Matter & Energy

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Gun sounds

TAKING AIM  An aluminum arc holds 12 microphones for recording gunshot sounds. Robert Maher built the contraption to find out whether different kinds of guns make distinct sounds. Here, Maher’s colleague Steven Shaw prepares to shoot in a prairie in Bozeman. 

person falling through tunnel

TUNNEL VISION  Jumping into a hypothetical tunnel though the center of the Earth could transport you to the other side — but friction would stand in your way, scientists report.

balloons

HEFTY HELIUM  A reservoir of more than a trillion liters of helium gas are stashed away beneath Tanzania, enough to fulfill global helium demand for everything from party balloons to MRI machines for years.

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