Posts Tagged ‘Water’

Posted: October 16, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Water trapped in soils on the moon’s surface was likely produced by solar winds, researchers report.Over the last five years, spacecraft observations and new lab measurements of Apollo lunar samples have overturned the long-held belief that the moon is bone-dry.

In 2009, NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing satellite, known as LCROSS, slammed into a permanently shadowed lunar crater and ejected a plume of material that was surprisingly rich in water ice. Water and related compounds have also been detected in the lunar regolith, the layer of fine powder and rock fragments that coats the lunar surface.

But the origin of lunar surface water has remained unclear.

Theoretical models of lunar water stability dating to the late 1970s suggest that hydrogen ions (protons) from the solar wind can combine with oxygen on the moon’s surface to form water and related compounds called hydroxyls, which consist of one atom of hydrogen and one of oxygen and are known as OH.

In an article published in the journal Nature Geoscience, University of Michigan’s Youxue Zhang and colleagues from the University of Tennessee and the California Institute of Technology present findings that support solar-wind production of water ice on the moon.

In the paper, the researchers present infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry analyses of Apollo samples that reveal the presence of significant amounts of hydroxyl inside glasses formed in the lunar regolith by micrometeorite impacts.

When combined, the techniques of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry can be used to determine the chemical form of the hydrogen in a substance, as well as its abundance and its isotopic composition.

“We found that the ‘water’ component, the hydroxyl, in the lunar regolith is mostly from solar wind implantation of protons, which locally combined with oxygen to form hydroxyls that moved into the interior of glasses by impact melting,” says Zhang, a professor of geological sciences.

Posted: September 7, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Designer Gabriele Diamanti has created a solar oven he calls the Eliodomestico (household-sun); its purpose is to boil saltwater to produce clean drinking water for people in places where such water is difficult or impossible to obtain. What’s unique about the Eliodomestico is that it’s been designed in such a way as to be easily built by local people, rather than elsewhere and shipped in. This way, the profits from making and selling the oven remain local. Diamanti says he came up with the idea for the Eliodomestico while visiting friends working for non-governmental agencies (NGOs) in third world countries, trying to help those in need. What he heard was that there was a great need for fresh drinking water. What he saw was that one resource they all seemed to have in common was lots of sunshine, which of course got him thinking about using solar energy to distill water. Boiling salt water to create steam that collects on a surface and then drips off as fresh water isn’t new, it’s a technique that’s been around for thousands of years. What’s new here is the idea of using the sun and no moving parts to boil the water using materials available almost anywhere. (via Designer creates solar powered oven to cheaply freshen salt water)

Posted: September 6, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Walls of water could protect astronauts from radiation while recycling their bodily waste and purifying the air, under a new NASA concept. The “Water Walls” design takes a page from mother nature and uses water for passive protection. The concept’s formal name is Highly Reliable and Massively Redundant Life Support Architecture, and it’s part of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program, meaning it just received funding for further study. It would use a framework of hexagon-shaped polyethylene bags serving as the walls of a spacecraft. They’d be filled with various bacteria, algae and filters to clean and purify water and air and provide food — algae as food may not be tasty, but it would be nutritious — and shield the spacecraft’s occupants from space. The concept is by Michael Flynn at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “Nature uses no compressors, evaporators, lithium hydroxide canisters, oxygen candles, or urine processors,” Flynn points out. Earth’s atmosphere and water are instead renewed through passive processes, and this is what he proposes for future spacecraft. (via Future Spacecraft Could Protect Crews With Walls Made of Water | Popular Science)

1/ Water comes in three states, right? Not exactly. There are at least 22 different phases of water (19 are ice, two are liquid, and one is gas). One of the most useful exotic phases of water is the “supercritical” state achieved at very high temperature and pressure. Under those conditions, water can be dense like a liquid but flow like a gas. In nature, supercritical water likely exists at the lowest reaches of geothermal reservoirs. 2/ If all of Earth’s freshwater were balled up, it would form a sphere 170 miles in diameter. Add to it all the salt water and the orb would be 860 miles in diameter (the moon is about 2,200 miles in diameter). And our home planet isn’t the wateriest sphere in the solar system. That title belongs to Jupiter’s moon Europa, which has two to three times as much water in and below its icy crust. 3/ Ice is weird, which is essential to freshwater life forms: Like other liquids, water contracts when it cools. But when it turns to ice it expands, by 9 percent of its volume. This means that ice floats on chilly lakes, which in turn means that aquatic creatures can swim safely underneath and survive winter.

Three Smart Things About Water | Wired Science |

Posted: July 25, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Twice in the last five years, rising food prices triggered global waves of social unrest. With drought baking U.S. crops, another round of soaring, society-straining price spikes may happen in coming months. According to researchers from the New England Complex Systems Institute, commodity speculation — investors betting on food prices — will amplify the drought’s market signals, creating a new food bubble and the crises that follow. “The drought is clearly going to kick prices up. It already has. What happens when you have speculators is that it goes through the roof,” said NECSI president Yaneer Bar-Yam. “We’ve created an unstable system. Globally, we are very vulnerable.” The ongoing drought, the United States’ worst since the Dust Bowl, is expected to last until October and will decimate U.S. harvests. America is the world’s largest exporter of corn, wheat and soy beans; global prices for those commodities have already surged to record levels. (via U.S. Drought Could Cause Global Unrest | Wired Science |

Posted: July 22, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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A newly discovered water source in Namibia could have a major impact on development in the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa. Estimates suggest the aquifer could supply the north of the country for 400 years at current rates of consumption. Scientists say the water is up to 10,000 years old but is cleaner to drink than many modern sources. However, there are concerns that unauthorised drilling could threaten the new supply. Huge resource For the people of northern Namibia water is something that they either have too much of or too little. The 800,000 people who live in the area depend for their drinking water on a 40-year-old canal that brings the scarce resource across the border from Angola. (via BBC News – Vast aquifer found in Namibia could last for centuries)

Posted: July 13, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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The man from the United Nations is not sugar-coating the threat he says the world faces as a result of future food, water and energy shortages. “We know clearly that inequalities around food, water and energy wealth do create wars,” says David Nabarro, UN special representative on food security and nutrition. “They may not always be the direct trigger… but unless they can be dealt with, the future for all of us is going to be very difficult.” Mr Nabarro is speaking at a conference of the world’s great and the good in Oxford. Held in the rarefied environment of Oxford University’s Examination Schools building, you know you are at a high-profile event when former US President Bill Clinton walks past surrounded by his security agents. (via BBC News – Global powerbrokers focus on food and water scarcity)