The Great Energy Challenge

April 23, 2011

Who knew there was a missing link between soft drinks, forests, ocean acidity, wild fires, cement production, and volcanoes? Today Mike Gunson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory talked to us via Second Life about this “carbon dioxide puzzle” and about how we know from data that humans are a piece of that puzzle.

So when we say that burning fossil fuels releases about 8.5 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere per year, what does that mean? It’s hard to really understand a word like “gigaton” because it means 1 BILLION tons. To give you a comparison, if 1 Mazda Miata weighs about 1 ton, then you’d need 8.5 billion Miatas to make 8.5 billion tons. That’s enough Miatas to circle the Earth 850 times!

It just so happened that the Museum had a Great Energy Challenge event this day. So after we learned about how important it was to have cleaner and more efficient energy, we went through the Museum and made some clean energy ourselves!

Generating human-powered energy

Generating human-powered energy

Becoming a human yo-yo

Becoming a human yo-yo

1 Comment

  • By Amy, May 20, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

    Everyone had just a great time at the Energy challenge, everyone involved learned something as well as engaged in the activities. Here are some quotes to prove it:
    “The challenges were educational, easy to do, and quick paced activities and the fact that they were fun simply made the experience one of enjoyment and even better because of the competitive edge. -Arden

    “It was fun competing with the other teams and I learned a lot, like that an LED light burns energy slower than a radio would” – Sofia

    “It was fun because we got to interact with each other and other teams to accomplish goals, it was a nice activity” -Sixto

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