Moon Asteroid

Until the 1980s, scientists believed that all meteorites came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This white-speckled rock changed all that. Researchers found it in Antarctica in 1981 and noticed its similarity to the moon rocks that Apollo astronauts brought back to Earth. Sure enough, tests showed that this rock came from the moon. In the next 15 years, 11 other moon rocks would be found on Earth.

Moon Asteroid

Until the 1980s, scientists believed that all meteorites came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This white-speckled rock changed all that. Researchers found it in Antarctica in 1981 and noticed its similarity to the moon rocks that Apollo astronauts brought back to Earth. Sure enough, tests showed that this rock came from the moon. In the next 15 years, 11 other moon rocks would be found on Earth.

Meteorite Pop-Art

Scientists use X-rays, dyes, fancy microscopes and other tools to see things we can’t capture with our naked eyes. But these tools aren’t just good for science, they can make art. An exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History explores the beauty in scientific imaging. These pictures illustrate the chemical composition of four meteorites, which was detected by scanning them with a beam of electrons. Red represents magnesium, green is calcium, and blue is aluminum.

Meteorite Pop-Art

Scientists use X-rays, dyes, fancy microscopes and other tools to see things we can’t capture with our naked eyes. But these tools aren’t just good for science, they can make art. An exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History explores the beauty in scientific imaging. These pictures illustrate the chemical composition of four meteorites, which was detected by scanning them with a beam of electrons. Red represents magnesium, green is calcium, and blue is aluminum.

Day 28: Interesting Facts About NickelAtomic Symbol: Ni; Atomic Number: 28; Atomic Mass: 58.6934
It is estimated that about 67% of known meteorites are composed of iron-nickel, which, despite consisting primarily of iron, have a significant portion of nickel. With these meteorites having significantly higher levels of nickel than the rocks naturally found on earth, testing for nickel is a common way to determine if a sample is likely to be a meteorite.
Another metal that is crucial in biological processes, nickel is necessary for activating and inhibiting enzymes, changing membrane characteristics, and influencing hormone production or activity. However, a fifth of people are allergic to nickel and thus cannot come into skin-contact with it, and, upon extended inhalation of nickel-dust, it can be a common carcinogenic or cause other respiratory problems.
Some properties that set nickel apart include its ability to be used as a magnet, as few metals can actually do so at room temperature, and its resistance to oxidization or corrosion, making it very useful in metal products such as coins and stainless steel.
Common ways in which nickel is used are in stainless steel, coins, giving a green color to glass, dehydrogenating vegetable oil, batteries, magnets, and ceramics. 
Image: Arc melted button. An example of the element nickel.

Day 28: Interesting Facts About Nickel
Atomic Symbol: Ni; Atomic Number: 28; Atomic Mass: 58.6934

  1. It is estimated that about 67% of known meteorites are composed of iron-nickel, which, despite consisting primarily of iron, have a significant portion of nickel. With these meteorites having significantly higher levels of nickel than the rocks naturally found on earth, testing for nickel is a common way to determine if a sample is likely to be a meteorite.
  2. Another metal that is crucial in biological processes, nickel is necessary for activating and inhibiting enzymes, changing membrane characteristics, and influencing hormone production or activity. However, a fifth of people are allergic to nickel and thus cannot come into skin-contact with it, and, upon extended inhalation of nickel-dust, it can be a common carcinogenic or cause other respiratory problems.
  3. Some properties that set nickel apart include its ability to be used as a magnet, as few metals can actually do so at room temperature, and its resistance to oxidization or corrosion, making it very useful in metal products such as coins and stainless steel.
  4. Common ways in which nickel is used are in stainless steel, coins, giving a green color to glass, dehydrogenating vegetable oil, batteries, magnets, and ceramics. 

Image: Arc melted button. An example of the element nickel.

Day 16: Interesting Facts About SulfurAtomic Symbol: S; Atomic Number: 16; Atomic Mass: 32.065 
Sulfur is chiefly found near hot springs and volcanoes all over the planet Earth but it is consistently found in meteorites that have fallen to Earth from outer space.
Sulfur is commonly used as an essential component of gunpowder, fungicides, fumigants, fertilizers, electrical insulators, bleaching agents, paper manufacturing, and in the vulcanization of rubber; however, 89% of sulfur is used to form sulfuric acid (H2SO4), which has countless other uses.
Organic sulfur comprises about 0.25% of the human body, mostly in the tissues, but it is also important in nerves and hair, as an improper sulfur balance can result in hair loss in mammals or feathers in birds. In fact, the reason burning hair and feathers have a foul odor is due to their sulfur content. 
Sulfur has been known and utilized worldwide since ancient times, having been used as medicine in China, Egypt, and Greece to treat such ailments as ringworm, acne, eczema, psoriasis and scabies. The Bible also refers to the element as brimstone, which has been used both literally and figuratively in the centuries since.
Image: A sample of sulfur.

Day 16: Interesting Facts About Sulfur
Atomic Symbol: S; Atomic Number: 16; Atomic Mass: 32.065 

  1. Sulfur is chiefly found near hot springs and volcanoes all over the planet Earth but it is consistently found in meteorites that have fallen to Earth from outer space.
  2. Sulfur is commonly used as an essential component of gunpowder, fungicides, fumigants, fertilizers, electrical insulators, bleaching agents, paper manufacturing, and in the vulcanization of rubber; however, 89% of sulfur is used to form sulfuric acid (H2SO4), which has countless other uses.
  3. Organic sulfur comprises about 0.25% of the human body, mostly in the tissues, but it is also important in nerves and hair, as an improper sulfur balance can result in hair loss in mammals or feathers in birds. In fact, the reason burning hair and feathers have a foul odor is due to their sulfur content. 
  4. Sulfur has been known and utilized worldwide since ancient times, having been used as medicine in China, Egypt, and Greece to treat such ailments as ringworm, acne, eczema, psoriasis and scabies. The Bible also refers to the element as brimstone, which has been used both literally and figuratively in the centuries since.

Image: A sample of sulfur.