Cinco de Mayo is a whole bunch of fun! But science doesn’t stop exploring just because you’re having fun in the sun! On this (likely hungover) Monday, we present you with a solar-powered plane, a a promising potential treatment for diabetics, atoms playing “zone defense,” and the Earth’s hot creamy center.
Solar-powered plane finishes leg one of its first flight across the US
“It’s a little bit like being in a dream,” said pilot Bertrand Piccard after landing Solar Impulse—considered to be the world’ most advanced sun-powered plane—in Phoenix Saturday. His flight from San Francisco is the first leg of a journey across the US on a plane that can fly day and night without fuel.
While its wingspan is larger than a Boeing 747’s, the Impulse weighs about as much as a car. It’s vulnerable to bad weather, and has a top speed of just more than 40mph. Developers hope to make a zero-emissions flight around the world in 2015. After a 20-hour flight, the plane—which looks almost like a giant glider—still retained 75% of its battery power.
A network of nanoscale particles could control blood sugar levels in diabetics
Researchers have developed an injectable nano-network that releases insulin in response to blood sugar changes in animal-based laboratory experiments. The particles have an insulin core, and are structured so that exposure to glucose causes their exteriors to break down and release the insulin. A single injection can keep a mouse’s blood sugar levels for up to 10 days.
“White graphene” soaks up pollutants from contaminated water
Made from boron nitride, white graphene is a flat, hexagonally-bonded structure of atoms laid out in large sheets—think of a teeny tiny chain-link fence—that can absorb organic pollutants from contaminated water. These would be substances like industrial chemicals and engine oils. Not only that, the material can be heat “cleaned” and reused.
Turns out, we miscalculated the temperature of the Earth’s core—by 1800 degrees
A recent study based on the melting point of iron shows that the core of the Earth is actually as hot as the surface of the sun (about 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit). This clarification about the difference in temperature between the Earth’s core and mantle helps shed light on Earth’s generation of its own magnetic field.
Starship Solar Impulse lands in Phoenix: