue appearance.

The full harvest supermoon will occur on September 29th, following the fall equinox. During this time, farmers can work at night due to the moonlight illuminating all the crops. [Read More]

Craving Control: The Science Behind Junk Food Addiction

by Elim Eyobed, age 12

If you've ever had a craving for junk food, you're certainly not alone. Whether it's chips, pizza, donuts, or cake, these processed foods are so flavorful that they can become extremely addictive. As a result, it can be very difficult to stop eating.

While addiction is typically associated with drugs or alcohol, some researchers have discovered that junk food can elicit similar addictive responses. The stimulating effect of junk food triggers a recurring cycle within the brain's reward circuit. Junk food induces the release of dopamine, which in turn brings about a sense of happiness in a similar fashion to drugs and alcohol.

The primary concern here isn't necessarily the presence of carbohydrates or fats, as healthier foods such as nuts and meat contain fats, and oats are rich in carbs. Rather, the issue lies in the fact that many unhealthy foods lack the essential nutrients that unprocessed foods used to contain. Consequently, the combination of sugars and fats in these foods creates a cycle that makes it challenging to resist eating them. [Read More]

The Vampire Spiders Are the Secret Blood-Lovers of the Insect World

by Riya Adhikari, age 12

Everyone talks about blood-loving mosquitos, but does anyone talk about the blood-loving spiders? Evarcha culicivora, also called vampire spiders, are a type of spider that feeds on blood. They are called mosquito terminators.

Evarcha likes both animal and human blood. Vampire spiders cannot bite through skin or animal hide because their mouthparts are not built for this ability.

Vampire spiders depend on mosquitoes to get the blood they desire. Their favorite types of mosquitoes are Anopheles, which are the main malaria spreaders in Africa. This mosquito species sits with its bottom sticking up in the air, while the majority of mosquitos sit with their bottoms on the floor. Their posture is an advantage for baby spiders. They can crawl under the mosquito’s abdomen, jump up, then grab onto the mosquito. While it flies away, the little spiders hang on to the mosquito and inject it with their venom. They then have a big feast. Vampire spiders live by Lake Victoria in the nations of Kenya and Uganda in the eastern part of Africa. [Read More]

Investigating the Mysterious Snow on Saturn's Moon

by Amelia Pearson, age 13

The snow on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, can bury almost any skyscraper on Earth. Scientists would like to find out why.

The snow’s depth on Enceladus shows that its water vapor could have been more active in the past. Geysers on the moon allow for water from a salty ocean under an icy shell to rise to the surface of Enceladus. Some of this water contributes to forming one of Saturn’s rings. According to the researchers, the rest of this water seems to land back on the ground in the form of snow. Scientists believe that if they could fully understand the snow's properties, it could help uncover Enceladus’ history.

For scientists to fully understand the properties of the snow on Enceladus, they looked into Iceland. In Iceland, there are marks in the ground made from loose rocks, ice, or snow called pit chains. Scientists discovered they are very similar to features on Enceladus. [Read More]

The Cosmic Oasis and Jupiter's Largest Moons

by Amelia Pearson, age 13

One of the three largest moons on Jupiter, named Europa, is said to be the most promising place to find alien life in our solar system today.

Recently, there was a mission launched by the European Space Agency called the Juice mission to Jupiter. The Juice mission’s main job is to make observations of Jupiter. The spacecraft's purpose is to also get close-up images of the three largest moons of Jupiter. The three largest moons are Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. They are all very icy and it is believed beneath their surfaces, there are oceans.

These moons were not discovered until the 17th century by Galileo. He also discovered a fourth moon on Jupiter named Io. This moon is hot and fiery, covered in mostly volcanoes, which are the most active out of anywhere in the solar system. Galileo discovered these four moons on Jupiter, and he realized that Earth is not the center of the universe. [Read More]

120-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Fossil Sheds Light on Bird Evolution

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, 15

Scientists have just discovered a 120-million-year-old fossil that could help us learn more about landbound dinosaurs and their evolution into flying birds.

