Archive for Article

Liquid water flows on today’s Mars: NASA confirms evidence

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

001

Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes such as these at Hale Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars. The streaks are roughly the length of a football field.

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times. Read more

Our water pipes crawl with millions of bacteria

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have discovered that our drinking water is to a large extent purified by millions of “good bacteria” found in water pipes and purification plants. So far, the knowledge about them has been practically non-existent, but this new research is about to change that.

002

A glass of water contains millions of bacteria, say researchers.

A glass of clean drinking water actually contains ten million bacteria! But that is as it should be — clean tap water always contains harmless bacteria. These bacteria and other microbes grow in the drinking water treatment plant and on the inside of our water pipes, which can be seen in the form of a thin, sticky coating — a so-called biofilm. All surfaces from the raw water intake to the tap are covered in this biofilm.

Findings by researchers in Applied Microbiology and Water Resources Engineering show that the diversity of species of bacteria in water pipes is huge, and that bacteria may play a larger role than previously thought. Among other things, the researchers suspect that a large part of water purification takes place in the pipes and not only in water purification plants. Read more

A metal that behaves like water

Graphene is going to change the world — or so we’ve been told.

Since its discovery a decade ago, scientists and tech gurus have hailed graphene as the wonder material that could replace silicon in electronics, increase the efficiency of batteries, the durability and conductivity of touch screens and pave the way for cheap thermal electric energy, among many other things.

001

In a new paper published in Science, researchers at the Harvard and Raytheon BBN Technology have advanced our understanding of graphene’s basic properties, observing for the first time electrons in a metal behaving like a fluid.

It’s one atom thick, stronger than steel, harder than diamond and one of the most conductive materials on earth.

But, several challenges must be overcome before graphene products are brought to market. Scientists are still trying to understand the basic physics of this unique material. Also, it’s very challenging to make and even harder to make without impurities.

In a new paper published in Science, researchers at the Harvard and Raytheon BBN Technology have advanced our understanding of graphene’s basic properties, observing for the first time electrons in a metal behaving like a fluid.

In order to make this observation, the team improved methods to create ultra-clean graphene and developed a new way measure its thermal conductivity. This research could lead to novel thermoelectric devices as well as provide a model system to explore exotic phenomena like black holes and high-energy plasmas.

This research was led by Philip Kim, professor of physics and applied physics in John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Read more

Water and Car: Clean and Environmentally Safe

It does not matter it is luxury or just a means of transportation, the main thing is that due to the increasing number of cars ecological situation is only getting worse. How to reduce the consumption of water during car washing? Will there appear any type of harmless fuel? Weare «Top Gear», of course, but we can give some useful car eco-tips.

Car wash: with or without water

Cleanness is the guarantee not only for your health but also for the health of your car. Of course, you can save money by using bucket-and-rag or hose-in-the-country technology, and even by vandalize when rising a car at the nearest body of water, as well as draining detergent residues there. But for us, environmentally conscious citizens, such methods are not suitable.

001

Stationary car wash. Remember that modern car wash consumes much less water than the one with a simple hose on the grass. As a rule, the owners comply with environmental requirements prescribed by the legislation, and the waste water is not poured anywhere, it is purified and then goes into action. This saves up to 70 percent of the precious resource. Read more

Water seems to flow freely on Mars

Dark streaks that hint at seasonally flowing water have been spotted near the equator of Mars1. The potentially habitable oases are enticing targets for research. But spacecraft will probably have to steer clear of them unless the craft are carefully sterilized — a costly safeguard against interplanetary contamination that may rule out the sites for exploration.

mars1River-like valleys attest to the flow of water on ancient Mars, but today the planet is dry and has an atmosphere that is too thin to support liquid water on the surface for long. However, intriguing clues suggest that water may still run across the surface from time to time.

In 2011, for example, researchers who analysed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft observed dark streaks a few metres wide that appeared and lengthened at the warmest time of the year, then faded in cooler seasons, reappearing in subsequent years2. “This behaviour is easy to understand if these are seeps of water,” says planetary scientist Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who led that study. “Water will darken most soils.” Read more