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Top Questions About Energy


Q:Will the sun ever burn out?

From Carolynn in Des Moines, IA - 6th grade

A: The sun, like most everything in the universe, changes through time. The process of how stars (including the sun) change through time is called stellar evolution. The sun will probably be stable, as far as we are concerned, for a very long time, but eventually it will "burn out." However, before the sun burns out, it will change enough to likely cause an extinction of all life on earth. Scientists aren't sure, of course, what exactly will happen, but it is possible the earth will get to hot for life or the sun will lose its strong gravitational pull and earth will float off into space. Whatever happens, it won't be during your lifetime!
Question answered by: Symbi Scientist, Tim Mitchell

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Q: Have scientists invented cars that run on water?

From Francisco in Des Moines, IA - 6th grade

A: Scientists have not invented a car that runs on water - yet! An engine could be designed to run on hydrogen and indeed scientists and engineers are researching this alternative. When hydrogen reacts with oxygen to form water, energy is released that can be used to fuel a vehicle. In this way, the engine would actually make water rather than use it. Also, the best source for hydrogen is likely water. In order to produce the hydrogen, we need to use enough energy to break the bonds in water, which would require as much energy or more than the hydrogen would produce in the engine we design for our car. The big challenge scientists and engineers face is how to convert water to energy/hydrogen fuel in an efficient and inexpensive manner.
Question answered by: Symbi Engineer, Christian Bischoff

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Q: Would it be possible to make a pure energy ball?

From Ryan in Des Moines, IA - 8th grade

A: Depends on what is meant by a pure energy ball. (If we are talking about something from like Dragon Ball Z where people are making "pure energy" balls in there hands to fight with, no this type of energy ball is not currently possible.) However, if we are talking about pure energy on the small scale, a photon is probably pretty close. There is essentially no mass in a photon (basic unit of light) and it's energy distribution is in a ball. This gets into pretty tricky parts of quantum physics, particle physics, and special relativity to explain. In general, the equation e=mc^2 holds true where energy and mass are dependent on each other. So, mass is a property of energy and energy is a property of mass. If the equation holds true, you would then need mass in order to have an "energy ball."
Question answered by: Symbi Engineer, Peter Hondred

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Q: What is the difference between Current Electricity and Resistance Electricity?

From Sahal in Des Moines, IA - 6th grade

A: Electrical current is a measure of the rate that charge flows, or in other words, it is the amount of charge per unit time that passes through a point. This is measured in amperes (A). Resistance is a measure of the amount that a given material hinders the flow of electric charge. It is measured in ohms (Ω). Voltage, measured in volts (V), is a measure of the potential energy per unit charge between two points. Another way to look at voltage is that it is the energy required to move an electric charge between to points.
Question answered by: Symbi Engineer, Christian Bischoff

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Q: Is it possible for an object to stay still in space?

From Randi in Des Moines, IA - 8th grade

A: Yes, movement in space has to do with the laws of inertia (objects at rest stay and objects in motion stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.). So, if you are at rest in space (a vacuum), there are no external forces so you stay at rest. However, if you are in motion, you would stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. So, to go from moving to stationary, you need an outside force. This is why we see astronauts with compressed air on their packs. They use the release of air as their outside force to counter their movement. So, theoretically, if they use just the right amount of air in the right direction, they could stay still in space.
Question answered by: Symbi Engineer, Peter Hondred

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Q: How does the sun create energy?

From Lizzie in Des Moines, IA - 8th grade

A: The sun is composed of hydrogen and helium. The Sun actually converts energy by nuclear fusion reactions in its core which is different than creating energy. This means that the hydrogen and the helium are fused or combined in the sun's core.
Question answered by: Symbi Scientist, Heather Edwards

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