Measuring big science is not a piece of cake. There are so many factors that need to be taken into account. Of course, the physical size of the project and the construction costs at play heavily influence the decision making.
Through the years, we’ve made multiple forays in the field science. STEAM research has not stagnated, instead, it has grown in leaps and bounds.
What was today’s cutting edge technology does not always translate to be the in-thing tomorrow? While our introspection today will not focus on the trendy goings of the world, we’ll share a couple of pointers on how the most ambitious developments in STEAM research have progressed.
Here’s our breakdown of the 10 most awe-inspiring projects ever.
Situated at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider was the most powerful heavy-ion collider in the world right until November 2010.
Having ceded this status to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) or CERN, the RHIC remains the only operating particle collider in the US.
Scientists have made major strides in STEAM research by studying the primordial form of matter that existed in the universe moments after the Big Bang occurred. By moments, we actually mean the first millionth of a second after the universe was born.
With the RHIC coming into existence in 2010, it has a longer operating time, this means that there’s a greater number of colliding ion species and collision energies that scientists can be able to review there.
While there are many similarities between the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and the Large Hadron Collider, the RHIC stands apart in that it is able to accelerate spin-polarized protons. This allows it to hold the record as the world’s highest energy accelerator, a positive for scientists who are looking to study the nature of a spin-polarized proton.
With water covering about 75% of the Earth’s surface, one would logically assume that we’ve done plenty of research on ocean life. In truth, a vast section of oceans is unexplored.
Hopefully, this won’t be the case in the years to come. With Neptune, the world’s largest undersea observatory, it’s highly likely that we’ll be able to map the layout of our oceans and get a great comprehension of what lies in the depths of the waters.
Covering an extensive 530 miles (853 km), Neptune consists of tools and sensors and supports internet connectivity. For the longest time now, we’ve often heard people mention that we’re more enamored about the worlds that lie in the outer limits of space, than what resides on our home planet.
Thanks to Neptune, that’s all bound to change. No longer does staring into the abyss feel like staring into nothingness. The ocean floor is now quickly accessible right from the comfort of your mobile phone’s webs browser.
Consisting of 27 large antennas each with a dish diameter of 25 meters, the very large array is used to come up with detailed images of both distant and nearby objects in space.
The VLA got some much-needed upgrades in 2011 where some of its technical capacities were upgraded by factors of about 8,000. Having begun way back, some of the old electronics from the 1970’s era were replaced with modern state-of-the-art gadgets.
The Very Large Array got renamed to the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array on March 31, 2012, after input from the scientific community.
Most recently, on September 2017, the VLA Sky Survey (VLASS) mission started. Scientists hope to use the study to cover the entire sky visible to the VLA. Since this represents about 80% of Earth’s sky, they will have to take about 3 scans for a comprehensive look. Astronomers involved in the project believe there’s a good chance they’ll be able to discover some 10 million new objects from the survey.
Located in Livermore, California the National Ignition Facility is quite humongous and spans the length of 3 football fields. This laser lab was made to heat up and compress capsules of hydrogen isotopes until they reach a point of fusion and release energy.
While the project has been able to make major strides in the last couple of years, it’s still far from achieving its nominal objective: creating a fusion burn that is self-sustaining and capable of producing more energy than it consumes to cause the spark.
Having been launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2011, Juno the solar-powered spacecraft made its way into Jupiter’s polar orbit on July 4th, 2016.
In the time spent out there, it has been carefully monitoring all incidences on Jupiter and sending the results back home. Some of the things Juno keeps a note of include Jupiter’s magnetic field and its internal structure.
Since the entire STEAM research project was developed majorly for public outreach, images captured by the JunoCam instrument are available to members of the public for processing.
Situated at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, this specialized particle accelerator is built to generate bright beams of x-ray light for STEAM research. The electron bunches travel at speeds close to the speed of light in a circular motion. While at it, they emit UV and x-ray light.
Since the light is directed through about 40 beamlines to various end stations, members of the scientific community can conduct their own research in a number of different disciplines like chemistry, biology, environmental sciences, and physics.
Objectively, the advanced light source mission is to enable users to perform great works of science in a safe environment. So far, it has done a pretty good job.
Found in low Earth orbit, the ISS is a collaborative venture between a host of different space agencies including NASA from the United States, JAXA from Japan, CSA from Canada, Roscosmos from Russia, and ESA from Europe.
In a bid to promote STEAM research, in 2010, the ISS was given more responsibility. It is today tasked with serving commercial, diplomatic and educational purposes. In modern time, NASA now allows activities like marketing, and space tourism to happen on the ISS. This means that the uber-wealthy will now be able to spend some time outside the confines of Earth.
Famed for its production of brightly intense neutrons and as world-class instrument suite, the Spallation Neutron Source provides the scientific community with an unprecedented number of STEAM research opportunities.
On the SNS, scientists are able to test for greater intensity, higher resolution and higher speeds in complex sample surroundings. Since all this would not be feasible in any other neutron facilities around the world, we have plenty to be thankful for.
To date, more than 20 instruments have been completed and an average of 1,400 researchers tour the facilities every annum.
Started on 10 September 2018, the Large Hadron Collider remains the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.
Developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), scientists working at the facility are hopeful they’ll be able to unlock some of the most puzzling questions in physics like the basic laws governing the interactions of forces among the elementary objects, in the deep structure of space and time.
As one of the most advanced STEAM research projects out there, the initiative is expected to piece together the connection between general relativity and quantum mechanics.
The LHC was closed in December 2018 to allow for about 2 years of continued upgrades and repairs. Once it’s back online, it’s expected to be much more powerful and smash atoms with more energy at double the collision rate.
The Earthscope was purposefully made to monitor North America’s geological evolution. Since coming to the scene, the Earthscope has been able to help scientists understand:
As the sages would say, necessity is the mother of invention. So long as we are focused on solving a particular problem, we’ll always find a way of maneuvering through.
Embracing STEAM research is a guaranteed way to enhance the quality of our lives. At AstroReality, we’ve invested our energies in STEAM Education with the hope that we’ll be able to inspire the next generation of leaders.
Be sure to check out some of the educational programs we’ve organized and have a peek at some awesome 3D printing planetary models with AR that will help you grasp the workings of our universe.