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©Maki Naro

One way to study other planets is to recreate their conditions here on Earth. That’s what crystallographer Helen Maynard-Casely does at the WOMBAT High-Intensity Powder Diffractometer, at the Bragg Institute. Being able to subject materials to the pressure found inside a gas giant like Neptune and then study their molecular structure, lets scientists like Helen study the interiors of these far-flung worlds from the relative safety of Australia*. But working within such specific parameters in an already tricky field can be difficult. Helen explains,

You can actually see a video of the crystals growing on Helen’s Blog. She apologizes for the soundtrack.

*Have you SEEN the spiders there?

1To muck about, wasting time doing something not necessary. Urban Dictionary

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