The Museums

#MuseumsExplain

Ever wondered what it’s like to sit on a chair of nails, how many eggs a Queen Bees lays, or how astronauts drink purified pee in Space? Well Museums can Explain - click here to check out the explanations for these science and technology facts!

Washing machines account for 93% of lost socks

Washing machines account for 93% of lost socks.
Ever lost some socks? Check inside your washing machine! Apparently our spinning friends account for 93% of the lost socks in the average household. The other 7% is made up by thrifty mice looking for miniature sleeping bags. FACT.


The Universe contains as many stars as grains of sand on Earth

The Universe contains as many stars as grains of sand on Earth.
Because we can’t literally count all the grains of sand on the beaches of Earth, or count all the stars in the sky, we’ve done some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations to help us understand how big each of these numbers is.

Modest estimates from astronomers place over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy, which in turn is one galaxy of over 100 billion galaxies in the Universe. This means that there are at least 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (10 sextillion) stars in the Universe, if not more.

The harder question is, how many grains of sand are there on all the beaches on Earth? We calculate that in one cubic centimeter, you can fit roughly 8,000 grains of sand, about 20 grains across on each side. This means that in one cubic metre, there are about 8 billion grains of sand (good thing we aren’t counting each one by hand)!

To estimate the volume of the world’s beaches, we will roughly estimate that beaches cover 25% of the world’s 356,000 km of coastlines (2), and that each beach is 30 metres wide and 5 metres deep. This gives us a volume of 14 billion cubic metres of sand in all the beaches on Earth. To find the total number of grains of sand in these beaches, we multiply the volume of the beaches times the grains per volume and get about 110,000,000,000,000,000,000 (110 quintillion) grains of sand!

110,000,000,000,000,000,000 grains of sand on Earth.

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the Universe.

The verdict? There are more stars in the Universe than grains of sand in all the beaches on Earth!


Yes, sitting on 300 nails can be comfortable

Yes, sitting on 300 nails can be comfortable
It looks like you should be saying, "Ouch!" However, lying down on a bed of nails does NOT hurt! When your entire body is spread out on nails that are arranged closely together, the weight is distributed so there is little pressure on any given area.


Duck’s never get cold feet

The Universe contains as many stars as grains of sand on Earth.
Their arteries and veins run side-by-side. So, warm blood traveling through arteries passes right next to cold blood inside veins which has passed through the legs. This quickly re-heats the cold blood.


A cow produces 120 glasses of milk a day

FACT: A cow produces 120 glasses of milk a day.
Holsteins have the highest average milk production (30 litres per day) and the greatest protein content in their milk. They also have a good food conversion ratio (the ability to turn food into milk). It’s no wonder, then, that they make up 90 percent of dairy cows in Canada. Most Holsteins are black and white, but some have a red and white coat. You can often see both sets of colouring at the Museum.


A queen bee lays up to 2000 eggs a day

FACT: A queen bee lays up to 2000 eggs a day.
Each honeybee colony usually has only one fertile female, the queen and she lays all the eggs in the hive. In the spring, when the colony is growing at its fastest pace, a productive queen can lay up to 2 000 eggs per day. She spends most of her life in the brood chamber of the hive and depends on the worker bees to feed her and dispose of her waste.


The chicken is the T. Rex’s closest living relative

The chicken is the T. Rex’s closest living relative.
From a roar to a squawk? Scientists sequenced proteins from a 68-million-year-old bone from a tyrannosaurus rex and found their closest modern day link to be the humble chicken!


Astronauts drink purified pee in Space

Astronauts drink purified pee in Space.
Water is precious on the International Space Station. CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield demonstrates how the Water Recovery System preserves this resource to make the ISS a self-sustaining environment.


Space smells like seared steak

Space smells like seared steak
The vacuum of space has no smell, but when we come in from a spacewalk the airlock smells like burnt steak or gunpowder. It likely comes from the gentle off gassing of the outer metal and fabric of our suits.


You can’t burp in Space

You can’t burp in Space.
On Earth gravity assists with our burps by holding all the solid and wet waste in our stomachs exactly there, in our stomachs. In space gravity can't assist, thus the gas expelled during burping is joined by all its solid and liquid friends, turning your burp into a vomit.

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