Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Amaze Your Brain

No. 12

A day on Venus lasts longer than a year on Venus.

On Venus, one rotation on its axis takes the equivalent of 243 Earth days and the planet's orbit around the Sun takes the equivalent of 225 Earth days.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 65

At a standstill, you are actually traveling at 2.7 million MPH through the universe.

Add up the speed of the rotating earth, the earth revolving around the sun, the sun moving in the milky way, and the milky way moving through the universe and you get one fast speeding ticket.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 37

At any given moment there are 1,800 thunderstorms happening on Earth.

Over the course of one year, this will amount to 16 million storms across the Earth!

Amaze Your Brain

No. 55

Hippos create their own sunscreen.

The pigments in their skin (one which has been named hipposudoric acid) help absorb harmful UV rays. This secretion has anti-bacterial components as well. Hippos still need to stay well hydrated, which is why you probably find them in water or covered in mud!

Amaze Your Brain

No. 403

It takes the International Space Station 92 minutes to orbit Earth.

On average, the International Space Station travels at a speed of 17,500 mph at an altitude of 248 miles above Earth. The ISS orbits Earth 16 times a day, so astronauts living and working there experience a sunrise and sunset every 90 minutes.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 139

Astronauts can't burp in space.

An astronaut's burps are different than those experienced on Earth. If an astronaut does burp in space, it comes out as a wet burp! Gross!

Amaze Your Brain

No. 53

Male seahorses give birth.

Male seahorses have a pouch on the ventral, or front-facing, side of its tail. When mating, the female seahorse deposits up to 1,500 eggs in the male seahorse’s pouch. For the next 9-45 days, the male carries the eggs until they baby seahorses emerge.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 92

Octopuses can squeeze through most anything.

Because their bodies do not contain bones, an octopus can squeeze through anything so long as their beak can fit.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 228

Everything you see happened in the past.

It takes approximately 50 milliseconds for visual information to process in your brain, by the time you actually see something, it already happened.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 76

Peanut butter can be converted into diamonds.

Peanut butter can be converted into diamonds by subjecting it to extremely high temperature and pressure. Be warned- the quality of diamond produced by the peanut butter won't be something to write home about. The resulting diamonds are typically very small and tend to be muddy in color.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 172

Rainforests are home to over half of Earth's animals.

Plants too! If you added it all up, 50% of all animals and plants on Earth can be found in the rainforests.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 8

If put in a big enough bath tub, Saturn would float.

Saturn is predominantly comprised of hydrogen and helium gas, giving it an overall density lower than that of liquid water. However, since the planet is not a uniform, rigid object, we can’t be sure that it would float without further experimentation. That’s an experiment that would take an awfully big laboratory!

Amaze Your Brain

No. 226

The sky has more stars than a beach has sand.

If you assume a grain of sand has an average size and you calculate how many grains are in a teaspoon and then multiply by all the beaches and deserts in the world, the Earth has roughly (and we're speaking very roughly here) 7.5 x 1018 grains of sand, or seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains. If we have a Hubble telescope and a calculator,  we can count distant galaxies, faint stars, red dwarfs, everything  ever recorded in the sky. The population of stars jumps enormously, to 70 thousand million, million, million stars in the observable universe (a 2003 estimate), so that we've got multiple stars for every grain of sand.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 81

A three toed sloth can turn its head 270 degrees.

While mammals have seven neck vertebrae, sloths have eight or nine. The reasons for the extra vertebrae are not clear, but might contribute to their ability to turn their necks farther than other mammals.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 210

Snails have thousands of teeth.

Depending on the breed, snails can have 2,000-14,000 teeth! Most snails are herbivores, their teeth are used for scraping or tearing their food.

Make some noise!

Sound is the energy things produce when they vibrate. Just like the movement you're creating and the corresponding sound you hear, slower waves produce lower sounds, while faster waves produce higher sounds.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 214

A single bolt of lightning could contain enough energy to cook 20,000 pieces of toast.

