Electricity Types and Uses

Electricity is very important for us to function now a days. There are three types of electricity, static, current and discharge. Static electricity has to do with charged particles/objects. An example of electricity is with a balloon and a wall. When a balloon is rubbed against someone's hair (or a sweater) it picks up electrons and becomes negatively charged. If the balloon is moved towards a wall (or another object) the electrons in the wall move away from the balloon, repelling because they are opposite charges. This leaves the protons the only charged particles on the wall, leaving it positively charged. The two charged items start to attract because they have opposite charges. This causes the balloon to stick to the wall and is an example of static electricity. An electric current is contained and controlled electricity. It is often flowing through a circuit. An example of this type of electricity is a simple light bulb. The electric current begins on one side of the cord connecting the bulb to an outlet. This current is attracted to the positive section of the wire. The current/electrons travels in a circle through the wires trying to get to the positive section. Then they travel to the filament in the light bulb, lighting it up, and then the current travels back around, down the other side of the wire and into the wall (and the positive section). This is how an electric current works. Electric discharge is random electricity. This type of electricity can be dangerous if it is not contained. An example of this electricity is inside a plasma globe. Inside a plasma globe there are random streaks of purple/pink moving all around. The pink and purple streaks are random and somewhat uncontrollable, like many examples of electric discharge. All of these types of electricity whether uncontrollable or contained are seen often.

If you were to travel to mars, electricity would be of utmost importance. To get to mars you would need to travel in a space ship, which wouldn't work without electricity. An electric current is needed for all of the lights in the space ship. Without this electricity none of the lights would work causing the space ship to be completely dark. Electricity would also be needed for radio's to work inside the space ship. It is important for the astronauts to communicate with the people at the station back on earth. This is another example of an electric current being used. Electricity is needed in almost every aspect of a space ship. Without electricity no one would be able to travel to mars.M

Magnetism and it's importance
Magnetism is a very interesting phenomena. All magnets have negative and positive poles. Around these poles is a magnetic field. The magnetic field is the strongest near the two poles. Magnets often attract and repel each other. When this attracting or repulsion occurs there are 2 magnets involved. The magnets opposite poles attract and negative poles repel. Therefore this causes the magnet to stick or to try and move away from each other. An example of this might be your refrigerator, this phenomena causes you to be able to hang stuff on it with a little piece of metal. The magnetic piece in the fridge causes the magnet to stick. Another example of magnetism affecting something is a compass. The pointer of the compass is magnetic and the south pole of the magnet is attracted to the north of the earths magnetic field. The north pole is attracting the south on the magnet and the south pole of the earth is attracting the north pole of a magnet. This tell us which way is north. Many things we rely on today also use magnetism to make things work like transformers. The core of the transformer iron, and the current inside of it form a magnetic field. Then this magnetic field can change the course of the altering current. Magnetism is very useful and is used in many things today.

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Image 1: This is an image of how magnetism works.




If you were to go to mars magnetism would be extremely important. Once you have landed safely on mars, taking out your compass would be a wise choice. Mars has it's own magnetic field, like there is on earth, so a compass would still be a great tool to use for navigation. The magnetic field on mars would cause the compass to spin around and help you find your way around. Also, the magnetic field that mars had would also protect you. In space there are many dangers, such as space rock, charged particles and more that are floating through space. However because of the magnetic field on mars, none of these dangerous thing would be able to get to the surface of mars. Magnetism is very important when one any planet.
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Image 2: This is an image of a compass. (That could be used on mars.)



Crash course in Astronomy
From big bangs to galaxies

The creation of the earth was a very interesting occurrence. The earth originally exploded out of nothing, in the big bang. Except it didn't look quite like anything yet. It was a mass of anti-quarks energy and quarks. A reacting and moving mess. Eventually the temperature starts to fall enough for neutrons, protons and anti-protons to be formed. The matter making up what will someday be the earth is still chaotically moving and reacting and is in some ways a mess. When matter and anti-matter collide they make pure energy. The temperature continues to drop and soon it is cold enough for helium nuclei to start to form. These particles and bits of matter keep reacting and colliding and changing until we have an earth similar to the earth we live on today. 2 billion years after this big bang, galaxies begin forming. Galaxies are made of billions of stars. There are 3 known types/shapes of galaxies optical, spiral and irregular. Irregular is the mix of spiral and optical shapes. Galaxies used to be closer together but they have recently moved apart.