The Cratonavis Zhui bird was revealed to have a dinosaur-like head and a body similar to that of today's birds.

This bird originated from the northeast region of China. CT scans found its skull to be nearly identical to that of a theropod dinosaur, similar to the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Chinese Academy of Sciences reports that the Cratonavis skull had not evolved its mobile upper jaw like other birds. [Read More]

The Utahraptor: A Cretaceous Menace with Terrifying Toes

by Aubrey Bevenue, age 12

When it roamed the Earth centuries ago, the Utahraptor reached over seven feet tall. It had many feathers and was a vicious predator found in eastern Utah. It was the bigger version of the Velociraptor.

The Utahraptor weighed about 1,500 pounds. Its jaws were so enormous that they could fit a person's full head and half of the chest with no problem. It had large claws, two hands and feet. One toe had a huge long claw while the other was average in size. This claw curved served as a slicing tool and could grow to be a foot long. In fact, when the Utahraptor hunted prey, it used its claws to rip the animal open and bite it at the same time.

The Utahraptor lived approximately 125 to 120 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. Utahraptors were members of a dinosaur family called Dromaeosauridae. This family also included Velociraptor and Deinonychus. These animals were smaller than the Utahraptor, but their traits were quite similar, such as having a sharp toe. [Read More]

Algae Is Vital to Marine Ecosystems

by Dayanis Torres, age 13

Algae is a type of seaweed in lakes and other bodies of water. There are different types of algae like green, brown, gold and red. Most serve the same type of purpose for different locations.

Green algae is the most commonly known algae as there are around 8,000 species. It is a key link of the food chain for aquatic organisms and marine life. It’s located in lakes, ponds, and streams. Green algae also serves a purpose for providing aquatic organisms with oxygen. This comes from a cycle of photosynthesis, where a plant is exposed in sunlight to produce energy.

Brown algae is more rare to find since there are only 1,500 species around the world. Brown algae is mainly used as fertilizer. It is also contained in many Asian snacks, specifically it is most popularly used in the seaweed found in sushi. [Read More]

How Humans Harnessed Fire

by Sedona Afeworki, age 14

Fire, a chemical reaction, is the burning of a combustible substance with oxygen, fuel, and heat. The reaction radiates heat and light. There are various uses for fire such as to cook food, to keep warm, and to light a candle. However, how did early humans use fire to their advantage?

The first proof of fire dates to around 440 million years ago, before human existence. Millions of years later, the ancestors of early humans called “hominins” discovered how fire could be used once they moved to the african savannas. However hominins were not the first to discover fire; in reality, no one did. Instead, there were chemical reactions that kept happening in the grasslands, which resulted in many wildfires. Instead of trying to invent it, hominins tried to control fire and some archeologists believe that the hominins learned to do so and maintain flame around 2.5 million years ago. But there was no apparent evidence to prove this theory. While stone tools can still be found by archaeologists many years later, the presence of fire cannot be tracked in early history.

By observing the behavior of animals today, researchers have attempted to explain how hominins first used fire. For example, different types of birds and even chimpanzees in the savanna take advantage of the newly mobilized and visible prey. [Read More]

In a Distant Part of our Solar System, Astronomers Find New Ring Orbiting a Small, Icy World

by Allison Torres, age 14

Billions of miles beyond Neptune, astronomers have found a new ring in space orbiting a small ice world named Quaoar. It was discovered by an international group of researchers with several Brazilian members.

Sixty researchers from different countries used telescopes on Earth and in space to confirm that the ring is orbiting approximately 2,500 miles above the surface of Quaoar.

Quaoar is about 6 billion kilometers from Earth. In other words, if someone were to walk, it would take more than one million years to get there. [Read More]

Scientists "Rediscover" the Jambato Harlequin Frog in Ecuador

by Shalom Shalmat, age 14

Is it possible for an animal that has been extinct to make a comeback? Across Central and South America there is a group of bejeweled frogs that is doing just that. The group is called the Harlequin frogs, which is a category of 100 different colored frogs.

