5 Incredible Science Facts

By Ryan Sanders – March 01, 2021
Image by lucianobucobrasil.com.br

There are so many amazing facts about our world that science has discovered in the past few hundred years. Did you know that polar bears are barely detectable by infra-red light under all that dense fur? Or that the reason we use compasses is because the Earth is a giant magnet? Read on for 5 more incredible science facts!

Save Our Trees!

If you wonder why so many people are concerned with saving trees, it’s because they are a huge source of oxygen for our planet. But one rainforest, in particular, is responsible for 20% of the Earth’s oxygen, and that’s the Amazon rainforest. As the vast majority of living creatures need oxygen to survive, when huge amounts of the Amazon are depleted, it is damaging to not just the organisms that live there, but also the rest of our planet. The Amazon covers 2.1 million square miles of Earth, and it has so many plants and trees that cycle through photosynthesis, releasing oxygen so it is vital to our survival. 

Metals that Explode in Water 

All elements need to have a full outer electron shell to be chemically stable, however, not all of them have this. The alkali metals have just a single electron on their outer shell, so they tend to shed these by bonding with other elements. This forms compounds that don’t exist in nature, making them extremely reactive. Metals including cesium, lithium, potassium, sodium,  and rubidium oxidize simply when they come into contact with the air, which makes them tarnish. When you add them to water, they can actually explode! Don some goggles if you attempt a science project with these.

Every Year, Hawaii Gets Closer to Alaska 

The Earth’s tectonic plates are constantly moving, due to the currents produced in the upper mantle of the planet. Hot rocks rise and then as they cool, they sink again, which produces convection currents that create the movement of landmass on Earth. Hawaii is situated right in the center of the Pacific Plate, while Alaska is on the North American Plate. Each year, the Pacific Plate moves slightly north-west towards Alaska, by around 7.5 centimeters. It wouldn’t be evident to the human eye, as it’s around the speed at which our fingernails grow! 

Fleas are Faster than the Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle needs to break certain barriers in order to get beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, which requires astronomical acceleration. Acceleration measures the change in speed of an object over time, and the given measurement is usually in ‘g’s, where one g equals the acceleration caused by gravity - known to be 32.2 feet per square second. At 5g’s, the Space Shuttle can thwart gravity and get to space, but did you know that fleas can accelerate by 100g’s? In a millisecond, they can jump three inches, which may seem tiny, but in fact, is pretty incredible for their size. They store and release energy in a rubber-like protein that helps them release energy like a spring. 

Corrosive Stomach Acid 

Did you know that the acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve stainless steel? It sounds crazy but actually, that’s how we digest our food. The lining of our stomach contains hydrochloric acid that has a pH of between 2 and 3, and this burns through food. It actually attacks the stomach lining too, but the stomach has a secret weapon, an alkali bicarbonate solution that neutralizes the acid.