The Dark Side of the Moon Revealed

Have you ever wondered to yourself what really hides on the “dark side” of the moon? Truthfully, the answer is well…quite disappointing.

The dark side of the moon is no darker than any other side of the moon, it just faces away from Earth, therefore, not having as much sunlight exposure of the surface to our planet.

Nonetheless, the moon orbits the Earth in roughly twenty-nine days, so this dark patch moves across the planet form time to time. As the moon’s dark side is constantly rotating, it not even always the same exact section of the planets surface that we see.

This side can also be known as the “far side” of the moon. In essence, the dark side, or the far side of the moon, is mainly just large craters in a rocky area of harsh terrain and mountainous spaces . In terms of the darker space on the moons surface, these are in fact areas that are hidden in the shadows, so never receiving.

For example, the bottom spaces of larger craters on the moon often receive no sunlight, as the rigid edges of the craters are too tall to allow any of the sun’s light to shine on the ground. In face, each side of the moon experiences two weeks of the same patterns of light in a row, i.e., two weeks straight of darkness and nighttime or two weeks of straight sunlight and daytime.

The moon also has darker spotting on the smoother, more visible to the light surface, known as “Maria” -a term used to describe dark seas lacking light. These spots are much less common on the dark side of the moon, as the surface is flat, leaving less space for these spots to develop.

Similarly, the moon phases, such as crescent, waning, waxing, etc., often show different portions of the moon in visible light at a time, so the amount of the moon’s surface that we see varies from time to time.

During the twenty-eight day orbit, it is likely that humans on Earth will see the majority of different surfaces that are present on the moon, albeit with more details using a professional telescope than with the naked eye. This way, we may have a better chance of learning more about and study the fascinating details of the moon.

Hello Science Weekly Fix Followers!

Many of our contributors have had changes in their schedules in the past couple months. Some interns have left our blog site altogether. We will be hiring new members to join our volunteer intern position. If interested in this position or to find out more, send an email through the contact form on this website, and you will hear back from one of us shortly!

Expect new and updated content coming your way, as we gear back to provide you with more exciting content!

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Mission to Mars

A glimmer of hope was what the Mars mission showed us.

It was the first time that microphones were sent to Mars. Sounds were recorded of the winds by perseverance -the rover of NASA (Source). It is important to note that sounds travel differently on planet Mars than on planet Earth, and scientists are working on finding the source of a high-pitched sound that the rover had recorded in the audio file. The team at NASA hope to use Perseverance’s microphones in the near future to record the sound of the rover’s drill coring out the rock specimens.

With the launch of the Mars rover, NASA can collect biological samples for the first time ever since the discovery of water sources. This is an extraordinary moment in history as NASA scientists can use these samples to determine the habitability of the planet. Specifically, the samples being taken will be of the dirt and soil to examine the viability of cultivating crops to Mars (Hautaluoma et al, 1). Recent studies indicate by 2100, the Earth will be engulfed by a heat wave killing almost all of the marine life, forestry, and agriculture (Tollefson, 2). NASA’s goal is to determine if Mars will be the next stop on our journey in the galaxy. In fact, the livelihood of humanity may depend of the finds from the biological samples extracted from Mars.

-By: Maniza R & Haley M.

Black Holes- Mystery Solved?

If you ever sat back to consider the universe, one aspect you may have considered is black holes. How is it even possible that there is a hole in our Universe? Where does the hole lead? There are so many questions to consider.

In order to understand the answers to all of these questions, one must first figure out what exactly is meant by black hole. A black hole is an area in space where the gravitational pull is so strong that light cannot even escape. It typically has more mass packed into a small area. Black holes normally cannot be seen by usual astrological tools that show other masses in the sky, due to the fact that black holes are basically invisible. Black holes can only be seen through special tools known as ultraviolet telescopes.

So, having now determined what black holes are, we must ask where they come from. Black holes are formed after a star dies in its supernova explosion and the remnants form the star, if it is large enough, will then form the hole almost instantly.

Inside a black hole, time almost completely stops. Black holes slow time significantly when closer in range. Black holes do not have known ends, nor do we know what exactly is inside them, since the gravitational force basically compresses anything inside into small sub-particles.

Other than knowing what happens to objects once into a black hole, we do not know much more information on them. This is due to the fact that we do not have any close enough in range to us that are of appropriate size. Similarly, black holes can be minor in size or extreme. That being said, although the mystery of black holes was only partially solved, make sure to keep up to date with future research on black holes, because we never truly know what the current research scientists will discover. Different types of black holes are also being discovered each day, so make sure to keep looking into this topic.