After several researchers reported in the December Biological conservation that “roughly one third of harlequin frogs presumed to have gone extinct since the 1950s has been rediscovered,” Klye Jaynes, a conservation biologist at Michigan State University believes this is a glimmer of hope. When Jaynes heard about the jambato harlequin frog, he was motivated to begin researching how many harlequin frogs have returned from extinction.

A fungus caused the frog to fully disappear from 1988 to 1989. People searched for this frog for years. Scientists ran extreme research and pastors even offered rewards to their congregations if anyone found one. After being missing for decades, in 2016 a boy discovered a small population of Jambato frogs in a mountain valley in Ecuador. [Read More]

How Raccoons Thrive in Cityscapes and Wilderness — by Siwoo Park, age 12

Raccoons, also known as trash pandas, are adaptable mammals that live in both rural and urban areas. These furry bandits will do anything to survive harsh environments. [Read More]

Learn About Wisconsin's Only Endangered Mammal — by Siwoo Park, age 12

Pine martens are recovering in Wisconsin after nearing extinction because of over-trapping and habitat loss. These furry, agile weasels are seeing a population upturn as environmental officials take steps to secure the pine forests they call home. [Read More]

El poderoso rugido y la mente inteligente de los leones — Por Semeia Zerezghi, 9 años de edad

Panthera leo o leones son los reyes y reinas de las bestias y son conocidos por ser criaturas reales aterradoras. Sin embargo, lo que la mayoría de la gente no sabe es que los leones también son increíblemente inteligentes. [Read More]

Aprende cómo se forman los fósiles de dinosaurios — por Bruno Torres, 8 años de edad

Al visitar museos de dinosaurios, normalmente uno encuentra grandes reconstrucciones de dinosaurios con lo que parecen ser sus huesos. En realidad, estas estructuras no son huesos y se llaman fósiles. Los fósiles son elementos o restos que quedan después de la muerte de animales y plantas; por lo general, se remontan a al menos 10,000 años. [Read More]

Learn About the Early Life of Koalas, From Jelly Bean to Joey — by Ermiyas Abiy, age 8

Picture a jelly bean; now, picture a koala in the shape of a jelly bean. That’s how big koalas are when they are born. Koalas are a type of marsupial, which are animals that are born in a pouch. When a baby koala is born, it is called a joey. The joey is very petite, weighing one gram and only spanning two centimeters in length. The koala is hairless, blind, and has no ears, but it will eventually grow ears once it grows older. [Read More]

The 'Super Croc' That Could Have Hunted Dinosaurs — by Riya Adhikari, age 12

The Sarcosuchus Imperator, otherwise known as the “Super Croc,” was an ancient species of crocodile. It lived around 113 million years ago. [Read More]

Learn About the Armored Giant of the Dinosaur World — by Ermiyas Abiy, age 8

The Ankylosaurus was an armored dinosaur species that became extinct long ago. It was the heaviest armored dinosaur in the world. Surprisingly, there were spikes in their skin, too! With its solid and durable plates, this herbivorous dinosaur was very hard to attack and quickly defended itself. Their plates served as protection against carnivores, and male Ankylosaurs also used them in self-defense against other males to win over their mates. [Read More]

Ancient Human Footprints Found in White Sands National Park Raise Questions — by Dani Garduno Martinez, age 11

Many people usually imagine mammoths, dinosaurs, and ancient beasts when considering fossils. However, a large majority of people miss an important category: human fossils. A recent discovery was made in White Sands National Park in New Mexico. [Read More]

Hop into the World of Kangaroos — by Reety Subedi, age 7

Kangaroos are the tallest marsupials on the planet. When they stand up, they can measure over two meters tall and they weigh around 90 kilograms. Kangaroos have two small front legs and two powerful back legs. Additionally, they also have a very strong tail, which helps them balance when jumping. [Read More]