The milky way galaxy
The Milky way is a very interesting galaxy. There are 3 different parts or sections to the galaxy. These sections or part are the central bulge,gas and dust, and the disk. The sun lies in the part known as the disk and the sun is about half way away from the glacial center. Spiraling out from the bulge are 4 arms. The stars in the central bulge are red and orange, weaker colors. More powerful stars are blue and white. Each star is in a gas cloud and is in an orbit all it's own. We can see only one tenth of the corona that surrounds our galaxy, and our galaxy is 5 times bigger than it appears.

Lives of stars

The life of a star is a very complex yet interesting production. Stars form in cold clouds of gas and dust, they come from interstellar clouds. A disturbance from somewhere causes clumps to form. Gravity starts to pull together the clumps as they rotate. Near the center of everything that is happening the collapse accelerates, the energy of the fallen gas heats up the form. Pretty soon the temperature gets hot enough for nuclear reactions to start and the star that is being created spins into a disk. Gas steams out of the poles. After all of this the star finally settles into a period where it does not have much change at all. The biggest and most powerful stars are a blueish white color. Yellow and orange stars are the least powerful of the different star colors. Our sun formed just like any other yellow star, it was formed 5 billion years ago. In another 5 billion years the sun will begin changing again. The sun starts to blow off it's outer layers. After a while it will become half of it's original mass. When the last outer layer is flung off it is flung off like a glowing shell. The sun is now a white dwarf star. The life of a blue/white very powerful star is a little different. After a while it starts to turn yellow and becomes unstable, this changes it's brightness. Eventually after all these changes it becomes a super giant. The core of these stars has iron in it and the iron eventually blows apart the core of the star. Hence, this creates a super Nova.

The sun

The sun is a very important star to us. It is the star that is closest to our planet. The sun's power house is located in it's core. Inside the sun particles are crashing and moving around. They form because of this movement helium nuclei. Hot gas rises from the core of the sun and falls back as it cools. Sun spots appear on the sun, as do jets and solar spears. Solar spears are the most powerful form of solar energy. These spears crash into the earth's magnetic field and as a result we see the northern lights. As the sun spots mentioned earlier are formed a field loops around the sun. Each of these spots last a few weeks. Near the end of this cycle sun spots appear near the suns equator. Then the feild breaks down and a new field breaks over. This process takes about 11 years.

History of the solar system

The sun formed like all stars do, out of interstellar gas. Soon the rotating ball created a flat disk. Inside the disk smaller materials started to collect into larger particles. These particles started to get bigger and bigger until they are extremely large. These were called planetesimals. Icy planetesimals existed farther away from the sun. In the beginning planetesimals were closely packed but soon many of them collided and sometimes this broke them up while other times it created larger objects. Hence, large planets were created in what we call the outer solar system now a days. They grew their own disks and there own moons. These planets were able to hold onto and pull many things toward them. Meanwhile smaller planets were created closer to the sun, it was hard for bigger planets to form because it was more crowded. For these planets many things happened for them to be created, but when everything settled down and cooled we have the planets we all know of today. The moon was created in a collision between earth and another planet. Craters on the moon were created by all of the chaos in space (getting hit by plantesmals and so on). After a while all the planetesimals had been destroyed from collisions or sent off to somewhere they no longer cause problems. A few of these become comets, and many people believe that a planetesimal that became a comet destroyed the dinosaurs.