-By: Dominique Preate -Intern at Science WeeklyFix

The COVID-19 Vaccine…What is in it?

The COVID-19 vaccine is the current buzz in all of society due to its importance of saving millions of lives around the globe. However, many individuals debate whether or not they should get the vaccine, as they fear the ingredients, time of release, and possible side effects.

Many people fear that with vaccines having a portion of the disease that they are aiming to target in them, that each person will then contract the virus and possibly die. It is important to get approval from a health care practitioner first, and then make the decision if the vaccine is harmful or not to your individual health circumstances.

This article touches on what exactly makes up the vaccine to ensure there should be no fear in taking the vaccine, so as to assist in mass vaccination campaigns that are taking place around many nations as we write this post. The goal is, that if everyone becomes vaccination, the virus would be quickly eradicated from society or be at a baseline level.

The ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine include mRNA, lipids, salts, sugar, acids, and acid stabilizers. The Pfizer vaccine is made of mRNA, (or messenger ribonucleic acid) in order to help our immunities, become activated to fight off a virus. The lipids in this vaccine include cholesterol, staroyl, and 3 others listed here.

All of these ingredients protect the mRNA to get into cells to continue protecting against viruses. Salts in the vaccine include potassium chloride, mono basic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, and dibasic sodium phosphate dehydrate. The purpose of these salts is to balance the acidity in the body. Sugar, or sucrose, is in the vaccine to help molecules retain shape during freezing of the vaccine.

These ingredients differ from that of the Modern Vaccine, which has mRNA similar to Pfizer, but everything else seems to differ. It has the lipids, SM-102, DMG-PEG 2000, cholesterol, and DSPC to similarly help deliver the mRNA to the cells for extensive protection and guard against the virus. It includes, acetic acid, tomethamine, and tromethamine hydrochloride, sodium acetate and sucrose to stabilize the vaccine post-production.

So, what do all of these ingredients mean in simpler terms? It means that most of these ingredients found in other vaccines and medications or common chemical compounds all together and the small portion within it that will not impact anyone nearly as dangerous as many believe that it may do.

In all, it is a wise decision to be vaccinated in order to combat the virus, rather than to trust natural immune systems to defend the body. The vaccine, although it may have side effects, is nothing nearly as strong or harmful as the virus itself.

-By: Dominique Preate -Intern at Science Weekly Fix

Time To Save The Dying Coral Reefs

For the past ten years, we have heard about the most beautiful coral reefs in the world dying by the day. Issues such as climate change and pollution most certainly impact the alarming rates at which the reefs are dying, but what is the true driving cause behind their downfall?

The simple answer is human pollution habits. Humans allow chemicals such as Nitrogen and fertilized topsoil to run into the ocean, then cutting off the coral and allowing other plants to grow over coral and destroy it. Soil, for example is a major contributor to these surface issues that harm coral.

If humans began cleaning up the environment more frequently and cutting back on the usage of harmful fertilizing products, the coral reefs could have damage reduced significantly. The current projection is that the coral reefs will have completely died by fifty years from now. Thus, human cleanliness habits of the environment need to change immediately, before it to too late to be reversed.

Another cause of the dying coral reefs is that of rising water temperatures, where the seawater temperatures and acidification have greatly increased, mostly due to climate change as a whole. For example, many large commercial companies have been charged on multiple occasions for over-fishing in areas, allowing more pollution and destruction underwater from their actions, creating cloudy water from once clear blue. The result of the cloudy waters leads to the shedding of tissue from the coral, changing them from their normal colourful and beautiful forms to a shade of white, known mainly as the issue of coral bleaching.

Tourism has been consistent with coral reef locations such as the Great Barrier Reef, which was one of the reasons that damage there was so severe, due to the pollution entering the water when the humans came to visit each day. .

The main way to try and cure such issues of coral bleaching are by focusing on preventing more ocean pollution, holding large commercial companies accountable for their actions of destructive fishing and their runoff of harmful chemicals into the water, and most importantly, limiting ourselves to using less fertilizer and products that we know are harmful to the planet.

We need to stop being tourists to Earth, and start being care-takers to it, just as the Earth has taken care of us for so many years. Together we can all save the dying coral- but only if we work together and make a true, strong effort.

