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Food for Martian thought, proton role-playing in a video game and more

By Tushna Commissariat

With space agencies across the world planning manned missions to Mars in the coming decades, pondering what one would eat while on Mars seems like a sensible thing to do. SpaceX engineer Andrew Rader helps us out with this difficult question in the video above, sharing gems like “chickens can’t swallow in space.” In the video, titled “Cooking on Mars” Rader cooks and eats a seemingly unappetizing option – bugs and insects – and makes it clear that is the fare future astronauts will be partaking in.

Regular readers may recall a blog that I wrote nearly two years ago about a fun and inventive video game called “Agent Higgs” created by physics educator turned game designer Andy Hall. He is now back with a new game, known as “Bond Breaker” that you could easily spend the weekend playing. Hall teamed up with scientists at University of California, Irvine to make the puzzle game that puts players in the role of a proton. As a proton, you must use subatomic forces, lasers, and some ingenuity to grow into a molecule of your own. Hall tells that the game mirrors actual research being conducted at UC Irvine. “Chemistry at the single-molecule scale is very cool stuff. By making a game, we’re looking to turn the complex science into something simple and approachable,” he says. The game is available on iOS, Web and Android and is completely free of charge so go have a play with it.

In other news, five gecko lizards that were sent into orbit on a Russian space satellite as part of an experiment have all sadly died, according to the Russian space agency. The geckos blasted off on the Foton-M4 satellite, which returned to Earth on Monday, as part of a study of the effect of weightlessness on their sex lives and development. Earlier, Russian scientists had lost contact with the satellite, but they regained a connection and hoped the lizards were fine. Unfortunately the critters seem to have frozen to death in the satellite when the heating system in the ship shut off.

Also, take a look at why Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse wants certain MPs “crushed and buried” for misleading science, watch this documentary that looks at the history of crystallography and have a listen to this week’s Imperial College podcast that discusses, among other things, whether Aristotle invented science.

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  1. John Duffield

    Whoa, the Paul Nurse thing is well out of order for somebody who is president of the Royal Society.

  2. Trackback: Physics Viewpoint | Food for Martian thought, proton role-playing in a video game and more


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