NASA Launching Unmanned Craft to Explore Metal Asteroid — by Theodore Morrison, age 16

An object traveling just above half the speed of sound. Sounds intimidating? Not for NASA, intend to launch an unmanned spacecraft into space to investigate an object which is made up of an unknown metal. NASA hopes to gain new insight from the asteroid in regards to Earth and its history. [Read More]

LED-Embedded Bandages: A Bright Future for Wound Care — by Amelia Pearson, age 13

There is a big difference between normal bandages and future LED-embedded bandages. Modern bandages are currently being developed at the University Of Southampton in England. These bandages can stop microbes from reproducing and can also kill the microbes. [Read More]

Learn all About Sea Otters, Nature's Aquatic Acrobats — by Joseph Zheng, age 9

Sea otters live in the water, specifically on the coast of the Northern and Eastern Pacific Ocean up until they reach three months of age. [Read More]

The Destructive Nature and Ecological Benefits of Wildfires — by Aubrey Bevenue, age 12

Wildfires have very destructive powers. Powerlines, campfires, lightning strikes, and other sources can start wildfires. Grasslands and forests are the main areas where fires can occur. [Read More]

The Greenland Shark's 400-Year Lifespan and Mysterious Existence — by Bruno Torres, age 7

Did you know that Greenland sharks can live for 400 years? That is more than the longest-living land animals. Along with their long lifespan, they are also known to be the biggest fish in the Arctic Ocean. The Greenland shark can live 7,200 feet underwater, where the temperature is between 28 to 44 degrees Fahrenheit. [Read More]

Discovering the World of Rays: From Manta Rays to Electric Rays — by Jeronimo Rosero, age 9

Rays are interesting creatures that have been around for 150 million years. They are calm animals but when you disturb them, they can attack using their venomous spines or barbs on their tails. There are various types of rays including stingrays, manta rays, butterfly rays, and electric rays. [Read More]

Lumpectomy Advances Breast Cancer Treatment — by Dulce Maria Vazquez, age 14

A new study has found that many women with breast cancer can get rid of the tumors without having their breasts removed. This can be achieved through a lumpectomy, the surgical removal of multiple cancer lumps. This surgery usually lasts about 40 minutes with patients claiming that it is not a painful operation, Patients who dealt with many tumors have been studied using sensitive imaging techniques. [Read More]

New Research Leads to More Fentanyl Testing — by Camila Cruz, age 16

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 44. However, due to outdated drug testing standards in emergency rooms, fentanyl overdoses are often missed or mistreated. [Read More]

Cómo se estudian las ondas sísmicas para observar el interior de la Tierra — por Alejandro Berrueta, 11 años de edad; traducido por Samuel Garduño Martínez

Los científicos siguen siendo más avanzados, tal como su conocimiento de la sismología sigue incrementando. Estos avances están ayudando a los ciudadanos de todo el mundo a tomar refugio antes de un desastre, sin importar si es natural o artificial.  [Read More]

The Closest Black Hole to Earth is just 1,500 light-years Away — by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 13

There are plenty of black holes in outer space. Astronomers have found what they believe is currently the closest black hole to Earth. [Read More]

William Bebee Pushed Barriers in Scuba Diving — by Marie Pietz, age 11

Exploring the sea is something that most of us don’t think about, but it’s important to understand the dangers of it as well as seeing how it can be successfully accomplished. [Read More]

Webb Space Telescope Sends New Images to Scientists on Planet Earth — by Lah’Nylah Bivens, age 15

The James Space Webb Telescope launched on December 25th, 2021. It is the newest and most powerful space telescope. It has been sending images and data to scientists on Earth since early summer 2022. [Read More]

Greenland’s Frozen Hinterlands are Melting Faster than Expected — by Theodore B. Morrison, age 15

Climate change has been impacting the planet for ages since humans started producing greenhouse gases. One impact climate change has had is the melting of the glaciers, which scientists have been trying to track for some time. One group has been following a particular ice stream to help keep track of the effects of climate change. [Read More]

