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Listed under:  Technologies  >  Engineering  >  Space technology
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Solar power

Have you ever imagined how much energy the Sun outputs every day? Listen as Dr Charles Lineweaver, from the Planetary Science Institute at ANU, describes why a solar farm based in space can capture and use more of the Sun's enormous energy potential.

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Getting satellite design right

Is it a good idea to build a complex and expensive machine without carefully checking the design first? This animated clip describes some of the steps NASA took during the design review process for the development of a new satellite. Can you think of any other steps in design reviews?

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And now to build the satellite!

Once the design plan for a satellite is approved, it's important to identify the appropriate materials, tools and equipment needed to construct the new product. Watch this clip to find out what an engineer might do to select and test the components and techniques needed to build a satellite like NASA's MAVEN spacecraft. ...

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Learning from design 'mistakes'

Finding the solution to a design problem involves generating creative ways to address a need or difficulty. Design is the key and it often involves an engineer. In this clip, explore what an engineer is and what they do, and see an example of how NASA engineers might plan, create and test an idea to fix a space station.

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When neutron stars collide

Using technologically advanced supercomputers, scientists have developed theories about the creation of black holes deep in outer space. Watch the computer simulation in this clip to see how the collision of two neutron stars produces a gamma ray burst and a new black hole. Discover that our continuing understanding of ...

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NASA celebrates Aura's ten-year orbit!

Aura is a NASA satellite that in 2014 celebrated ten years orbiting Earth, collecting data about the planet's atmosphere and climate. Aura is helping scientists better understand global systems, including the composition of gases in the ozone layer, air pollution and climate change. Watch to learn more about this space ...

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Mission to Mars, 2012

Imagine robots armed with rock-zapping lasers, roaming the surface of Mars, looking for signs of life! Watch this clip to discover how scientists actually landed Curiosity, one such roving robot, on Mars in 2012. Scientists hope it will provide important information about what is also known as the Red Planet. All aboard ...

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Building a weather satellite

Designers and engineers improve upon existing products all the time. How important do you think it is to update and enhance something like a weather satellite? Can you think of some other objects that could be improved upon?

Interactive resource

Radioactive decay

Watch radioactive decay happen at the sub-atomic level. Make predictions and analyse graphs resulting from the decay of an array of radioactive atoms in order to determine the half-life of the element. For example, find the half-life of the radioactive element used in carbon dating, carbon-14. This learning object is a ...

Interactive resource

Radioactive decay: half life

Watch radioactive decay happen at the sub-atomic level. Make predictions and analyse graphs resulting from the decay of an array of radioactive atoms in order to determine the half-life of the element. For example, find the half-life of the radioactive element used in carbon dating, carbon-14. This learning object is one ...

Interactive resource

Radioactive decay: radiocarbon dating

Use radiocarbon dating to find and compare the ages of ancient remains. Convert organic samples to gas and use a Geiger counter to measure radioactivity. Use calculations and radioactive decay graphs to estimate the age of the samples. For example, check whether a bone from 'Sthenurus', a giant kangaroo, could be younger ...

Interactive resource

Tectonics investigator: Earth's structure [ESL]

Investigate the internal structure of the Earth using earthquake measurements. Examine the Earth’s outer layer. Fit the Earth's tectonic plates together like a jigsaw puzzle. This learning object is the first in a series of three objects.

Interactive resource

Tectonics investigator: magnetic stripes [ESL]

Investigate tectonic plate behaviour. Simulate the movement of tectonic plates over millions of years. Investigate how the changing magnetic polarity of the Earth has helped geologists form theories about tectonic plate movements. This learning object is the second in a series of three objects.

Interactive resource

Tectonics investigator: hot spots [ESL]

Identify how the movement of tectonic plates produces features of the Earth’s surface. Investigate hot spots and volcanic chains. Predict the formation of seamounts and new volcanic islands. This learning object is the third in a series of three objects.

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Bob Brown recalls the launch of the Blue Streak, 2006

This is an edited sound recording of Bob Brown recalling the excitement in Woomera in South Australia at the intended first launch of a Europa Blue Streak rocket from the nearby rocket range in June 1964. He tells how hundreds of families gathered to watch, only to be let down when the launch was cancelled with just seconds ...

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Ian Ritchie describes the launch of the Blue Streak, 2006

This is an edited sound recording of Ian Ritchie recalling the first launch of a Europa Blue Streak rocket from the Woomera rocket range in South Australia on 5 June 1964. Ritchie, an engine technician at the range, tells of the noise at lift-off and how the first flight of the rocket was cut short. The recording was made ...

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Andy Thomas speaks of Australia's space program, 2008

This is an edited sound recording of Australian astronaut Andy Thomas, discussing what he regards as a lack of Australian investment in a space program. Thomas outlines why he believes a country such as Australia needs a space program as a part of its 'basic infrastructure'. The recording was made in August 2008.

Assessment resource

Tectonics investigator: Earth's structure: assessment

Test your understanding of the Earth's internal structure. Use animations and images to help you answer a series of questions dealing with the seismic exploration of the Earth’s internal structure and the structure of tectonic plates. View and print a report on your work. This assessment object is one in a series of two objects.

Assessment resource

Tectonics investigator: plate movement: assessment

Test your understanding of tectonic plate movement. Use animations and images to help you answer a series of questions dealing with evidence of plate movement. Interpret data from magnetic surveys of divergent zones, as well as patterns derived from hotspot traces. View and print a report on your work. This assessment object ...

Tablet friendly (Interactive resource)

Exploring atoms: atom structure

See how scientists such as Ernest Rutherford have investigated the structure of atoms. Explore possible models. Fire charged particles at atoms and find which model best fits the results. This learning object is one in a series of six objects. Three of the objects are also packaged as a combined learning object.