Welcome to STEMology – Show Notes

Season 1, Episode 10

Baby poo, GM mozzies, plants to electronics, inside Saturn, Australian Space Discovery Centre

In this episode Dr Sophie Calabretto and Dr David Farmer talk about…

Baby’s first poo gives an indication of potential allergies, genetically modified mozzies have been released to help limit the spread of deadly diseases, converting plants into much needed electronics which removes carbon from the atmosphere, we get a clearer idea of the inside of Saturn and we welcome the opening of the Australian Space Discovery Centre in South Australia

Baby poo

If you have a more diverse metabolome in the meconium, then you are less likely to have an allergy at one year.

GM mozzies

And so the goal of releasing these GM mozzies is to suppress the wild disease-carrying mosquito populations in the region

Plants to electronics

this has an insane amount of potential. We’re taking something that we don’t want, and we’ve turned it into something that we very much need

Inside Saturn

we’ve learned something new about the inside of Saturn, which is that it’s made up of much more liquid, hydrogen and helium than we expected.

The Australian Space Discovery Centre is now open!  So exciting… we can’t wait to visit.

This discovery centre is … designed to spark curiosity and inspire.

This is a “kind of, sort of, vaguely close” copy of the words that David & Sophie speak in this episode.

IT IS NOT 100% accurate.  We are very sorry if we have spelt something completely incorrectly.  If it means a lot to you to have it corrected, email us at stemology@ramaley.media


David: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 10 of STEMology

[00:00:01]Sophie: [00:00:01] STEMology is a podcast sharing some of the interesting fun, and sometimes just patently bizarre news in science, technology, engineering, or maths.

[00:00:10]Your hosts are Dr. David Farmer and Dr. Sophie Calabretto.

[00:00:14]David: [00:00:14] On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about baby poo, genetically modified mosquitoes, plants turning into electronics, what’s inside Saturn and the Australian space discovery center.

Baby Poo

[00:00:33] Sophie: [00:00:33] Dave, we talk about poo a lot on STEMology.

[00:00:36] David: [00:00:36] We do don’t we? we like to believe that we don’t, but we do. Remember, we’re PhD educated  we’re adults, but it doesn’t seem to stop it from happening.

[00:00:43] Sophie: [00:00:43] No, I don’t know how we got there, but we’re there. So let’s continue. So today I want to talk about baby poo, in particular, and I know that you want to talk about baby poo as well.

[00:00:51]David: [00:00:51] I sure do. Baby poo, otherwise known as the meconium, is the baby’s first poo or the baby’s first few poos after birth. The Latin term meconium comes from the Greek meconium, which is a dominion of Metcon, which means poppy, which means it’s either a reference to it’s tar like appearance that may resemble some raw opium preparations or to Aristotle’s belief that it induces sleep in the fetus, which I thought was really cool.

[00:01:13]Sophie: [00:01:13] So meconium is that sort of dark green tar-like substance, and it’s basically made out of all of the weird things that the baby swallowed in utero. So it’s got stuff like amniotic fluid skin cells, fine hair, mucus, which we’ve talked about before and bile and those kinds of things. But on a microscopic level, it also contains the starting material for our developing microbiome and our immune system.

[00:01:36] And that’s, what’s important. So I should say that this study that we’re about to talk about has come out of the CHILD cohort study child is in capital letters.  And so this is a longitudinal birth cohort study from Canada.

[00:01:46] So that’s got 3,400+ Canadian kids helping to predict, prevent and treat chronic diseases. So it was launched in 2008 with funding from Allergan NCE Inc. and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. And basically, So  there wasn’t a lot of things in this longitudinal study. But what they did is they analyzed a hundred meconium samples of kids involved in this study.

[00:02:08]And then they went back a year later and they allergy tested the one-year-olds and that’s when they found something interesting.

[00:02:14]David: [00:02:14] Yes. So they, they looked at them meconium and specifically they were looking at the meconium metabolome and  I should briefly explain that the metabolome refers to the complete set of small molecule chemicals in any biological samples. So basically it’s all of the protein byproducts and things that get broken down in the sample, not just one or two of them, you don’t pick one or two them study, you look at them all.

