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SPACE

Where can you say that outer space begins on Earth?

A. Although you should expect some international agency to do so, however, international law never defines the actual limit of space. There are different definitions by institution for the meaning of the space limit.

For example, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), an international organization responsible for maintaining aeronautical records, defines space as the Kármán line, 100 km above mean sea level, although theoretical ranges as low as 30 km and as high as 1.5 million km.

The concept was to define a threshold at which an object is more subject to the force of the atmosphere than to gravity. Since the atmosphere, and objects in space themselves, can be highly variable by nature, choosing a specific limit may seem arbitrary, and the Kármán line may depend more on its application than on its inherent properties.

Specifically, most of us accept that this begins when you are most subject to extraterrestrial forces.

BUTTER

Should butter be stored in the refrigerator?

A. It’s probably a good idea to store butter in the refrigerator, but it’s important to have the following information. Butter is the fat left over when milk or cream is churned and the solids are separated from the buttermilk. While dairy products are often prone to spoilage, pasteurized butter has enough fat and salt to inhibit bacterial growth.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, butter can be safely left out for two days. Leaving it any longer can make it rancid, affecting the flavor. Apart from multiplying bacteria, another form of contamination is if people are sticking a dirty knife into the bar. Salted butter is the safest type to leave on the table, as the salt acts as a kind of preservative and can prevent spoilage.

Unsalted butter might be tempting fate a little more.

Regarding margarine: because it contains more water than regular butter, the potential for bacterial growth is greater. Although it can technically be left out for a day or so, it’s best to keep it cold.

SABOTAGE

Where does the word sabotage come from?

A. “Sabotage” is destroying or damaging something, usually for political or personal gain. It was borrowed directly from the French word for the same spelling in 1907. In French, the word has a much more interesting history. It came from sabator, which literally translates to “to walk noisily”, from sabot, which is a wooden shoe.

THE MOON/ESCOT MANUEL

Will we be able to colonize the Moon?

R. Don Manuel, in principle we must be able to resolve two questions, and if we succeed, then we will be able to do so. Each question has a new experiment that could help answer both questions.

The first is about the mysteries of lunar geology, in particular the ancient volcanic activity that shaped the riveted, cratered orb we see today.

The second is how the Moon’s gravity and radiation will be proven to affect living cells, crucial health information to allow humans to live and work safely on the Moon for long periods of time.

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