Category Archives: Features

Space Baby, Lets talk about you and me

by Riley Nielson
Staff Reporter

2019 has officially been rung in by students sleepily returning to school after a long winter break and the semester finally coming to a close. But before 2018 can fade into the past, it’s important to reflect on all of the achievements accomplished in the past year. Leaps and bounds have been made in space exploration with the discovery of liquid water on a nearby planet, an unknown material 10,000 times stronger than steel, and the invention of a satellite equipped with a harpoon gun. 2019 has a lot to live up to.

For decades, scientists have argued about the large bodies of liquid water on Mars. While there is evidence of Mars having water in the past, the planet has changed considerably in that time. With freezing temperatures and a thin atmosphere, most scientists say liquid water existing on the surface is highly unlikely, maybe even impossible. Scientists speculated that any large bodies of water would have to be buried deep below the surface, safe from extreme temperatures and radiation.

In July, 2018 the European Space Agency (ESA) found strong evidence of an underground lake in the south pole region of Mars. The lake is thought to be 12 miles across and at least 3 feet deep. The lake is buried underneath 0.9 miles of ice. Dr. Manish Patel from Open University told the BBC,”We have long since known that the surface of Mars is inhospitable to life as we know it, so the search for life on Mars is now in the subsurface.” The discovery of the underground reservoir has made scientists more hopeful than ever before that life is possible on Mars.

What is the strongest material in the universe? There’s a lot of contenders for the position. First, there’s Graphene, a material 200 times stronger than steel. Or Buckypaper, a nanotechnology material 500 times stronger than steel and 10 times lighter. In July 2018, a new material was found that surpassed both of those materials in strength. Its name? Nuclear pasta. No, seriously. Nuclear pasta is the substance that makes up the core of a neutron star and is estimated to be 10 billion times stronger than steel. This cosmic spaghetti was tested using computer simulations and has raised more questions within the scientific community

Satellites, space stations, rockets, and other inventions have made life easier for us. However, the very existence of these machines is harming the continuation of space exploration. When these objects quit working, they take up space by soaring around the Earth at around 17,000 mph. Space exploration becomes riskier as every year more junk is created. Once considered a difficult problem to solve, in 2018 researchers at the University of Surrey in England made a breakthrough with a satellite called RemoveDEBRIS.

RemoveDEBRIS is built with four tools to get rid of the space junk: a harpoon, a dragsail, a net, and a smaller satellite. The mission? To de-orbit space junk. With millions of space junk floating around, it’s a daunting task. However, the results are promising as the first test conducted in September 2018 was successful. The researchers released a piece of metal to mimic real space junk and RemoveDEBRIS successfully de-orbited it by trapping it within its net. This tiny success may be the predecessor for large scale removals of space junk in the future.

Should the school day start later?

by Kelsey Conger
Staff Reporter

Maybe letting the students sleep in would help with the grade point averages, and help with lowering the number of car accidents that happen due to being too tired. Lots of people say they can go to bed earlier and still wake up tired due to just how early it is. However, being able to get a little bit more sleep and being able to have more time to get ready may help the way you function. Your brain does not fully wake up till around 10 AM. Teenage brains actually start to function two hours after adults’ brains do. Neuroscientists say teens are biologically predisposed to go to sleep around midnight and not feel fully awake and engaged until between 9AM and 10 AM.  Students’ grades are going down hill throughout the year, because they can’t stay up in classes and they can’t focus on the subject they are studying.

Starting the day later will not only satisfy students needs but it will help the students be able to focus better on school and be able to get their work done quicker. They will not be too tired to do the work. Kids this age stay up late, due to working jobs to be able to pay for things they wanna buy outside of school, even maybe to pay bills, students are also doing endless amounts of homework, and studying for big tests coming up. They need to be able to have a full amount of sleep to be able to keep good grades and get good scores on tests.

By starting the school day later, that might mean students and teachers would have to stay at school later, but is it worth it? To have good grades, to be more prepared, to feel better about how the day will go? I think staying an extra hour is so worth all of these things, because being successful should be a very top priority.

Beware: Student Drivers

by Zachary Jonstun Smith
Staff Reporter


High school is full of new drivers. They can be naturals or they take a year or two to get really good at it. Parking is a real issue because students take forever, and they can sometimes take up two or more spaces.

In reality, what teen is good at driving at first? My first year of driving, I got in an accident, and I got a couple of tickets. I almost lost my license. Over time I learned how to be a better driver.

Cole Smith, a senior, said, “I used to be horrible. I ran into a curb one time and broke my car, but eventually I got the hang of it.”

Winter driving is one of the hardest things to do for new drivers, it can be scary.
The main thing about winter driving is to take it slow and always pay attention. Here are some tips for new drivers, though even experienced drivers could use reminders:

  • Front wheel drive cars: whatever you do, if you start to slide, keep your wheels straight and don’t slam on the brakes, because you’ll slide even farther if you do.
  • Rear wheel drive cars: if your back end slides out, don’t panic. Just turn your steering wheel the opposite direction of the way you are sliding and lightly press the brakes and you will be ok.
  • If visibility is low, try to go at least 10 miles an hour under the speed limit so you have more time to stop.
  • Make sure your windshield wiper fluid is full, because most windshield wiper fluids have chemicals to melt ice in them.
  • Make sure you don’t put water in your radiator, because it might freeze. Use antifreeze instead.
  • Keep a scraper in your car to remove snow and ice.

Try to be safe and look out for each other on the road. Winter can be dangerous if you don’t drive smart