Worksheet of the Week

The Mystery of a Mega Black Hole Explosion

Have you and your blaster been keeping up with the latest space happenings? Scientists from the University of Sydney found that two million years ago, a gigantic black hole exploded at the center of our galaxy. The eruption was 100 million times more powerful than it is today, and it lit up a cloud that was 200,000 light years away. Those are some impressive numbers!

Photo by Phil Plait

Photo by Phil Plait

The evidence to support this astonishing finding comes from the Magellanic Stream, which is a strand of hydrogen gas that follows behind our galaxy’s neighboring galaxies, which are simply called the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. The researchers have been noticing a peculiar glow shining from the Magellanic Stream, and realized that this glow is a record of the massive outburst of energy when the black hole exploded at the heart of our galaxy many years ago.

The area that envelops all the galaxy’s black holes is called Sagittarius A*, which emits all sorts of radiations. Flickers of flares will appear when small clouds of gas fall onto the hot disk matter that swirls around the black hole. Scientists knew that the galaxy’s stars cannot produce enough ultraviolet that caused the glow they found in the Magellanic Stream, therefore, it can only be explained by the black hole theory.

These black holes can switch on and off within a million years, and the researchers are quite certain that this sort of colossal explosion will happen again in the future.

What are your Favorite Games in Math Blaster?

Do you want to earn the title of Mathlete of the Week and be featured in our newspaper? Check out some of Math Blaster’s most popular games! From battling the alien in Alien Wrangler, to avoiding the hazardous chemicals in Oozami, to transforming your B.F.Fs into crazy creatures, these fun and exciting games in Math Blaster can help you earn Merits and Star Points, which are used to judge your promotion in terms of Rank and Star Status, and Credits, which you can use to purchase a few items to decorate your pod or to dress up your Monster Mutt. Read on to find out more!

Red Alert

One of our signature and most exhilarating game! The game requires strategic planning and perfect aiming. Wait for a red alert to go off, then head over to the “Red Alert” portal, and help protect the space station from foreign attacks! You can always throw in some friendly competition with your fellow BFFs to see who can make it to the top places on our leaderboard.

Hyperblast

Blast through obstacles and defeat the bosses by using your supreme math skills! Successful completion of each stage can help you unlock special items and advanced stages. Avoid the mean and evil alien creatures that block your path and collect the shields to boost your health. You will need a lot of it to fend off the last boss in each stage!

Hyperblast

Angle Attack

The enemies have infiltrated our I.S.P. Drive them away from our peaceful spaceport by defeating the evil octopus! Attacking the enemy is simple, find the correct angle that the enemy is hiding in and submit the right answer to fire out your most powerful weapon!

Nebula Knockout

If you cannot access Face Off because you don’t have a Monster Mutt, don’t worry! Nebula Knockout is equally as fun. Earn new belts and higher ranks by battling another mutt in the ring. You can either select Single Player mode where you are given an avatar, or raise your monster mutt to fight head to head with your BFF’s mutt or any other mutt in the I.S.P! How many KOs have you scored?

Nebula KO

Morph Madness

You can prank your fellow cadets by turning them into bizarre alien creatures! Collect the floating items, head into the Chem Lab, and start mixing the chemicals to create these deadly fun solutions!

Morph

These are only a small portion of the games you can challenge in Math Blaster. Start playing these games, make it on our leaderboard by earning a top high score, and be officially recognized by your fellow cadets!

Worksheet of the Week

Man-made Earthquakes are now possible

Geologists have found a high-pressure mechanism that is believed to be the cause of very deep earthquakes on Earth. These earthquakes often occur at a depth that is more than 440 kilometers. The breakthrough news is that scientists can now simulate an earthquake in the laboratory by using the same mechanism.

Photo by Tim Evanson

Photo by Tim Evanson

The experiment has opened up doors for scientists to simulate the appropriate conditions within Earth, allowing them to record and analyze the man-made earthquakes in real time. This creates strong evidence that can be used to demonstrate the effect and accountability of the mechanism.

Shallow earthquakes, which are seismic movement is occurring at less than 50 km in depth, are caused very differently than deep earthquakes. It is said that these earthquakes are caused by the fracture of rocks in terms of short-term and abrupt cracks and friction. On the other hand, deep earthquakes occurs in high pressure and temperature conditions, and it is caused by the transformation of unstable olivine crystals to spinel, which is another high density mineral. Unlike the brittle fractures that cause shallow earthquakes, this transition causes rocks creep deformations or cold flow, which is created through long-term stress.

Photo by Kevin Walsh

Photo by Kevin Walsh

The seismologists argue that the major mechanism that creates the deep earthquakes in Earth is caused by the transitions of olivine and that they can re-create these “earthquakes” to justify their findings.

Worksheet of the Week

The Final Frontier: NASA’s Spacecraft the First to Enter the Interstellar Space

After 35 years of travelling through space, NASA’s Voyager 1 made a historical leap out of our solar system, making it the first spacecraft to venture into what is known as interstellar space. Interstellar space refers to the area between giant stars that died millions of years ago. It is a space that is dominated by plasma or ionized gas. Recent data shows that the Voyager is currently in this transitional region right outside of our solar system, which is 19 billion kilometers away from our sun.

Photo by NASAblueshift

Photo by NASAblueshift

Although the Voyager’s plasma sensor has been ineffective since 1980, the massive burst of solar wind and magnetic field from our sun made the plasma around the spacecraft to vibrate, allowing the researchers to understand the density of the plasma. From this incident, scientists are able to determine the vibration of the plasma is 40 times denser than the measurement taken in the outer layer of the heliosphere, which is a sort of bubble of charged particles that surrounds our sun. The change in density indicates a new region in space and the new data matches very well with what the researchers expect to find in interstellar space.

The NASA engineers carefully calculated and managed the Voyager’s resources to ensure that it can still send data back to Earth at least through 2020. The signals emitted from Voyager 1 are weak, at about 23 watts, which is the power of a refrigerator light bulb. Even traveling at the speed of light, it takes about 17 hours for the signals to reach Earth.

Voyager 1 has gone beyond any probe has ever gone, and it is continuing to reach for the undisturbed part of interstellar space, where there is no influence from our sun. Although scientists are not certain whether Voyager 1’s twin, Voyager 2, can cross into interstellar space, they believe it is very close behind.