Cool Science Stuff

Mars Pathfinder Mission

3-D Images from Mars
These 3-D pictures require special 3-D glasses. They were produced by combining the images from two different camera angles to give a 3-D effect. Can you name any of the rocks? Notice the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APX) deployed against the rocks?

Overview of mission
Learn more about the mars pathfinder mission. How much did the mission cost. Does this seem like a lot of money? Check out the information on how the spacecraft landed on mars. The movies of the rockets and the airbags are really cool.

Golf Analogy.
This describes how good a golfer you would have to be to match the accuracy of landing on mars.

Driving the Rover
This describes the virtual reality workstation used to guide the rover on the surface of mars. They use 3-D images and goggles similar to the ones you used to look at the pictures above.

Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer
This instrument on the rover is used to determine the elemental composition of rocks. It is deployed against a rock and then measures the elements. With this information, scientists can learn how the rocks were formed. They can also compare the rocks to the rocks on the earth.

Sunrise on Mars
These images were used to help determine exactly where the pathfinder landed. Nasa used the time and location of the sunrise, just like sailors used to determine their location before satelite navigation.

Pictures of Molecules

The shapes of molecules help explain how they react and what they do. By understanding how simple molecules are shaped, it is possible to explain the shape of very large molecules like DNA.
Molecular Geometry
This web page shows the five most common shapes for molecules. If you click and drag on the molecules you can rotate them to view from different angles.

Single DNA Strand
Using these same shapes, it is possible to construct much larger molecules. Like this single strand of DNA.

DNA Double Helix
Then it is possible to see how the two strands of DNA wrap around to form the double helix.

Geometry of Rhodopsin
This movie shows how the shape of rhodopsin changes when light hits it. This change in shape is how our eyes see.

STM Images
And now it is possible to use an experiment called Scanning Tunneling Microscopy to "see" atoms. This web site is from IBM, researchers in one of their labs discovered this technique. Click on the pictures to see full size images of atoms. WOW!

The Why Files

This is a great site to find out "why" stuff works. This site is updated every week, so come back and visit.

This page is maintained by
Scott Van Bramer
Department of Chemistry
Widener University
Chester, PA 19013

Please send any comments, corrections, or suggestions to

This page has been accessed times since 12/1/97.
Last Updated Friday, December 05, 1997 09:16:57