This rare photo of Earth was taken from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft that is currently orbiting Saturn. Earth appears as a small blue dot as it is taken from the outer solar system and is only visible when the camera is pointed towards the sun. This particular photo occurred during a total eclipse where the sun was blanked out by Saturn but provided enough light to keep Earth in view.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have found a way to shape microscopic crystals into complex and beautiful structures. Project leader Wim L. Noorduin and his colleagues were able to modify the growth of the crystals through tiny chemical alterations of a fluid containing water, liquid glass, and the salt barium chloride. Carbon dioxide from the air dissolved into the solution set off a reaction that caused barium carbonate crystals to form. This caused the pH of the water surrounding the crystals to get lower, which in turn caused the dissolved sodium silicate to form into a layer of silica on them, thus extending their growth process.