This is what happens when a carrot is fired at 300 km/hour at an egg, through two sheets of cardboard.
This is what happens if you separate out the two sheets:
The egg survives! This shows how a Whipple shield works, and is what spacecraft use to protect themselves from micrometeoroid impacts in space. When the projectile (in this case a carrot, but in space it could be a speck of paint, a piece of an old satellite, or a bit of space rock) hits the first layer, it’s moving so fast that it starts to vaporise, because the energy of the collision is enough to break almost every bond in the substance.
It then sprays outwards, spreading the force of impact across a much wider area, meaning the second layer can stop it going any further, keeping your egg (or astronauts) safe.
Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Manager Amy Henrici in the field.
by Patrick McShea
As I travelled west from Pittsburgh to meet Carnegie Museum of Natural Hisotry Vertebrate Fossil Collection Manager Amy Henrici for a frog fossil hunting expedition in eastern Nevada, the same question was asked by each of my airplane seat mates.
How do you know where to look for fossils?“
For the sites we planned to visit the answer was simple. Earlier written reports by geologists mapping rock formations and mineral deposits noted the occasion occurrence of fossils in certain rock layers.
Fossil searches involved locating and visiting sites where such rock layers are exposed on the surface, and then examining fragments that have eroded from these outcrops.The full process, which might stretch over decades, is an example of how published findings allow one branch of science to serve another.
As a geologist friend takes great pleasure in explaining, "Geologists let paleontologist know where fossils are in the multitude rock layers of Earth’s history, in time and in place.”
Patrick McShea is a museum educator who is traveling through Nevada with Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Manager Amy Henrici to search for frog fossils. He frequently blogs about his experiences.
So there’s a couple posts going around to the tune of “we don’t know that dinosaurs weren’t huge fluffy balls of puff! [insert drawings of dinosaurs looking like giant robins]” and they’re really cute, but…
Can’t we make educated guesses about how fluffy a given species of saurian was by studying the climate in which they lived? I was under the impression that we could get a pretty good idea of local climate by looking at fossils of plant life and the weathering of successive layers of rock and stuff, have I overestimated our knowledge in that area?
Cause like. An ostrich is different from a penguin is different from a kiwi is different from a condor is different from a raptor. All birds, all fluffy, all very different. Why can’t we apply that principle to dinosaur fossils?
These mountains proclaim a message that is easy to understand when you have seen their steep walls and layers upon layers of rock, twisted, cracked, filled with gaping wounds. ‘We have suffered most brutally,’ they announce, 'and we are suffering still.’ But they say it proudly, sternly, and with clenched teeth, like ancient, indomitable warriors.