The average lightning strike contains about 1 billion joules of energy. To power an average 800 watt toaster, it would take around 48,000 joules of energy to power the toaster for one minute in order to toast the bread. So, 1 billion joules of energy in a lightning strike equals around 20,000 pieces of toast.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 78

You are always looking at your nose, your brain just chooses to ignore it.

Our brain ignoring our own nose is a part of binocular vision, and peripheral vision may also play a role in why our brain is able to ignore the sight of your nose all day.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 70

The North Pole has one sunrise each year.

The sun rises at the North Pole on the Spring Equinox around March 21st. For the next six months, the sun is always visible in the sky. Its maximum height, similar to our “noon,” occurs at the Summer Solstice around June 21st. The sun sets at the North Pole on the Fall Equinox around September 21st. Although the sun is below the horizon for the next six months, the area is not in total darkness. The pole experiences periods of twilight before and after the lights go out. The South Pole follows a similar pattern, but in reverse! When the sun rises at the North Pole, it sets at the South Pole.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 46

Only female mosquitoes drink blood.

Female mosquitoes use the blood from humans and animals as a protein source for their eggs. Additionally, male mosquitoes do not have the same mouth part female mosquitos do that are needed for sucking blood.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 235

1.3 million Earths can fit inside the Sun.

The sun is large enough that approximately 1.3 million Earths could fit inside. Want to check our math? The volume of the sun is 1.41 x 1018 km3, while the volume of Earth is 1.08 x 1012 km3. If you divide the volume of the sun by the volume of the Earth, you get that roughly 1.3 million Earths can fit inside the sun. However, this assumes that the Earths are squished together without leaving any empty space. Scientists estimate that if the Earths retained their spherical shape, only about 960,000 would fit because of wasted space in between the spheres.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 83

Math is a universal language.

2+2 is always 4 no matter what symbols you use to communicate it.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 13

The match was invented after the lighter.

The first lighter was invented in 1823 by German chemist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner. His device was often referred to as “Döbereiner's lamp.” While various forms of matches have been around since ancient times, the first successful friction match (like the ones we use today) was not invented until 1826 by English chemist John Walker.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 23

Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards and upside down.

The design of a hummingbird's wings differs from most other types of birds. Hummingbirds have a unique ball and socket joint at the shoulder that allows the bird to rotate its wings 180 degrees in all directions. The shape of their wings are long, narrow and tapered, which allows them to move more quickly and easily through the air. Additionally, the shoulder and elbow joints of the wing are very close to their tiny bodies, allowing the wings to tilt and pivot. These characteristics allow hummingbirds to change flight directions in a way other birds cannot.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 145

Honey never spoils.

Bees add an anti-microbial protein to honey that prevents bacteria from growing, which is why it doesn't spoil.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 506

Your DNA could stretch from the Earth to the Moon thousands of times.

Scientists estimate that each human cell would contain about six feet of DNA if stretched end to end. Multiply that length by the trillions of cells in our bodies and you get a lot of trips to the Moon!

Spinning Colors

Why are you seeing a new color when the wheel spins? The colors are spinning at such a rate that your brain is unable to process them as the individual colors that are on the wheel. Instead, your brain takes a shortcut and creates the secondary colors.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 24

On Saturn and Jupiter, it can rain diamonds.

On Saturn and Jupiter, atmospheric pressure is so high it is possible amorphous carbon could be converted to diamonds.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 18

Out of around 320 million cubic miles of water on Earth, only 1% is drinkable.

Water covers nearly 70 percent of of the globe. The majority is undrinkable, ocean-based water. 2.5 percent is fresh and of that 2.5 percent, just 1 percent is accessible - the remainder is trapped in snowfields and glaciers.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 256

If you drove straight up you would arrive in space in just over an hour.

The Kármán line, which is commonly represented as the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space, is at an altitude roughly 62 miles above sea level. This means if you could drive straight up going 60mph you would arrive in outer space in just over an hour's time.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 1,232

The average person walks enough in a lifetime to circle the globe three times.