[00:02:37]So that’s what they’ve done here is they’ve looked at all of the small molecules in the meconium sample, and then they’ve related  that to the likelihood that the babies develop allergy 1 year and what they found was If you have a more diverse metabolome in the meconium, then you are less likely to have an allergy at one year.

[00:02:56]Sophie: [00:02:56] Yeah. Which is really interesting.  But the whole idea is that we want our guts to be colonized by different things, mainly beneficial bacteria because what they actually do is they train our immune cells, right? So the idea is the more diverse these things are, it means that basically we’re training our guts, not to overreact to sort of benign signals. So if you don’t have enough of these things, the guts of those children aren’t being trained properly, and then they tend to develop these allergic reactions to things that other children wouldn’t.

[00:03:25]David: [00:03:25] That’s right. So, you’ve got more cells in your guts than you have human cells, right? You have more cells in your microbiome than you have human cells. So it’s very, very important. And also these cells are in your guts it makes sense that we have to do with allergy because something very important has to happen in your guts that we’ve talked about before, which is tolerance.

[00:03:41] So this is basically the process whereby your body decides what things to reject and what things to accept as okay. And We can’t just be responding to all foreign bodies because we have to eat, we have to eat things that are not part of our own genome.

[00:03:54]Sophie: [00:03:54] Don’t eat  people.

[00:03:56]David: [00:03:56] Don’t exclusively eat yourself is what I’m saying. I think it’s a really interesting study. So you mentioned that this was part of a big longitudinal development study, which means they’re going to be looking not just at this, they’ll be collecting data on all kinds of stuff to do with these kids.

[00:04:10]So these researchers presumably had lots of options to choose from. And what they’ve chosen is to take a molecular swim through baby poop. And I find that really interesting, like on a psychological level

[00:04:19]Sophie: [00:04:19] Each to their own Dave, but yeah, no, it’s funny. You should mention longitudinal study. I’m going to ask you to indulge me for a second because this brought back weird flashbacks. And then I remembered that I was once involved in a longitudinal study. So it was the REACH study. So it was Respiratory Events in Early Childhood. And I think it came about because my dad used to work at the women’s and children’s hospital, and this thing was conducted at the women’s and children’s hospital in Adelaide. and they basically gave their newborn up to science. But we couldn’t find any information about it. So I Googled it and I found a reference  to it in some Guy’s phD thesis from 1998. So a guy called Alistair Woodward and basically he was looking at passive smoking and acute respiratory illness in childhood. And then in further research, like the bit at the end, he starts talking about this REACH study.

[00:05:04]But yeah, Dave, I was Science once. And I forgot, and this made me remember, and it was, beautiful.

[00:05:09]David: [00:05:09] It was once and it was published in a PhD consigning you to somewhat obscurity, but it’s still pretty cool

[00:05:15] Sophie: [00:05:15] yeah.

GM Mozzies

[00:05:16] From poop to blood, Dave.

[00:05:27]David: [00:05:27] Nice, from pure evil come in at the back of things to mosquitoes, possibly saving us from other mosquitoes.

[00:05:34]Sophie: [00:05:34] Yeah. So this is interesting. So they have released the first genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. So there’s a biotech firm called Oxitec, which I learned is actually a British startup funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. And so the goal of releasing these GM mozzies is to suppress the wild disease-carrying mosquito populations in the region.

[00:05:55]David: [00:05:55] Yeah. So these diseases, include serious diseases like Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya and yellow fever. So not trivial things and basically the argument for doing this is that by releasing these genetically modified mosquitoes to control the population, it’s going to be more cost-effective than pesticides.

[00:06:14] And also not involve the use of pesticides, which obviously affect insects carte-blanches, in a way that’s deleterious for things like bees and other things that we need to pollinate.

