Hey cool cats, I’m Dr. Universe here to answer your baffling science questions. Like this one, “Dear Dr. Universe, Why don’t plants get sunburns?” That’s a great observation. For as much time as plants spend outside, we don’t see too many with a sunburn. Plants need sun to grow, but not too much sun. Since they can’t move into the shade, put on a hat or sunscreen, they have their own way of staying safe in the sun. They make their own kind of sunblock. Of course, it isn’t much like the sunscreen you and I might use. Plants make their sunscreen out of a special combination of building blocks called molecules. They join together to make a compound, and block out ultraviolet light from the sun. It’s the kind of light that can cause damage to skin, or other living tissues. The compound still allows other kinds of sunlight to come through. That way, the plant can live and grow without getting fried in the sun. Send me a science question of your own at stage.web.wsu.edu/askdruniverse.
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