The Science Hub: California water levels, Momias de Guanajuato, Starship

Another set of science-based news, this time with a special piece by Jimena Perez.

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The Science Hub: California water levels, Momias de Guanajuato, Starship

Credit: Rachel Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Rachel Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Rachel Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Rachel Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

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Average Water Levels in California

After a rain-filled winter, courtesy of numerous atmospheric rivers, California is sitting above an average amount of water for this time of year at a large majority of lakes, especially compared to last year. Throughout the entirety of the state, water levels are 128% larger than average, a boon for a state still recovering from drought. 

Both Lake Oroville and Shasta Lake have two of the biggest changes in water level, with Lake Oroville jumping from 62% of the average last year to 102% this year. Similarly, Shasta Lake is now at 126% of the average water level, up from 88%.

However, without another rain filled winter, this quantity of water may not last for long.

-Thomas Weldele

Momias de Guanajuato

The infamous Momias de Guanajuato (Mummies of Guanajuato) were found in the late 1800s by accident and for the following 100 years more than 111 bodies of mummified women, men and children have been found. The mummification of these bodies came to be after a tax on graves was imposed. If relatives of the deceased body did not pay the fee in time, the bodies would be exhumed. After being exhumed, the cadavers would be reburied in a crypt where the absence of oxygen, an abundance of minerals and the naturally dry weather led to mummification. 

Though the people are long dead, through their remains scientists have been able to understand key aspects of what their life once was. The bodies have led to an understanding of their cause of death and sometimes to records of who they were when they were alive.

Detailed expressions of their gruesome faces and bodies can still be seen today. Exhibits of the mummies are in El Museo de las Momias De Guanajuato, which is visited by thousands each year to witness their fascinating and shocking history. 

 -Jimena Perez

Starships

On the night of Sept. 28, 2019, tech entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, announced the prototype for a fully reusable orbital-rocket with a name coming straight from Sci-Fi classics: Starship.

Since SpaceX’s first launch reaching orbit in 2008, Musk and his company have been focused on their main goal of getting humans onto safe and accessible rockets. With two spacecraft already in use, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, this new addition to the SpaceX fleet is the biggest and brightest of them all. 

Over the past few years and several designs, the sleek, steel grey rocket has finally been released as a 200 ton, 50 meter ship that has the largest payload capacity of any other launcher. 

Boasting not only size, the rocket is said to be as powerful as the Saturn V that brought Neil Armstrong to the Moon and the International Space Station into space. 

Facing orbit as its first goal, the Moon and even Mars follow close behind, and the prototype is hoped to go into orbit in March of 2020 and become a new step in making space travel accessible in a way that non-reusable rockets are not.

-Naomi Schmitt

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