[00:06:23]Sophie: [00:06:23] Yeah. And so basically, the Florida Keys mosquito control district, they actually contacted Oxitec because  often, they spend up to a million dollars a year on pesticides and other things to control these pests. And so this particular company Oxitec had had success previously with their modified, Aedes Aegypti. So that’s our yellow fever mosquito. Fun fact. Aedes means unpleasant or odious. And so, as you said, these are these mosquitoes that carry all these diseases and they released them in Brazil, Cayman Islands, Panama, and Malaysia.

[00:06:57]And they reported that the local Aegypti population fell by at least 90% in these locations. And the way it worked was that they essentially genetically modified the boy mosquito. So we all know that it’s the females who bite. So it’s the females who bite, it’s the females who spread disease. And so these genetically modified male mosquitoes  go out, they mate with the wild female mozzies, um, and then they pass the gene onto the offspring.

[00:07:21] And what that gene does is it doesn’t affect the male survival. The male offspring, but what it does is it prevents the female offspring from building an essential protein and that’s causes them to die before reaching maturity. So basically it’s killing all the female offspring, which are the disease carrying mosquito.

[00:07:37]David: [00:07:37] Fabulous. so what do you think about this? Is this scary or is this awesome?

[00:07:40]Sophie: [00:07:40] Well see, I… I know that like GMs, it was like a lot of bad things associated with it. I think we have to be very, very careful, but, you know, for example, if you think about producing a GM drought resistant crop in a place that has drought. To me, that actually seems like a pretty good idea.

[00:07:54] I think one of the questions that has come up with this one in particular is they’re not sure if these mozzies are going to have unintended effects on the local mosquitoes, animals or ecosystem at large. And in fact, what happened was when Oxitec released the GM mosquitoes in Brazil, they found that genes from the  released genetically modified mosquitoes, genes from those cropped up in the local mozzies population.

[00:08:16]And so they actually said that it  hinting that the lethal gene failed to kill off some of the females offspring before they could mate. And some of the hybrid offspring did not carry the lethal gene, but instead carry genes from the original Cuban and Mexican mosquito populations first used to create the gene. I don’t know, Dave, what tell what do you think?

[00:08:33]David: [00:08:33] Well, think this is different. Like I used to live in America and we used to go on vacation to North Carolina, which is further in the South. And if you had a mild winter in that year, then in the summer, they would literally be spraying pesticide from airplanes. Like that’s the scale of the intervention that we’re talking about usually.

[00:08:50]Sophie: [00:08:50] So to me, this then sounds much better.

[00:08:52]David: [00:08:52] Yeah. So I think the fact that you can target it to the disease- causing population of insects, you can really targeted like a medical intervention, target them that way and in a very controlled way and they’ll die out hopefully, and that will be okay. But I mean, we’ve got Florida Keys mosquito control district board approached Oxitec in 2010. This has happened after a decade of regulatory assessments.

[00:09:15] Sophie: [00:09:15] Yeah, Exactly. It’s been, as you said, it’s been approved by the EPA, right? The US Protection Agency. Like they looked at everything like they don’t do this stuff lightly.

[00:09:24]David: [00:09:24] So  we’re not chucking GM mozzies into the atmosphere, Willy nilly. We’re doing it in something of a considered way. And I do think we’ve got these technologies that have the potential to really help people. Um, And I mean , this isn’t a wealthy Florida in population. If you think of what you could do in an area of the world where malaria is a big killer. Then surely that’s the kind of potential that we have to act on if we can. think.

[00:09:46] Sophie: [00:09:46] Yeah, I agree.  And in fact, they’re doing this in a trial phase anyway, so it was only in late April that Oxitec placed boxes of the mosquito eggs in six locations in kudo key, ramrod key and Vaca Key. And the idea was after that, over the next 12 weeks, about 12,000 newly hatched male mosquitoes would emerge and then mate, and do their bidding.

