Ben and Lyle chat about music, code, astrophysics and material sciences.
Lyle was sent a ShaveTech USB portable shaver – and surprises Ben on air.
Lyle: “Surprisingly more useful then I thought.”
Although first created in 1931 by American scientist and chemical engineer, Samuel Stephens Kistler, aerogels have recently become a hotly contested area of scientific research. A “multiwalled carbon nanotube (MCNT) aerogel” dubbed “frozen smoke” with a density of 4 mg/cm3 lost its world’s lightest material title in 2011 to a micro-lattice material with a density of 0.9 mg/cm3. Less than a year later, aerographite claimed the crown with its density of 0.18 mg/cm3.
Now a new title-holder has been crowned, with the graphene aerogel created by Gao and his team boasting a density of just 0.16 mg/cm3. To create the record-setting material, Gao and his team turned to the wonder material du jour – graphene. Building on experience in developing macroscopic graphene materials, including one-dimensional graphene fibers and two-dimensional graphene films, the team decided to add another dimension and make a three-dimensional porous material out of graphene in an attempt to claim the record.
For NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, it’s eclipse season.
SDO circles the Earth in a geosynchronous orbit, meaning it makes one complete path around our planet every 24 hours. This is a special orbit, because it means to someone on Earth the satellite stays in one spot in the sky, making communication with it much easier.
But it means that twice a year the orbits of SDO and Earth line up, and the Earth irritatingly gets in the way of SDO’s view of the Sun, partially blocking it. These times are called “eclipse seasons”, and we’re in the middle of one of them now. On Mar. 2, the Earth got between SDO and the Sun…and not only that, a few hours later the Moon did as well! Here’s the result:
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