React + Interact: What do Ozzy Osbourne and gingers have in common? Plus big bugs, false memories and more!

The Museum is always interested in educating its fans, whether that’s within our exhibition halls or online. If your daily social media experience doesn’t include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, you might be missing out on news that can feed your noggin.

Photo courtesy of melontao via Instagram

For example, this week one visitor was so inspired by our new Hall of Paleontology that she took it upon herself to design a unique dino necklace. Using souvenirs from our Museum Store and a little creative inspiration, she was able to combine her love of dinosaurs (especially T. rex) with her love of jewelry.

Courtesy Glamourbones
Photo courtesy of Glamourbones’ Dino DIY

Have you ever wondered why the moon looks so much larger right at the horizon than it does high in the night sky? Well, you aren’t alone, and there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. You can also craft a quick and easy way to identify the phases of the moon using ordinary items found in most people’s homes.

Bringing it back down to earth, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were able to create their own Neuralyzer (the tool used by the Men in Black to erase memories). They were able to create a false memory in the mind of a mouse! Don’t worry, the mouse wasn’t harmed. And although it’s unlikely that he imagined he was once an A-List movie mouse that starred in Stuart Little, his false memory was still pretty fascinating.

Speaking of critters prone to delusions, the greenhouse here at the museum will be raising one of the largest moths in the world! Check out the Atlas Moth caterpillar and see for yourself whether it deserves its title.

Atlas Moth

In other noteworthy happenings, the Museum is currently hosting the Nautilus Live, which is using remotely-operated vehicles to search the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The research team has been discovering some pretty fascinating things, including an underwater rainforest. A Bald Cypress forest that had been preserved for almost 50,000 years has recently been uncovered — in part thanks to hurricane Katrina — and is just waiting to teach the world about its history.

Did you know that gingers owe their distinct hair color to a mutation in northern Europe from thousands of years ago? It’s true, and redheads might be going extinct!

And speaking of mutants (sorry my fair friends; it’s accurate), it was recently discovered that Ozzy Osbourne is a genetic mutant! He won’t be making the cast of X-Men any time soon, but he does have some very interesting genes that scientists believe is the reason he has survived all of his, erm, medicinal recreation.

courtesy gawker media

If you found any of these stories interesting, then make sure that you follow the Houston Museum of Natural Science on all of our social media channels so you don’t miss a beat!

Plunge 4,000 feet deep from your seat at Nautilus Live this week — it’s shipwreck time

Beginning last Wednesday, July 17 through this Thursday, July 25, the Nautilus and her two ROVs, Hercules and Argus, will be exploring a shipwreck located in the Gulf of Mexico. The wreckage site was discovered by Shell Oil while scanning a lease location. Because the ship has not yet been identified, it is being called the “Monterrey Shipwreck,” after Shell’s name for their proposed project.

The site will be the deepest shipwreck to be systematically investigated in the Gulf of Mexico. Due to its depth, the wreckage cannot be explored through usual means (through the use of SCUBA teams).

That is where Hercules and Argus come in. A team of scientists will be able to safely view and analyze the site from the Nautilus as it bobs more than 4,000 feet above the actual wreckage.

Nautilus Live

This particular shipwreck is referred to as “time capsule” wreckage. The ship is suggested to be extremely well preserved due to how deep it is and the lack of nearby oil and gas infrastructure. Using sonar data, the site appears to be tightly contained and an outline of a hull that is 84 feet long and 26 feet wide can be seen.

The goal of this project is to thoroughly map and document the wreck site while also recovering artifacts for analysis and exhibition. The team on the Nautilus is hoping to answer several questions about the wreckage: What is it? Whose ship was it? Why was it out on those particular waters? How was it lost? What caused it to sink? All of these answers may rewrite history and clarify forgotten events in the history of the Gulf of Mexico.

As exciting as studying a newly discovered ship wreck might be, the adventures of the Nautilus as well as Hercules and Argus don’t stop there. Over the next several months, the Nautilus will be studying several fascinating underwater sites. This includes visiting the deepest point in the Caribbean and studying an underwater mountain. The research team will also work off the coast of Puerto Rico and analyze the site of a 7.2 underwater earthquake that caused a tsunami!

They will also be studying underwater volcanos, including Kick’ em Jenny, the most active and dangerous underwater volcano in the Caribbean Sea. Experience these findings with the team from the Nautilus live in the Burke Baker Planetarium here at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Be transported to the ocean floor each day at 1 and 3 p.m. via telepresence technology and rove the sea bottom, making discoveries and interacting live with the Nautilus research team. For more information on this exclusive partnership and to purchase tickets online, click here.