[00:10:05]And what they’ve actually done is, you know, they’re, they’re in a stage of tracking it. So this is a trial. If this trial is successful, there’ll be another trial where there were at least 20 million mosquitoes later on in the year and the way that they can. track them, David. And if you read this, they introduced gene that causes the mosquitoes to glow under a specific color of light.

[00:10:22] So they work out who their mosquitoes or who, which ones are their mosquitoes, and they’re going to capture mozzies and they’re going to observe how far their insects traveled from the boxes, how long they live. Whether the female mosquitoes are actually picking up the lethal gene and dying off, you know? And so , I think they’re doing this in the most responsible way possible. And as you said, I mean, this has implications to so many places where malaria is a huge killer and other diseases are huge killers. And as you said, if you can specifically target the thing, that’s killing people without affecting other stuff. To me, this seems like a good use of genetically modified things.

[00:10:56]David: [00:10:56] Yes. I’m inclined to agree.

[00:10:58]The last point I have is like, so the female mosquitoes bite people, do you know what the male mosquitoes do?

[00:11:02]Sophie: [00:11:02] Don’t they eat like nectar ?

[00:11:04]David: [00:11:04] Yeah. The male mosquitoes exclusively drink nectar.  Yeah. So please God, won’t someone think of the poor mosquito bitten flowers is also what I want to raise.

[00:11:12] Sophie: [00:11:12] Yeah. Well, cause I did do a little bit of research on mosquitoes and the only thing that I could find was they exist to be food for other things and to kill people. So at least if still preserving the male populations, then other animals have mosquitoes, you know, fat, juicy nectar, mosquitoes to eat and no one’s dying.

[00:11:28] David: [00:11:38]

Plants to Electronics

[00:11:38] So this next story is about transforming atmospheric carbon into industrial useful materials.  That’s, what the article said it was. But this is a rare situation, Sophie, where the scientific abstract was actually much more exciting sounding than the press release I thought, because in the abstract they say here we present a strategy to mine atmospheric carbon to mitigate CO2 emissions and create economically lucrative green products. Basically what these fine researchers at the silk Institute in San Diego want to do is, they want to take carbon dioxide out of the air, which is obviously important to stop climate change.

[00:12:13] And they want to do that using something that we already have, which is plants. So they’re using plants to take the carbon out of the air, but obviously that’s only temporary, right?

[00:12:21]Sophie: [00:12:21] Yeah. So I’ve wrote down verbatim ” plants capture carbon from air like pro’s, but this benefit is temporary. When plants die and decompose, they release carbon back into the air.”

[00:12:30]David: [00:12:30] That’s beautiful. That’s lovely.

[00:12:32]Sophie: [00:12:32] I’m going to get it on a tee shirt.

[00:12:33]Yeah. So this is really cool. So what they’re doing is, so they used, I think, tobacco and corn husks specifically,

[00:12:39]but the idea is they grow these plants the. Plants pull the carbon from the air.

[00:12:46]Actually, Dave, I’m going to take you through a three-step process where you can do this at home. Okay. So what I want you to do is I want to take you get you to take a bunch of tobacco seeds, right? So I want you to grow that tobacco. It’s very convenient because tobacco has a very short growing season. So this is why they picked it. And this is why you’re going to pick it as well. I want you to grow it from seed.

[00:13:05]I want you to then to harvest that tobacco, once it’s grown, I think, they’re recommending about a 58 day period. Once you’ve harvested, I want you to freeze it. And I want you to grind that tobacco into a powder, and you’re going to need to treat it with several chemicals that I think you can find in the paper.

[00:13:20] And hopefully you can get at your local chemist, but maybe not. And one of them is a Silicon containing compound. Now you’ve got your powdered tobacco with your Silicon containing compounds, and then I want you to petrify it, right?  Turn it into sort of a stoney- like substance. I want you to petrify that substance.

[00:13:36]David: [00:13:36] Brilliant.

[00:13:37]Sophie: [00:13:37] You might, this is a bit that going to struggle with, you’re going to need to heat it up to about 1600 degrees. That’s less warm, but still too hot for you.

