Wednesday, 31 August, 2022

Moon mission aborted; Sloth fur medicine; Serena’s US Open farewell; and don’t drink your own wee.




Artemis 1 rocket launch aborted – VIDEO:

Artemis 1 Mission: the journey – VIDEO:


Sloth sanctuary: VIDEO:



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Five, four, three, two, one …. Abort.

The most anticipated rocket launch all year was called off at the last minute in the wee small hours of yesterday morning, after it was discovered there was a leak in the engine.

With only 40 minutes to go before its engines were supposed to fire, and the biggest rocket ship ever built, Artemis 1 was supposed to head off on its mission to the Moon – a decision was made to abandon the launch. 

Now, a leak in the engine of your mum or dad’s car is one thing. Not great, but not the end of the world. But a leak in the engine of a multi-billion rocket, carrying billions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art space technology – whose launch was being watched by millions of people around the world. Yeah – that’s something else again. 

Not wanting to risk the rocket exploding on take-off – the engineers at the American space agency NASA made the last minute decision to abort the launch. Abort is a fancy word for abandon or stop. In NASA speak, the launch was ‘scrubbed’.

Remember: this rocket launch is a test run for NASA’s attempt to put humans back on the moon.

Engineers will now work to try and fix the engine leak – with the next available date for a second attempt at lift off being this Saturday. 

I’ve stuck a link to video of the rocket launch scrubbing in today’s episode notes. Plus a video showing the journey the rocket will take.



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Costa Rica – in Central America – where sloth fur has been found to contain medicine.

Scientists working with the ultra-slow, ultra cute critters have long known that algae – the green plant that you most often find growing in ponds –  grows in sloth fur. Which is incredible.

But now it’s been found that sloth fur also produces a kind of bacteria, which could be used to create antibiotics – which is a kind of medicine that humans use all the time.

Further studies will be undertaken now on the bacteria – to see if it might be used in medicines that you and I might take when we get sick.

Lots of medicines that we buy at the chemist have their origins in plants and bacteria that occur naturally in the world. And lots of indigenous cultures around the world use plants to create traditional medicines.

Meanwhile – for no other reason than because it’s obscenely cute – I’ve stuck a link in today’s episode notes to a video of baby sloths in a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. You, my friends, are very welcome. 




It was more showbiz than sport yesterday when tennis champ Serena Williams stepped out on the court for her first round match in the US Open.

Wearing a black sequinned dress, under a gold sequinned cape, all set off by a black sequinned Nike headband – Serena played the first match in what will be the last tennis tournament of her very impressive career.

After 27 years of playing tennis, and with an astonishing 23 Grand Slam titles to her name, Serena has decided it’s time to hang up the racquet and tackle new challenges in life.

But not before she beat her US Open first round opponent Danka Kovinic in straight sets. In front of a celebrity heavy crowd that included her showbiz friends Hugh Jackman and Rebel Wilson. 

Fifteen love. 



It’s a Wednesday – and that means welcoming back to Squiz Kids HQ everyone’s favourite Newshound Squiz-E … who’s been out and about sniffing out fishy stories on the internet. 

And today his nose is twitching overtime – having stumbled upon a very stinky smelling story.

A Facebook post has been doing the rounds claiming that drinking your own wee can cure diseases including cancer. Now, as well as being gross – it’s also really dangerous for these sorts of health claims to be made on social media without any scientific backing. People might believe it – and drink their own wee – and well, doctors say that’s really not very good for you.

So SquizE did what all good Newshounds do when they come across something they see something unbelievable on social media  … he remembered to Stop, Think and Check.  

A quick Google search revealed lots of articles by actual medically trained doctors in reputable scientific publications pooh-poohing the idea that drinking wee wee cures cancer. 

Phew – thanks Squiz E – you’ve saved the day again. 


Don’t forget – at the beginning of October, we’ll be launching NEWSHOUNDS .. our super excellent new media literacy program for primary school children.

It’s an eight part podcast series with an accompanying classroom booklet teaching you how to become critical consumers of information … which is to say, helping you to work out what’s real and what’s not on the internet.

Thanks to our partners at the Google News Initiative, the Newshounds by Squiz Kids media literacy program will be available FREE to all classrooms in Australia and New Zealand … 

We’ll be talking about it all a lot more in the weeks to come – but to find out more and to register your interest – go to … I’ve stuck a link to it in today’s episode notes.   



This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What’s the name of the tennis player who’s announced she’s retiring at the end of the US Open?
  2. What has a Facebook post been falsely claiming we should drink to cure diseases like cancer?
  3. Bacteria in the fur of which animal may be able to be used to make medicines for humans?




It’s August 31 … the national day for the countries of Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan and the Carribean islands of Trinidad and Tobago .. how international. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today …

Abby from Exeter, Isabella from Fig Tree Pocket, Ava from Sydney, Indi from Caulfield, Alvin from Oatley, Arwen from Lucas, Etta from Garran, Hanisi from Cronulla, Andes from Killara, Ava from Wagga Wagga, Grace from Kamerunga, and Max from Bathurst.

A belated birthday wish goes to Stephen from Taton.

And classroom shoutouts today go to … class 5B with Mr Fitt and Mr G at Tyabb Primary School, years 3 and 4 at Exeter Public School, class 3/4B and Miss Garland at Lake Bolac College, class 3/4H and Miss Henderson at Epping West Public School, class 6S and Mrs Drewer at Christian College in Bellarine and lastly to Mr Till at Sturt Public School in Wagga Wagga. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Serena Williams
  2. Wee
  3. Sloth