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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Art Influencing Science

Art Influencing Science

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, January 27, 2018/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, video, space science, art and design, environment

                                         Whiteboard Animation design (credit: YouTube)

It seems the scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech in Pasadena may have learned a thing or two from the animators at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in London. Those clever artists and designers have pioneered the use of whiteboard animation to create engaging stories that explain complex subjects. Their animated "short cources" on topics ranging from economics to empathy are now being viewed the world over.

JPL has applied the same whiteboard animation approach to explain their efforts at developing new power sources for space exploration. The Mars Curiosity rover, and other robotic explorers, use "radioisotope power" to create energy that drives an electric thermocouple. When a thermocouple of two metals is heated, the difference in the material's conductivity results in one metal becoming hotter than the other. This differential creates a voltage, the force with which electrons flow through the material, and converts the transferred heat into electricity. The JPL animation, while not as elaborate as those created by the RSA, still tells a complex engineering story in a wonderfully clever manner.

Hopefully, the new JPL power supplies and batteries will make even more exciting discoveries as their robots continue  exploring the solar system and beyond. Perhaps, the RSA will be influenced to create more stories about space, medicine, and other scientific explorations in future animations.



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