[00:13:44] David: [00:13:44] Yeah, still very hot

[00:13:45]Sophie: [00:13:45] if you do that, you will make Silicon carbide. Right? And so Silicon carbide is a thing that very rarely occurs on the earth naturally, but we use it in everything. And in fact, the process that we use to make Silicon carbide at the moment actually releases a bunch of CO2 into the air.

[00:14:04]David: [00:14:04] Yeah. So that’s my understanding too. So we produce a synthetically from Silicon dioxide, acid and petroleum Coke, otherwise known as pet Coke, which has not be to be confused with the Coke that you keep as a pet. Pet Coke is a short for petroleum Coke and apparently approximately 65% of the pet Coke is released into the atmosphere when you make the Silicon carbide. Which is obviously bad.  So it’s a very carbon intensive process to make something. So basically with what you’re proposing  with tobacco plants is that we,  actually take carbon out of the atmosphere while in the process making something that we can use for sandpaper and LEDs and semiconductors.

[00:14:39]Sophie: [00:14:39] Yeah. So apparently, Silicon carbide is used in so many things in the majority of the Silicon carbide that we use is synthetically manufactured because apparently it’s only found in very small quantities in wierd things in nature. So they’ve got naturally occurring. I want to pronounce this as moissanite, which sounds disgusting, and that might not be the way you pronounce

[00:14:57] David: [00:14:57] Oh,

[00:14:58] The grossest rock.

[00:14:59] Sophie: [00:14:59] Yeah.

[00:15:00] And only minute quantities and certain types of meteorite and in corundum deposits, which is a crystalline form of aluminium oxide. And then sometimes it’s found in kimberlite, which is an igneous rock, which sometimes contains diamonds. So there’s none of this stuff on the planet. We need it for everything.

[00:15:16]David: [00:15:16] So I’m really excited about this. Cause I texted you last night cause I was so about this one. One of the things I loved in this paper so much is that they actually go as far as quantifying, but like they don’t quantify the weight of carbon, they quantify the number of atoms of carbon that from the atmosphere when you go from a seed to a plant.

[00:15:36]So for example, in one tobacco seed, They reckon there’s 1.82  times 10 to the 18 carbon atoms proceed, which is a lot, right. It’s quite, sounds like quite a lot. Whereas once you’ve grown up the plant and then you’ve dried it, you freeze dried it in the way that you described. You’ve got 1.8 times 10 to the 22 carbon atoms. So times 10 to the 18 and time center, the 22 is a huge increase.

[00:15:59] Sophie: [00:15:59] That is Orders of magnitude,

[00:16:01] David: [00:16:01] Orders and orders of magnitude. So tobacco plants are absolutely badass at sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. And you’re right. Once it’s been through this big, big, big process, they found that they had 1.3 1.3 times 10 to the 22 atoms of carbon dioxide left in the petrified tobacco plants, which is an efficiency of about 14%.

[00:16:19]So they do actually make the point that because it’s quite energy intensive, to generate that 1.8 grams or at 1.3 times 10 to the 22 atoms of  petrified carbon, takes an estimated 177 kilowatt hours . So to put that in perspective, that’s like running your kettle for 177 hours, or like running 177 kettles for one hour.

[00:16:41]So it’s quite energy intensive. So they do make the point that only if this is combined with with a renewable energy generation, does it become viable as a carbon neutral process.

[00:16:51] So I think  this has an insane amount of potential. We’re taking something that we don’t want, And we’ve turned it into something that we very much need. And the process of making that thing we need at the moment is very, very bad. And now we’ve made it better.  Everyone can do this at home.

[00:17:05]Everyone do at home and also do it industrially, please.


[00:17:17] From Stoney plants to liquid sloshing about the inside of planets, we’ve learned something new about the inside of Saturn, which is that it’s made up of much more liquid, hydrogen and helium than we expected.