-By: Dominique Preate -Intern at Science WeeklyFix

The Truth About Blue Light Glasses

Have you ever wondered what blue light glasses really accomplish and why everyone has been rushing to buy them over the last year? Well, look no further!

The purpose and product behind the blue light glasses lenses are as simple as this. Most individuals in society today are completely attached to their technological devices-whether it be a smart phone, tablet, laptop, television, etc. These electronics emit blue light from their screens that can cause possible permanent damage to the eye due to the amount of exposure. This causes worry for most people as screen time on devices was a record high during the pandemic. Thus, the field of optometry began developing glasses with a special filter that helps block these blue light ways and rays from damaging our eyes, especially your retina.

The reduction in the amount of blue light being taken by the human eyes then means a lower chance of having permanent eye damage from staring a screen for too long, so any glasses with the new marketed blue light filters are selling off of the store shelves faster than ever before. The quarantine period during the pandemic sent many people into a frenzy of electronic device addictions, thus leading the same people to go out to purchase glasses to protect their eyes from damage most likely caused in the time prior.

However, blue light glasses, in a way, work differently than we may think.

For example, most individuals view their electronic devices in bed at night before falling asleep. When we do so, these blue light rays cause our eyes to believe it is daytime, thus waking up our senses to be awake and active. Using blue light glasses prevent this strain from happening to our eyes if looking at a device at night, so that we are still able to become tired and fall asleep without being wide-awake all hours of the night.

That being said, it seems as if blue light glasses help more with getting a better sleep than actually protecting our eyes. Truthfully, that is about all of the positive effects proven so far, scientifically speaking, that show benefits from the blue light glasses.

Most eye problems in adults and teenagers come directly from the amount of time staring at screens and using electronics, or how close those electronics are to their eyes and what level of brightness for how long at a time. That means that with no official proof yet of actual health problems caused directly by blue light from electronics alone.

Scientists are saying that the major benefits of using blue light glasses are to improve sleep, keep senses balanced, and protect your eyes from other possible light that may be discovered in more research in the future. Until then, it is most likely that the only possible solution to these problems that technology cause for us of possible eye strain and future retina problems means cutting down on screen time as a whole, and instead choosing to go outside, enjoy the fresh air and be active.

-By: Dominique Preate -Intern at Science WeeklyFix

The Discovery of a Novel Methodology to Isolate Rare T-Cells to treat Auto-immune diseases: How this method is currently being used to combat COVID-19?

Source

Everyday, our bodies are exposed to bacteria in the air we breathe or on surfaces we touch. Fortunately, we have a fast immune system kicking in to combat these interactions. This immune system is composed of many molecules, which includes leukocytes such as B cells and T cells. T-cells, also known as T-lymphocyte, is a white blood cell type essential to the immune system .

Image: How T -Cells Work (Source)

These types of white blood cells tailor the bodies response to specific pathogens. In contrast, B cells are a second type of leukocyte determining specificity of immune response to antigens (foreign substances) in the body.

Recently, a study conducted by scientists at the UCLA- Health Sciences Campus indicates rare T cells can be isolated for treatment of variant diseases such as cancers, viruses and more.The Witte lab conducted a study to develop T-cell therapies for patients suffering from auto-immune diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The study detailed a new methodology to isolate the T-cells, called CLInt-Seq . It uses an array of old and modern techniques to isolate the T-cells to make plasma and other treatment therapeutics for the conditions under study.

This method allows researchers to distinguish T-cells with receptors of interest from most bystander cells. Then it uses a unique process of chemical adaption to fix the contents of the cells in place by forming bonds between proteins inside each cell and their surroundings via crosslinking. This addresses the issues which have long plagues scientist’s incapable of finding T-cell receptors for treating viral infections.

This application is currently being used by researchers to determine the T-cells combating SARS-CoV-2 aka COVID-19 with plasma. After extracting a small portion of T cells and making a mixture of plasma for individual patient treatment, it can then be used for other patients who’ve been infected with COVID-19 as a treatment.

Presently, the Witte Lab is using CLINt-Seq methodology to study Prostate Cancer and ongoing research for COVID-19. As the medical community continues to fight on through this pandemic, this might shed light on future developments that research has to offer.

-By: Haley Matthews -Intern at Science WeeklyFix

Is Remdesivir a cure for COVID-19?

With COVID-19 becoming a world-wide pandemic and causing many people to fall ill, scientists and researchers began looking for a possible cure or treatment for COVID.