Plants: Poultice or Poison? — by Juan Esteban Palma, age 10

It is important for humans to understand that some plants have medicinal properties and have been utilized for centuries to heal wounds or maintain well-being. In ancient times, healing plants were grown in special gardens and used to heal injuries. Today, there are still many plants used for medicine or other needs. [Read More]

2.5-Yard Elephant Tusk Fossil Discovered in Israel — by Desteny Alvarez, age 17

Researchers in Israel recently found a 2.5-yard-long fossil that belonged to a long-extinct straight-tusked elephant. It is believed to be the largest fossil ever found at a prehistoric site in the country. [Read More]

Scientists Say Invasive Species of Crayfish Might Leave Wisconsin on its Own — by Lah’Nylah Bivens, age 15

The rusty crayfish appeared in Wisconsin 50 years ago. Since this crayfish is not native to Wisconsin it is considered an invasive species. The rusty crayfish pushed native crayfish out of their dens and ate the native aquatic plants, causing harm to the lakes. This harmed the local spawning grounds, leaving fish unprotected. Rusty crayfish may have found their way to Wisconsin by traveling in buckets to be used as bait. These crayfish are native to Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and the streams of the Ohio River Basin states. They also can be found in New Mexico, Northeastern states, areas in Ontario, Canada, and states surrounding Wisconsin. [Read More]

Study Reveals COVID-19 Pandemic Prematurely Aged Teen Brains — by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

New MRI brain scans show that teen brains have matured beyond the years of their physical age (as much as three to four years) after the Covid-19 pandemic. This shows the importance of this time for teens’ brain development. [Read More]

Learn More About Okapis — by Aarosh Subedi, age 10

Okapis are mammals that originate and live in the Ituri Rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Scientists say this animal looks like a cross between a deer and a zebra. However, its nickname is the “forest giraffe" and it is a relative of the giraffe. The Latin name of an okapi is Okapia Johnstoni. [Read More]

What's So Special About Earth? — by Ian Kosharek, age 10

Earth is a planet consisting of many essential layers and interesting features. These unique aspects of Earth make it a foundation for life and allow for the survival of species on the planet. [Read More]

Local Observatory Renamed For STEM Pioneer Jocelyn Bell Burnell — by Mariah Justice, age 17

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another,” said Greek philosopher Plato. With the renaming event on September 7 for the Bell Burnell Observatory— previously the Oscar Mayer Observatory—Madison has a new facility for cultivating the exploration of astronomy. [Read More]

Who Created These Mysterious Pillars in Ireland? — by Jonah Smith, age 14

Strange pillars reside in County Antrim, Ireland. They have an unusual shape that appears to be man made. These tightly wedged pillars descend in tiers, in a staircase all the way down to the sea. These columns are mostly hexagonal, though the number of sides these structures have may vary. Although their shape implies that they are manufactured, the complete opposite is true. [Read More]

The Mammal that Helped Take Over the Globe — by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 12

Researchers have discovered a prehistoric mammal with a two to five years life cycle that they call the Manbearpig. The mammal’s short lifespan is likely due to their months-long pregnancy, a trait scientists believe helped mammals dominate the world after the extinction of the dinosaurs. [Read More]

The Only Canids Known to Fish — by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 12

For the first time, researchers observed a fox fishing for food. After seeing the red fox, they joined the group of land mammals that also hunt for fish. [Read More]

Should We Add Insects to Our Diet? — by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 14

When we think about consuming bugs, most of us would immediately respond by saying, “ew!” Although bugs may look nasty or creepy, they are a good source of protein. If insects are raised and prepared correctly, the protein they carry can be beneficial for our bodies. Raising them requires less water, less land, and overall less resources than other animals. [Read More]

Would You Want to Live on Neptune? — by Dilma Attidekou, age 8

Neptune, the smallest out of all outer planets, is known for its blue color. Methane is the reason for its color. Neptune has less then four percent of methane within its atmosphere.[Read More]