[00:17:29]Sophie: [00:17:29] Yes. So previously I think we thought that the core of saturn was sort of a lump of rock and ice. Well, let’s get into detail. So in the older theories, they think gas giants such as saturn arise when rocks and ice orbiting the sun start to conglomorate. And so basically you’ve got this gaseous envelope that allows materials, like solid materials to come in and they kind of sink and they form the center. So you’ve got this compact core of rock and ice. And then later on that core sort of attracts hydrogen and helium and sort of makes up the rest of the planet.

[00:17:59] So they’re thinking kind of rocky ice core and then sort of  precious liquid gaseous surroundings. So this is a paper that has come out of Cal-tech and at the moment it’s just on the archive, but it will appear in Nature Astronomy later on this year, I believe.

[00:18:13] And what they’ve said is the core is actually very diffuse and it’s pervaded by huge amounts of hydrogen and helium that are so spread out that it spans 70,000 kilometers or about 60% of the planet’s diameter.

[00:18:24] David: [00:18:24] So basically what, we’re looking at here is if you want to try and understand what’s inside a planet. You can send probes there and you can look at how the gravity changes in that, but that doesn’t, that tells you about how much mass is there, but it doesn’t tell you about what’s inside or how it’s distributed.

[00:18:39] Sophie: [00:18:39] The structure. Yeah.

[00:18:40]David: [00:18:40] So, basically what they’ve done here, if I understand this, and correct me, if I’m wrong, please, Sophie is, they’ve had a look at one of Saturn’s rings, the C ring, which is the innermost ring,

[00:18:50]Sophie: [00:18:50] It’s the innermost of the main rings. It’s actually second ring, but the D ring is like very faint. Whereas you got A, B and C, which are like the big, robust rings. And C ring is big, robust ring.

[00:19:01]David: [00:19:01] Okay. So basically if you want learn something more about what’s inside of planet than just the distribution of the gravity, basically you look at how the gas and the liquid that comprise the planet slosh around the planet. And basically because there is gas and liquid sloshing around the planet, it changes the distribution of mass, which changes the way that the gravity is around the planet, which if the planet happens to have rings, it means that by looking at the rings, you can see the way that the gravity is changing because of the sloshing and learn something about how the sloshing is happening.

[00:19:32]Sophie: [00:19:32] Yeah, exactly. So they’ve made a really good comparison  so just as an earthquakes help seismologists probe earth interior, it’s the same thing. So oscillations inside saturn can reveal the internal composition, but because you’ve got the rings, you can now see these internal oscillations externally, as you said, sort of driven by gravity. So that we’re looking at waves in the rings, and it was specifically the sea ranks, I guess it’s like a big, major ring that is very close to saturn. So they analyze the waves in that ring, along with data on saturn’s gravity fields from the Cassini spacecraft, which I believe is now defunct. And they found that ,the core has approximately 17 earth masses of rock and ice, but there’s so much hydrogen and helium. Mixed in that the core encompasses 55 earth masses altogether. So that’s, more than half of saturn total, which is equivalent to the massive 95 earth masses.

[00:20:22]David: [00:20:22] That’s a lot of earths

[00:20:23]Sophie: [00:20:23] That’s a lot of earth and a lot of liquid hydrogen and helium earths, as opposed to rock and ice earth, which I think is the surprising thing.

[00:20:30]So apparently,  the newer theories of the way that these gas giants were formed, basically say that rather than having that dense core, you’ve got a lot of gas that is incorporated into the core of rock and ice when it’s taking shape. And then as the planet gained additional mass, the proportion of gas rose, and apparently this new discovery, backs up the new theories about how these gas giants were formed in a way that I don’t quite understand just because I don’t know about you Dave but reading this paper, I felt very thick for a very, very long time.


[00:21:01] and Apparently the type of oscillations detected in Saturn also implies that the core is stable rather than sort of bubbling like a pot of hot water. And that explains why saturn emits more energy, than it gains from the sun, because they think of the way that It’s structured now, it hasn’t sort of lost all of its energy from that sort of gas in the outer ring or the sort of the energy when it was formed is still sort of maintained in this gas, liquid, hydrogen, helium sort of core. It was a really, complicated paper, Dave, but

[00:21:31] David: [00:21:31] It’s really really complicated.

