The how’s and why’s of the world

Those who are looking for a more interactive learning experience can take educational quizzes on HowStuffWorks. (Courtesy of HowStuffWorks)

Lacey Mason,

WASHINGTON – By now, most people know that NASA’s Curiosity rover landed safely on the dusty surface of Mars after a grueling nine-month journey and a nail-biting “seven minutes of terror.”

But the hardest part is yet to come.

Curiosity is on a two-year mission to collect data that hopefully will answer the age-old question of whether the planet was ever capable of sustaining life.

And that brings up the other age-old question: How does that work?

One website hopes to answer that and thousands of other burning questions.

HowStuffWorks, a Discovery Communications company, started in 1998 as the brainchild of North Carolina University professor Marshall Brain.

Naturally, it’s gone through many facelifts as technology has changed. It’s now an interactive resource for information on topics, ranging from how the stock market works to why your steering wheel shakes when you hit the brakes. (Usually, it’s because of a rotor problem. What’s a rotor? Don’t worry, it answers that question, too.)

Those seeking a more interactive learning experience can take educational quizzes dubbed as a “Get Smart Challenge” from HowStuffWorks.

In light of the aftermath of June’s derecho, I opted to take the storm preparedness test. Lucky for me, I scored 18/20, but don’t worry. After you answer each question, whether you get it right or wrong, the site gives you helpful information on making sure you and your home are safe and secure, come rain or shine.

Kids and the young at heart can get in on the fun by playing educational games, such as puzzles, word searches and Mahjongg tile games.

And, of course, there is a plethora of videos. The topics are endless, so here’s a random pick dealing with something you may interact with every day: How ATMs Work.

To see the rest of what HowStuffWorks has to offer, from animals and adventure to food and entertainment, check them out here.

Oh, and by the way, this is how the Curiosity rover works

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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