The History of Rockets
The rockets we have today have developed over many years. Some of the technology that helped us get to the rocket we have today was created by Hero, a Greek inventor. He created the aeoilpile. It worked by using steam as a propulsive gas. This inventor created this by putting a sphere on top of a steaming kettle. The steam traveled though pipes the sphere on top. There were 2 tubes in L shapes on either side of the sphere that let the gas escape. Hence, the sphere spun. However, it is unclear when the very first real rocket like invention was created. There are many stories of different occurrences rockets were made. For example, a Chinese man created explosions for rituals with gun powder filled tubes. Soon people started experimenting with this idea. Bamboo tubes were attached to arrows and were launched with bows, and eventually without them. These rockets as well as others were used for fireworks and warfare. The Chinese after this began having more and more rocket experiments and they spread their news to Europe. Later an American, Robert Goddard, started to conduct experiments that are more practical in rocketry. He was one of the first to try and make a liquid propelling rocket. With this rocket he conducted one of the first successful rocket experiments, this rocket moved very quickly and very far. Robert Goddard's discoveries helped us greatly to invent the rockets we use today. As a result of these experiments he can now be called the father of modern rocketry.
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Figure 1: This is an image of the aeoilpile created by hero.

Advance in rocketry and space travel moved quickly. Rocketry societies began sprouting up all over the world. A society in Germany, he Verein fur Raumschiffahrt, created the V-2 rocket. This rocket worked by a mixture of oxygen, liquid and alcohol being burned, it was very powerful in warfare. After the great war these Germans moved to America, as well as Russia, and were surprised at what Goddard had accomplished. After this rocket creation truly became popular, many organizations were formed. In 1957 the soviet union launched an earth orbiting satellite, sputnik, and amazed the world. It was the first big move toward the exploration of space. The sputnik had four radio antennae and was shaped like a sphere. A year after this, the U.S organized it's space program (N.A.S.A) and sent it's own satellites. After these first discoveries and inventions many people began space exploration through satellites and astronauts.

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Figure 2: This is an image of sputnik, one of the first satellites to be launched into space.




Rocket Launch
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Figure 1: A labeled rocket


The purpose of this experiments was to discover if the mass of a rocket changed how high the rocket flew. We constructed 8 rockets and each one was painted differently, changing the mass. After this the mass of the rockets was recorded. Then it was time to test the rockets, and see how high each one flew. A hundred meters were measured from there people stood ready to measure the angle of the rocket with angle guns. We then placed the rocket on the launch pad an prepared it to lift off. We pressed the buttons and the rocket shot into the air. The first rocket lifted off and the maximum altitude it got to (calculated by the people holding angle guns) was found and recorded. The rockets parachute left it and we went to retrieve it as it was on it's way back down. This was repeated with all the 8 rockets and the data was compared.

The results of this experiment were a little surprising. The lighter rockets went the highest and the lowest of all the others. The rockets that were around 45 grams and higher flew to about the same height. So I concluded that this meant the lighter rockets were more unpredictable, they could go very low or very high whereas rockets with a little more mass all flew to about 80. Before this experiment I predicted that the lower the mass of the rocket was the higher it would fly. This proved to be somewhat true. Some of the rockets with less mass did get the highest, however some of the light rockets didn't get high at all.

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Figure 2: A graph showing how high the rockets flew according to their mass.


Overall our rocket flew well. At first we had trouble getting it off the ground but after a few tries is was in the air. It went higher and higher, eventually it reached it's highest point an started to come back down. At this point it opened its parachute and the parachute (now spread out) lowered it to the ground. It was still moving fast as it fell toward the ground but the parachute lessened the fall. We them retrieved our rocket.

Rover Drop
It can be challenging to land a rover (or in this case a jar of apple sauce) safely on mars. I decided the best way to ensure it does not break is to make a sort of cushion to lessen the impact when it hits the ground. To do this my partner and I crumpled up 3 sheets of paper and 3 sheets of paper towels and placed those crumbled balls in the bottom of a large zip lock bag. To add another layer of cushion we placed a sheet of bubble wrap on top of the crumpled balls. However, We noticed that if the contraption landed on it's sides it would not have protection. To fix this we taped a blown up balloon on either side. This was our finished project. Even if the apple sauce jar did not break, I think in the future we would want to find a was to either secure the top side of the bag/contraption ( this would be to ensure it won't break if it lands the wrong way) or make the bottom more weighted so it is sure to fall on it's bottom (to ensure it lands the correct way). However, In the end I believe our rover/apple sauce drop was a success.

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Figure 1: My partner and I holding the creation that was to land our rover safely on mars.



