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150,000: the number of weather observations that have been recorded by a 101-year-old farmer, the U.S. National Weather Service’s longest-serving volunteer, who has called in temperatures, rainfall and other measurements from his home for 84 years.

50,000 degrees Fahrenheit: temperature of a lightning bolt.

10,000 degrees Fahrenheit: temperature of the surface of the sun.

30 percent: proportion of lightning strikes that are fatal. Lighting may spark across the skin without fatally damaging internal organs, Flora Lichtman reports.

Lightning in Victoria, Australia
Lightning in Victoria, Australia Photo by Thomas Bresson, November 2008

45: how many years ago, this week, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped on the moon. Read Popular Science‘s original 1969 coverage of the event.

man on the moon
Man on the Moon Popular Science

$5 million: the per-flight cost DARPA is aiming for in its Experimental Spaceplane 1 project. For comparison, Orbital Sciences charges an estimated $30 million to $40 million for a single flight on a Pegasus XL rocket that carries 1,000 pounds. DARPA is hopes XS-1 will carry 3,000 to 5,000 pounds.

$40 million: how much the U.S. Navy has spent trying to develop a laser to shoot down missiles.

$1: how much one shot from this laser should cost to deploy.

"American

American Concept Art Of Soviet Laser.

From 1986.

8.3 inches: wingspan of what is reportedly the largest aquatic insect ever discovered. (Aquatic insects are insects that spend some part of their life cycles in the water.) The new big man in town has not been identified beyond its order, Megaloptera. The second largest aquatic insect discovered is a helicopter dragonfly, with a wingspan of 7.5 inches.

"giant

Sweet dreams

This is reportedly a giant Dobsonfly, the world’s largest, with a wingspan of 21 centimeters (8.3 inches), large enough to cover your face.

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