Check out our math... (average 5,900 steps/day) x (365 days/year) x (78.9 years/life) x (I mile/2112 steps) x (1 Earth/24,901 miles) = 3.2 Earths/life

Amaze Your Brain

No. 307

Feet can produce a pint of sweat a day.

There are 500,000 sweat glands in your feet that are capable of producing a pint of sweat throughout the day.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 122

You can start a fire with ice.

Start by shaping an extremely clear piece of ice into a disc that is thick in the middle and narrow at the edges. Now, smooth away any rough edges with the warmth of your hands. Angle your ice lens towards the sun, focusing the light on a pile of tinder. The ice acts as a convex lens, directing photons to a localized point. The resulting concentration of heat energy can reach extremely high temperatures, allowing the tinder to catch on fire. This is sometimes easier said than done — the purity of the ice, thickness of the lens, and quality of tinder can all affect the process.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 39

Footprints are still on the moon.

The atmosphere on the Moon is very different from what we experience on Earth. The air there is literally and figuratively worlds apart. There is no wind, water, or other forms of weather to erode the footprints left behind by astronauts.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 119

All humans share 99% of our DNA.

Scientists compare DNA sequences in many ways. We can look at single differences, for example one person might have the sequence GATCCTAG and another GGTCCTAG. We also look at the number of times these regions repeat, for example one person might have the sequence GGTCCTAG and another have that same sequence repeated 3 times. Our methods are continually being updated, but we always find that human DNA is overwhelmingly more similar than it is different.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 201

An average cumulus cloud weighs more than 70 adult T. Rex.

Cumulus clouds are the fluffy white clouds that fill the sky on a clear, typically sunny, day. The weight of these clouds is determined by their water density, which equates to about 1/2 gram per cubic meter!

Amaze Your Brain

No. 33

Peregrine falcons fly over 3 times faster than cheetahs run.

Peregrine falcons can top speeds of 240mph while cheetahs can only reach speeds of 75mph.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 124

Caffeine withdrawal is a real condition.

Caffeine withdrawal is a real condition with neurochemical causes. Common symptoms include headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and dysphoric mood.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 347

Butterflies taste food with their feet.

A butterfly's taste sensors are located on their feet, which is how they taste their food.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 59

Dinosaurs are not really extinct.

Even though dinosaurs like T. rex and Alamosaurus have faded into extinction, birds have adapted to survive. There are many astonishing links between prehistoric dinosaurs and modern-day birds.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 37

Pumpkins are a member of the berry family.

We know, what?!?!

Amaze Your Brain

No. 188

Our body is just a collection of atoms studying itself.

Some scientists state that consciousness, the ability to be aware of yourself and your surroundings, is caused by physical properties. They use mathematics to graph an experience and map this experience to the brain.

Amaze Your Brain

No. 29

The first airplane flight was only 65 years before the moon landing.

Wright Brothers' first flight was December 17, 1903 and Apollo 11 was July 16-24, 1969, so roughly 65.5 years between the two events. The Wright Brothers flew the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk and flew a distance of 120ft and lasting only 12 seconds. The flight for the crew of Apollo 11 lasted for 8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds.

Science doesn't end, but these cards just did.

That's all of the facts for now, but we have plenty more to discover! Check out our cooler than cool exhibit halls to amaze your brain even more!

Explore The Museum

Just keeping spinning …

  1. Turn your screen brightness all the way up.
  2. Lay your device on a flat surface.
  3. Carefully spin your device quickly to see the colors blend. (You can also tap on the wheel to spin it.)
  4. Tap on the wheel to spin it and stop the spinning.

Shake it on, just shake it on …

  1. Turn your device's sound on and its volume up.
  2. Tap the button to turn the generator on and off.
  3. Carefully shake your device at different speeds to change the frequency of the tone. Keep shaking! The tone goes away if the device stops moving.
  4. Tap your spacebar at different speeds to change the frequency of the tone.