All about Robots
Robotics is a very modern happening, not many robots were made in the far past. However the idea of robots has been around for decades. A Greek philosopher, Aristotle, was one of the first people to actually think about all the possibilities of the robotics. He once said "If every tool, when ordered, or even of its own accord, could do the work that befits it... then there would be no need either of apprentices for the master workers or of slaves for the lords". Although this quote doesn't exactly directly have to do with robots, it was one of the first times someone contemplated the possibility of having a tool or machine to help humans. In 1945 we saw one of the first logical tries (or beginning of a try) to make a robot. Leonardo da Vinci had made sketches of a humanoid robot, however no robot was ever made. As robotics is a newer interest, the next time robotics was really explored (the first time many people explored it) was in the 1900's . In these years robotics started to get more popular. Many robots and machines were made such as, a robotic duck, conveyer belts and "Liliput" which is considered the first real robot. The robotic duck could flap it's wings, crane its neck and even swallow food. Conveyer belts (which aren't exactly robots) were made to make human life easier, which is part of a robots purpose. Robots were made that somewhat resembled humans such as ,Liliput, who was created in Japan. Although the history of robotics is indeed very recent, it is still important and it got us where we are in robotics today.

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Figure 1: This is an image of a robot named Liliput. This was one of the first real robots.

Now a days robots are more common. Many kids toys have robotic qualities. Hex bugs, a toy many children enjoy playing with are somewhat robotic. These robotic bugs all move around in different ways, some have sound sensors, touch sensors or remotes to control them. Also many children enjoy playing with remote control cars, planes and so on. It depends on what you believe a robot is, but in my opinion these are another example of robots. You send signals through the remote and that tells the car or plane what to do, then the plane or car does it. This quality is robotic. Also these days we have many machines, such as cars, that are started to have robotic qualities (such as sensors). However, more directly robotic inventions are being made as well. There are many robotics fairs and competition. Robot organizations or clubs are very common. Who knows what the future of robotics will hold? The possibilities are endless.
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Using Robots
When dealing with most types of robots using the motor is very important. The motor of a robot is what causes the robot to move forward, turn, or move backwards. The motor is used for pretty much anything when the robot moves. On a computer or other device you can program the motor/robot to move how you want it or how long you want it to run. The use of a motor on a robot is very important.
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Figure 1: An image of the Lego mind storm robot.

Sensor are really interesting to work with. When you add a sensor to a robot you can make it sense the things around it (with the correct programming). Humans have 5 senses, many of which you can give to your robot. You can attach an ultra sonic sensor, sound sensor, touch sensor, light sensor and many others. It is easy to program your robot to do different actions when it senses certain things ( Such as stop when you hear a loud noise, stop on a different color etc.) Using Sensors is a very handy tool to get your robot to do complicated things.

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Figure 2: An image of a robot and some types of sensors.

Geology on Mars

There are many ways to identify minerals and/or rocks. The simplest way is to simple observe the rocks, it’s color, weight , texture or even taste. But when that isn't enough and it still isn't clear you can do the streak test, find the way it breaks, measure it’s hardness, and there are many other ways. In the streak test, you would take a rock/mineral and scrape it on a streak plate. Then you would look at the color of the streak and use this to ascertain the minerals/rocks identity. Rocks that are the same color may sometimes have different streaks. Another way to determine the type of rock or mineral you have is by fining it's hardness. By trying to scratch it with different substances you can find out if it is hard or not, which may help you identify it because different rocks have different harnesses. Observing the way rocks break (such as clean cut verse jagged cut) can also help you determine what type of rock you have. Over all, there are may different ways for you to find out what rock or mineral you have.
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Figure 1: A streak test being done.

It can be vary hard for rovers (such as curiosity) to identify different minerals and rocks. Rocks are usually covered I dust or other substances. To find the actual/true substance of a rock you need to clear away the dust (on other stuff) first off the rock/mineral. To do this and identify the rock in the past we have needed to use rock grinder to grind away access material, however the rock grinder causes many problems of it's own. Curiosity will have something called the chemcham which will do the same thing in less time without even coming in contact with the rock/mineral. Curiosity will also take pictures of the surface of mars for scientist working back at NASA to see. Over all I think curiosity will be an extremely successful rover.