Native Asian Moth Spotted in Washington State — by Justin Medina Ruiz, age 13

On July 7, 2022, a giant moth with a ten-inch wingspread was discovered in a garage of a home in the state of Washington. Thankfully, the moth species does not pose a public health threat. The Atlas moth originates from the tropical forests of Asia and has not been seen before in the U.S. [Read More]

Scientists Watch as Jupiter Comes Close to Planet Earth — by Allison Torres, age 14

Earlier this year, people were able to get a glimpse of Jupiter's rings and moons with only a telescope or binoculars. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and in September it passed closer to Earth than it has in 59 years. [Read More]

How Submarines Sparked Arctic Exploration — by Daniel Li, age 14

Built-in 1952, the USS Nautilus was the first submarine ever powered by a nuclear reactor and, coincidentally, also the first to ever reach the North Pole by traveling under ice. William Anderson, the commander of the Nautilus, wrote in his logbook, “Embarked following personage at North Pole: Santa Claus, affiliation: Christmas.” Spending multiple days underwater had not seemed to affect the commander’s sense of humor. [Read More]

First Plant Successfully Sprouts in Lunar Soil — by Daniel Li, age 15

The first seeds to ever sprout in lunar soil poked their heads above moon dirt at the University of Florida in May. Decades of research and experimentation led to this breakthrough which marks the first time terrestrial plants have grown in extra-terrestial soil. It also offers hope that astronauts will one day be able to grow food on the moon. [Read More]

New Fossil Discovery Sheds Light on a Mesozoic Era Species — by Chelsea Zheng, age 9<br>

The Ichthyosaur is well known by the name “sea dragon.” In February 2021, a 32 foot long Ichthyosaur fossil from 180 million years ago was found in England—the largest and most complete skeleton of its kind. [Read More]

Will the Tasmanian Tiger Roam the Earth Once More? — by Sandy Flores-Ruíz, age 16

For the past years —scientists have thought about reviving extinct species. Scientists in Australia and the U.S. have recently started a multi-million dollar project to bring back the Tasmanian tiger from extinction. [Read More]

New Super Computer Ranked Most Powerful in World

by Julian Medina Ruiz, age 14

Recently, a new supercomputer named Frontier passed a major milestone. This computer can perform one quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. Frontier’s storage system is able to hold 33 times more data than currently housed in the entire Library of Congress. This new computer was introduced on May 30, 2022 by the TOP500, a list that ranks the 500 most powerful computers in the world.

To create one Frontier, scientists and researchers combined74 HPE Cray EX supercomputers, which supports next-generation supercomputing performance and scale supercomputer cabinets. Included in this system are 9,400 AMD-powered nodes, each of them containing an optimized processor and four graphics processing units. This computer uses liquid to cool down—instead of fans which often generate too much noise as the computer does calculations. Frontier communicates its information with an HPE Slingshot, an Ethernet fabric connected to all of its cabinets and nodes, making Frontier the fastest computer in the world. It took around three years to build Frontier.

Frontier’s highly developed performance will be critical in finding answers to the world’s challenging problems. A director from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Thomas Zacharia, said, “It is the result of more than a decade of collaborations among the national laboratories, academia and private industry..." [read more]

Asteroid to Approach Earth in 2029 — by Lah’Nylah Bivens, age 15

In the year 2029 there will be an asteroid named 99942 Apophis that will approach Earth for the first time. However, after years of calculation and observation scientists have stated that it will not make an impact on the planet. [Read More]

From Water to Land Back to Water Again: the Evolution of the Qikitania — by Giovanni Tecuatl Lopez, age 17

There are many speculations regarding evolution and how it took place. Many think of evolution as a linear timeline; but this is not always the case and such can be seen in creatures like the Qikitania and Tiktaalik. [Read More]

