According to some tricky calculations from Guillaume Robuchon and Francis Nimmo at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Pluto may actually have a liquid ocean underneath its frigid, -230 °C exterior. It's mostly speculation, but the reasoning is pretty sound: if Pluto's rocky core has a certain level of potassium, "its decay could produce enough heat to melt some of the overlaying ice," says New Scientist. The assumption is that Pluto does, since the Earth has 10 times that amount despite being closer to the sun and therefore likely having much less potassium in its core than Pluto. We just hope having an ocean makes Pluto feel better about not being a planet anymore. [New Scientist]
Mystery of the century, you guys. No, the millenium. All times. A new paper in the journal Brain, Behavior and Evolution has a new answer to the eternal question: why do our fingers and toes get all wrinkly after bathtime? The answer: traction.
Lurking in a distant supermassive black hole there exists a reservoir of water as big as 140 trillion oceans, the largest repository of water in the universe and 4,000 times more than exists in the Milky Way. Two teams of astronomers discovered this mass of water 12 billion light years away, where it manifests as vapor spread across hundreds of light years.
Of all the things in the physical world we think we know a lot about, water is definitely among them. Nonetheless, by precisely shaking a shallow container of water, researchers have now observed two new types of waves that have never been observed before in water--and one that has never been observed in any other media either.
Researchers looking for signs of life elsewhere in the universe often start by looking for one key ingredient necessary to complex life as we know it: water. And just 750 light-years away, they’ve found quite a bit of it spewing from the poles of a young, sunlike star that is blasting jets of H2O into interstellar space at 124,000 miles per hour.
By Jennie Walters
Posted 06.09.2011 at 2:30 pm 4 Comments
Google Earth broke new ground (new water?) when they took the world of virtual-earth-exploring into the oceans. Of course, the oceans are kind of big. They fill up nearly three-quarters of the earth's surface area, and most of that area hasn't been mapped out. But now you can tour roughly half of the known area without pulling on any SCUBA gear, thanks to Google's new underwater terrain explorer.
Pushing back the night with light of our own making was the first and greatest of humankind’s achievements. What a thrill it must have been to discover that the setting sun no longer had to mean darkness and fear. We’ve come a long way since that first campfire, but it’s just recently that technology has topped the most advanced form of open-flame light.
We’ve seen plenty of concepts designed to lessen the physical burden of being a member of the military — Marines using portable renewable power stations, clothing that charges radios and GPS devices. But there’s not much being done to address drinking water, one of the heaviest yet most critical battlefield necessities. Now the Oak Ridge National Laboratory might have a solution that can help lessen the weight of water.
Would-be moon miners will need good lawyers if they want to keep the lunar resources they’re harvesting, according to space policy experts. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 appears to permit extraction of lunar water and other resources, but it’s not clear who would own the materials once they’re extracted.
The brave little rover has been stuck in the sand for a year and a half, spinning her wheels and wiggling her robot arm futilely. As she's kicked up sand, though, she has uncovered deeper layers of Martian soil, and analysis of the difference between the surface and what lies beneath shows evidence of water.
When NASA “bombed” the moon back in October there was a lot of fanfare leading up to a visually anticlimactic live Webcast of the event. But a series of papers publishing tomorrow in Science pack some data that make up for the less-than-exciting event.
There are a few perks to my job as a mad scientist, and one of them, as I recently learned, is being able to tell my colleagues that I can’t attend their terribly important meeting because I’m going to set my hand on fire.
In the movies, people on fire stumble out of burning buildings all the time. If you look closely, however, you’ll notice that they are almost always fully dressed, and that they tend to keep moving. These are two important factors that make the stunt much easier.
Americans blow $17 billion a year on water, the creators of the Bobble will have you know, and 1.5 million barrels of oil go to making the plastic bottles from which we consume it. The Bobble is the solution — a reusable bottle with a filter built right in.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.