[00:21:32]Sophie: [00:21:32] We found out something about saturn and then,  this is relevant because we’ve got a number of gas giants in our solar system.  And this is, you know, potentially it verifies that these new theories about the formation of these gas giants is correct as opposed to the old theories.

[00:21:47]David: [00:21:47] That’s cool. I was also just delighted to see the word Cassini mentioned again. Cause the Cassini spacecraft, I don’t know if you remember back in like whenever it was 2016, 2017, when it arrived at saturn and then just started taking these pictures that I just absolutely salivated over. I mean, there was so, so, so, so beautiful.

[00:22:04] And listeners, if you haven’t seen them go just search NASA Cassini- Huygens and do an image search because the pictures that they took of saturn and saturn’s moons are just breathtaking and take a moment to consider that we sent a camera there. There is a planet called Saturn in our solar system and we sent a camera there and took pictures of it.

[00:22:21]Sophie: [00:22:21] It’s pretty spectacular. And I’ve got  a last final fun fact. So I learned a little bit about the planets rings and that’s why I knew about DNC rings, but apparently the rings are made up of pieces of comets and asteroids and shattered moons and bits, but apparently the particles in the rings range from like tiny dust size, sort of ice grains to chunks as big as houses. And there particles that are as big as mountains, which I really enjoyed. So, you know, you’ve got this sort of fine particle and there’s just a mountain floating around with this ice dust, which I really, I enjoyed that image.

[00:22:51] I’m sure that’s not what it actually looks like, but there you go very interesting science and as Dave said, go Google Cassini, and look at some of those photos because they are actually spectacular.

Space Discovery Centre

[00:23:03] And on the topic of space, Sophie

[00:23:05]Yes, So the Australian space discovery center has finally opened in Adelaide. So it’s, it’s housed on lot 14, which is the former Royal Adelaide hospital site, uh, which is also the home of the Australian space agency. So this discovery center is essentially just designed to spark curiosity and inspire.

[00:23:21]There’s a careers hub. There’s an operational mission control center. There’s exhibitions, there’s all this cool stuff, but fun fact that I learned, cause I knew a little bit about lot 14. So it’s located on a culturally significant site for the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains, centred  on the sacred Karrawirra Parri, which is their name for the river Torrens, which is the river of red gum forest.

[00:23:40]But it’s an important part of Kaurna dreaming. So Karrawirra Parri is thought to be a reflection of the Milky way. So you’ve got, I thought that was really nice. So you’ve got your space center and then you’ve got the river Torrens or the red gum forest river, which is thought to be a reflection of the Milky way. So you’ve sort of got the Milky way moving in and around this space center, which I just thought was delightful. But yeah it’s very cool. I hope to check It out next time I’m in Adelaide and I know you probably will too, Dave

[00:24:06] David: [00:24:06] It sounds exciting and the name sounds apt and I look forward to visiting next time  in South Australia.


[00:24:22] And thank you for listening to another fun episode of STEMology. Be sure to check out the links to these great stories on our show notes.

[00:24:28]Sophie: [00:24:28] Go visit www.stemology.com.au.

[00:24:32] David: [00:24:32] If you have any news you think is STEMology worthy, drop us an email at stemology@ramaley.media.

[00:24:37]Sophie: [00:24:37] We’d love to give you a mention.

[00:24:39]David: [00:24:39] Your hosts have been Dr. Sophie Calabretto and Dr. David Farmer. This is a podcast from Ramaley Media.

[00:24:44]Sophie: [00:24:44] Our executive producer is Melanie de Gioia and our music is from Elizabeth Maniscalco. Be sure to hit subscribe on your favorite listening app. So you never miss our episodes.

[00:24:55]We look forward to sharing all the latest things in science, technology, engineering, and maths with you next week ,

[00:25:02] David: [00:25:02] and be sure to bring your friends.