Primera planta brota con éxito en suelo lunar — por Daniel Li, 15 años

Las primeras semillas que brotaron en suelo lunar asomaron sus cabezas por encima de la tierra lunar en la Universidad de Florida en mayo. Décadas de investigación y experimentación condujeron a este avance que marca la primera vez que las plantas terrestres crecen en suelo extraterrestre. También ofrece la esperanza de que algún día los astronautas puedan cultivar alimentos en la luna. [Read More]

We Bet You Don't Know About this Hyena! — by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 14

You might think there is only one type of hyena, but no, there's more! There are two different types of hyenas: brown hyenas and Aardwolf hyenas. These hyenas look like dogs, but they are cat-like carnivores. A carnivore is an animal that only eats meat. Brown hyenas can easily digest skin and bones with their sharp teeth. They scavenge for lions that have previously been killed by other carnivores or hunt for their own prey. [Read More]

How Dinosaur Eggs Reveal Differences in Species — by Camila Cruz, age 15

Modern birds have many similarities to dinosaurs, from their feathers and feet to hollow bones and laying eggs. Recently, paleontologists found another feature dinosaurs shared that is their unique way of hatching, called tucking. [Read More]

Orcas Learn to Hunt in Family Groups — by Tierra Flowers, age 13

On March 21, 2019, researchers in Western Australia were studying orcas, a species also known as killer whales. Suddenly, the scientists witnessed a phenomenon that no one had previously seen. They observed orcas killing the world’s largest animal, a blue whale. [Read More]

Japanese Scientists Discover that Saturn's Rings Will Dissipate — by Avaiana House, age 14

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System. It is known for the colorful rings surrounding it, made up of rock and icy materials. These rings consists of colors such as pink, red, brown or gray. [Read More]

From the Big Bang to Humankind: How Life Emerged — by Julian Medina Ruiz, age 14

About 12 billion years ago, a big explosion, presently known as the “Big Bang,” created the universe. [Read More]

A Star is Born: The Life Cycle of Stars — by Valeria Moreno Lopez, age 16

Every single birth of a star in the sky begins in an immense cloud of gas, dust, and debris. These colorful clouds are called nebulae, cosmic wonders that swirl around space undisturbed for millions of years. [Read More]

Smaller than a T-Rex, the Gorgosaurus was Faster and Hunted in Packs — by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 13

There was a dinosaur named Gorgosaurus that was discovered a few years ago. The Gorgosaurus is a relative of the T-Rex, but were smaller, with a stronger bite and faster speed. [Read More]

What Will Happen to Earth When the Sun Dies? — by Juan Esteban Palma Zuluaga, age 10

Our sun, like other stars, will die. Stars only shine as long as they have a source of energy, and eventually that gives out. [Read More]

The Science Behind Spring's Most Popular Weed — by Malak Al Quraishi, age 12

When you're picking weeds, you may wonder how dandelions spread so easily across the grass. You might ask yourself, why are dandelions so effective at spreading their seeds widely? [Read More]

Pluto Is Not a Planet – It’s a Dwarf Planet — by Hiba Al-Quraishi, age 14

Pluto is referred to as a “dwarf planet” due to its diminutive size. Pluto is only half the size of North America which is why it’s categorized as a dwarf planet. [Read More]

As Electric Car Sales Increase, Ford and GM Struggle to Catch Tesla — by Giovanni Tecuatl Lopez, age 17

Have you ever wondered if Tesla has competitors in the electric car market? Both Ford and General Motors (GM) have Tesla as target number one; these companies, already in the electric car market, plan to close the gap between them and Tesla. [Read More]

The Canola Flower: Beautiful and Delicious! — by Sol Saray, age 10

Canola is a flower that blooms in late winter to early spring representing Jeju Island in South Korea. It is a type of rapeseed and is part of the mustard family. There is even a festival named after the canola flower. [Read More]

How an Ancient Civilization Thrived and then Collapsed — by Emily Rodriguez, age 13

A mysterious ancient civilization on the island of Malta collapsed within two generations, despite surviving for more than a millennium. [Read More]