The last Soviet mission to the moon, Luna-24, returned to Earth with water-rich rocks from beneath the lunar surface. But the West ignored the result. The possibility of water on the moon has excited scientists and science fiction fans for decades. If we ever decide to maintain a human presence on the moon, clear evidence of water will be an important factor in the decision. In recent years, that evidence has begun to mount. The data comes from several sources. First there was the pioneering Clementine mission in 1994, America's first return to the moon in twenty years. Clementine looked for water by bouncing radio waves off the surface—the returns giving a strong indication that water ice must lie beneath the surface...
Tag Archives | Water
Remember that image from a few weeks back that showed Earth with all its water gathered up in a sphere beside it? Well here's that image again, only this time, it also features Jupiter's moon Europa, along with all of its water. Notice anything interesting? Based on data acquired by NASA's Galileo satellite, astronomers think the global oceans sloshing around beneath Europa's icy exterior are likely 2 to 3 times more voluminous than the oceans here on Earth. Not 2 to 3 times more proportionally, 2 to 3 times more in total volume. Yeah. That "little" moon is packing quite the supply of H2O—and with it, scientists think, a significant chance of harboring life...
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Large quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria enter the environment via municipal — and especially hospital — wastewater streams. Although wastewater treatment plants reduce the total number of bacteria, the most hazardous — multiresistant — strains appear to withstand or even to be promoted by treatment processes. This was demonstrated by Eawag researchers in a study carried out in Lake Geneva, near Lausanne.
Treated wastewater from the city of Lausanne — around 90,000 m3 per day — is released into Vidy Bay (Lake Geneva); the discharge point is located 700 m offshore, at a depth of 30 m. The Lausanne region does not have a pharmaceutical industry or intensive animal production. However, the Lausanne treatment plant receives wastewater not only from the region’s 214,000 inhabitants and a number of smaller healthcare centres, but also from a major healthcare facility — the University Hospital of Canton Vaud (CHUV).
William deBuys writes at TomDispatch:
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Consider it a taste of the future: the fire, smoke, drought, dust, and heat that have made life unpleasant, if not dangerous, from Louisiana to Los Angeles. New records tell the tale: biggest wildfire ever recorded in Arizona (538,049 acres), biggest fire ever in New Mexico (156,600 acres), all-time worst fire year in Texas history (3,697,000 acres).
The fires were a function of drought. As of summer’s end, 2011 was the driest year in 117 years of record keeping for New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana, and the second driest for Oklahoma. Those fires also resulted from record heat. It was the hottest summer ever recorded for New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, as well as the hottest August ever for those states, plus Arizona and Colorado.
Virtually every city in the region experienced unprecedented temperatures, with Phoenix, as usual, leading the march toward un-livability. This past summer, the so-called Valley of the Sun set a new record of 33 days when the mercury reached a shoe-melting 110º F or higher.
Could the rising sea levels be beneficial to us as drinking water? The National Geographic reports:
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With 1.8 billion people predicted to live in areas of extreme water scarcity by 2025, desalination — the removal of salt from water — is increasingly being proposed as a solution.
But before desalination can make a real difference solving in the looming water crisis, officials and experts need to commit to overcoming obstacles that make the process expensive and inefficient, a new paper argues.
Scientists predict that by 2016, the amount of fresh water produced by desalination plants will exceed 10 billion gallons (38 million cubic meters) a year, or double the rate in 2008.
Modern desalination plants use a technology called reverse osmosis, pressing salty water through ultrathin, semipermeable plastic membranes. Unable to pass through, large molecules or ions, such as salt, are filtered out, so fresh water flows out the other side.
There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. Discovery writes:
The drought in Texas has gotten so severe municipal water managers have turned to a once untenable idea: recycling sewage water.
“When you talk about toilet-to-(water) tank it makes a lot of people nervous and grossed out,” says Terri Telchik, who works in the city manager’s office in Big Spring, Texas.
Less than 0.1 inches of rain has fallen on West Texas for months. Normally, the region gets more than 7 inches of rain this time of year. This week’s Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor map shows 75 percent of Texas is in “exceptional” drought stages.
Water for the town’s 27,000 residents comes through the Colorado River Municipal Water District, which has broken ground on a plant to capture treated wastewater for recycling.
A giant quasar billions of light-years away is surrounded by water vapor that could fill Earth’s oceans over 140 trillion times. Via National Geographic:
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In a galaxy 12 billion light-years away resides the most distant and most massive cloud of water yet seen in the universe, astronomers say.
Weighing in at 40 billion times the mass of Earth, the giant cloud of mist swaddles a type of actively feeding supermassive black hole known as a quasar.
Among the brightest and most energetic objects in the universe, quasars are black holes at the centers of galaxies that are gravitationally consuming surrounding disks of material while burping back out powerful energy jets.
“As this disk of material is consumed by the central black hole, it releases energy in the form of x-ray and infrared radiation, which in turn can heat the surrounding material, resulting in the observed water vapor,” said study co-author Eric Murphy, an astronomer with the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California.
The solution is cheap since the sources of graphite could include the waste produced by graphite mining companies that still contains a significant amount of graphite. And the researchers believe that it is possible to modify the graphite oxide to pick out particular pollutants and therefore tailor the super sand to specific areas that might be having trouble with certain water-borne diseases or pollutants.
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In case you haven’t noticed, the world is on the verge of a horrific global food crisis. At some point, this crisis will affect you and your family. It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but it is going to happen.
Crazy weather and horrifying natural disasters have played havoc with agricultural production in many areas of the globe over the past couple of years. Meanwhile, the price of oil has begun to skyrocket. The entire global economy is predicated on the ability to use massive amounts of inexpensive oil to cheaply produce food and other goods and transport them over vast distances. Without cheap oil the whole game changes.
Topsoil is being depleted at a staggering rate and key aquifers all over the world are being drained at an alarming pace. Global food prices are already at an all-time high and they continue to move up aggressively.