Michigan is not among the first states that come to mind when you mention the aerospace industry. An amateur rocket launch scheduled for Saturday in southwest Michigan is unlikely to change that. On Saturday afternoon, members of a Michiana Rocketry Club plan to blast a port-a-potty into space near the community of Three Oaks, near the Indiana state line.
Dead bodies are not completely dead. Bacteria and insects live on and near corpses, and what kind of organisms are there can tell scientists lots of useful things, including how long a body has been dead. To learn from what’s called the “microbiome,” though, researchers need access, unfortunately, to dead bodies, and the more recent, the better. Bodies that are donated to research institutions are kept in cold storage for long periods of time which means the results are different.
If you’re a parent living in the 21st century, chances are you’ve had to tell your kids to turn off the video games and go outside to play. But video games aren’t just for recreation anymore. They’re also increasingly being used as learning tools in the classroom.
Michigan State University opened the Abrams Planetarium 50 years ago. That's five decades of giving kids and adults from all over the state a glimpse of the solar system and the universe. As you might expect, the equipment to do that has improved a lot in those 50 years. Current State's Scott Pohl speaks with planetarium director Shannon Schmoll about the upgrades.
Dreamers. Inventors. Tinkerers. Builders. In the 21st century, they’re often called “makers.” This creative impulse runs deep in Michigan and in America. “Lansing Maker Week”, a series of events that runs through Sunday, is meant to nurture that tradition.
Beginning in the late 90’s, Colonel Michael Bloomfield was a part of three space shuttle missions to the International Space Station, the third as commander. He grew up in Lake Fenton in Genesee County.
As summer winds down and people try to make the most out of the beautiful Michigan environment, many may be fighting off nature’s age-old enemy: the mosquito. But what makes mosquitoes more attracted to some people than others? Many myths have circulated about the cause of this rather annoying phenomenon, but scientific research is also out there about what factors make mosquitoes swarm to certain people (Hint: It has to do with a lot more than blood).
Thousands of farmers from all over Michigan will take some time away from the fields next week to visit the Michigan State University campus for Ag Expo. Starting Tuesday, the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be joined by MSU AgBioResearch scientists and MSU Extension educators to conduct education programs. And, farm equipment producers always bring the latest in farming technology to display.
Studying the final frontier of space got a little bit easier this month. On May 5th, a group of scientists launched an online simulator that allows users to explore our galaxy in incredibly accurate detail in a span of billions years. But what’s the most innovative part of this new project? Anyone can use it whether you’re getting your doctorate in astrophysics or you’re just a curious websurfer.
Restoring sight to the blind and visually impaired has long been thought of as more in the realm of science fiction than actual science. But Roger Pontz of Reed City, Michigan would beg to differ. Diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease as a teenager, Pontz was almost completely blind until last January, when he became just the fourth person in the United States to have a device called the Argus II implanted.
If you were a fan of the 1980’s TV show “Knight Rider,” you’ll remember actor David Hasselhoff riding around in a modified Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that could talk, fly and even scan other vehicles. It was cutting edge TV sci-fi at the time, but so-called “smart cars” are not that far away (minus the flying, of course).
The planet Mars won’t be the only red object in the night sky tomorrow. If you happen to be up before dawn, check out the moon around 3 a.m. If the weather is clear, Earth’s celestial neighbor will take on a reddish tone during a total lunar eclipse.
The Michigan State University Science Festival continues through this weekend. A familiar voice will speak at Kellogg Center as part of the festival: Robert Krulwich. Current State’s Melissa Benmark spoke with him earlier this week.
MBI employee Laurel Hills inspects a tub of corn stover used in the AFEX project. It's a process by which leftover corn residue, or stover, is treated with ammonia and heat to release sugars. The end product makes a good feedstock for cattle as well as a promising biofuel.
Spring planting season for corn in Michigan is still at least a month away, but scientists who study the crop’s amazing versatility want you to cast your vote for a “home-grown” project. The Michigan Biotechnology Institute, or MBI, is developing a process that seeks to get more use out of the leftover residue of the plant that’s not fit for human consumption.
This year MSU’s Abrams Planetarium is celebrating 50 years. To mark the milestone the Planetarium's original star projector is being resembled by one of the original staffers. Current State’s Emanuele Berry spoke with John Hare, who worked at Abrams nearly 50 years ago.
Last December, some high tech grinches tried to steal Christmas for one major retailer. Computer hackers broke into the Target Corporation mainframe and downloaded some 40-million credit card numbers. The breach was executed despite the fact that Target had installed malware detection software months before.
This is a big day at Michigan State University for one of the biggest projects in mid-Michigan. A host of dignitaries are formally breaking ground at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, commonly known as FRIB.
Last week, NASA announced its latest findings from the Kepler mission. Kepler is a space telescope that was launched in 2009 to look for habitable planets. Current State’s Emanuele Berry sat down with Michigan State University astronomer Megan Danahue to learn more.
One of the newest gadgets that is fascinating and disturbing to people is the Google Glass. You wear it on your face like a pair of glasses, and you’re able to get information, take pictures, and all kinds of things, mostly through voice and touch commands. Google has asked people to become “Explorers,” to get feedback on the product, and we found one right here in Lansing. Ari Adler is the Michigan House GOP press secretary, and also a Google Glass Explorer.
Despite all those studies that show America’s education system lagging further behind in the world, it turns out all is not lost when it comes our collective knowledge about science and technology.
A portion of a big national survey released late last week measured the public perceptions of science and technology and compared the data to similar studies around the world. The results show that while Americans, like much of the rest of the world, still have some basic things to learn, there is a keen interest in the latest scientific and technological discoveries.