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Hands On Mineral Identification helps you to identify over 14,500 minerals! By M. Darby Dyar, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This ray is resting on the ocean floor.
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Windows Original, adapted from Corel Photography

Rays

The sea rays are probably the most mysterious creatures of the ocean. Many have soft, widely spanned bodies that flow through the water like silk. They have a variety of appetites--some enjoy corals, fish and crustaceans, while others feast on zooplankton.

Although humans have no need to worry about a ray attack, they also should be very careful when coming in contact with one. Many species have spikes on their long tails. Others will shock their enemies with 200 volts of electricity.

Rays come in a variety of sizes and colors. The giant Manta Ray can reach over 19 feet in width, and has a dark-blue top with an almost white bottom. Although they are very large, the Manta Rays are usually gentle. Even so, many parts of the world still call it the Devil Ray. Other rays, like the Mangrove Stingray, only reach widths of 5 feet. But don't be fooled by their sizes, the smaller rays tend to be the more dangerous ones!

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Traveling Nitrogen is a fun group game appropriate for the classroom. Players follow nitrogen atoms through living and nonliving parts of the nitrogen cycle. For grades 5-9.

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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Can there be Life in the Environment of Jupiter?

Jupiter's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +32 degrees (freezing temperature)....more

The possible discovery of Life on Mars

In July, 1996, it was announced that Dr. David McKay, along with a team of scientists at Johnson Space Center (a division of NASA), had discovered possible fossils of bacteria in a meteorite named ALH84...more

The Environment of Saturn

Saturn's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +80 degrees. With winds...more

Can there be Life in the Environment of Titan?

Titan's atmosphere is a lot like the Earth's, except that it is very cold, from -330 degrees to -290 degrees! Like the Earth, there is a lot of Nitrogen and other complex molecules. There also may be an...more

Autotrophs

Autotrophs are organisms that can "make their own food" from an inorganic source of carbon (carbon dioxide) given a source of energy. Most autotrophs use sunlight in the process of photosynthesis to make...more

Coacervates

In the warm primordial ocean, aggregates of amino acids, proteins, and other hydrocarbons came together into a form called *coacervates*. Amino acids will spontaneously form coacervates in the same way...more

Early Life

Over a very long time, gradual changes in the earliest cells gave rise to new life forms. These new cells were very different from the earlier heterotrophs because they were able to get their energy from...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF