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- While in space, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques is using his vantage point from aboard the International Space Station to explore Earth. Saint-Jacques is observing our planet to better understand its geological, environmental and ecological systems and planetary scientists and astronomers from Western University are supporting his mission in full force. During a space-to-Earth connection today, Saint-Jacques launched Exploring Earth, a web-based initiative that uses photos he is taking in orbit to explain the amazing science of how Earth works. The supporting materials for the interstellar initiative were compiled by experts from Western’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX), as well the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Social Science, and the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
- In the coming years, new rovers will explore Mars with better scientific instruments, as capable as those that exist in labs here on Earth today. Roberta Flemming from Western University’s Department of Earth Sciences and the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration is leading a team of researchers to develop a compact instrument that could be deployed to analyze mineral and rock structures in place on the red planet’s surface, wherever they are found. The concept study is funded by the Canadian Space Agency.
- CBC Radio's show "Ontario Today with Rita Celli" asks our very own Dr. Gordon Osinki (Associate Professor & NSERC/MDA/CSA Industrial Research Chair in Planetary Geology) "Is space exploration a waste of time?"
- A spider’s web is more than a trap or a home. It is also an extension of the spider’s senses. By paying attention to vibrations traveling through the silken threads, the arachnid can learn about its surroundings. Certain vibrations might mean ensnared prey or even reveal a nearby mate. A spider, in other words, can actively tune its web to channel specific kinds of vibrations, just as a musician might tune an instrument. But as Natasha Mhatre from the University of Western Ontario has found, a spider can also tune itself. Simply by changing its stance, the infamous black widow can make its sense organs more receptive to particular frequencies of vibration. It’s like a postural squint, which allows the spider to focus its attention on certain sources of information.