COVID-19 is caused by a virus; SARS-CoV2, which is a virus similar to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Antivirals, such as Remdesivir, have been developed for MERS over a decade ago. Even during the Ebola virus epidemic, remdesivir was tested and regarded as a safe medication but was overshadowed by other medications that displayed more promising results.

The SARS-CoV2 genetic information is in the form of a single-stranded RNA. In order for a virus to spread, it needs to replicate its genome. An enzyme by the name of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase plays a vital role in the replication process for coronaviruses by adding RNA units to replicate the RNA strands.

Remdesivir has a similar shape to the RNA building unit and this causes the enzyme to add the remdesivir to the growing RNA strand. Due to this, the enzyme is unable to continue the RNA strand. This prevention of completing the RNA strand, which is a necessity for the virus replication, stops the virus from multiplying.

Studies have taken place to see whether Remdesivir can be used as a treatment for COVID-19. A particular study has shown that remdesivir has the potential of being an effective treatment for SARS-CoV2.

A similar study took place in China. Where one group of patients were given the drug Remdesivir and the other group was given a placebo. The study showed that those given Remdesivir had a faster recovery time by 2 days, however it is not clear whether or not this was statistically significant.

Remdesivir was the first drug that was approved by the FDA for treating COVID19. It is not a clear cure, but it shows encouraging signs of being and effective treatment.

-By: Nimla Asgher -Intern at Science WeeklyFix

How to tell Planets from Large Stars

False-color view of Pluto, as seen by New Horizons in 2015. Image via NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI.

The age-old debate over our solar system is whether Pluto is considered a planet or not. Most people would argue that Pluto is a dwarf planet, and some say that due to its size it can not be considered a planet, especially when compared to Mercury or Venus.

Most research professionals in the field use a list of criterions to determine whether or not a body of mass truly can be deemed a planet or not. For example, in order for a mass to be a planet, it absolutely must orbit around the sun as the large planets do. Thus, the moon which is a mass which orbits the Earth alongside while the Earth orbits the sun, is not generally considered as important for distinguishing a planet, the moon is considered less important than Saturn or Mars in this case.

Another common question is whether or not the Sun is a planet given its size. The answer to this is quite astounding. The sun is actually a star, in fact, the largest star in our galaxy The sun could be a planet if it were a star, due to the fact that star temperatures are significantly higher than that of any planet temperature. Also, stars produce their own energy, whereas planets receive energy from the stars surrounding them in orbit. Due to the size of the sun, and its centralized location in our solar system, it helps to equalize the gravity levels in our solar system with its magnitude.

In order to be a planet, a mass needs to be, in simpler terms, rounded. The planet needs to have an almost perfect round shape to ensure it fulfills the hydrostatic equilibrium necessary for its size .

Another key factor is the mass of the planet must be large enough to set the equilibrium into place for the planet shape to form a balanced system. Many researchers use the benchmark size for optimal mass to reach the equilibrium to be 1000 km. The typical way to describe when the size is accurately large enough to be considered a planet means that the planet in question is large enough to dominate the other bodies around orbit through gravity, meaning that its influence can thus make other bodies more comparable in size enough to make the planet in question a basic size.

The planet, Pluto, for example, once studied for years on end, was determined no longer a planet due to the size of other masses in orbit around Pluto that were extremely larger comparable in size, thus making Pluto not quite large enough to be considered a planet. However, it is considered what is now known as a dwarf planet.

Dwarf planets do not have as clear of a path around the sun as large planets do, but rather, face more asteroids and other unevenly-shaped masses. There are nearly two hundred dwarf planets in the solar system currently, which is why the size is a commonly presenting issue.

Pluto, cannot seem to “clear its neighbourhood” around its orbit, as required to be a planet. Due to its size an a number of challenges that damage the suface quite often, it lacks the full ability to be considered a planet, unlike Neptune, which does not have such a problem.

Another example of masses in orbit that cannot clear their neighbourhood that cause problems for a mass such as Pluto include minor planets. Minor planets are most commonly known as asteroids. Obviously asteroids are not planets. However, minor planets are the cause of issues for dwarf planets most commonly.

So, what is the importance of all of this information?

You can not properly answer when asked how many planets are there. The correct answer for the number of full planets in our solar system is eight- the four giant planets, known as Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn, then the four terrestrial planets, Earth, Mars, Mercury, and Venus.

Not only are you now equipped with this knowledge, but you can also explain this to those around you who do not know why Pluto is not a planet, but rather a dwarf planet, and what the differences are.