Earth’s Water May Be as Old as the Earth Itself

Liquid water covers some 70 percent of Earth’s surface, making the planet unique in the solar system. But where that water came from has been a bit of a puzzle.

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The volcanic plume responsible for the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland has also brought up bits of Earth’s ancient mantle from deep inside the planet.

Early in its history, Earth’s surface was so hot that any water would have evaporated into space. Anything that is here today, scientists have thought, must have come from asteroids or comets that later struck the cooling world.

But maybe not. A new analysis in Science suggests that at least some of Earth’s current moisture derives from water-soaked dust particles trapped deep inside during the planet’s formation. Read more

This Water Bottle Refills Itself From Moisture in the Air

13 But much of that freshwater is locked up as ice in glaciers, ice caps and permafrost. People get most of their water from rivers, which make up only 0.49 percent of surface freshwater. What if we could diversify and pull water from the air, instead?

002The water bottle comes from Austrian industrial designer Kristof Retezár, who wanted to make a simple, portable tool to help people where drinkable water isn’t easy to get. Engineers have long hoped to help water-scarce regions by achieving this goal. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs reports that 1.2 billion people, around a fifth of the world’s population, live in areas where water is physically scarce. Another 1.6 live in countries where water infrastructure and storage is lacking.  Read more

New technology helps pinpoint sources of water contamination

When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

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To develop a microbial reference library, the berkeley lab researchers collected poop from a wide variety of animals, as well as septic tanks and sewer plants.

Using the award-winning PhyloChip, a credit card-sized device that can detect the presence of more than 60,000 species of bacteria and archaea, the new method was found to be more sensitive than conventional methods at assessing health risks. In tests at the Russian River watershed in Northern California, the Berkeley Lab researchers found instances where their method identified potential human health risks that conventional fecal indicator tests had failed to detect. Conversely, they also found instances where the conventional tests flagged bacteria that weren’t likely risks to human health. Read more

Telling Children about Water: Experiments for Little Ones

What do you think, is it possible to get a rainbow at home? Is it possible to grow real crystals in a regular glass? Can you build the desalination plant from scrap materials? The answer is yes, and it’s not alchemy and not magic. You can do all this and much more at home with the children. Plain water and a set of elementary gadgets will help us.

000Experiments with pure water

Even the most ordinary water flowing from the tap, is not as simple as it seems. Its physical properties are full of many mysteries and secrets. Let’s try to unravel some of them.

Rainbow. The beautiful natural phenomenon leads to delight of both children and adults, and it turns out, it can be seen not only in the sky after the rain. Did you miss the rainbow? So create it at home! For experiment it is necessary to choose a sunny day, arm yourself with the mirror and a relatively large container of water, like the three-liter jar. Put the mirror in a jar, catch a ray of sunshine and you’ll be surprised to observe how a light turns into a rainbow.

001Water in a sieve. A great example of how folk sayings can be refuted with the help of science. For the experiment, you’ll need a strainer for sifting flour, a glass of water and vegetable oil or paraffin. To start, pour water into a sieve. As can be seen, it quietly seeps through the cell. Now, lubricate cells with oil or paraffin and repeat the experiment. The water remains in the sieve, pouring nowhere! This is due to the force of surface tension. By the way, you can tell a child that using this magical power the insects-water striders run on water, and during rain you can see how the drops do not immediately fall in a puddle, but at first bounce off its surface. Read more

Could water ice deposits be lurking in Ceres’ polar craters?

Using data collected by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, an international team of astronomers has created a Map of the dwarf planet Ceres’ northern hemisphere detailing regions that exist in permanent shadow. According to the study, these dark zones house conditions favorable to the existence of water ice.

ceres-cold-traps-1The relatively low mass of Ceres compared to the fully fledged planets that make up our solar system prevents it from maintaining any significant atmosphere when compared to the potent protective shield hosted by Earth, or even the tenuous shell that clings to the Mars. However, Ceres’ gravity is strong enough to prevent water particles from floating off into space. Read more