Young Observers Early November 2023

Everyday Science: Osiris: Underworld God to Out-Of-This-World Spacecraft

by Erin, 9th grade

On September 8, 2016, the spacecraft Osiris-REx was launched into space in hopes of returning home with more knowledge of the galaxy we barely know. On September 23, 2023, Osiris-REx successfully returned to Earth with samples from the 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid Bennu. Osiris-REx was to land on Bennu while it passed close to Earth, which only happens every six years.

When the return capsule was taken to a lab to be opened and examined, scientists said the black rocky debris contained traces of water and carbon. These two organic elements are two major components of life. Due to the ancient age of the sample, it may provide further evidence about the history of Earth, life, and our galaxy itself.

In addition, it weighed about 60 grams, which is almost 12 times the amount of what the Japanese Hayabusu2 spacecraft obtained from the asteroid Ryugu in 2020. Osiris-REx is a huge accomplishment for NASA because this became the first U.S. mission to collect a sample from an asteroid. Not only that, but it was more proof that there could be a planet somewhere out there that we could also call home. However, the Osiris spacecraft will not rest.

A new mission, Osiris-APophis, is planned to land on another asteroid in 2029.

What’s Trending?: Reviving History

by Irene, 12th grade

“How often do you think about the Roman Empire?”

Despite its origins dating back over two thousand years, today, the relevance of the Roman Empire appears higher than ever before, all thanks to a TikTok trend. In short, the Roman Empire trend revolves around the notion that men think about this ancient civilization far more frequently than women give them credit for. According to Know Your Meme, a site dedicated to researching internet trends, Swedish Instagram user Sasia Cort first posed the question in 2022, prompting discussions surrounding the phenomenon.

Bringing the query back to the surface, Roman reenactor Gaius Flavius’s 2023 Instagram reel garnered major traction, extending the trend to other platforms, including TikTok. Videos under the hashtag “romanempire” have since gained over 2 billion views on the app.

To test this viral theory, women across the internet have participated in the trend by asking their close male companions how often they think about the Roman Empire. And to our surprise, most men admit that it is a daily occurrence. But amid the unveiling of this sensation, women have been left to ponder why men are so intrigued by this specific moment in history.

As indicated by creator @themasculinedge in his Sept. 13 TikTok post with now over 7.5 million views, “men inherently have the need to conquer.” He explains that male interest in the Roman Empire is mostly due to psychological needs.

In a September 19 Harper’s Bazaar article, the University of California, Berkeley professor Susanna Elm argues that the Roman Empire “was patriarchal, so groups who like nostalgic, idealized dreams of a faraway patriarchal ‘paradise’ will sympathize.” This trend is ultimately indicative of the complexities in the male and female experience. While it reveals some profound truths about modern society and the role that our intricate history plays in shaping our ideals, it’s also a playful internet craze about a gender-specific interest in the Roman Empire.

National Observance: Extra Mile Day November 1

by Mateo, 10th grade

The final week of October is typically a highlight of everyone’s year. The celebration of Halloween with friends and family, coupled with the return of the cool autumn weather that most people have been waiting for all year, makes for a superb pair that many people look forward to.

After all, dressing up in a cool costume and roaming the streets while collecting free candy with the people who are closest to you by your side is a tough feeling to beat. However, there is one other important observance that also occurs during this week but is usually overshadowed by all of the other festivities going on.

It is called Extra Mile Day, which is observed the day after Halloween. Extra Mile Day serves as a reminder that no matter what goes on in our lives, we should always give our best effort to ensure that our own lives and the lives of those around us are as fulfilling as can be. It emphasizes the recurring theme in life that those who work the hardest will receive the most benefit, and it teaches us many ways that we can become better humans and make the world a slightly better place each and every day.

Extra Mile Day was established in 2009 by Shawn Anderson, a motivational speaker and author whose philosophy has been critically acclaimed by Olympic medalists, politicians, and many other people of high social status. He also founded the Extra Mile Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to inspire people everywhere to “go the extra mile” to reach their goals.

Anderson knows quite a bit about putting in hard work, as suggested by his resumé of life achievements. He started his first business at age ten, traveled across over 50 countries (and walked across eight of them), and spoke to hundreds of thousands of people about his philosophies. Anderson’s ultimate goal is to promote positivity and collaboration, which is what led him to establish this special observance.

There are a multitude of ways that you can participate in Extra Mile Day. Volunteer work is a great way to do your part in going the extra mile. One of the main themes of this event is going out of your way to help others–by volunteering at your local soup kitchen or animal shelter, you can contribute to the well-being of those who are less fortunate than you.

Another thing you can do to fulfill your potential is put just a bit more effort into your daily activities. Little things such as complimenting your parents or hitting that extra rep in the weight room add up quickly, and they prove to others that you truly care about being the best person you can be.

Finally, feel free to take care of the environment by volunteering to clean up trash on beaches and parks near you. Everything is better with friends, so feel free to educate them about Extra Mile Day and encourage them to join in the fun alongside the people of the 438 U.S. cities who officially observe this day.

All in all, Extra Mile Day is the perfect time to start making positive changes in your life and to give each day your absolute best, no matter the conditions.

Rosie LeeFeatured Pet & Endangered Species

by Rosie, 7th grade

Animal ID A1131981
Visit or Call (714) 935-6848
to schedule an appointment today! (Walk-ins welcome)

Meet Penelope

Penelope is a 12-year-old (like me) Siamese cat (not like me). She was discovered in extremely poor health when she was urgently rushed to the OC Animal Shelter to receive the medical attention that was due. Now, she is a healthy, happy cat. Give Penelope another chance to live in a loving and caring home.

Q: What is the cutest endangered animal, in your opinion?

A: The Sand Cat definitely is in the top ten. There are an estimated 27,264 mature individuals in the world. Weighing only a few pounds, sand cats are small wild cats that live in rocky deserts, far from water. They are about 39-52 centimeters long, including their long tail. They live about 13 years. Threatening the sand cat’s population status right now is habitat loss.

2 replies »

  1. To four GREAT writers…Erin, Irene, Mateo and Rosie…thank you for developing your sensational writing skills and now sharing them with the world. I enjoyed each of your stories.

    To Mateo…

    Thank you so much for seeing the value in the “go the extra mile” message. To see a young superstar like you feel the message so strongly in heart and mind gives me powerful hope for TOMORROW. I have ZERO doubt with your attitude and talent…you will do GIANT difference-making things with your life.

    May EACH of you “keep doing your thing”…because you each do it so extraordinarily well.

    With humble gratitude…

    Shawn Anderson
    Founder, Extra Mile Day

    PS: May “Penelope” find the perfect extra-mile loving home!!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I have forwarded your comments to the Young Observers.